In general, North Carolina allows co-parents to determine their custody arrangement on their own. Arrangements do not always have to go through court. However, if you were not able to find a suitable custody arrangement through mediation, you may have gone to let the judge decide. If you were mandated visitation — instead of shared custody — you may be wondering if you are able to receive more visitation rights in the future.
You can file a Motion to Modify in court if you wish to change your custody arrangement. Unless your previous custody case was dismissed, you are typically not able to file a new case. Instead, you can file a Motion to Modify in the same court that decided your custody case originally.
What do judges consider when they hear a custody modification request?
Similar to your original custody case, judges will consider a variety of factors if your motion is brought to court. The judge may consider factors including, but not limited to, the following:
- The stability of the child’s current situation with the parent who has primary custody
- The child’s preference
- Whether the child is visibly stressed with their current arrangement
- The child’s physical health
- The child’s emotional health
- The child’s age and specific needs
- Whether the parent with primary custody has attempted to alienate the child from the other parent
- Any abuse the child may have experienced or witnessed
What else should I consider before filing?
North Carolina requires a number of steps to properly file a Motion to Modify, including mediation and notification of your intent to file the motion to the other party. To ensure your case is not dismissed, it is important to be aware of all steps and to file in a timely manner. Understanding all relevant steps in the process is crucial to changing your custody arrangement.