Courts start and lean in preference of a fifty-fifty custody arrangement. Previously, there was a sentiment that mothers should receive more time with children, but as the courts have progressed, they are encouraged to see parents as co-equals now. The court will consider a parent’s work schedule, the children’s school schedule, their activity schedule, and housing conditions. The court is interested in prioritizing the safety and education of children, hoping to maximize their emotional and physical well-being in a manner that works with the parent’s schedule.
A common misconception is that just because one parent has more money, they will get more time because they’re able to provide more. However, child support guidelines have offset that so money doesn’t even become a factor. The court is only interested in aspects that contribute to a child’s emotional and physical health.
Is There Ever An Age Where A Child Will Have Input On Who He Or She Wants To Be With?
There is a myth that once a child hits the age of 12 to 13 years old, they can choose who they live with. Yet, that is not the case. North Carolina courts will only consider a child’s wishes once the child is considered a competent witness under its legal definition. A competent witness can be a child that can demonstrate the maturity and ability to address and express themselves. However, they must be able to express themselves beyond being able to claim that one parent is superior for a simple reason. They must express why their preference will directly improve their health or well-being. If a child is able to demonstrate why it’s in their wellbeing, a court will listen to their input. The Court is not bound by a child’s wishes and it will only be one of the many factors that will be considered in a child custody determination.
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