When a North Carolina parent is preparing to seek child custody, they should be aware of how their living arrangements could affect the outcome of their hearing. In fact, courts often base decisions about child custody and visitation at least in part on the parent’s living circumstances. While standards may vary as to what is acceptable, there are certain factors to keep in mind when preparing for a custody hearing.
For example, the child’s age and gender can affect how a judge may view certain types of living arrangements. Opposite-sex children are likely to need a greater level of privacy, including private space for dressing or a separate bedroom. Older children also need more privacy and space than younger children, and they may need space from one another. While same-sex, close-in-age siblings might be expected to share rooms, a judge may look less favorably on an older teen boy and a preteen girl sharing a bedroom. Of course, finances are a major factor here, and parents don’t have to be wealthy to have overnight visitation time with their children.
The number of kids involved may also be considered, including children from other relationships. A family court judge will take into account the sleeping arrangements for all of the children in the family. Safety can also be a consideration, from the safety of the surrounding neighborhood to the presence of unrelated people. If a parent is living with roommates, judges may want more information to determine whether they are safe people to share private space with the children.
When preparing for a child custody hearing, a parent can improve their chances for a positive outcome by presenting their case clearly and effectively. A family law attorney could help a parent present solid evidence and strong arguments.