One of the most common questions that we get as family law attorneys is “how is the judge going to determine who gets the kid(s)…” or a version of that question. While the facts in each case are always different; the answer is always the same. In North Carolina, the judge, regardless of the case, is required to enter a custody order that will “best promote the interest and welfare of the child.” (N.C.G.S §50-13.2(a)).
In determining what is in the best interest of a child(ren) in a custody case the judge has wide latitude in what they can consider. In fact, the judge must consider ALL relevant factors. There are a wide variety of factors that can be considered relevant and each are case specific. Some of the most common factors include: which parent has been the primary care provider, ability of a parent to provide adequate care, the ability of a parent to provide a stable living environment, the working schedules of each parent, mental health needs of the child(ren), the relationship between the parent and child(ren), current living arrangements, whether domestic violence is present, and the ability for a parent to financially provide for a child. In determining what is in the best interest of the child(ren), no preference is given to either parent simply because they are the mother or the father of a child. Each parent must provide the court with relevant evidence that shows it is in the best interest of the child(ren) that a certain custody arrangement be put in place.
If you have already filed a custody claim or are considering filing one in North Carolina, you should contact an experienced family law attorney who can talk with you about the individual facts of your case. The attorneys at Stauff, Gross & Privette, PLLC are here to help walk you through each step of your custody case. Contact our office at (919) 576-7550 to set up a consultation.