Despite how it may seem after the decision is made in court, child custody judgments are not permanent. It is possible to have a child custody ruling modified. In previous blogs about child custody, we explored the factors that contribute to the court’s decision – in this week’s blog, we discuss how a change in these factors can allow a parent to modify their parental rights.
“A child custody modification may be necessary for families with changing needs,” said Thomas Bumgardner, Ballantyne family lawyer. “The goal of a child custody modification is to do what is necessary to ensure a child’s needs are being adequately met.”
An Overview of Child Custody
North Carolina courts are primarily concerned with making decisions that best suit the child’s needs. The following considerations are weighed by a judge when making a custody decision.
- The safety of the child
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child
- Violent/domestic crimes in a parent’s record
A common misconception with these types of cases is that a mother has an advantage over the father. This is not true. Maternal or paternal roles hold no weight in custody cases in North Carolina.
What Can Cause a Child Custody Order to be Modified?
The court will only consider a modification of your child custody order if you are able to prove that there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of the other parent that would affect your child. Examples of these circumstances include:
- A parent loses their job or accepts a job with a significant pay increase or decrease.
- One or both parents are not adhering to the court order
- A parent moves out-of-state
- Either parent’s cost of living increases.
- Either parent becomes disabled.
- The child’s needs change.
What Does the Court Need to Make a Modification?
This part is fairly straightforward and simple. The court will only consider a change in the order to be in the best interest of the child after it has been proven that one of the previously stated scenarios has occurred, and that this event is substantial. This aspect must be proven in order to discourage frequent changes in a custody order that can unsettle a child.
Do I Need a Family Lawyer for a Child Custody Modification?
Every family’s situation is different, but seeking advice from a legal professional is always a sound strategy. By discussing the details of your child custody order and your case, a strategic plan of action can be established.