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3 of the most common myths about child custody matters

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Child Custody |

Custody challenges are often the most pressing aspect of a divorce or breakup. Parents who have decided to change a relationship worry that their decision could affect the bond they have with their children.

A surprising number of people actually choose to remain in unsatisfying and sometimes even dysfunctional relationships because they believe myths about custody issues that deter them from acting in their own best interests. The more people understand the rules that govern custody matters, the more comfortable they may be asserting themselves and making changes that could improve their overall quality of life.

What claims about custody do not have any real basis in modern law?

Myth #1: The courts favor the mother

One of the most pernicious myths about child custody is the belief that the family courts innately favor the mother over the father in any contested custody case. North Carolina state law very clearly uses neutral language. Custody statutes neither refer to the sex of the parent nor their role as a father or mother. While unmarried fathers sometimes have to take extra steps in the form of establishing paternity before asserting their custody rights, the courts should give each parent equal consideration rather than giving the mother preferential treatment.

Myth #2: Sole custody is the preferred arrangement

Decades ago, it was common practice for family court judges in many jurisdictions to award sole or primary parental responsibilities to one adult while the other may have only received visitation. Research into how children adjust after divorce or parental separation has forced a change. The courts often try to find ways to give both parents as much parenting time as is realistic or practical given the family’s circumstances. Even someone who works a demanding job can potentially ask for a generous amount of parenting time and a say in key decisions about their children.

Myth #3: Litigation is the only option

A surprising number of parents believe that the only way to resolve disputes about parental rights and responsibilities is to take the matter to family court. While judges can and do help resolve disagreements between parents, parents also have the option of settling amicably with one another. It is often preferable for the adults in the family to reach an agreement with one another rather than to take the matter to family court.

Parents can try negotiating with one another or using alternative dispute resolution as a way to amicably settle their current custody disagreements. Parents have the option of setting their own terms either in an initial order or when pursuing a modification or change to an existing custody arrangement.

Learning the truth behind common custody myths can help people feel more confident about asserting their parental rights. Those who have the right support as they attempt to address family law challenges can learn more about the rules that may affect their cases in personalized ways.