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I Need to Make Changes to My Child Custody Order. What Do I Do?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | Family Law |

Navigating child custody modifications in North Carolina can be complex, especially after a divorce or separation. When life circumstances change, the original custody order may need adjustments to ensure your child’s best interests are met.

Common Reasons to Modify a Child Custody Order in North Carolina

There are several reasons why a North Carolina parent might find it necessary to seek a modification of a permanent custody order, such as:

  • Relocation of a parent: If a parent needs to move out of the area or state, it could require changes to the visitation schedule or primary custody.
  • Changes in work schedules: If a parent’s job demands change dramatically, it could impact their ability to adhere to the current custody schedule.
  • Health concerns: New health issues involving the parents or child could necessitate a reassessment of custody and care responsibilities.
  • Child’s changing needs: As a child grows, their educational, behavioral, or developmental needs may be better served by modifying custody.

In any of these situations, your first step should be to talk to an attorney. The details are important, and your attorney will recommend a strategy based on those specific details.

The NC Custody Modification Process

To modify a custody order in North Carolina, you must file a motion showing there has been a substantial change in circumstances that affects the existing order’s fairness. If you and your ex can agree on the changes, there might be just a short hearing to allow the judge to ensure the changes are in the children’s best interest.

If you can’t agree, you may have to go through custody mediation or a court hearing where a judge will decide if updating the order is warranted.

To grant a custody modification, the court must find these two things:

  • There has been a substantial change in circumstances that affects the child custody order
  • The changes you propose are in the children’s best interest

Every case is unique, and it is up to the court to decide what counts as a substantial change in circumstances and what is in the children’s best interest.

Modifications Do Take Time, So Get Started Right Away

It is important to work with an attorney who has experience in handling custody modifications before and who will go the extra mile for you and your family. If you are facing a major life change that impacts your current custody situation, you need an attorney who can evaluate your circumstances and vigorously represent your interests to pursue an updated arrangement that prioritizes your child’s well-being.


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