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Child Custody

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Raleigh Child Custody Lawyer

One of the most contested issues that can arise during a divorce is child custody and visitation. North Carolina law provides that custody determinations are to be made in the best interests of the child. No presumption exists between a mother and a father as to who better promotes the best interest of the child.

Video: Understanding How Child Custody Is Decided in North Carolina

We represent both mothers and fathers. We can help with custody disputes, and we work with our clients to ensure that the best interest of the children is served. We offer a holistic approach to custody disputes which seeks to resolve the contested issues without the need for litigation if at all possible, consistent with the client’s objectives. This approach utilizes the expertise of other professionals such as child psychologists, social workers and others who can address the physical, mental and developmental needs of the children involved in the custody dispute. But when custody and visitation must be tried in a courtroom, we are experienced and highly skilled in custody litigation which requires detailed investigation, preparation and presentation in court.

We adhere to the Bounds of Advocacy promulgated by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers regarding the involvement of children in contested custody matters. These provisions are as follows:

  1. An attorney representing a parent should consider the welfare of, and seek to minimize the adverse impact of the divorce on, the minor children.
  2. An attorney should not permit a client to contest child custody, contact or access for either financial leverage or vindictiveness.
  3. When issues in a representation affect the welfare of a minor child, an attorney should not initiate communication with the child, except in the presence of the child’s lawyer or guardian ad litem, with court permission, or as necessary to verify facts in motions and pleadings.
  4. An attorney should not bring a child to court or call a child as a witness without full discussion with the client and a reasonable belief that it is in the best interests of the child.
  5. An attorney should disclose information relating to a client or former client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to prevent substantial physical or sexual abuse of a child.
  6. An attorney should not make or assist a client in making an allegation of child abuse unless there is a reasonable basis and evidence to believe it is true.

Child Custody Do’s and Don’ts

Video: 5 Myths Surrounding Children & Divorce

Tips to avoid having the children caught in the crossfire:

  1. Make sure your children understand that they are not the reason for the divorce. Keep the explanation simple, “your mother and I can no longer live together happily. You need to know that this has nothing to do with you. Your mom and I both love you very much and nothing will change that.”
  2. Take care when discussing litigation. Your children do not need to know the sum and substance of the legal documents, depositions, and court proceedings.
  3. Allow the children to love both parents. Create an environment where the children can be free to love both parents.
  4. Do not send messages through your children. If you are unable to communicate by any means with your ex whether in-person, by phone, or e-mail, you may wish to consider co-parenting counseling or request a parenting coordinator be appointed in your case.
  5. Do not say disparaging things about the other parent in front of the children. Judges will expect you to be supportive of the children’s relationship with their other parent.
  6. Be supportive of your children’s activities. If at all possible, take your children to their activities when it is “your time.” On the other hand, be respectful of the other parent’s time with the children.
  7. Use good judgment before introducing your children to someone you are dating.
  8. Take the high road when possible.

In our podcast, Jaime Davis discusses helpful tips for surviving child custody litigation with her colleague and fellow family law attorney Melissa J. Essick. Jaime and Melissa address issues such as how to appropriately communicate with the other parent, what not to post on social media, and how to avoid alienating your child.

Podcast Episode 11: The Do’s and Don’ts of Surviving a Child Custody Case
Click Here To Listen!
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The content on this page was reviewed by Gailor Hunt Davis Taylor & Gibbs, PLLC partner Jaime Davis. You can learn more about Jaime's experience and expertise on her bio page. If you have a question about this page, you can email Jaime at