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Should you request child custody modification?

Whether you’re one of many parents in North Carolina who recently filed for divorce or a single parent who was never married to your child’s other parent, if co-parenting problems arise, there might be options available to help resolve them. If you signed a co-parenting agreement, you’re obligated to adhere to its terms, no matter what. If you believe a change in your child custody plan is in order, you must seek the court’s approval. 

The average family court judge is not in the business of modifying child custody orders without proof of legitimate need. Such judges make their initial decisions carefully, in accordance with what they have determined is best for the child or children in question. It’s often possible to modify your orders, but not without convincing the judge who oversees your case that you have a just cause for doing so. 

Judges often modify orders for these 4 reasons  

Perhaps you’ve been growing increasingly frustrated because your ex is never on time to exchange custody of your children. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to modify the court order, although, perhaps, it’s a term of agreement in your existing court order that you might ask the court to enforce. The following list shows four of the most common reasons for seeking modification of a child custody order:  

  • You or your ex are relocating, and the current terms of agreement are no longer feasible.  
  • Your ex has become incarcerated or has passed away. 
  • You believe your children are at risk when they are in the other parent’s custody. 
  • Your co-parent continually disregards the existing court order, especially pertaining to custody transfers or visitation.  

If you’re supposed to meet your ex at a certain place and time each week but are moving to another location because of a new job, you might not be able to keep the same schedule. However, unless and until the court grants modification of your existing court order, you are obligated to be at the agreed-upon location at the agreed-upon time.  

If you are a non-custodial parent and the custodial parent dies 

If your children have suffered the loss of their custodial parent, there will undoubtedly be legal proceedings to determine what is best for them regarding modification of the existing custody order. Most judges would consider it in a child’s best interest to move in with the non-custodial parent, provided there are no issues that would place a child at risk.  

If you’re a non-custodial parent who is willing to take on full responsibility for custody in the wake of the custodial parent’s death, there are steps you can take to address the matter in court.  

The court has discretion to make or change decisions 

The North Carolina family court always has children’s best interests in mind when making or modifying child custody decisions. Like all good parents, you want what’s best for your child. As long as you adhere to a court order and avoid making changes without the court’s approval, you’ll reduce the likelihood for a legal problem to arise. 

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