Changing a custody order in North Carolina
As the lives and circumstances of divorced parents change, child custody orders may be changed also so that as you and your children grow and change, so can the terms of your child custody order. The law allows parents to request modifications to previously issued child custody and visitation orders in certain situations.
In order for a parent to have a child custody or visitation order modified there must have been a substantial change in circumstances that affects the best interests of the child. If such a substantial change exists, the parent may then file a motion for modification with the court that has jurisdiction over the child custody matter. The court with jurisdiction will normally be the court that issued the original order in the first place. Examples of substantial changes in circumstances may include such things as the arrest of a parent, abuse of the child, domestic violence that has occurred, a necessary relocation, a change in a child’s or a parent’s health or psychological status, or other such events that have a large impact on the child.
As in all matters involving questions of custody and visitation, the best interests of the child is the main consideration for a judge. In the event that a parent’s circumstances have changed to such a substantial degree that they believe a modification is needed, the parent may want to seek the advice of a family law attorney to learn more about their legal rights and obligations.
Family law attorneys may be able to provide help to the parent in these types of matters by drafting and filing motions for order modifications on their client’s behalf. Family law attorneys can also assist in helping the parent obtain documents and other evidence that may be used at a child custody hearing. In some cases, it is possible for an attorney to negotiate an agreement with the child’s other parent, while in others, the attorney may help by preparing the parent to testify in court at the child custody hearing and representing the parent during the child custody hearing.