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How does the court decide child custody?

There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about how a court decides child custody. To begin with, the court almost always prefers that you and the other parent come to an agreement about custody on your own outside the court. In fact, according to the North Carolina Bar Association, you must go through mediation for child custody issues before the court will hear the case. This encourages you to do what is best for your children instead of a court that is not familiar with your child or family situation.

During mediation, you work with a neutral third party who helps keep the conversation focused and on track. You and the children’s other parent will have to work out a custodial schedule for visitations and determine if you will share legal custody or if one of you will have sole legal custody.

If mediation fails

If you cannot reach an agreement through mediation, the court will step in. It decides every custody case on the basis of what is best for the children. The court will not consider your needs or the needs of the other parent. It focuses completely on who will provide the best home for the children and how to keep the relationships between the children and both of you intact.

Permanent status

You should note that any custody decisions, whether you come to them outside of court or a judge makes them, is never permanent. You can always modify any agreement as the needs of your children and family change. If you want to change custody arrangements, you can file for a modification with the court.

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