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In a North Carolina Divorce, Who Gets To Decide Where The Kids Go To School?


One of the most difficult issues to be settled in a North Carolina divorce action is child custody. Most parents want to have the power to make major decisions for their child. Unfortunately, some parents do not want to share this responsibility with the other parent. The desire to have sole legal and physical custody of the child typically results in a highly-contested and hard-fought custody battle where both parents allege they are the best choice to have sole custody of the child. In a North Carolina divorce case where custody is disputed, the court may have to intervene to determine what is in the child’s best interest.

The family law attorneys of The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm have extensive experience in representing parents in contested custody matters. In addition to skilled and aggressive trial litigators, our attorneys are also exceptional and experienced mediators and negotiators. We will always try to help parties reach an amicable custody agreement without court intervention, as this typically results in an agreement that is in the best interest of all parties; however, we are willing and able to fight for your rights, and the rights of your child, in court. Put our experience and knowledge to use to protect you and your child during your North Carolina divorce action.

Deciding Custody in a North Carolina Divorce

In a North Carolina divorce, custody disputes are decided by judges after the judge has been presented with all relevant information and evidence. The judge considers several different factors to determine the custody arrangement that is in the best interest and welfare of the child. Factors a judge considers when he makes decisions about custody include, but are not limited to:

  • Any allegations or convictions of abuse of the child or any other member of the home;
  • The age of the child;
  • The primary caregiver for the child;
  • The parenting ability of each parent;
  • The physical and emotional condition of each parent;
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her current home, school, and community; and,
  • Whether each parent is able to promote and encourage a loving and close relationship between the child and the other parent.

The above factors are among many a judge may use to decide custody in a North Carolina divorce. The primary consideration will be what is in the best interest of the child.

Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody in a North Carolina Divorce

Who gets to decide where the child will go to school when parents obtain a North Carolina divorce comes down to which parent is granted legal custody. In most custody cases, the judge will grant physical and legal custody to the same parent; however, there are exceptions.

  • Physical Custody refers to which parent the child will live with — the child’s actual physical residence.
  • Legal Custody refers to the parent who will have the legal right to make major decisions regarding the child such as where the child will go to school and decisions regarding healthcare, religion, and extra-curricular activities.

The judge may grant exclusive custody to one parent, thereby giving that parent absolute decision-making power or the judge may grant joint custody so that each parent has a say in the decisions affecting the child’s life. Because it is in the best interest of the child to have both parents play an active role in the upbringing of the child, judges prefer parents work out an acceptable parenting plan that allows both parents to share in the joys of child-rearing. It is for this reason that judges will grant joint custody when requested by the parents or the circumstances warrant such a decision.

Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney

“Attorneys Who Aggressively Protect Your Rights”

The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm is a domestic relations law firm committed to providing clients and their families with exceptional legal counsel and support as they go through one of the most stressful and painful experiences of their lives. Our family law attorneys understand the complex and emotional elements of child custody. It is our top priority to protect your rights and your child’s rights during a custody battle.

When you are contemplating a divorce or custody action, you want an experienced family law lawyer working for you who knows the law and who has the experience to get results. We represent clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 405-8459  or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.