Few things in life are more difficult than fighting for the custody of children. If there is any one part of separation and divorce that parents should agree upon, it is the custody of the children. Parents should turn to the Court only when there are no other options.
Once parents decide to go to Court, they are no longer in control of how they will spend time with their children. The Court will not only tell parents where their children will live, but the Court can also control where the children attend school, whether they can move, whether parents can attend activities, plus many other aspects of the families’ lives. Once a judge decides, parents have little say.
If parents cannot agree on their own, there are a number of options that can help facilitate an agreement before choosing to file a lawsuit. North Carolina, including Franklin County, requires that parents attend mediation before they can be heard in Court. This mediation is held without attorneys present, where parents sit face-to-face with a third person who helps resolve differences. The mediator cannot force parents to agree or make a final decision on the issues. If parents come to an agreement in this mediation, each parent’s attorney will have an opportunity to review the agreement and advise the parent before signing it.
Parents wanting their attorneys present during Mediation can chose their own mediator and schedule it with their attorneys. Parents may also agree to go to Arbitration. This is where the parties appoint a private judge to hear their case and make a binding decision on the custody and visitation.
For some parents, Court is the only option. Throughout all of the attempts to agree, it is important to have good legal representation. When going to Court, it is imperative to have a good advocate who will represent what you believe to be in the best interest of your children. Judges have broad discretion when it comes to children. Make sure that the attorney you hire understands your case, the law and how to present the facts in a way that the judge can understand. If you need legal help in Franklin County or the surrounding counties, Ms. McCray would be glad to meet with you to discuss your options.
DOCUMENTS YOU SHOULD GATHER
Below is a list of some documents that you should gather to help your lawyer represent you. These need to be organized by type of document and by date (chronological order). If there is something in the documents of particular importance, put a post-it note on it (or some other way of marking it without writing on the document itself).
- Children’s Health Records
- Children’s School Records
- Children’s Mental Health Records
- Correspondence with spouse/other parent related to custody or children’s welfare, including email
- Any writings made by your children that may indicate feelings about the divorce/separation/situation
- Any journals that you or the other parent may keep
- Any other documents that you think would be helpful to your case
Click here to contact attorney Gena McCray or call us at (919) 497-0091 for more information.