The dissolution of a marriage can be one of the most traumatic experiences in life, and having to negotiate child custody can add to that trauma. In today’s economic environment, where people are more aware of their financial stability and future, many couples have become more willing to try to iron out the details of child custody in lieu of appearing in front of a judge.
In uncontested custody cases, couples work together to achieve a child custody agreement that is suitable and acceptable to both parties. Often uncontested child custody cases give parents more control over the outcome of the custody arrangement, as opposed to the uncertainty of how a judge will rule. An experienced family law attorney in Sanford, North Carolina can help couples draft a parenting plan that protects the interests of the entire family.
In North Carolina, the court encourages parents to work together and create a parenting plan (or parenting agreement) that can be mutually agreed upon and entered into, in the form of a consent order or Separation Agreement. The agreement details how the parents will share in the responsibilities for the care of the child.
Issues that can be addressed in the parenting plan include:
- living arrangements / physical custody (the parent with whom the child will be living and the person who will make daily decisions for the child’s care)
- visitation for the non-custodial parent
- legal custody
- decision making (how major life decisions will be made in regard to the child’s education, health or upbringing will be made)
- the amount of support the non-custodial parent will provide toward the child’s care
Alternatives to Uncontested Child Custody
If one party files for custody with the court system, both parents are then directed to take part in an orientation during which a no-cost court-appointed mediation session is scheduled. The custody mediation is a guided conversation by a trained and certified mediation professional. In an effort to agree upon the terms of custody that will result in the parenting agreement, the mediator helps the parties stay focused on the best interest of the child, rather than emotional issues.
If the mediation is successful, the mediator will send a copy of the agreement to be signed off by a judge. The document then becomes an uncontested child custody order, also known as a consent order.
Child Custody Mediation Program
If one party files for custody with the court system, both parents are then directed to take part in an orientation during which a no-cost mediation session is scheduled. The custody mediation is a guided conversation by a trained and certified mediation professional. In an effort to agree upon the terms of custody that will result in the parenting agreement, the mediator helps the parties stay focused on the best interest of the child, rather than emotional issues.
If the mediation is successful, the mediator will send a copy of the agreement to the parents’ lawyers who, upon consultation with their client, create a child custody consent order according to the terms in the agreement. If both parties sign and the order is entered in Court, the document then becomes a child custody order.
If neither parent files for custody through the court system, but still would like to have a parenting plan in place, the parties may retain a private mediator to guide them through the process. Like the court-appointed mediation session described above, the goal of the meeting here is to provide both parties with the opportunity to reach the goal of child custody agreement in an environment less formal than a courtroom. The mediator is present to assist the parents rather than force a certain outcome.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Uncontested child custody in North Carolina gives parents the freedom to determine custody based on the family’s needs. Incomplete filings or forms can result in delays and confusion. Speak to an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney to ensure your uncontested child custody agreement is properly prepared for submission to the court.