Life and circumstances change. As they do, child custody arrangements too may change. North Carolina custody laws allow parents to petition for modification to previously issued child custody and visitation arrangement under certain circumstances.
In order for either parent to have an existing child custody or visitation arrangement modified, they must provide a substantial justification for their case. And that justification must serve the child’s best interest. If that justification is valid, the parent may file a motion of custody modification (usually with the court that original order).
Child custody modification – what a North Carolina court will want to know
As already mentioned, the court will consider reviewing and modifying a child custody arrangement only if the parent petitioning for the same is able to prove a substantial change in circumstances that work either for or against the child’s best interest. Only after the court is convinced that the change in circumstances is both substantial and valid will it consider if such change is indeed in the child’s “best interest.” This is meant to discourage frequent custody modification requests that have unsettling effects on the child’s wellbeing.
When can the court grant a custody modification request?
There are several grounds upon which the court may grant custody modification. These include:
- A relocation of the custodial parent that can impact the child’s stability
- Significant change in either parent’s lifestyle which can adversely affect the child
- Repeat violation of the current custody and visitation order
- Successful rehabilitation of either parent
- A conviction for certain offenses such as child molestation
- Incarceration of the custodial parent
- Death of the custodial parent
There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when seeking child custody modification. These include the justification for your modification request and whether it serves the child’s best interest. That said, one thing you need to know from the onset is that child custody modification in North Carolina is not an easy or fast process.