Child custody is often one of the most painful and difficult issues in a divorce with minor children. Parental agreement is, of course, one of the best ways to resolve custody disputes, but parents often disagree for what they believe to be the best for a variety of reasons. Modification of an order for custody, for all the pain that it could entail, may be a better solution than endless months of conflict and the unknown toll of such emotional pain on the child. Custody orders in North Carolina can be modified, but the burden on the parent seeking modification can be very difficult to overcome.
A custody order cannot be modified after it is entered merely because one or both parents believe that the order was erroneous or no longer agrees with it. Instead, the parent who seeks a modification must demonstrate a substantial change in the circumstances affecting the best interest of the child.
The change must have a long-term effect on the child’s well-being. A short-term change affecting only one parent is usually not sufficient to convince a judge that custody should be altered.
As may be inferred from this post, a motion to modify an order for child custody may require more than one court appearance. A person who is considering seeking modification of an existing custody order will wish to consult an experienced family law attorney for advice on the likelihood of obtaining the hoped-for change in the existing order.