Custody & Child Support Questions

Legal custody is the responsibility to make major decisions for the child such as legal, medical, school, religous. Physical custody is the responsibility to care for the child on a day to day basis. NC defaults to joint legal custody if not specified.
In the event of the death of the primary custodial parent, custody falls to the other biological parent unless there is already a suit on file for custody from another entity/person.
Yes, parents can sign a notarized agreement in regards to custody but it’s always a good idea to have an attorney look over the agreement before it is signed. Consultations do not cost that much in the grand scheme of things.
Child support would not consider cc debt. It’s possible to include other expenses for the child as extraordinary expenses but that would need to be decided on by the court if the parents do not agree.
I do not think life insurance can cover child support. Life insurance is a one time payment upon death, if I’m not mistaken. I do believe that children can be paid their parents SS wages, but I’m not certain how that works…
There may be a way to request money from the estate of a deceased parent to cover child expenses if there is not a will or provisions for the child/children in the event of their death.

Legal custody is decision making for the children, meaning the right to make decisions such as medical treatment, religious and educational upbringing etc. In this state the vast majority of parents are awarded joint legal custody. When the parents have joint legal custody either parent can make the decision to change their primary residence, but generally need to agree on moves that are a considerable distance. If they cannot agree the court can make the decision.

If the parents are able to reach a custody agreement on their own they can sign and notarize it out of court and do not have to have an attorney. It is generally in your best interests to have an attorney review an agreement before signing anything final.

It is normal to request a life insurance policy, but it is not something the court can order, the parties must agree to it.

Child support in this state is based on the guidelines as long as the combined monthly income is less than $25,000 per month. As long as your income is less than your threshold the court does not consider expenses, they will just apply the guideline.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

What is the difference between legal and physical custody and the specific rights to the primary parent (moving and such)? Also, who is the deciding factor in where the children go in the event of the death of the primary parent? As for custody, if both parents agree on an amt outside of court, can they just sign and notarize an agreement between themselves without having to pay lawyers to do this for them? When considering child support, am I correct that the state only considers the normal and basic living expenses of the parent paying support (in other words, do they consider any cc debt, extra curriculars or private classes or schools for that parent or other children)? Is it normal to request a life insurance policy of the parent paying support to cover child support in the event of his/her death (I am offering such myself)?