Thank you for your reply. I apologize for the delay in responding, however I am out of town and have not had an internet connection in days. To answer your follow-up questions:
In North Carolina, courts must decide child custody
by evaluating what “will best promote the interest and welfare of the child.” (N.C.G.S.A. § 50-13.2(a).) Courts determine the interest of a child by examining all of the relevant factors of the child’s domestic life. North Carolina law does not list all of the factors that will be considered, but does mention several helpful examples, including whether domestic violence
has occurred or will occur, as well as the overall safety of the child. Other examples of factors may include the child’s current living arrangement and relationship with both parents, each parent’s ability to provide for the child, and whether each parent creates a stable home environment.
Some questions a court may consider include:
What is the child's age?
Who assumed primary responsibility in caring for the child during the marriage
Who would feed, bathe, clothe, and teach the child during the week?
What is the work schedule of each parent who works outside the home?
What is the physical, emotional, and parenting ability of each parent?
With whom is the child bonded psychologically?
Is either parent trying to prevent the child from continuing a relationship with the other parent?
Is either parent trying to use the child just to hurt the other parent?
Is either parent really unfit, unwilling, or unable to properly and appropriately raise the child?
The grandparents aren't really a factor unless the child is going to be around them and there is concern to the child's health or safety. For example, if grandpa on the father's side was a heavy drug user and dad insisted on having grandpa watch the child, that's something the court needs to know about. If you give me a better idea as to what the situation with the grandparents is, I may be better able to answer.
As far as financial stability, while a court obviously isn't going to deny custody to a parent just because they don't make a lot of money or don't make as much as the other parent, a court wants to make sure, can that parent properly care for the child? Do they have housing for them? A place to sleep? Food to eat? Things to keep the child entertained? If a parent is homeless or cannot keep a job, that is something a court will look at, because both parents must contribute to the financial needs of the child.