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Charlotte Modification Lawyers

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Most aspects of a divorce decree cannot be changed once a divorce is finalized. However, when it comes to child support, child custody, and child visitation, post-divorce modifications may be approved by a family law court in cases where there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Modifications to spousal support may also be called for if one or both spouses have a significant change in income or financial needs.

At Jetton & Meredith, PLLC, we have the knowledge and resources to help our clients pursue all types of family law modifications in Charlotte, NC. Call us at (704) 931-5535 to discuss your needs with an experienced lawyer.

Child Custody Modifications in North Carolina

A common misconception in North Carolina is that upon receiving a permanent child custody order, it will last until your child is 18 years old. Although it is called a “permanent” order, that is not always the case. North Carolina law provides a way to modify an existing child custody order if it becomes necessary to do so.

The governing law is found in North Carolina General Statute § 50-13.7, which states:

“Subject to the provisions of G.S. 50A-201, 50A-202, and 50A-204, an order of a court of this State for custody of a minor child may be modified or vacated at any time, upon motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party.”

What this means is that if you can prove a substantial change in circumstances which impacts the well-being of the minor child, your order providing for child custody may be modified. If you are the parent seeking to modify the order, you have the burden of showing the “substantial change in circumstances.”

If you are unable to show a substantial change in circumstances which impacts the well-being of your child, the judge is required to keep the current order in place. If you can show changed circumstances since the date of the last order, the court will hear evidence to determine what is in the best interest of the child.

Seeking a Modification Due to Relocation

You may seek a change in child custody or visitation because of the relocation of one or both parents. If you have primary custody of your child and wish to move out of state or out of the area, you may need to demonstrate to a family law court that the move is necessary and in the best interest of your child.

For example, an increase in income because of a new job may give your child new advantages. The best interest of your child will serve as the guiding principle in your modification case. Likewise, you would need sound legal advice if the other parent seeks to relocate and you wish to protest the modification.

Child Support Modifications in North Carolina

If your current child support arrangement does not reflect the reality of your or the other parent’s financial situation, it may be possible to have the payment amount modified. In order to do so, however, there must be a demonstrable change to one or both parents' economic situations and/or the needs of the child.

In North Carolina, child support payments are generally ordered according to the income of both parents. In a child support modification case, there may be arguments back and forth about what counts as income. An experienced modification attorney can often be of assistance to a parent in such a situation.

Who Has Jurisdiction Over Child Support Modifications?

Parents in North Carolina who have been ordered to pay child support can petition a court to modify payments when there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the time that the last order was entered. However, a court must have jurisdiction to hear the case to enter an order for modification.

If one parent has moved away since the last order was entered, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act controls which state has jurisdiction to hear the case. The UIFSA has been codified in every state. More than one state can have exclusive jurisdiction to modify a preexisting child support order under the act.

When this occurs, courts look to the home state of the child. If an order has been issued in that state, it controls the case; if no order has been issued in that state, the most recently issued order controls.

For example, if one parent moved to North Carolina and filed for divorce, leaving their child and the other parent in another state, a North Carolina court could issue a divorce decree. If the parent in the child’s home state applied for a modification, a court in that state could issue a decree. However, the divorce decree would control the issue of child support until another order was issued in the child’s home state.

To learn more about our post-divorce modification services, contact our firm at (704) 931-5535. We also assist clients in registering out-of-state divorce orders in North Carolina.

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