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Physical and Legal Custody in North Carolina

A child holding a paper cut out of two parents and a child

Both Must Be Determined

One of the more contentious parts of a divorce is determining child custody, as it's understandable for a child's parent to want to spend as much time with their child as they can. It's important to know the two types of custody in North Carolina: physical and legal, and the differences between them. Read on to learn more.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is defined as the right to have a child live with you. This can be either sole physical custody or joint physical custody. In North Carolina, physical custody is determined based on what outcome would meet the child's best interests. There are several factors the court will use when they make a decision on physical custody, including:

  • The age and health of the child

  • The relationship between the child and each parent

  • Which parent has been the primary caretaker

  • The work schedules of each parent

  • The distance between the homes of each parent

  • The ability of each parent to provide a stable home environment

  • Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent

Legal Custody

On the other hand, legal custody refers to decision-making power regarding the child’s education, medical care, and religious upbringing. Both parents typically share legal custody unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as drug or alcohol abuse.

When one parent is awarded sole legal custody, the other parent still has the right to be informed about decisions made regarding their child’s welfare and to give their opinion. Similar to physical custody, the courts will lean on meeting the child's best interests when making a decision about legal custody.

Working with an Attorney

If you are seeking physical or legal custody of your child in North Carolina, it is crucial to discuss your concerns with an attorney who can help you navigate the process and ensure that your rights are protected. Custody battles can be complex and emotionally charged, but with the right legal representation, you can give yourself the best chance at a favorable outcome.

At Blood Law, PLLC, your child's best interests are our priority. Our goal is to find the outcome that meets your needs and the needs of your child.

Learn more about child custody matters in North Carolina or schedule a consultation with a member of our team by calling us at (704) 286-0570 or by visiting our website.