Parents who are going through a divorce in North Carolina need to make decisions not only about how to divide assets and debt but also who will get custody of the kids. This can be emotional, but both mom and dad need to put aside their own wants and consider what will be best for the children.
According to the North Carolina Judicial Branch, parents can come to an agreement about custody on their own or with the help of a mediator. If they are unable to do so, the court will assign a judge to make the decision. In terms of custody, there is legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the right to make big decisions, such as those regarding healthcare, religion and education. Physical custody refers to who the child will physically live with.
If a judge is making the custody decision, he or she will consider factors that contribute to what is in the best interest of the child. Very Well Health discusses the main factors the judge looks at. The age of the child is a factor because a younger one needs the primary caregiver more than an older child. The judge also considers which parent is more able to meet the needs, including emotional and physical ones, of the child. The mental and physical health of the parent is also important.
Kids need routine, especially during a divorce, so a judge typically likes to keep consistency in regard to who the child is currently staying with and school routines. When possible, most judges will grant joint custody, or at least visitation rights to the non-custodial parent, so the child maintains a close relationship with each parent.