Child Custody & Support in North Carolina
Among the most difficult issues, you’ll be dealing with as you go on with your divorce or child custody and child support. When negotiating with your spouse about these aspects, you have to keep in mind that what’s best for your child is the most important thing to consider.
In North Carolina, you and your spouse can decide on custody, which is why it’s a lot better if both parents can reach an agreement on child custody and support. The agreed terms of child custody and support can be drafted as a consent order and signed by a judge or it can be included in the separation agreement if the agreement is going to be filed with the court as part of the divorce. If both spouses can reach a support agreement, it’s not necessary to go to court.
NC Child Custody Trial
If you can’t reach an agreement on child custody and/or child support, then you and your custody attorney have to go to trial. Custody and support are heard in front of a District Court Judge and in the county where the lawsuit was filed. It’s worthy to note that you’re not entitled to a jury trial for child custody or support in North Carolina.
During the trial, the judge just listens to the witnesses called by both parties, reviews exhibits presented and issues an opinion that becomes an order of the court. While it isn’t required that you have a lawyer, it is advisable to hire an attorney if you are going to court. If you decide to represent yourself, you will be responsible for knowing the law, civil procedure, and the rules of evidence in your custody case.
How Does a Judge Determine Custody?
The best interest of the child is the standard that the judge uses to determine custody. The judge takes many factors into consideration before making a ruling, including the willingness of the parents to work with each other regarding child visitation, the child’s special needs (if any), the parents’ ability to provide, any allegations of domestic violence, and other such factors. The judge’s ultimate goal in awarding child custody is for the good of the child concerned.