First, I am assuming that the parties have been separated for at least 1 year. Otherwise, the claim for divorce is not valid. Second, if they only asked for custody, and not support (child or spousal) or distribution of the property, that does not mean that the defendant spouse cannot ask for distribution of the property. The only rights the plaintiff spouse loses after divorce are the rights to distribute the property and to spousal support. Child custody and child support can occur at any time before or after the divorce. So, a claim for child support can still come later. The divorce and the child custody can happen on the same date, but they are really 2 separate claims. It is never a good idea to go to court unrepresented in contested matters. The court will hold an unrepresented party to the same standards as an attorney. So, an unrepresented party would really need to know how to manuever in the court system.
Sole custody means that one party would have sole physical custody of the child. The other party would have visitation, and probably joint legal custody (which is joint decision making ability).
Shonnese D. Stanback
The Rosen Law Firm
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Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
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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 but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.