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Addressing North Carolina’s best interests standard

On Behalf of | May 31, 2024 | Child Custody

All child custody determination in North Carolina should be made in the child’s best interests. That might seem obvious, but there’s often a lot of conflict associate with what, exactly, constitutes an arrangement that supports the child’s best interests. After all, the child’s parents can have vastly different views on what they think is important to and best for their child, squaring them off for a battle at the negotiation table or in court.

So how are the child’s best interests determined in North Carolina?

Although North Carolina law specifies that custody determinations must be made in furtherance of the child’s interest and welfare, it doesn’t provide an exhaustive list of factors that a court will take into consideration. However, there is case law that specifies that the following factors are crucial to the court’s determination:

  • The relationship and bond each parent has with the child
  • Each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs
  • The physical and mental health of each parent and how that impacts their ability to care for the child
  • Each parent’s willingness to facilitate a relationship between the child and their other parent
  • Any history of substance abuse
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • Any history of child abuse or neglect
  • The child’s wishes, if they’re old enough to voice an opinion
  • The connections the child has to proposed custodial parent’s community

Although these factors are often taken into consideration in custody cases, they’re not the only ones that a court looks at when it is making a decision. In fact, the court can consider any other factor that it deems relevant to the issue at hand. So, be thorough and be prepared as you head into your custody dispute.

Have a strong legal strategy going into your custody case

Your child’s safety and wellbeing are on the line in your custody dispute. Therefore, you need to enter the process with a detailed legal strategy that seeks to protect their interests.