When a couple splits up in North Carolina, whichever party has custody of children from the relationship is not required to let the other parent have any visitation until a court order is in place. Unfortunately, it can take several months to get a hearing before a judge who can issue a custody order. But thankfully, once a custody case has been filed, Mecklenburg County is one of a handful of counties in the state that allows either parent to file a motion for a Temporary Parenting Arrangement.
When Temporary Parenting Arrangements Are Necessary in North Carolina
Temporary parenting agreements are not required under the law in any divorce or custody case if the parents are able to determine custody on their own. Typically, the need for a temporary parenting agreement arises when one parent suddenly leaves the relationship and is either not allowed to see the child, or does not allow the other parent visitation. A temporary parenting arrangement may also be necessary if one parent will no longer follow the terms of a previous informal agreement, or mental health or substance abuse issues are involved.
There is no waiting period to file for a temporary parenting arrangement once a custody case has been filed. It will likely take at least two to four weeks for a hearing on the motion to be set, but this is often still much quicker than if a hearing were scheduled in the normal course of a custody case. The other party will also have seven days to respond to the motion before the hearing is set. Typically, the hearing is fairly brief, less than an hour. Each side will have the opportunity to tell the court why the motion should or should not be granted. At the hearing, the judge will want to know about the current routines and schedules of the children, where each parent works, and any concerns about granting custody to the other parent.
Do You Need a Temporary Parenting Agreement or an Emergency Custody Order?
Initially, a temporary parenting agreement may sound similar to an emergency custody order, but the grounds for each order are actually quite different. Under North Carolina law, emergency custody orders are only granted in very limited circumstances. To obtain an emergency custody order, you must show that if custody is not granted to you, there is a substantial risk that the child will be removed from North Carolina to avoid the court’s jurisdiction, or will suffer physical or sexual abuse.
Because of the very narrow circumstances in which emergency custody orders are granted, a temporary parenting arrangement is usually the better course of action for most parents in the Charlotte area.
Connect with Forward-Thinking Lawyers
Child custody can be an extremely contentious matter, but it can also be extremely important to safeguard what’s in the best interest of your children. For a confidential consultation about a temporary parenting arrangement with aggressive family law attorneys in Charlotte, contact the law firm of Remington & Dixon, PLLC. We routinely go to court for individual and families throughout Mecklenburg County and other nearby jurisdictions in North Carolina.
Jennifer is a founding partner at Remington & Dixon, PLLC. Jennifer concentrates her practice in the areas of family law, wills & estates, unemployment benefits appeals, and traffic. At Elon University School of Law, Jennifer was the vice president of the Public Interest Law Society and a member of the Family Law Society. During law school, Jennifer interned at the Elon University School of Law Field Placement Clinic with Legal Aid of North Carolina where she represented clients in domestic violence court proceedings.