When a couple is faced with the challenges of divorce and child custody, there is always a great deal of emotion involved. However, it is possible to get through the process of divorce and still remain cordial for the sake of your children. North Carolina child custody laws include provisions for grandparent visitations. One parent may be awarded physical custody, although in many cases, the courts will award joint custody.
North Carolina Divorce
Couples are often surprised at the various forms of divorce in North Carolina. Couples may have a contested divorce, where they can’t agree on all issues, or uncontested where they agree prior to going to court about property division, child custody/support, and other matters. By statute, absolute, no-fault, and divorce from bed and board is possible. It is important to understand the distinction between the three types of divorce:
- Absolute Divorce – when separation has lasted one year and one spouse lives in North Carolina for at least six months, a divorce is considered absolute. This does not necessarily mean that all issues have been resolved, in some cases, custody, support, and property division matters are unresolved at the time of an absolute divorce.
- No-Fault Divorce – when couples primarily agree to divorce and reside in North Carolina, the court may grant a no-fault divorce. The courts may take the behavior of either into consideration when awarding custody or dividing property.
- Divorce From Bed and Board – when a partner commits adultery, abandons the home, is ordered from the home, or in other specific circumstances, there may be a divorce from bed and board. It is important to note this is a separation and not a legal divorce.
Child Custody in North Carolina
Legal custody is the right of the parent to have a say in the child’s education, medical, and religious matters. Physical custody determines where the child will live. In the past, many courts were likely to award joint physical custody, many have altered this position due to disruption of the child’s school schedule. In most cases, the courts are likely to award joint legal custody, but sole physical custody with visitation rights. Numerous factors, including the child’s wishes, are taken into consideration when deciding on custody matters.
Whether you are considering filing for divorce because your spouse has abandoned you, or your spouse has informed you they intend to file for divorce, you need to work with a competent, skilled family attorney. At the Rocky Mount, NC law offices of Best, Lawrence Law, PA, we provide family law services in Edgecombe, Nash, Wilson County, and other counties in Eastern North Carolina.