The ‘best interests of the child’ means there is a focus on the child’s overall well-being in making custody decisions. If a custody arrangement is not working, families in North Carolina can request a modification. Courts, however, do not rapidly change these agreements.
They consider a range of factors to make decisions that prioritize the child’s well-being.
Emotional and psychological factors to consider
North Carolina courts consider the emotional and psychological well-being of the child in custody decisions. They look at the strength of the emotional bonds between the child and each parent and if the parents can make the child feel safe and supported. Both parents’ mental health may also be a consideration for the courts because it affects their ability to support the child emotionally.
Physical health and safety concerns
In addition to emotional support, the courts examine the physical safety and health of the child. This may include considering each parent’s physical health, checking for any history of neglect or abuse and the safety of their home environments. The court also evaluates each parent’s ability to meet the child’s basic physical needs to ensure the child stays in a home that is safe and good for their well-being.
A stable and consistent routine
Children thrive when they live in stability and consistency. Courts understand this and consider it when making custody decisions. They evaluate each parent’s capacity to offer a stable home and ensure continuity in the child’s school and community life. Additionally, they examine the potential effects of changing the child’s primary residence, aiming to limit any disruptions that could negatively impact the child’s development and growth.
North Carolina courts do not change custody orders based on parents’ or children’s preferences alone. They consider a number of factors. If these conditions align with the child’s best interest, they may consider a custody modification since the court’s primary objective is to minimize additional stress and ensure the child’s well-being is prioritized.