The idea for NC Senate Bill 519 started after several fathers in Sampson County, NC were awarded very limited visitation with their children. They contacted their local State Senator Brent Jackson whose staff researched the issue and determined that the default customs of each Judicial District were very different across the State of North Carolina. That led to further communication with Wake Forest Law School of Law and the NC Institute of Government that both advance the idea that new research indicates that children need to spend significant time with both parties and that is what is best for children.
The old “home base” model often results in dad, who is typically the non-custodial parent only being awarded every other weekend for visitation. Sometimes the non-custodial parent also is entitled to a dinner on their “off” week. Union County, Sampson County and other rural counties often subscribe to the older “home base” model in determining the “best interest” of the minor child/ren when awarding custody. Larger counties such as Mecklenburg County and Wake County seem to prefer joint physical custody often via a week-on/week-off schedule between parents. Hence there is often a giant disparity in custody outcomes between cases in Union and Mecklenburg County even though they are adjoining counties.
The original version of the bill allegedly mandated a 65% vs. 35% division of overnights between parents absent specific findings to deviate. Johnston County, NC appears to favor this approach at the moment. After significant resistance to explicitly changing the law, NC Senate Bill 519 was eventually changed to a policy statement regarding child custody. Once again the ultimate question until further action by the legislature is what the NC Court of Appeals is going to do with a policy statement regarding custody that is now written into the law.