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Modifying Child Custody in North Carolina

Making Changes When a Child’s Needs Change

Child custody orders may need to change as time passes; perhaps the child's needs have changed and the current order no longer meets them, or perhaps your own circumstances may require a change to the order. In either case, changing a custody order occurs through a process known as modification.

Keep reading to learn how modification works in North Carolina.

Basics of Modification

If you have a child custody order in place and one parent wants to make changes to the arrangement, they must file a petition for modification with the court. The other parent will be served notice of the petition and given the opportunity to respond. The court will then set a hearing date where both parents can present their arguments.

The standard for modifying a child custody order is that there must be a material change in circumstances since the last order was issued. This usually means that one of the following has occurred:

  • The custodial parent has remarried or is living with someone new.

  • One of the children has started school.

  • One of the parents has moved out of state.

  • One of the parents has been convicted of a crime.

  • One of the parents is abusing drugs or alcohol.

If the court finds that there has been a material change in circumstances, they will consider what is in the best interest of the child. The court will look at factors such as which parent can provide a stable home life, which parent is more likely to encourage a relationship with the other parent, and which parent is more involved in the child’s life.

Working With a North Carolina Child Custody Attorney

If you are considering modifying your child custody order, you should talk to an experienced family law attorney. They can help you determine if you have grounds for modification and guide you through the process.


At Blood Law, PLLC, we can help you work through the modification process to better meet your needs or the needs of your child. Learn more about how we can help or schedule a consultation by calling (704) 286-0570 or by visiting our website.

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