Skilled Wilmington Child Custody Attorneys Protect Crucial Family Relationships
Established North Carolina firm advocates for your children’s interests and your parental bond
As a parent working your way through a divorce, your most important consideration is your children’s welfare. Child custody arrangements can be among the most contentious issues, and resolving them to everyone’s benefit is key to any settlement. At Hager Divorce & Family Law in Wilmington, we bring more than 30 years of family law experience representing clients in custody determinations. Our firm provides the advice and advocacy you deserve, whether in a collaborative or contested divorce, to protect your children’s well-being wherever they live.
Proven advocates seek beneficial custody arrangements
North Carolina courts, like the courts of all states, are required to grant custody based on what they deem to be in the best interests of the children. Child custody has two components:
- Legal custody — Legal custody refers to the decision-making authority a parent has over their child. Legal custody can be sole or joint, and courts prefer that parents share in the important decisions concerning their child’s education, religion and medical care.
- Physical custody — Physical custody refers to where the child lives on a day-to-day basis. It too can be sole or joint, but most often one person is the primary physical custodian while the other parent is the secondary custodial parent, granted visitation rights.
Unless a risk to the child exists, noncustodial parents have certain rights when it comes to visitation, and specific procedures and guidelines need be followed once custody arrangements have been established. It is important to know, for instance, that visitation cannot be denied just because a parent has fallen behind in paying child support. Denying such visitation rights can have serious legal consequences, so work with our family law attorneys if you have questions or concerns.
Experienced lawyers help courts weigh child custody considerations
North Carolina courts consider several factors when determining child custody in a divorce. Children’s ages and needs are primary factors. Courts typically try to minimize disruptions to children’s lives, keeping them in the same home and schools and allowing them to enjoy the same social, athletic and extracurricular activities.
Courts also usually award custody to the parent better suited to care for the child in both the short and long term. For instance, a parent’s health, work obligations and other constraints on parenting are likely to influence the decision, as is whether the parent has been the primary caretaker. If parents live far apart, the court is more likely to grant sole custody to one of them, possibly affecting child support.
In some cases, the court may take into account the child’s preference for living with one parent over the other. If we represent you in a custody case, we will build as strong a case as we can for a result that works fairly for you and your children.
Responsive law firm protects parental visitation rights
It is important for children to maintain a relationship with both parents, whether those parents live together or not. Unless a risk to the child exists, noncustodial parents can expect visitation rights that provide meaningful time with a child. A custody order or parenting plan will set forth procedures and guidelines to be followed once custody arrangements are finalized. Therefore, even if you do not have physical custody of your children, the custody order will likely schedule time for you to spend with them. The court may even schedule visitation for grandparents, if that is in the child’s best interests.
It is important to know that one parent cannot deny visitation due to the other falling behind in paying child support, and doing so can have serious legal consequences. If dispute arises, contact our family law attorneys to work out a fair resolution that that protects your parental rights.
Supportive lawyers assist with alternative methods of dispute resolution
Child custody and visitation can be contentious issues, but the willingness to engage in an alternative dispute resolution process can spare you the stress and expense of litigation and offer you a more timely and private experience. One such process is mediation, in which a qualified neutral third party helps you reach a fair custody agreement. Another is collaborative divorce, in which couples work together to reach consensus on custody and other issues. We will represent your interests in either of these proceedings to guide you toward the best option for you and your children.
Contact trustworthy Wilmington child custody attorneys
For reliable legal guidance on child custody, please reach out to Hager Divorce & Family Law in Wilmington during our office hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We serve individuals and families throughout southeastern North Carolina, including New Hanover and Pender counties. Call us at 910-726-3607 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation for which we charge $250.00.