Worried about what will happen with your children in divorce? A lot depends on you and the other parent. Can you come to agreement about primary custody and the details of co-parenting? Or will a judge to decide who gets the kids and when?
The Law Office of M. Timothy Porterfield in Charlotte represents mothers and fathers in negotiation and litigation of child custody matters. I am an experienced trial lawyer practicing in divorce and family law in Mecklenburg County, as well as Cabarrus and Lincoln counties. As a family law attorney, my goal is to protect your relationship with your child through a solution that serves your child's best interests.
At the time of separation, if the parties cannot agree on where the children will be living, the Judge may in his or her discretion grant a Temporary Parenting Hearing. A Temporary Parenting Hearing is a brief hearing to determine the temporary custodial arrangement. It is usually entered without prejudice to either party, and it is not automatic that the Judge will follow the custody arrangement of the Temporary Parenting Hearing in the Permanent Custody Trial. Nonetheless, this is a very important hearing.
North Carolina has abolished the "tender years presumption" which tended to place young children with the mother. As of present, mothers and fathers are considered equal in the eyes of the Court. If you are seeking custody of your children, I will give you my honest assessment of how I believe the Judge is likely to rule and what the cost and expense may be. However, no attorney can guarantee results and there is always a certain amount of risk with proceeding with litigation.
Judges are mandated to consider what is in the best interest of the minor child in deciding which parent is awarded primary custody and what visitation the child is to receive with the other parent. No case is the same and there are no set automatic visitation and/or custody awards given. However, as a general rule, Courts like to see both parents involved in the life of the child.
Once a custody Order is entered it is never permanent. While the child is a minor you can always attempt to modify the custodial arrangement by showing a material change of circumstances. Once again, the Judges are required to look at the best interest of the minor children and will modify a custodial arrangement if there have been substantive changes that require it.
The court can impose a visitation schedule, but remember that you will have to live by this arrangement for years to come. The best solution is a parenting agreement that you and the co-parent have worked out together. I can help you negotiate and formalize the details to arrive at a practical plan that makes sense for the parents and the children.
I also handle post-divorce modifications of custody, and I am a licensed parent coordinator in Mecklenburg County, appointed by the court to help resolve high-conflict parenting disputes.