How Judges Resolve Child Custody And Visitation Disputes

How Judges Resolve Child Custody And Visitation Disputes

When North Carolina parents are unable to resolve child custody or visitation disputes amicably, family law judges may be called upon to settle matters. Judges make these decisions based on two fundamental factors. First they determine which parent has acted as the child’s primary caregiver, and they then consider what course of action would be in the best interests of the child.

The primary caregiver is the parent who spends the most time with the child on a daily basis, and judges may ask parents which of them prepares the child’s meals, takes care of their health care arrangements and assists them with their schoolwork. This is important because studies have found that separating children from their primary caregivers can stunt their emotional development and lead to behavioral problems.

In cases where no clear primary caregiver emerges, judges will consider what custody and visitation arrangements would be in the best interests of the children in question. This process takes additional factors into consideration such as the wishes of the child or children involved and the lifestyles of their parents. Awarding custody to a parent who has a steady job and a stable home environment will generally be considered more beneficial for the child than placing them with a parent who has substance abuse problems or mental health issues.

Experienced family law attorneys are likely well aware of how quickly discussions about custody and visitation can become heated and contentious. However, they may urge parents to avoid protracted court battles due to the costs involved and the emotional impact that that this kind of dispute can have on children. When an amicable settlement remains elusive, attorneys may suggest alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation.

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