The two biggest questions that we see at Remington & Dixon, when it comes to divorce in Charlotte, North Carolina concern how child custody will be determined and how marital property will be divided. While each Charlotte divorce case has its own unique variables and circumstances – which often requires you to talk to a professional about how the law applies to your own case – there is some information that we can give you to help you get started on thinking about the subject.
How Do Courts in Charlotte, North Carolina Decide Child Custody in Divorce Proceedings?
Courts in Charlotte, North Carolina are much like most of the rest of the United States when it comes to child custody laws. That is to say that the Uniform Child Custody Act has been applied to child custody cases since 1979. This allows for joint custody arrangements, grandparent visitation, and the best interests and wishes of the child to be taken into consideration.
There are Different Types of Child Custody to Be Aware of in Charlotte, North Carolina
The two types of child custody include legal custody and physical custody. Naturally, physical custody refers to which
parent the child lives with, the parent who provides the primary home. It is possible for physical custody to be joint physical custody, if such an arrangement is best for the child(ren). In other cases, one parent may have physical custody, and the other parent will have visitation rights based on a set schedule. It is up to the Court to decide whether joint physical custody or primary physical custody with one parent with plenty of visitation with the non-custodial parent is in the best interests of the child based on the circumstances of each individual case.
Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to each parent’s legal right to make decisions for the child, such as which religion the child will be taught, which school the child will go to, and which medical treatments the child will be allowed to receive. When the parents have joint legal custody, they must attempt to make such decisions together, always with the best interests of the child in mind. There are some cases, where joint legal custody is not appropriate, and sole legal custody is given to the parent with physical custody of the child. In cases where the parents share joint legal custody of a child, but cannot agree on a particular decision, the courts may become involved.
Which Factors Determine Who Gets Custody of the Children in a Charlotte, North Carolina?
The primary factor in determining physical and legal custody in divorce in Charlotte, North Carolina is always going to be the best interests of the children. In fact, there is a standard known as the “best interest of the child standard.” Multiple factors are used to ensure that this standard is met. For example, the courts will consider whether either party has a history of domestic violence, how safe the child is with each parent, where the child is currently living, what kind of relationship the child has with each parent, how capable each parent is of providing for the child’s needs, and whether or not each parent is currently housed in a stable home and living condition.
What You Need to Know as a Grandparent in a Charlotte, North Carolina, Custody Dispute
If you are a grandparent who is concerned that you may never see your grandchildren again because of a custody dispute in which your son or daughter is not likely to get custody or visitation, we have good news for you. Regardless of whether or not your child is a fit parent or even cares to have visitation, you may still be able to pursue visitation with your grandchildren through third-party, non-parent, or grandparent visitation rights. You will need to go through the same court processes to prove that you have a relationship and a right to such visitation as a grandparent, and the courts are often likely to rule in your favor and allow for such visitation, as it is usually considered in the best interests of the children.
What About the Division of Marital Property in a Charlotte, North Carolina, Divorce?
Marital property division is a far different matter than child custody and visitation decisions. Your marital property is composed of your assets and possessions that were acquired during your marriage, and does not include property that was acquired prior to marriage. In many cases, there are also certain properties that were acquired during marriage that are still not considered to be marital property, because they were given as gifts, obtained as inheritances, or in other ways obtained as separate property. It can be very complicated and confusing to sort out the marital property from the non-marital property and to divide marital property in a manner that is acceptable and fair to both parties.
Here, it is important to note the difference between community property and equitable division. In states that recognize community property, all assets and possessions are jointly owned and divided in half or as close to “in-half” as possible. In states that recognize equitable division or property, which includes North Carolina, the property is divided as fairly as possible based on several factors, including the actual needs of each person. Thus, if you are getting divorced in Charlotte, North Carolina, and one person has physical custody of the children, then that person may be awarded the house because of their need to provide a home for those children. In a state that recognized community property, you might have to sell the house and split the value of the asset, instead.
Some factors that will be considered when dividing property and assets in a Charlotte, North Carolina, divorce include the income of each party, the obligations from previous marriages, how long the people were married, whether or not there are any physical or mental health concerns, who is going to have custody of any children from the marriage, and any retirement accounts or pensions.
Whenever one spouse has contributed to the education or career development of the other, this will also be considered, as will the contributions of any spouse who maintained the home with wages or household responsibilities. The financial and physical assets, including bank accounts, savings accounts, vehicles, and houses will also be taken into consideration when dividing property and assets.
A further issue that you might encounter, depending on your unique situation, would be the division of business ownership. To learn more about child custody and marital property division in a Charlotte, North Carolina, divorce, contact Remington & Dixon to schedule a consultation.