Busting Myths About Child Custody: Three Points To Consider

If you and your child's other parent disagree on custody as you approach divorce or separation, you may resolve the matter through negotiations, in mediation or before a judge. It is important to understand your rights as well as the sensitive nature of your child's situation.

It is natural for your family and friends to show their concern with myriad advice. You will likely receive suggestions and warnings from many directions — and your own preconceptions may color your views. It may take time to sort out facts from myths about child custody, such as the following:

1. Parental rights trump all other factors when it comes to determining child custody arrangements.

You may believe your convenience and wishes are the most important considerations in your child custody case. In fact, laws covering child custody in North Carolina put children's interests first. A court may take into account factors such as:

  • Domestic violence incidents
  • The child's safety
  • The child's living arrangement that he or she is accustomed to
  • The quantity and quality of parenting by each parent
  • Each parent's ability to care for the child, financially and otherwise
  • Each parent's ability to create and maintain a stable home for the child.

To strengthen your case in a child custody dispute, turn to a trustworthy family law attorney. Gather and document evidence to demonstrate the quality of your parenting time. A compassionate, experienced family law attorney can advocate for your children's well-being and your parental rights.

2. "My soon-to-be ex-spouse is not fit to parent our child."

It is natural for disappointment over a failed relationship to make parents vilify each other in their own minds. However, child psychologists tell us that both parents matter greatly to a child's sense of self. Even if one parent is actually unfit in some ways or absent altogether, both parents will have a lifelong impact on the child's well-being.

Family law courts generally make preservation of strong relationships with both mother and father a fundamental goal. Understanding this may help you move through the difficult process of restructuring family life — even if this means supervised custody is required for either parent.

3. Children are resilient and will adapt to any circumstances as long as adults watch out for their well-being.

This "myth" may contain nuggets of truth — and it is a comforting thought for many parents. Children, with their focus on the here and now, may appear to take changes in stride. In fact, it is natural for them to adapt as needed to their environment and circumstances.

However, child psychologists tell us that children of divorce experience significant losses, with long-lasting effects. One key reason may be that for your child, divorce may mean change in many areas of life, not just the breakup between you and the other parent. You may move away from the home, leaving your children and the other parent to establish new lifestyle rhythms, typically living on less income. Or, you may take the children and leave the home, forcing them to reorient themselves in a whole new neighborhood, community and/or school. In either scenario, your children have a lot to process in addition to losing daily contact with both parents.

Get professional family counseling as needed. Stay focused on strong parent-child bonds above all. These strategies can help your children weather the divorce or separation. An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the legal processes that will determine child custody and visitation rights of both parents.

Face Your Family Law Challenges With The Help Of Experienced, Caring Attorneys

At Kluttz, Reamer, Hayes, Adkins & Carter, L.L.P., you can count on compassionate listening and skillful guidance in pursuit of your goals for child custody and visitation. Request a consultation with a lawyer at our Salisbury law offices by email or by phone at 704-216-4012.