Is There a Child Custody Age Limit?

Is There a Child Custody Age Limit?

The age of majority in North Carolina is 18 and, thus, barring exceptional circumstances, custody orders will end at that age.

How Can Age Affect Child Custody?

North Carolina law does not specify any age at which a judge must listen to a child’s preferences as to custody. If a court is satisfied that a child can testify, the court will hear the testimony.  However, whether to give any consideration to the child’s preference remains entirely in the judge’s discretion. The child can speak when it has reached the “age of discretion,”  but the court does not need to act upon the child’s preference. The child’s preference is usually most impactful when both parents are stable and good parents.

When Can a Child Be Emancipated in North Carolina?

A child can seek emancipation in North Carolina when he or she is 16 years of age and has resided in the same county in North Carolina for the six months preceding the filing of the petition for emancipation.  An emancipated minor can live with either parent or neither. The factors to be considered include:

  • The parental need for the earnings of the child;
  • The child’s ability to function as an adult;
  • The child’s need to contract as an adult or to marry;
  • The employment status of the child and the stability of the child’s living arrangements;
  • The extent of family discord which may threaten reconciliation of the child with the child’s family;
  • The child’s rejection of parental supervision or support; and
  • The quality of existing parental supervision or support.

Call Us Today to Speak with a Family Law Lawyer in North Carolina

If you have questions about tracking child custody issues, you should immediately consult with an experienced family law attorney. To schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable child custody attorney, call the law offices of Remington & Dixon today at 704-247-7110.

[RELATED ARTICLE]: Noncustodial Parent – What It Means and What You Need to Know

Child Custody FAQs

How is child custody modified in North Carolina?

If the original custody was decided in a court order, there would have to be a modified court order to change it based on the best interest of the child.  On the other hand, the parents can agree on a custody arrangement and submit it to the court for a consent order.

What factors are considered in granting custody?

The overwhelming deciding factor in child custody decisions in the best interest of the child.  Factors that go into determining the child’s best interests include:

  • Each parent’s living arrangements
  • Each parent’s ability to care for the child
  • Child’s relationship with each parent
  • Any other factors affecting the welfare of the child

What kinds of custody are available in North Carolina?

Physical custody refers to where the child lives. In contrast, legal custody refers to the authority of a given party to make critical decisions, such as education, medical care, religion, etc., for the child.  Joint physical custody is the sharing of the child between the parents.  Primary physical custody is where the child resides with one parent for an extended period of time.  Joint legal custody allows both parents to make significant decisions.  Sole legal customer gives that authority to one parent only.


Are consultations free?

While we offer a free consultation on traffic matters, criminal matters, and most professional license defense cases, we charge a fee for family law consultations to personalize our consultations to your specific needs. To learn about our fee structure, please get in touch.

Where can I get legal advice?

We recommend meeting with an attorney. While there is free legal help available for North Carolina residents from pro bono resources for civil matters, and public defenders for criminal cases, the best way to access tailored advice is to hire a lawyer.

Can I hire you if I’m in another state?

This is done on a case by case basis if you are involved in a family law, criminal, or professional disciplinary matter that involves another jurisdiction.



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