Learning About Child Custody during Divorce


Child custody during divorce is considered one of the most critical issues in these cases. In deciding custody of children under 18 years of age, the court is led by the best interests of the child. There are four types of child custody recognized by North Carolina law.

Sole Physical Custody

Sole physical custody means the children will be supervised by and reside with one parent. The parent’s plan for the other parent’s visitation rights must be approved by the court. Normally, the court will set visitation rights if both parents can’t voluntarily agree upon satisfactory arrangements.

Joint Physical Custody

In the case of joint physical custody, both parents will have significant periods of time with the children, but not necessarily equal time. This means both parents will have more or less continual contact with the children.

Sole Legal Custody

Sole legal custody gives one parent the responsibility and right to make decisions about the children’s education, health, and welfare. The other parent maintains visitation rights in cases of child custody during divorce. Sole legal custody is the most common custody arrangement even though joint legal custody is favored by the courts. A person must have legal custody to request child support. In North Carolina, the child support amount is based on child care costs, both parents’ gross income and their contributions for health insurance, and any additional expenses.

Joint Legal Custody

Joint legal custody gives both parents the right and the responsibility to share decision-making about the education, health, and welfare of their children. If parents can make it work, the law favors joint legal custody as it is in the best interest of minor children. The parents must submit a “parenting plan that works.” Joint legal custody is not always easy, because it requires cooperation from both parents.

Deciding Custody

When deciding child custody during divorce, the court takes several factors into account. Determining the child’s best interest factors in:

  • the needs of the child

  • the physical and mental condition of the parent and child

  • the age of the parent and the child

  • the relationship existing between each parent and child

  • each parent’s role in the upbringing and care for the child

  • the home where the child will reside.

In most cases involving child custody during divorce, the court will factor in which parent will most likely see to it that the non-custodial parent remains involved in the child or children’s lives.

Either parent in dispute for child custody during a divorce can ask the court for a custody evaluation. The evaluator may be appointed by the court or decided by the parents. This third party evaluation is used to help the courts make a custody determination.

A child’s custody preference may also be taken into account. If the judge deems the child mature enough, the child’s preference may be considered in child custody during divorce. According to North Carolina case law, a child aged ten years or older may provide input on custody decisions.

Child Custody During Divorce

Those faced with issues of child custody during divorce will find an advocate at Emblem Legal. The professional and experienced lawyers are knowledgeable about child custody during divorce proceedings. Our expertise is not only in looking out for your best interests, but also the best interest of your child or children. Contact us for legal help with child custody during divorce. Get started with a consultation today.