After a breakup or divorce, you may want to pursue sole custody of your children. However, it is important to understand that there are two types of custody rights that you or your child’s other parent may obtain. Furthermore, a North Carolina judge will likely grant your former spouse or partner visitation rights even if he or she is denied custody.

The difference between physical and legal custody

If you have physical custody of your child, it means that he or she will live in your home. If you have legal custody of your child, it means that you will be able to make decisions about the type of upbringing he or she will have. You may be required to include the child’s other parent when making those decisions, and a judge may also order that you share physical custody of your son or daughter. In some cases, your son or daughter will remain in the family home while each parent alternates between living with that child and in a separate residence.

Noncustodial parents can play a role in a child’s life

Typically, children can spend the night at a noncustodial parent’s house. A noncustodial parent may also be able to contact a child by phone or email between visits. Even if there are concerns about your fitness to be a parent, it may be possible to obtain supervised visitation rights.

Whether you are granted child custody or visitation rights, it’s important to take advantage of them. If you can show an ability to be a positive role model for your child, a judge may grant you shared or sole custody of a son or daughter at a later date. However, failing to play a role in your child’s life may result in having rights taken away.