Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

North Carolina Child Custody Laws

Parents must come to an agreement on child custody when they separate. These arrangements include how they will make major decisions regarding their child moving forward, and how they will share time with their child. If parents are unable to come to an agreement, courts will decide the best course of action based on state child custody laws.

State child custody laws are fairly similar from one state to the next, and all states (except Massachusetts) have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). North Carolina child custody laws recognize the option of joint custody, allow for visitation by grandparents, and consider the child's own wishes before ordering custody terms.

This article provides a brief overview of child custody laws in the state of North Carolina.

North Carolina Child Custody: At a Glance

Learn more about North Carolina's child custody laws in the chart and summary below. See FindLaw's extensive Child Custody section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section

§ 50-11.2 et seq. of the North Carolina General Statutes

Year Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Adopted


Joint Custody an Option?

Yes, § 50-13.2

Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, § 50-13.2(b1)

Child's Own Wishes Considered?


Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

How Custody is Determined

North Carolina family courts decide child custody issues based on what it believes to be in the best interest of the child. This is called the best interest of the child standard. Some of the factors courts will use when deciding custody issues are:

  • History of domestic violence
  • The child's overall safety
  • The child's current living arrangement
  • The child's relationship with each parent
  • Each parent's ability to care for the child
  • Whether each parent can create a stable home for the child.

Have Questions About North Carolina Child Custody Laws? Ask an Attorney

Child custody cases are among the most emotionally difficult to navigate, which is why it's so important to have the steady guidance of a skilled family law attorney. If you have questions or concerns about your North Carolina custody case, it's a good idea to contact a local child custody lawyer to have your questions answered and have some guidance through the child custody process.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Custody & child visitation cases are emotional, and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Lawyers can seek to secure visitation rights

Get tailored advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options