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When can you modify a custody agreement in North Carolina?

You got through your divorce and the associated custody issues after a significant struggle — but there’s no guarantee that the custody agreement you have today will work tomorrow.

Under North Carolina law, you can ask for a modification of your custody order any time there’s a change in circumstances that warrants it — but what exactly does that mean? Here are some example:

Good reasons to ask for a modification of custody

The mere fact that you’re unhappy with the current custody situation isn’t enough to sway the court into making changes. Instead, the court is looking for a substantial change, like:

  • The parent with primary physical custody is relocating and it would put an unreasonable burden on you to maintain the current custody and visitation schedule.
  • Your co-parent refuses to comply with the terms of your agreement and engages in tactics that are designed to unfairly limit your access to your child.
  • Your co-parent’s lifestyle or situation is putting your child in harm’s way or creating undue emotional stress. For example, maybe your ex remarried and their new spouse has a temper and has been violent.
  • You’ve made changes in your lifestyle that could positively affect your custody case. For example, maybe you used to have a job that required frequent, unscheduled absences from home — but you changed to a nine-to-five job so you can spend more time with your child and now want more custody time.
  • Your child’s needs have changed in some way and the custody schedule no longer works. For example, maybe your child has hit their teen years and they now want to live with you and can articulate their preference.

It’s always important to frame your argument for a custody modification carefully, so that the emphasis is on the benefits a change would bring your child. Working with an attorney here in Charlotte is the best way to develop a coherent, effective strategy for custody.