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Child Custody

Mark Upright is a Compassionate Child Custody Lawyer Representing Parents Throughout North Carolina

At The Law Office of Mark Upright, our Asheville child custody attorney has more than two decades of experience representing parents in North Carolina. With a commitment to helping clients find amicable solutions whenever possible, Attorney Upright will protect your rights. If you have any specific questions about child custody or child visitation, we are here to help you find the best path forward. To schedule a free, fully private consultation with a top North Carolina child custody lawyer, please call our Asheville law office at (828) 415-5044 or send us a message directly online.


An Overview of Child Custody Laws in North Carolina


If you are a parent going through a divorce or separation in North Carolina, it is crucial that you understand your rights and responsibilities under state law.  Here are three of the most important things to know about child custody and child visitation in North Carolina: 


  • Two Types of Child Custody in North Carolina: There are actually two types of child custody in North Carolina: Physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to actual possession of the child—meaning where the child is spending their time. Legal custody refers to decision-making authority. A parent with legal custody has the right to make decisions regarding a child’s medical needs, educational needs, and other important issues. Parents may be granted shared legal custody and shared physical custody. Alternatively, one parent may be granted primary legal custody, primary physical custody, or complete sole custody. 

  • North Carolina is a Best Interests of the Child State: In a child custody case in North Carolina, the wishes of the parents are a secondary consideration. Under N.C. General Statutes § 50-13.01, it is the central purpose of the state’s custody laws to ensure that the child’s best interests are protected. In other words, a court will resolve a custody or visitation dispute by determining what is best for the child’s health and well-being.

  • Many Factors Can be Considered to Determine Best Interests: The North Carolina best interests of the child standard is truly comprehensive. In effect, this means that courts can review and evaluate any factor deemed relevant to determining what is best for the child. Some common examples include: Each parent’s current relationship with the child, each parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable home environment, each parent’s willingness to cooperate, any history of domestic violence or other misconduct, and the child’s preferences (if old enough). 


Collaborative Solutions Often Work Best in Custody and Visitation Cases 


As a parent, you naturally want what is best for your kids. Even if a divorce or separation is challenging, parents generally want to keep their children out of conflict—looking for a healthy and amicable solution. At The Law Office of Mark Upright, our Asheville, NC family law attorney puts a strong emphasis on collaborative problem solving in custody and visitation cases. We are ready to help you work towards a low-conflict resolution that truly works for your, your children, and your family. At the same time, we are trial-tested. Our firm is ready to take action to protect your parental rights and the best interests of your children whenever necessary. 


Parents Rely on North Carolina Child Custody Attorney Mark Upright


Divorce or separation is complicated—especially for parents. As a dedicated family law attorney with more than 25 years of legal experience, Mark Upright is here to help you navigate the legal process. Attorney Upright also serves as a Parenting Coordinator—working with parents who wish to establish and maintain healthy, effective co-parenting. When you reach out to our Asheville law office, you will have an opportunity to consult with a North Carolina child custody lawyer who can: 


  • Listen to your story and answer your questions; 

  • Explain your parental rights and parental responsibilities; 

  • Investigate your case—securing any relevant evidence or information.  

  • Help you work towards and amicable custody/visitation arrangement; and

  • Take whatever legal action is needed to protect your parental rights. 


Child Custody in North Carolina: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Is Sole Custody Ever Awarded in North Carolina?


Yes. Although North Carolina law presumes that some form of co-parenting is in the best interests of the children, sole custody can be granted when deemed necessary to protect a kid’s health and well being. If you have any specific questions about sole custody, our Asheville family lawyer can help. 


How Does Child Custody Work for Unmarried Parents?


North Carolijna’s child custody laws for unmarried parents are relatively similar. The best interests of the child standard still apply to these cases. That being said, there is an important difference: An unmarried father must establish paternity before he has parental rights or parental responsibilities. 


Can a Child Custody Order or Agreement be Modified?


Yes. A child custody order or child custody agreement is always subject to modification in North Carolina. However, a court will not modify child custody simply because one parent wants a new arrangement. There must be a substantial change in circumstances. 


Is it Possible for a Non-Parent to Get Custody in North Carolina?


Yes. Under North Carolina law (N.C. General Statutes § 50-13.1), non-parents may be able to petition for custody rights. That being said, non-parents—grandparents, adult siblings, aunts, uncles, etc—will generally only be granted custody rights with the consent of the child’s legal parent(s) or when the child’s legal parent(s) are deemed unfit to fulfill their responsibilities. 


Contact Our Asheville, NC Child Custody Lawyer for Immediate Legal Help 


At The Law Office of Mark Upright, our Asheville child custody attorney is a compassionate, future-focused advocate for parents. If you have any questions about child custody or child visitation, we are available to help. Give us a call or reach out to us directly online to schedule a free, confidential consultation. From our law office in Asheville, we are well-positioned to handle custody and visitation cases throughout the entire region, including in Buncombe County, Madison County, Haywood County, Yancey County, Henderson County, McDowell County, and Rutherford County.