NC law states that custody should be determined by what is in “the best interest of the child.”   Unfortunately, parents often disagree on what is best for their children.  I have practiced divorce law in Raleigh and other counties around North Carolina and have litigated custody cases with almost every parent and child issue one could think of, so I know what the courts are looking at when they have to decide best interest. Child custody disputes between parents are stressful.  They are stressful not only for parents but for the children.   It is always best for parents to work together and decide between them how to settle child custody.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case and the court must step in and make a determination based on what is in the child’s best interest. Our firm works closely with our clients to settle custody if possible.  However, if the parents can’t agree then the courts will determine what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child after a hearing on child custody to determine best interest. Some of the issues the district court judge will examine in deciding the best interest are
  • Is there a history of domestic violence in the family?
  • What is the employment and financial security of each parent?
  • What is the availability of a parent to provide care?
  • which parent has traditionally been making the health, educational, and  other important decisions for the children?
  • Does a parent have any psychological, emotional or physical issues that would affect his or her ability to parent?
  • Does one parent interfere with the relationship between the child and the other parent?
  • Is a child being exposed to inappropriate third parties or material that is not appropriate to his or her age?
  • Has there been any neglect and abuse by either parent?
  • Do the parents live close to one another or far away?
  • Do either of the parents have any substance abuse or drug use issues?
  • Which parent has historically been the caretaker of the children and why?
  • What have been the living arrangements for the child if the parties have been separated?
  • What is the child’s preference (in certain cases where the child is old enough)?
  • Has a parent manipulated or tried to manipulate the child’s preference?
  • Does a child have special needs (physical, medical or psychological) that one parent is better equipped to handle?
This list of questions is not complete because any issue that relates to best interest could be a point of concern for the court.   ____________________ Raleigh lawyer Scott Allen handles modification of custody, child custody, and temporary custody hearings and has over seventeen years of experience.   If you have questions or need assistance call him at (919) 863-4183 or email at