Considerations for Child Custody Modifications

Making the decision to go through a divorce can be overwhelming. Divorces require a lot of emotional energy as life-altering decisions need to be made regarding every aspect of a person’s life including finances, residences, and children. Everything that was once established, and routine becomes upended and different. The main area that most parents worry about in divorce is the custody of their children. Most parents want to spend as much time as possible with their children, and therefore the issues surrounding child support calculations and child custody arrangements are typically the most seriously debated.

Once a final determination is reached regarding child custody matters, in most cases, this parenting plan can be the foundation upon which both parents move forward to create a stable and routine environment for their child. However, as parents grow and change, so do children, and in some cases, these changes are so drastic that they warrant the revisiting of the original child custody arrangement. While courts are reluctant to redo and change child custody arrangements capriciously, if there is a good cause, then a court will consider what is in the best interest of the child and change the current child custody arrangement to something that is better for the child. As children grow and change, their needs grow and change with them.

Examples of Reasons Why a Court Would Issue a Child Custody Modification

While you have the legal right to file for a child custody modification in the state of North Carolina, a court does not have to grant your request. There must be a substantial change in order to modify what the court originally believed was in the best interest of the child. There must be some changed circumstances for either the child or a parent in order to warrant such as change. You must prove that the current circumstances are so different, that it is in the best interests of the child or children to modify your child custody agreement. Some of the examples of reasons that a family law court will entertain the idea of granting a child custody modification order include the following:

Emotional and/or Physical Stability of a Parent

The decision regarding the child custody arrangement was originally based on the facts and circumstances at the time of the divorce. If there are any unfortunate changes in the circumstances for one parent, the other parent has the legal right to request and petition the court to alter the child custody arrangement based on these new facts. Some of the examples of when a court will consider changing a child custody arrangement include the emotional and/or physical stability of a parent.

  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol by one parent
  • Frequent changes in personal relationships, including bringing different partners over in front of the children
  • Frequent job changes, or completely unpredictable work schedules
  • The development of a severe mental health issue making it dangerous or unstable for the child to be in the other parent’s home
  • Physical abuse in the home against the child or any other person in the home
  • Frequent changes of residence
  • One parent failing to adhere to the child custody schedule, making it difficult for the other parent to spend time with the child
  • The relocation of one parent to another county or state, making it challenging or impossible to have the child spend time with the other parent due to academic or personal commitments
Emotional, Physical, or Academic Requirements of the Child

Courts will always use the same standard to make a determination regarding how to create child custody arrangements. Courts look to what is in the child’s best interest emotionally, physically, or academically. If a child is in danger in any way, the court will help the other parent to ensure that the safety of the child is secured. Additionally, if the court determines that the needs of the child have changed drastically in some way (either emotionally, physically, or academically) so that a child custody modification is necessary, they will likely grant that modification request.

Contact a Family Law Attorney

Making the decision to change your child custody arrangement can be a legally complex undertaking. If you truly want to change your child custody arrangement due to newly developed circumstances of the other parent or your child, contact our experienced family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Mooresville, North Carolina at 704.370.2828 or online today for your initial consultation.