North Carolina allows both parents, custodial and non-custodial, to file for custody modification.
Your situation can change personally, or your child may have changing needs as they age. Either way, the court will consider any substantial change in circumstances.
North Carolina family court bases all determinations in a child custody modification case on what is in the best interests of the child. The filing parent will need to explain why the change in custody will benefit the child. For example, if you need to move far from your current location, you must explain how the move will benefit the child. If the parent not filing for a modification does not want the change to happen, they will need to explain how it is not in the child’s best interests.
Before your modification request reaches the court, North Carolina requires mediation as a first step for all custody disputes. Mediation can be a lengthy, tedious process. Only if it fails can you then move forward to trial before the court. Then, you go through the same arguments, doubling the time it takes to complete a custody dispute. This mediation requirement often makes custody modification a long process.
The court also has specific expectations for what reasonably warrants a change in circumstances. For example, being angry at a former spouse’s attitude will not meet expectations. However, if the child is in danger with the other parent or experiencing neglect, the court will consider a modification.
The best way to speed up the process is for both parents to agree on the changes during mediation.