North Carolina lawmakers consider new child custody law

Getting a divorce is never an easy thing. Even marriages that end amicably are likely to have a few difficulties during the divorce process. This is particularly true in cases that involve children. These divorces must resolve not just property division determinations and alimony issues, but must also address child custody and child support arrangements.

Coming up with a child custody agreement is difficult for a number of reasons. Not only do you need to agree with your future ex, but various laws play a role in the determination as well. Further complicating matters, these laws can change. One such change was recently passed in North Carolina and will soon become law.

How is child custody determined in North Carolina?

State law governs child custody agreements. North Carolina uses the best interest of the child standard to guide these determinations. This legal tool basically means the court takes a number of considerations into account when determining which parent should have custody of the child. These factors can include whether or not there were any instances of abuse, the ability each parent has to care for the child and the child’s current living arrangements.

What is this new law?

In June, Governor Roy Cooper signed Rylan’s Law. One impact of this law involves the use of foster homes. The parental relationship is closely reviewed before children are returned. The goal is to help better ensure that the children are placed into a safe home situation.

Although the goal is noble, it can make an already difficult situation even more frustrating. The proposal generally involves two visits with social service employees to observe the interactions between the children and parents. Social service employees will then weigh in on the decision to return children to their parents. The law also shortens the amount of time a parent has to challenge a custody decision.

What does this mean for parents going through divorce in North Carolina?

It may seem tempting to go through this process on your own — after all, who knows what’s best for a child better than the child’s parents? However, even parents that wish to go through the process with minimal court involvement are wise to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can keep you apprised of the changes in the law that can impact your case, like the one noted above. Your lawyer can help guide you through these changes, working to put together a child custody arrangement that takes both your child’s needs and your own wishes into account, better ensuring a favorable outcome for all involved.

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