Undoubtedly, one of the toughest problems that divorce brings for families is the decision about the custody of the children. It is an emotionally challenging task for both the parents and the child. Both parents consider themselves equally capable and responsible to bring up the child, in terms of finances and emotional wellbeing. But in most states of the US, the final decision lies in the hands of the state judge after reflecting on the case from both parties. The legal aid of NC child custody, however, puts the child’s future and better interests on the top priority. The appeals and the persuasion made by each parent in their favor of keeping the child come after the court has decided what is best for the child in question.
What Is Child Custody?
Child custody refers to the legal right of a parent to make important life decisions of a child and have the child in his/her care. Having child custody means the parent is obliged by the law to take care, educate, raise, provide, and bring up the child. Normally, the biological parents of a child are responsible for bringing up the children, in every aspect of life such as education, health, and lifestyle. But with the rising separation cases in the US, couples have disputes over who will get the custody of the child. Each state has its own rules, for example, North Carolina child custody laws may not be the same as the custody laws in Texas.
According to the legal aid of NC child custody and the North Carolina child custody statutes, the parent who loses the case of child custody still has some privileges which allow that parent to visit the child from time to time. There are certain child visitation laws of each state in the US, that ensure the right of the non-custodial parent to see and spend some time with the child.
The courts associated with the legal aid of North Carolina determine the frequency and the period of the visits for the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent can raise a dispute against the visiting of the non-custodial parent, due to many reasons. Such cases are resolved by the free legal aid for child custody in NC, using the policy of ‘best interests of the child’. Unfortunately, the one whose best interests are being protected is the one who suffers the most during such proceedings.
Options Of Child Custody In North Carolina
When it comes to attaining the custody of a child, the legal aid of NC child custody provides all the information on the types of child custody as well as the free legal advice in NC. Divorced couples must have heard the terms like joint custody and legal custody but at the time of such a family crisis, many couples are unable to understand and comprehend these terms. So, here is a brief overview of the options available for legal aid child custody:
Legal custody of a child means having the legal rights to make all the decisions of the child’s life by the parent who wins the custody of that child. Legal rights are not as concerned about where the child lives as they care about who makes the legal decisions regarding the child.
Decisions such as upbringing, property distribution, health insurance, and education are what is important. In the legal custody of the child, the parent or parents are responsible to make all the short and long-term decisions for the child until he/she turns 18.
Physical custody of the child refers to where the child gets to stay. The parent who gets the physical custody is the one who keeps the child with him/herself and makes daily-life choices for them like which school to go to and what to eat.
In simple words, the child lives in the house of the parent who won the custody case rather than with the non-custodial parent even when the physical custody is joint. If a couple seeks legal aid of NC child custody and the court orders the Primary Physical Custody to the mother, it means she will have the child with her for most of the time. While the other parent can have visitation rights, only if the custodial parent and the court agree to it.
Both legal and physical child custody can be either joint or sole; a decision that is made by the court as well as by the level of understanding between the parents. In joint physical custody, the child is allowed to stay with both parents, according to the parental availability or the choice of the child. During that time the other parent is allowed to visit the child openly. If the parents are unable to work out a practical schedule for the joint physical custody, the court intervenes and devises a parenting plan for them.
In joint legal custody, both parents may not have the permission to keep the child with them but they have the right to make the child’s legal decisions together. If one parent makes a big decision regarding the child without consulting the other person, he/she can seek the legal aid of NC child custody. And the court can withdraw the legal custody rights of that parent.
In cases of hostile divorces, and lack of communication between the spouses, joint custody options cannot be applied. Under such circumstances, the legal aid of NC child custody offers sole custody to the custodial parent. The parent who can persuade the judge on having the best interests of the child as their top priority usually gets the sole custody.
The sole physical custody is awarded to the parent that proves to be mentally and financially stable to raise a child. Whereas, in sole legal custody, the custodial parent is not obliged to consult the other parent when making the life-changing decisions of the child. The non-custodial parent can challenge the sole custody if the custodial parent is abusive to the child or has been involved in immoral acts such as sexual harassment, drugs, or theft.
Filing For Legal Aid Of NC Child Custody
Most of the states of the US have similar laws about child custody and visitation but if you are a citizen of North Carolina, the legal aid of NC child custody is a bit different than other states. We have gathered all the information that one might need to seek free legal aid for child custody in North Carolina.
Legal Aid Of NC Child Custody
Although you will get free legal aid for child custody as well as free legal advice; the North Carolina child custody laws are more focused on resolving issues without the involvement of the court. Despite a huge number of divorce and custody clashes among couples, you would be surprised to know that only a fraction of the cases need legal aid of NC child custody.
Who Can File For Legal Aid Of NC Child Custody?
The answer to this question is pretty obvious; one or both parents can apply for the legal aid of NC child custody. When filing for the legal aid of NC child custody, the parents do not necessarily have to be married; in many instances, unmarried couples have child custody disputes.
Other than divorced and separated couples, non-parents can also file for free legal advice in NC. Non-parents can be the relatives like uncles, aunts, and grandparents of the child who consider the parents to be unfit for raising a child. Non-relatives such as the godfather of a child can also file for custody if he can prove his strong bond and the relationship with the child in case of the death or instability of the parents.
Where And How To File For Child Custody In North Carolina?
The child custody cases can only be filed in the state where the child has lived for the past six months. To seek the legal aid of NC child custody, you must file a complaint in the North Carolina county where the child or one of the parents live.
The complaint can be submitted through child custody lawyers in NC, or you can do it yourself using free legal advice. The state of North Carolina provides free child custody lawyers for those parents who cannot afford to hire one.
Procedure After Filing For Child Custody Free Legal Aid North Carolina
After you file for a child custody case, your complaint is forwarded to the other parent as well by an email or a lawyer. Once both parents are fully aware of the custody order, the case is then transferred to the Mediation Program for Custody.
The mediation programs are there to help couples resolve the visitation and custody issue without involving the judge. If the program fails, the case goes to court where the judge awards the custody after reflecting on the evidence by both parties.
Finding Free Lawyers For Child Custody In North Carolina
In custody cases where both parents have a better understanding and communication between them, there is not much need for hiring a lawyer. Since those cases are less hostile and lack the need for providing evidence against the other parent. But many sole custody cases get out of hand and you may need to find a lawyer to represent yourself in court.
The state of North Carolina offers free child custody lawyers for mothers as well as free child custody lawyers for fathers. You can consult different law directories in your area to find the most suitable free custody attorneys.
Filing For Child Custody Without A Lawyer
Having a lawyer does increase your chances of winning the case but that doesn’t mean it is mandatory for every court order. You can find plenty of legal advice online as well as from the legal aid of NC child custody.
The legal aid of NC facilitates its citizens by arranging multiple clinics and programs for every family issue from divorce, to child custody. You can sign up there and handle your custody case without hiring a lawyer. Even some law schools in North Carolina offer free legal assistance to families struggling with custody cases and divorce.
Important Factors For Winning Child Custody Case
The decision of the judge to grant child custody to a parent is determined by many things. While each case is unique, the general principle for handing over the custody to a parent in North Carolina remains the same; the best interests of the child. But certain important factors influence the court’s decision and you should know about them if you wish to win the custody of your child.
Maintaining A Good And Stable Behavior
No matter how complicated the custody case might get, you have to maintain a stable behavior all the time, to avoid it from being used against you in court. Turning your child against the competing parent or threatening the child to speak in your favor is not considered good or moral behavior.
Everyone in the court including your spouse’s attorney and the judge is watching you so avoid being aggressive or hostile towards your spouse. Stay as calm as possible during the whole court procedure.
Stay Connected To Your Child During The Dispute
During the timeline of your court proceedings, do not abandon the child. Continue to be an active part of your child’s life, by going to their school, social, and sports events.
Keep A Track Of Your Physical And Mental Health
In hostile custody cases, nothing beats the mentally unstable card played by the lawyers against you. They can notice any unusual behavior in you and label you as someone emotionally unfit for raising a child. So, it is advisable to keep yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically fit during court procedures.
Live In A Peaceful Neighborhood
For the best interests of the child, the court is most likely to give custody to the parent who can provide a peaceful and healthy environment for the child.