There are two different types of custody recognized in North Carolina: legal custody and physical custody. Each type of custody can be granted primarily to one parent or jointly between two parents.
Legal custody covers which parent has decision-making power for a child. If one parent has primary legal custody of their child, they have the right to make the major decisions on behalf of the child, such as educational, religious, and major medical decisions. If parents share joint legal custody, they must make these decisions together.
Physical custody covers how much time a child spends with each of their parents. If one parent has primary physical custody of their child, the child is spending the majority of their time with that parent and is visiting with the other parent. If the parties share joint physical custody, their child is spending an equal or close to equal amount of time with both parents. It is very rare for one parent to be awarded sole custody.
Physical and legal custody can come in many different shapes and sizes and will be based on what the judge feels is in the best interests of the child, not necessarily based on whether you are the mother or the father or whether you make more money.
Attorney Erica Jackson has experience handling child custody cases of all kinds: high-conflict cases, parenting agreements, third-party custody, Department of Social Services cases, and cases with same-sex parents. If you have questions about your custody case, come see us at Jackson Legal.