What Does Joint Custody Consist of in NC?

By Jennifer Williams

North Carolina statutes do not define joint custody and rarely award joint custody to both parents of minor children. Instead, the state favors awarding both sole physical custody and sole legal custody to one parent, although other arrangements are possible if the parents are in agreement and specifically request them.

North Carolina statutes do not define joint custody and rarely award joint custody to both parents of minor children. Instead, the state favors awarding both sole physical custody and sole legal custody to one parent, although other arrangements are possible if the parents are in agreement and specifically request them.

Joint Physical Custody

In North Carolina, joint physical custody, or shared custody, means the child lives equally with both parents. The living arrangements can be tailored to the needs of the family. For example, the child can alternate weeks or weekends with each parent or the parents can alternate living arrangements so the child stays in one location. North Carolina courts designate one parent as residential custodian for purposes of school and medical records.

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Joint Legal Custody

North Carolina courts interpret joint legal custody as both parents having equal legal right to make decisions for the child. Such decisions include choice of school, church, doctors, and home routines. The intention of the North Carolina courts is for these jointly made decisions to be kept consistent in the child's life regardless of which parent the child is currently with.

Agreement or Court Order

If parents cannot come to an agreement regarding physical and legal custody, the court decides. It is unusual for a North Carolina court to award joint physical or legal custody in certain circumstances. When one of the parents objects to either legal or physical custody, the North Carolina courts usually order sole physical and legal custody to one parent. Sole custody is also the standard decision in North Carolina courts if the parents disagree as to what is best for the child, or if parents show they cannot respect each other. In these instances, like in many other states, the North Carolina courts consider the best interest of the child in deciding which parent receives sole physical and legal custody.

Child Support

When calculating child support by North Carolina standards, joint physical custody means the child spends approximately 123 or more nights annually with the non-residential parent. Joint custody results in the North Carolina courts calculating a different amount of child support than with sole custody, but joint legal custody without joint physical custody has no effect on the calculation of child support.

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About Dual Custody

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New Jersey Law on Joint Physical Custody

New Jersey courts don't often order joint physical custody arrangements, but "order" is the operative word. When parents agree that this is what they want for their children, and if they incorporate a joint physical custody plan into their marital settlement agreement, judges will typically sign the agreement into a divorce judgment. The court's resistance only comes into play when one parent wants joint physical custody and the other objects. This requires a trial, and a judge will weigh several stringent factors before ordering joint physical custody over the wishes of one parent.

Child Custody Options in Iowa

In Iowa, as in most states, child custody issues must be resolved before the court can issue a divorce decree. Depending on the circumstances of your case, the court may establish a sole or joint custody arrangement. For example, if you and your spouse get along and work well together, the court is likely to grant decision-making authority to both of you. This means you both have a say in your child's upbringing, such as where he goes to school and what extracurricular activities he participates in.

Sole Custody Vs. Parental Rights in Michigan

A determination of the degree to which each parent should be involved in the raising of minor children is an important process, involving both fundamental rights as well as what is deemed best for the child. In Michigan, these issues can often be resolved by the parents in lieu of court intervention, or by order of a judge. Either instance can lead to joint physical or legal custody, but if one parent is awarded sole custody, the other parent may request parenting time. In addition, either parent may request a modification of custody if certain conditions have changed following the original order.

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