North Carolina, along with many other states, follows the Uniform Child Custody Act. You may have a general idea of what child custody is, but not know what the different types are. It is important to know the basics when dealing with a child custody issue in North Carolina.
There are different types of custody in North Carolina that often overlap and depend on your situation.
Legal custody gives you the authority as you make important decisions regarding your child. The parent(s) with legal custody will be able to decide on the upbringing of the child – education, religion and how they will handle medical decisions. You will also have access to your child’s records and information.
Your state utilizes its child custody laws during this course of a divorce. The parent granted physical custody will be the one providing daily care for the child. This also means that you have the right to have the child live with you. In most modern custody arrangements, the court may grant physical custody to one parent and visitation to the other.
If you do not live together but share legal and/or physical custody of your child, you are engaging in joint custody. The child may spend overnights with both parents, though the time may not be equal. Both parents can make major decisions when granted joint custody.
The judge may grant sole legal or physical custody to one parent. If a divorce proceeding shows that one parent is to be unfit, sole custody is often granted to the other. This may occur due to financial or addiction problems. A new partner living with the parent may also affect this decision. If believed unfit, it may impact who gets sole custody.
Child custody arrangements are often legally complicated and can cause emotional stress. You may benefit from consulting with an attorney to help prepare you for the process.