A child custody plan outlines how you and your co-parent will raise your child after a separation or divorce. It sets the schedule for your child’s time with each parent and includes details about important decisions like education and healthcare.
But over time, circumstances can change, prompting a need to reconsider the existing plan. Here are some factors to consider and steps you need to take if you think a change in your custody plan is necessary.
Identifying the need for change
The first step is identifying whether you need a change in the custody plan. Changes in living situations, your child’s needs or parental responsibilities often show that you may need to adjust your plan. For instance, if one parent is moving out of state or if your child’s educational needs have changed significantly, these could constitute valid reasons for a change.
Understanding the legal requirements
North Carolina law requires that a change in the custody plan must serve the best interests of the child. This means that any proposed changes should enhance your child’s well-being, safety and overall development. It is also important to remember that minor disputes between parents do not typically warrant changes in the custody plan.
Negotiating changes with the other parent
If both parents agree on the need for a change and what those changes should be, you can negotiate a new custody plan. Mediation services can help if you are finding it hard to agree. Once you agree, you can submit your new plan to the court for approval.
Requesting a court modification
If you cannot agree with the other parent on changes, you can request a court modification. To do so, you must prove that a significant change has occurred since the last custody order and that changing the custody plan is in your child’s best interest.
Keeping your child’s interests first
Regardless of the reasons for wanting to change the custody plan, always put your child’s interests first. This includes considering their emotional state and how changes could affect their routine and relationships.
Deciding to change your North Carolina child custody plan is a serious decision. It requires careful consideration and thought, keeping in mind the best interests of your child.