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New Bern Child Custody Disputes Lawyer

When people are unable to agree on the living arrangements of a child or children, they must put the issue before the court and let a judge decide where the child is going to live the majority of the time. This is a very stressful time for the parents, and also for the children. Although the proceeding is adversarial, or one party against the other, parents must remember that the goal is to serve the best interests of the children, and not the wishes of the parents.

The child custody case is begun by the filing of a legal document called a "complaint." The complaint is nothing more than a statement by the plaintiff of the reason that he/she is seeking the court's assistance, the grounds that he/she is entitled to this assistance, and what he/she wants the court to do.

Within 30 days of receiving the complaint, or as otherwise allowed by the rules of court, the Defendant must file with the court a response to the complaint called an "Answer." This is a formal response as to whether the allegations in the complaint are true or not.

Temporary Custody Orders

Sometimes, if he or she claims there is an emergency or some danger to the children, the plaintiff will seek and be granted a temporary custody order before the defendant is given notice of the lawsuit. This is called an ex parte (ex party) order. The law allows this to protect the children until both sides can come to court and let the judge decide where the children will live until a trial can be held. Unfortunately, this process can be abused, and if so, it is important to get the case in front of a judge as soon as possible.

Once temporary custody of the child is decided either by the court after a short hearing or by agreement of the parties, the case will "calm down" until it is scheduled to go to mediation. In Craven County, the local rules require that all family law cases, except divorces, be mediated. This is a process where the parties and their lawyers will hire a mediator to attempt to help them settle the case without going to court.

If the case does not settle, then the only alternative is to take the matter to trial. With the number of cases on the docket, it can take a long time for a case to actually come to trial, sometimes over a year. Permanent custody trials can last for days. They are very expensive, both in monetary and emotional costs.

Craven County Custody Litigation Attorney

At Daniel E. Potter, P.C., I am a New Bern child custody disputes attorney who has been representing North Carolina parents seeking custody of or visitation with their children for 20 years. However, I never forget that yours is the only custody case in which you are ever likely to be a participant.

I can help by evaluating your case, letting you know what is important to a judge and what is not, and preparing the best presentation of your case, showing the court why it is in the best interests of your children to grant you custody or visitation.

Contact The Firm

Located in New Bern, my offices are open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or by appointment. I accept all major credit cards as payment, as well as in-state checks, money orders and cash. If you have questions regarding child custody disputes, contact me today for more information.

Office Locations

Daniel E. Potter, P.C.
2129 South Glenburnie Road, Suite 13,
New Bern, NC 28562
Toll Free: 800-768-1789
Fax: 252-636-0586
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