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"Questions to Consider in a Child Custody Proceeding"

Written by Bill Hunter, Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC.  Updated 8/2/17


In North Carolina, a court may consider numerous factors when assessing a child custody case between disputing parents or third parties, including anything that has an impact on the welfare of the child and the development of his or her physical, mental, emotional, moral, and spiritual facilities.  Please see below for a non-exhaustive list of questions that may be relevant in child custody proceedings: 

What is the current custodial arrangement (the status quo) between the parents? 


What are the caretaking capacities of the parents?  (i.e., what are the things that each parent has done over the years to provide care for the child?)


What is the mental state of each parent?


How has each parent bonded with the child?


How involved are the extended families in the life of the child (i.e., does the child interact regularly with grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc…and where do these family members live)?


How much time does each parent have available on a typical day to spend with the child?


How have each of the parents contributed to the education of the child?


Which parent provides for the better educational opportunities for the child?


How do each of the parents discipline the child?


How are each of the parents involved with the child’s extra-curricular activities (i.e., hobbies, sports, music lessons, school activities, etc…)?


How are the child’s medical needs met (i.e., who goes to Dr’s visits, administers medicine, stays home with them when sick, etc…)?


How are the child’s physical needs met (i.e., bathing, feeding, dressing, transportation, etc…)?


How are the child’s financial needs met?


How does each parent provide for the emotional needs of the child?


What is the emotional health of each parent?


What kind of home environment does each parent provide for the child (i.e., what are the typical routines, activities, etc…)?


What kind of living situation does each parent provide for the child (i.e., how many bedrooms are in the house, does the child have his or her own bedroom and bed, how many other people live in the home, how is the neighborhood and school district, etc…)?


How has each parent fostered the other parent’s relationship with the child (i.e.,  flexibility with visitation times, encouragement of the child to spend time with other parent, speaking in a positive light about other parent, etc…)?


How has each parent hampered the other parents relationship with your child (i.e., denying  visitation or phone access to other parent, speaking poorly to child about other parent, not allowing equal access to school/medical records, etc…)?


Has there been domestic violence involved between the parents?


Does either parent regularly decline visitation with the child?


How old is the child and does he or she have a preference regarding his or her living arrangement?


How has each parent’s lifestyle impacted the child (i.e., dating, drinking, drugs, etc.)?


What other factors in your specific situation have had an impact on your child?


For more ideas, consider what things would be important to you if you were forced to decide between two parties to take custody of your child.  

The biggest question in a custody case is: What outcome is in the “best interests of the child.”  To answer this question and make a determination on custody, a Judge must decide which of the parties will best promote the interest and welfare of the child moving forward. 


Have questions about your custody case?  Our Charlotte based family law and child custody lawyers are here to help.  Call us today at 704-412-1442. 

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