If you and your spouse are divorcing, and you expect a contentious, drawn-out custody battle, you are doing everything you can to win custody and keep your child. You may even be inclined to file as soon as possible in order to be the parent filing for child custody first as a way to get an advantage.
But does it matter who files for child custody first in North Carolina? Actually, no, the court does not look at who is filing or when the paperwork comes through aside from using it to schedule a date. Instead, our child custody attorneys are sharing what the court really looks at to determine custody.
The Best Interests of the Child
The court looks at custody solely by determining what type of arrangement is in the best interest of the child. This means that the court will look at:
- Each parents’ relationship with the child
- The physical and emotional health of both parents
- Each parents’ ability to provide a safe place to live
- Willingness to promote a positive relationship between the other parent and the child (meaning they won’t talk badly about the parent to the child or engage in parental alienation)
- History of domestic abuse or addiction
The judge assigned to your custody case is much more concerned about ensuring the child is in a safe environment at all times and experiences as much consistency as possible in their life with the parent who can meet the physical and emotional needs of the child.
For example, if both parents are financially capable of providing a safe place to live, are in good physical and emotional health, and both parents live in the child’s school district, the judge may be more inclined to award split or joint custody. However, if one parent lives outside the school district, the judge may award primary physical custody to one parent and visitation on weekends to the other so the child doesn’t have to switch schools.
How to Prepare for Your Child Custody Case
If you are concerned with “winning” your case, it’s important to work with a child custody attorney who can advocate on your behalf and help you meet your goals, whether this is sole legal and physical custody, primary custody, or joint custody. Also, they can help you determine realistic goals and what you can expect. While it doesn’t matter who is the one filing for child custody, what does matter is being properly prepared, and this means consulting with an attorney as soon as possible.
If you have concerns about parental alienation, abuse, or other serious issues, it’s important to not only share these concerns with your legal advocate, you should also document known issues as well as provide any proof where applicable, such as through text messages, emails, or medical records or school documentation. You can also get signed witness statements attesting to your concerns, preferably from neutral third-party witnesses, such as doctors or teachers if you have legitimate concerns.
Schedule a Consultation with a Child Custody Attorney in Raleigh Today
If you are considering a divorce, are separated, or need to change an existing child custody agreement, it’s important to work with a child custody attorney in Raleigh who will aggressively fight for your best interests. Reach out to Doyle Law Group today by calling (919) 301-8843 or filling out the form below. We can help you set up a detailed plan for parallel parenting to ensure a healthy way forward for you and your children.
Protecting your Privacy ~ Your privacy is our primary concern. At the Doyle Law Group, we understand the importance of protecting your privacy and will never share your contact information with a 3rd party. Contacting our law firm does not imply any form of an attorney-client relationship.