It may not be difficult for North Carolina parents to guess that going through a divorce can be trying. However, they may not be prepared for the challenges presented by child custody issues. The most important determination in any divorce where children are involved could be who will be the custodial parent.
The North Carolina courts determine primary physical custody of the children by making a determination as to what would be in the best interests of the children. If one of the parents remained in the family home, that parent will most likely be given extra consideration since that means that the children’s lives will not change as much. They could still go to the same schools, be with their friends and not have to move. This decision becomes more complex if both parents are still in the home during the divorce.
One parent may receive primary physical custody of the children, but that does not mean the other parent does not have rights when it comes to the children. Both parents may share legal custody. The parents would be able to share the decision-making on the children’s behalf. In addition, once the decision is made regarding who will be the custodial parent, a visitation schedule will be determined for the non-custodial parent.
The goal is to ensure that the children have contact with both parents, so long as it is appropriate. The custodial parent is obligated to make the children available in accordance with the visitation schedule. If that does not happen, the non-custodial parent has the right to go back to court to ask the judge to enforce the visitation schedule.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “For Divorced Parents: Know Your Child Custody and Visitation Rights“, June 25, 2014