Custody

Civil Court Custody Order

When Child Welfare Is Not Involved

A custody order obtained in a civil district court gives you legal custody and the right to physically care for the child and to make decisions about that child’s welfare. It does not terminate the child’s parents’ parental rights, but in order to regain custody, the parents have to go back to court.

Advantages

  • Provides greater stability for the child than either an informal agreement or a Power of Attorney. 
  • It does not terminate parental rights, but the parent has to go back to court before they can physically remove the child. 
  • Can provide clarity on visitation with parents and whether the parent can be alone with the child or drive with the child. 
  • You (the kinship caregiver) have clear authority to make all necessary medical and educational decisions for the child. 

Disadvantages

  • The child’s parents can regain custody and if a court agrees, you cannot prevent it. However, realistically it takes some effort to overturn if you opposed the parent regaining custody. 
  • You gain no additional financial or service support from the Department of Social Services. 

PLACEHOLDER – ANIMATED TIPS VIDEO

Not intended as legal advice. Check with your county civic district court to confirm which form is accepted. It is always best to consult with an attorney about your specific situation.

Juvenile Court Custody

When Child Welfare Is Involved

Once a child is in foster care, DSS must go to the NC Juvenile Court to get a custody order. A custody order does not require that the birth parents’ legal rights be terminated. However, it is preferable to seek guardianship because it gives you more protection and takes more effort to change.

*Not Intented as Legal Advice