Custody disputes arise whenever parents no longer live together. Although most child custody cases involve divorce, others can arise when two parents have a child out of wedlock. Either way, biological parents have a right to an ongoing relationship with their child, even when their relationship with the other parent has ended.
Plyler, Long & Corigliano, LLP, is a family law firm committed to helping parents protect their rights. In North Carolina, both biological parents have rights and obligations, but divorce can disrupt your relationship with your children. Many parents don’t know how to divide custody or child support, and agreement is sometimes impossible despite the best of intentions. Please contact our firm to talk with our experienced family law attorney about your goals and child custody issues.
Child Custody in North Carolina
Child custody in North Carolina has two parts:
- Legal custody: This is the right to make important decisions for your child, such as whether they can receive medical care or which school they will attend. Parents can share joint legal custody, or only one parent might have it.
- Physical custody: This means the right to have your child live with you. Physical custody is primary or joint. If one parent has primary custody, the other usually receives visitation with the child. Joint custody involves a variety of arrangements, including 50/50 custody, depending on what works for the parents. This can look different between all family law cases.
Many parents hope to split legal and physical custody, but problems can arise that you need to think through. For example, what happens if you and your ex can’t agree on whether your child should go to private or public school? Or who will the child spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with? These issues should be hammered out so that co-parenting will be successful.
Parents can come up with a parenting agreement plan that works for them and voluntarily sign it. When they can’t agree, a judge will decide custody based on the child’s welfare and best interests. This standard essentially asks what custody arrangement will best promote your child’s safety and development. A judge can look at many factors as part of the analysis, such as:
- The child’s current living arrangement
- Each parent’s capacity to care for the child
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- A child’s special needs and each parent’s ability to provide for them
- A history of domestic violence
North Carolina no longer assumes young children should end up with their mothers. But parents still need to present evidence that shows they can care for their child.
Low Conflict Resolution to Disputes
Many parents hope to avoid painful, drawn-out custody battles. Helpfully, North Carolina provides resources to assist in reaching common ground with the other parent. For example, a judge might send you to mediation to talk about your dispute with a trained, neutral mediator. Mediation can often help nudge parents to reach an agreement on a joint legal custody that makes a trial unavoidable.
Our North Carolina child custody lawyers are prepared to follow your lead. We can pursue an amicable, collaborative divorce if that’s what you want. If you want to fight, we can do that as well.
Can I modify our Custody agreement?
Once a judge sets custody, it’s difficult to modify later. You will need to show changed circumstances to get a judge to even consider modifying child custody down the road. Typically, these changed circumstances must be substantial, such as one parent being imprisoned or becoming neglectful, and not simply that it would be easier if you had child custody. Of course, parents can agree to a modification, if they want.
Our Monroe child custody lawyers can help. We have worked with a variety of expert witnesses, including physicians and child psychologists, to better understand the family dynamics. And we can leverage decades of experience to advocate for why you deserve custody of your children.
You might have an easier time tweaking the parenting plan, which is often necessary as the years roll by. Growing children often participate in hobbies or after-school activities, like sports, when they get older. A parenting plan that worked when a child was 7 might no longer work at 15. Please contact us to discuss how to change your custody schedule.
We will help protect your children!
Sometimes your child is in danger, and you need a judge to immediately step in to ensure their safety. In North Carolina, you can sometimes seek emergency custody, which is available if you can show one of the following:
- A substantial risk of sexual abuse or molestation
- A substantial risk of bodily injury
- Substantial risk of abduction or removal from the state
For example, your ex might move in with a new partner who is a convicted child molester or someone who has shown aggression to your child. This is a dangerous situation.
A parent can seek an emergency custody order without a hearing—but you need convincing evidence before a judge will grant it. Courts do not grant emergency custody of minor children lightly. Our legal team has the skill needed to convince a judge to step in and protect your child.
Our Approach to Child Custody in Monroe, NC
Child custody cases require tact and discretion. Our law firm understands the emotional nature of these disputes, and we work closely with our clients to devise appropriate solutions. To that end, we will:
- Listen to your goals and hopes for the future in a confidential consultation.
- Analyze whether anything in your past (criminal convictions, domestic violence) could work against you in a child custody dispute.
- Strategize ways to improve your odds of receiving custody.
- Work with the other parent’s legal team to come up with a fair parenting plan.
- Attend mediation to help you through the process.
- Coordinate with experts to better understand your child’s needs.
Where necessary, we can also prepare for a custody hearing where we advocate on your behalf to the judge.
Our Local Monroe Lawyers Are Just a Phone Call Away
Plyler, Long & Corigliano is an established firm that is ready to step in and handle your child custody needs. To find out more about our services, contact our firm to schedule a consultation.
Meet the Attorneys
All of our attorneys are involved in Union County schools, churches and community activities.
Richard G. Long, Jr. Partner
Dale Ann Plyler Partner
Frank Corigliano Partner
Lisa Hough Beaman Associate Attorney
Lisanne Mangum Associate Attorney
Ashley McBride Of Counsel
With over 140 years of combined legal experience, you can trust your case with us.
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