Custody is often an important element in divorce cases. The needs and best interests of the children involved in custody cases should always be considered. Although divorce and custody cases can be challenging and emotional circumstances for all parties involved, knowing about divorce and custody procedures will make you better equipped to successfully navigate these situations.
North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state with only two legal grounds for divorce. A husband and wife living separate and apart for a period of one year with the intention of terminating their marriage have legal grounds for divorce. This one year period must be consecutive without living in the same house and without sexual intercourse.
Incurable insanity is also considered grounds for divorce. In a situation where spouses have lived separate and apart for three years due to incurable insanity, the sane spouse can submit a divorce filing. If the husband and wife live together only on a trial basis, this will not count against the separate and apart requirement.
Regardless of the grounds, custody can be a contentious issue in divorce cases. When dealing with divorce and custody, it is important to know the types of custody. A spouse can obtain physical custody where the child lives with them on a daily basis.
Legal custody is when the spouse has the right to make decisions about the child’s healthcare, education, and other major decisions. There are also types of custody arrangements such as joint custody and sole custody. In most cases involving custody, courts favor the active involvement of the non-custodial parent in the child’s life.
Divorce and Custody in North Carolina
In cases of divorce, it is important to determine the pros and cons of pursuing a custody case. The advantage of a custody case is that an established legal agreement is formulated regarding the care of the child or children. Each spouse is held accountable for their responsibilities. A custody case can help if a party to the divorce is requesting child support, although a custody case is not a requirement for receiving child support.
There also may be good reasons to not pursue a custody case. Some parents may not want to involve the courts and an informal agreement works for them. Custody cases can also become prolonged, taking a toll on all the parties.
A custody case also can open up the private lives of the parties, investigating criminal records, mental health or substance abuse history, and personal relationships. Once custody is legally established, it can only be changed by subsequent legal proceedings. There needs to be proof of a significant change in the circumstances related to the children.
If you are faced with a divorce and custody case, it is important to understand your rights. By seeking legal counsel, you will know the options available and the best ways to approach your case. A law firm experienced in family law and custody cases such as Emblem Legal will make sure you understand the issues and they will work on your behalf. If you are facing a divorce and custody case, contact Emblem Legal for a free consultation.