Child Custody Modifications in North Carolina

If you have already been through the process of a divorce, then you know that it takes a great deal of time and effort to make serious decisions regarding the equitable division of assets, spousal support, child support, and child custody arrangements. Once those decisions have finally been made, it is typically a relief for all parties, and life can begin with a new routine established. In almost all cases, parents take the most time in a divorce attempting to make decisions regarding their children and child custody arrangements. The majority of parents want to spend as much time as possible with their children and take a great deal of time making sure that they receive a fair share of time as part of the child custody arrangement.

However, as life moves forward, parents and children both change and the needs and circumstances regarding child custody matters can change, as well. In some cases, this involves changed circumstances regarding one parent, and in other cases, it involves changed circumstances regarding the child. In either case, if you believe that you have experienced a significant enough change to warrant revisiting the child custody arrangement, you will need to formally petition the court for a child custody modification in the state of North Carolina. Courts are typically hesitant to make changes without a serious cause, therefore you will need to show the court that the circumstances have changed so drastically from the time of the divorce that the child custody arrangement that currently exists is not in the best interest of the child anymore. Some of the ways that you can show this to the court is through significant and substantial changes in the life of a parent or the child.

The Basis for Child Custody Modification

Every set of facts and circumstances is different and visiting with an experienced family law attorney will help you determine whether or not your circumstances would warrant a child custody modification in the state of North Carolina. Again, while you always have the legal right to request a child custody modification from the court, the court does not have to grant that request. You must take the time to prove to the court that the circumstances that now exist are so vastly different than that of the time of the divorce that a change is warranted in the child custody agreement and that it is in the best interests of the child or children. Some examples that are often included in the basis for a child custody modification include the following:

Changes Involving a Parent

If a parent has any kind of serious changes regarding their emotional or physical stability, it may warrant the change of child custody arrangements. Some of the examples for which a North Carolina court will consider an alteration to the original child custody arrangement include the following:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Frequent marriages or changes in relationships
  • Frequent job changes
  • Unpredictable work schedules
  • Severe mental health issues resulting in danger to the child, or to one’s self
  • Physical abuse of any kind in the home, to the child or to others
  • Frequent changes in residence
  • Losing a residence and having nowhere for the child to stay
  • Failing to follow the agreed-upon child custody arrangement and keeping a child away from the other parent.
  • Relocation of a parent to an area far enough away that it would make the current child custody arrangement difficult or impossible
Changes Involving the Child

Children grow and change, and their needs grow and change with them. While a court will always look to ensure the stability of a child’s environment, sometimes their physical, emotional, or academic needs are such that a change in child custody is warranted. If a child becomes involved in an activity that requires several hours a week of practice, or if a child develops a physical or emotional health condition, these new circumstances may make the current child custody arrangement inadequate to provide for the child’s best interests. The court will then make a determination based on the current needs of the child to ensure their emotional and physical health is taken care of in the best possible way.

Contact a Family Law Attorney

If you are considering a child custody modification, you may be unsure whether or not the circumstances have changed enough for a court to grant your request. Contact our experienced family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina at 704.370.2828 or online today for your initial consultation regarding how to change your child custody arrangement.