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Can a Father Win Full Custody in North Carolina?

Father and son hugging at front door

When going through a highly contested divorce, we’re often asked by fathers if it’s possible for them to win full legal custody of their children.

In simple terms, yes, it is possible for fathers to be awarded sole custody of their child or children. However, the process is much more complicated than many people realize.

Understanding Custody in North Carolina

Many years ago, custody cases often favored the mother because women typically stayed at home and raised the children while the father was at work. However, that’s no longer the case. As gender roles change and many homes consist of two working parents, fathers have all of the same rights and opportunities as mothers when going through a custody case.

Courts Favor Healthy Relationships with Both Parents

Typically, courts want a child to have a relationship with both parents to foster healthy relationships among the entire family. But if it’s not in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with their mother, fathers can file a complaint for custody.

Filing for Sole Custody as a Father

Fathers can file for sole custody regardless of if they were ever married to or divorced from the child’s mother. Once paternity is established, they can file for custody.

When determining if sole custody is in the child’s best interest, courts will look at:

  • The child’s relationship with their mother.
  • The father’s income, finances, and ability to provide for the child.
  • The father’s current living situation.

It’s important to note that wanting sole custody is not reason enough to be granted it. In cases where sole custody is granted to one parent, the other tends to have a history of drug and alcohol abuse, have been physically abusive towards the child, be incarcerated, or be mentally or physically unable to care for the child. Disliking your former spouse of the way they parent is often not enough to be granted sole custody.

To learn more about our legal services, contact our Charlotte lawyers online or give us a call at (704) 286-0570.