North Carolina child custody law is a primary focus of our work at Nelson Family Law and an area we are passionate about. Why? Because we are parents, and we take great pride in helping other parents ensure the welfare of their children. We will work with you to insulate your children from conflict whenever possible and secure the best future possible for them.
Many of our clients who are in the midst of divorcing realize they no longer love the person they married, yet they seek to find a way to co-parent in order to protect the most important thing they share – their children. When divorcing parents are willing to compromise and work together to find a custody solution that everyone can live with, child custody agreements can be relatively straightforward. Our team can offer ideas for custody structures and draw up agreements to formalize the custodial arrangement.
Complex child custody disputes
Oftentimes, however, child custody can become a highly contentious issue. Our Raleigh NC child custody attorneys often take on the high-conflict cases that other firms turn down. We understand the complex legal issues that may arise, and we have experience navigating child custody laws in North Carolina. We routinely represent clients in custody battles that cross state lines or even international borders. Our lawyers are experienced practitioners who regularly handle these multi-jurisdictional and complex, contentious cases.
Nelson Family Law also represents victimized parents in matters of parental alienation. Sometimes, emotionally charged custody disputes can lead to one parent being alienated from his or her child through the words or actions of the other parent. In such cases, the alienating parent attempts to influence the child to dislike or even have an unwarranted fear of the rejected parent, consequently damaging or destroying the parent-child relationship. Manipulation of the child can escalate to the point of emotional or even physical abuse, placing the child in harm’s way. We advocate for parents who have an alienation claim, helping to pave the way for reunifying the parent and child(ren).
Parents may become alienated from their children for all sorts of reasons – as a result of estrangement following separation or divorce; by court order due to child neglect, abuse or other misconduct on the part of the parent; or when a parent is unable to manage a troubled adolescent. North Carolina law favors family reunification when the safety of the child can be assured. Our family law firm takes an interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach to ensure safe visits and regular progress in re-establishing the parent-child relationship. We are driven by success stories of past clients who progressed from being strangers to reunification to ultimately having a warm and happy relationship with their children.
Our Raleigh North Carolina child custody attorneys routinely work with family therapists, parenting coordinators, custody evaluators and other third-party professionals who may be required in certain cases. When possible, we prefer neutral, mutually-selected practitioners who can work with the parties to overcome conflict and move toward resolution without court action over the uncertainty of trial.
Third-party, non-parent custody
When parents are deceased or when it is not in the best interest of the child to be in the care of a parent(s), a third-party may be granted custody or guardianship. Under North Carolina child custody law, third-party custody may be considered in cases of abandonment, neglect or endangerment of the child. The state will typically show custodial preference to relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles or older siblings.
When a non-parent seeks custody of a child, that party must satisfy a higher burden and prevail in a two-part test. The third party must prove 1) that both parents are unfit and/or have acted inconsistently with their constitutionally protected status as a parent, and then 2) that placing custody with the third party is in the child’s best interest. Nelson Family Law represents third-party individuals who are seeking child custody. We file the appropriate petitions, help the non-parental guardian make their case for custody, and draw up guardianship agreements.