Articles Posted in Custody

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Grandparents can only file for visitation during an ongoing custody dispute between the parents or if they can prove the parents are unfit. What happens if the parents’ custody case is resolved before the court has a chance to decide on grandparent visitation? This was the question at the center of a recent North Carolina Court of Appeals case.

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There must be a substantial change of circumstances in order to request a modification to a child custody order in North Carolina. Additionally, that change must affect the child or children’s welfare. Conflict between parents certainly does impact a child, but does it satisfy this requirement if this conflict has existed between the parents for a while? Continue reading →

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Modifying court-ordered custody arrangements in North Carolina requires a substantial change in circumstances and an impact on the child caused by those circumstances. What evidence must parents or guardians provide when showing a change has occurred? It depends completely on the specifics of each case, but one requirement is that the evidence must not be based on anything of which the court is already aware. Continue reading →

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North Carolina and almost every other state uses the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) to determine jurisdiction. The UCCJEA uses four elements to determine jurisdiction in initial custody cases:

  • Home state
  • Significant connection
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Grandparents are inarguably a vital part of a child’s life, but the decision to include them is ultimately up to the parents. It can be devastating for grandparents when contact with their grandchild has been restricted. What are your options as a grandparent for seeking court-ordered visitation in North Carolina?

When Can You File for Visitation as a Grandparent?

North Carolina allows grandparents to file for visitation only in certain circumstances. The state allows grandparents to file for visitation only if the child’s family is not intact, which may include the following scenarios:

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Parents in North Carolina can request that the court modify a custody order, but changing custody and visitation arrangements will only be possible in certain situations. Continue reading →

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North Carolina statute allows anyone who claims to have a right to custody of a child to initiate a custody proceeding. Grandparents have a broad privilege to file a custody action, but how likely are they to be successful?

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Typically, custody is only granted in North Carolina between two biological parents or if it is determined that a parent is unable to care for the child. The constitutional rights of a biological parent are difficult to overcome, and courts give greater weight to that relationship over others. However, this standard leaves out a large number of households, including same-sex spouses, long-term dating partners, and adoptive parents.

In these situations, courts may apply the psychological parent doctrine. A psychological parent is someone who establishes a close relationship with a child through day-to-day interaction and companionship and fulfills the child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs.

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In North Carolina, the courts determine child custody based on the best interests of the child. If a child is taken from their biological parents or legal guardians, there are often reunification procedures in place. However, reunification is not always included in permanency planning orders.

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Custody and visitation orders in North Carolina are commonly amended when the terms no longer benefit the children and there has been a change in circumstances. Not every change will lead to a revised custody order, so understanding when a qualifying change has occurred can help you decide if it’s time to request an amendment to your order.

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