Articles Posted in Custody

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Handerson v. Wittig, No.COA20-924 (July 2021).

Modifications to child custody orders require a substantial change in circumstances affecting the welfare of the child. The change in circumstance is the gatekeeper. That alone will not amount to modification; the court still needs to determine if the change in circumstance affects the welfare of the child and if modification is in the child’s best interest. We see below that the Court has written about what kind of evidence is insufficient to support a change in circumstance when it fails to link with the welfare of the child. Continue reading →

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Graham v. Jones, 270 N.C. App. 674 (2020).

In North Carolina, grandparents have the ability to have their concerns for custody and visitation heard by the courts. Our statutes allow any parent, relative, or other person claiming a right to custody to institute an action for child custody. Grandparents are relatives of the minor child, and thus have standing to file for custody. But the laws surrounding grandparent custody and visitation are extremely nuanced as a result of being developed over many years of case law. Below is one case that summarizes this area of law. Continue reading →

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Child support and child custody are frequent issues when spouses are planning to divorce. Today we will discuss some of the most basic aspects behind these two broad and complex issues. How do you file a claim for custody and/or support? What are the governing laws in North Carolina? And what are the types of child support you could receive? Continue reading →

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Family law and child custody have once again been brought to the forefront of Hollywood news with the recent announcement that Judge John Ouderkirk has decided to award Brad Pitt joint custody of his children with Angelina Jolie.  The decision applies to five Jolie-Pitt children who are all under the age of eighteen (18).  A recent filing revealed that Jolie planned to appeal the decision, although sources say she does not object to the joint custody decision but instead objects to “other issues that are of concern.” Continue reading →

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There are two main types of child custody in North Carolina: joint and exclusive/sole. In our state, the court’s job is to determine which parent serves the best interests of the child, after hearing and weighing all the evidence. The standard is probably uniform across all jurisdictions at this point. But what still fluctuates is when the court should award non-joint custody. Continue reading →

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The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Each year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (“NAMI”) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health.  For the year 2021, the message “You Are Not Alone” is the amplifying theme for the month.  This theme is relevant now more than ever, given that the resounding impacts of COVID-19 have left many people feeling isolated and alone during these challenging times.  Mental illness affects every aspect of a person’s life, especially if that person is facing divorce and/or a child custody battle.  Although it can be difficult to talk about, sharing your struggles with others to get the help you need will be highly beneficial for your family law case. Continue reading →

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Fecteau v. Spierer, COA20-532 (2020).

Child custody orders are modifiable under North Carolina law. In order to modify, the party seeking a modification must show a substantial change in circumstances, from those found in previous order, that warrants modification. It may seem obvious that big changes in the custodial parent’s life meet that standard. But in the case below, we discuss how improvements in the noncustodial parent’s life can warrant a modification in his favor, which can grant him more time with his kids and more decision-making abilities. Continue reading →

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Fecteau v. Spierer, COA20-532 (2020).

Child custody orders are modifiable. In order modify, the party seeking a modification must show a substantial change in circumstances, from those found in the previous order, that warrants modification. In some cases, primary physical custody is awarded to a nonparent. Most often, this nonparent is a relative, such as a grandparent. Below, we discuss a case where a parent was granted primary physical custody from the grandparents, and we address the legal standard for how to get there. Continue reading →

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When it comes to child custody, the court has the authority and discretion to consider a wide array of factors to further the best interest of the child standard. One such factor is the physical and mental health of the parent. Impairment of one parent in a child custody dispute that stems from alcohol or substance abuse may raise a number of legitimate concerns about that person’s ability to parent.

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North Carolina General Statute § 14-39 defines kidnapping as the unlawful confining, restraining, or removing from one place to another, anyone 16 years of age or older without their consent and holding them for ransom, in furtherance of or fleeing a felony, causing serious bodily harm or terrorizing or holding that person in involuntary or sexual servitude. When a person is under the age of 16, it requires the parent’s or legal guardian’s consent before the minor can be restrained, confined, or removed from one place to another. Continue reading →