Charlotte Child Custody Lawyers
Fighting for the best interests of your child in North Carolina custody matters
Going through a divorce is a difficult life event. When a child or children are involved, things become even more emotionally charged. Each parent wants as much time as possible and each parent wants a say in all important life (or every day) decisions regarding their child. This can be challenging – and often, it’s tough to come to a compromise.
However, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. The Charlotte family law attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC have decades of experience in divorce and child custody law. We understand the stress of these types of family law issues, and we can help you work through the process in an informed and strategic way. Contact us today.
What is child custody?
Generally, child custody is the rights and responsibilities parents share regarding their child’s physical and emotional welfare, education, medical care and religion. Physical custody is where the child will physically reside and live. Legal custody is who has the power to make decisions about the child’s life.
With most child custody arrangements, one parent takes physical custody of the child and the other parent receives visitation rights. One parent might take sole legal custody, or parents might have joint legal custody.
When parents have a relatively amicable split, they may be able to agree to a child custody agreement out of court. However, this agreement must still be approved by the court and must be thorough with clearly defined terms. This is why we advise you consult with an experienced Charlotte family law attorney to ensure your parenting agreement protects you and your child in every circumstance.
In cases where child custody is contested, the court makes its own determination based on the best interest and welfare of the child.
What are joint and legal child custody in Charlotte?
North Carolina law defines two types of child custody, physical and legal. Physical custody is the physical care and supervision of your child – where they live and spend their time. Parents can have sole physical custody, where the child resides with one parent and visits the other, or joint physical custody, where the child spends equitable time with both parents.
Legal custody means making the major decisions about the child’s life and welfare, including their medical care, education, discipline or religion. If parents have joint legal custody, they must be able to communicate effectively and share in this decision-making process. If they are unable to do so, the court will likely take this factor into consideration when making custody orders.
Both joint physical and legal custody are flexible and less stressful options when both parties are willing to work together for the welfare of their child.
Who has the right to custody of our child?
Until there is a written agreement or court order in place, both parents have equal rights to custody. If you feel your child custody may be contested, it’s crucial to get a legal agreement or order as soon as possible. Under the law, no preference is given to either parent – decisions are guided by the best interests of the child.
To determine the best environment for the child, the court may consider testimony from witnesses like child psychologists, family members, teachers and child custody evaluators. Children typically aren’t asked to provide testimony except in extreme cases, and many parents find it beneficial to shield them from this process.
Do my Charlotte child custody issues have to be resolved in court?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, North Carolina law puts the best interests of the child as the goal in child custody cases. To help this along, most parties involved in child custody disputes are required to go through mediation before proceeding to trial. This gives parents an out-of-court and non-adversarial environment to collaborate on a parenting plan.
Our experienced child custody attorneys can work with you to prepare for mediation, helping you with the process from beginning to end. Mediation often produces more mutually agreed upon arrangements, better suited to everyone’s individual needs. It also allows you to settle your family issues privately rather than in a public court.
However, if both parents are unable to come to an agreement, the case will go to trial and the court makes a child custody determination instead. Our lawyers can help you show the court that you can protect and ensure the best interests and welfare of your child.
What factors determine child custody?
The court considers many factors when making a decision about child custody. The law gives no preference regarding gender or marriage status. These factors include the:
- Parent’s availability to child
- Parent’s economic situation and earning potential
- Parent’s physical, mental and emotional well-being
- Parent’s caretaking ability
- Parent’s home environment
- Child’s bonding with siblings
- Child’s preference
Our attorneys can help, whether you’re trying to obtain sole custody or joint custody of your child. If you were denied custody, we’ll work with you to gain visitation rights, so you can have the quality parenting time you need with your child to allow your relationship to continue to grow.
Can I modify my Charlotte child custody agreement?
Your child custody agreement is not permanent. However, you cannot change it at the drop of a hat, either. When one parent’s circumstances have significantly changed, or those of your child, you may find it necessary to modify your order. An order modification can only be enforced when it’s done through the court, and our attorneys can help you with the process.
Our attorneys can work with you in all child custody issues. Charlotte family law matters are dealt with through Mecklenburg County Court, located at 832 East 4th St, Charlotte, NC 28202.
Epperson Law Group, PLLC fights for its clients
Our attorneys fight for the best possible outcome for our clients. Our firm has secured results in trial and in appellate court that are still cited as precedents. In one, the decision stood for the proposition that a parent can change his/her life for the betterment of the child, which can change custody: Shell v. Shell. In another (Davis v. Davis), we won at the court of appeals where the trial court tried to change the order when he found there not to be a change of circumstances.
At Epperson Law Group, PLLC, we don’t think you should take “no” for an answer when the best interests of you and your children are on the line. In both of these cases, as in so many others, if our clients had simply accepted the deals they were offered, they and their children would have been worse off for it. We want to help you, too.
Skilled child custody lawyers representing Charlotte families
At Epperson Law Group, PLLC, we understand the challenges and heartaches that come with child custody disputes. Let us put our decades of experience to work, helping protect your child’s rights and best interests. We advocate for you and for your children. Our attorneys are just minutes off the NC-16. To reserve a consultation at one of our offices in Charlotte, Boone, or Weddington, please call 704-321-0031 or fill out our contact form.