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What does 'sole custody' mean?

If a North Carolina family law court awards you sole custody of your child, it generally means that you have exclusive legal custody and physical custody of your child. It's not that common for a judge to award one parent sole custody during divorce proceedings, but it may happen if the other parent is seen as unfit to fulfill the role of mother or father. Drug addiction, child abuse and having committed violent crimes could be potential reasons for a parent to be stripped of his or her parental rights.

If one parent receives both sole physical and sole legal custody, then the other parent will be known as the non-custodial parent and he or she will not have any custody rights. That said, the non-custodial parent may have the right to visit the child. These visits might be supervised if the non-custodial parent has a history of child abuse or domestic violence.

There are two primary classifications of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the parent's ability to make important decisions about the child's medical care, welfare, education, extra-curricular activities, religion and more. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with. When parents share both legal and physical custody, both parents must work together and agree on major decisions, and the child will live part time with one parent and part time with the other.

Are you trying to obtain sole legal and physical custody of your child in North Carolina? Depending on your family's situations, you may or may not be able to get the sole custody you desire. By discussing the facts surrounding your case with a Weddington family law attorney, you can evaluate your chances for obtaining sole custody, and develop a strategy to pursue it in court.

Source: FindLaw, "Sole Custody," accessed May 21, 2017

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