Divorce is a difficult process that can be emotionally exhausting. It can be even more overwhelming and stressful when you and your ex are in a custody battle over your children. However, it is a common misconception that courts will automatically award custody to the mother of your kids. In fact, fathers have just as much right to custody as mothers do.

How does a court decide custody?

If the gendered role of each parent does not decide custody, then what does? North Carolina courts will use the child’s best interest standards when determining child custody in a contested case.

A judge will look at the following factors and more to decide what your custody plan should be:

  • Each parent’s mental and physical health
  • The living conditions of each parent’s home
  • The distance your home is to your child’s school and friends
  • The financial responsibility of each parent
  • The age of your child
  • The involvement of each parent in your child’s life
  • Each parent’s ability to meet your child’s emotional needs

What can you expect from a court decision?

A custody plan, often called a parenting plan, is unique to each family. Overall, a judge will prefer to keep both parents involved in the parenting plan. Studies have shown that children will continue to grow and develop positively when both parents remain in their lives, even after a divorce.

Therefore, a judge will most likely order joint custody if it is in the best interest of your child. However, it is possible in North Carolina for one parent to receive sole custody, especially if the safety of your child is at risk with the other parent. And based on the best interest standards, fathers have just as much right to potential sole custody as mothers do.

Consider seeking legal assistance

Going through a divorce is a challenge in and of itself. But as a parent fighting for custody of your children, you might face additional obstacles. If this is your case, you can benefit from the guidance and support of an experienced divorce attorney. They can help you fight for the best possible outcome for you and your family.