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Business Hours: We are now open Monday - Thursday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and Fridays by appointment only.

Modification Of Family Court Orders In NCIn this article, you will learn…

  • When the court would consider a modification to a child custody order,
  • How to appeal a change to a custody arrangement, and
  • When you may be able to change an alimony order.

When Would The Court Consider A Petition To Change A Custody Order In North Carolina?

In North Carolina, modification to a custody order is going to be based on where you are in the child custody proceedings. If it is a temporary custody order, the court has the ability to change that order at any time.

If it is a permanent custody order, the court has to look for a substantial change of circumstance. Once they have determined a change of circumstance has occurred, they can then ask the question of what’s in the child’s best interest. They’re simply looking at the same factors that they would look at for the initial custody hearing:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • Why, and
  • How is the child best served by the interactions with each parent?

If A Court Decides To Change Our Custody Arrangement, Can I Appeal A Decision if I Am Opposed To It?

If you are a parent who has had a change in your custody arrangements to which you are opposed, you are able to appeal that change to the Court of Appeals if you have met certain factors.

An appeal would be based on the law surrounding child custody. The laws regarding child custody leave wide latitude for a judge to make a determination as to what is in the best interest of the minor child. However, that order has to be supported by findings of fact that are consistent with the decision the court has made.

If the court doesn’t support its decision with relevant factors, that decision can be overturned. If the court abuses its discretion, meaning that it’s so wildly off base and not based in fact that a reasonable judge could not have found that particular set of circumstances, it can also be overturned. Decisions can also be overturned on technicalities.

There are other procedures available that don’t require you to go to the Court of Appeals. These procedures are infrequent and typically available in instances of fraud, misleading the court, or other relevant issues.

Can I Ever Petition To Reduce Or Increase A Child Support Order In North Carolina?

Yes, you can petition to reduce or increase a child support order in North Carolina. An order can be increased based on a substantial change of circumstances, which can include good or bad changes.

A child support order can’t be changed where a party willfully chooses to leave employment for the purposes of trying to avoid child support. However, in the event that one party has a change in their circumstances that is beyond their control, a modification to child support can be ordered. A change that would be considered beyond your control would be…

  • An illness,
  • Loss of employment through a layoff, or
  • Decrease of income through no fault of your own.

A modification of child support can also be ordered when one party has seen a substantial increase in their financial situation or has received a lump sum payment that can be used for the benefit of the child. Some examples of a lump sum payment to which a child would be partially entitled are…

  • Lottery winnings,
  • Worker’s compensation settlement, or
  • Small claims settlement.

What Factors Does The Judge Consider When Determining Whether To Grant An Increase Or Decrease To A Child Support Order In North Carolina?

The factors that the judge will consider when determining whether to grant an increase or decrease to a child support order in North Carolina are…

  • Whether or not the changes to the party’s income are willful or beyond their control,
  • Whether or not there has been a substantial increase in income, and
  • Whether or not the increase to income would substantially affect the well-being of the child.

When Would The Court Consider A Petition To Change A Spousal Support Or Alimony Order?

In North Carolina, the court is looking at keeping the party in the same or similar financial condition that they were in while they were married to the other party. The court would consider changing the spousal support or alimony order upon new evidence of the party receiving the support being engaged in certain behaviors that would otherwise preclude them from receiving spousal support.

The court would be looking at…

  • Whether or not the dependent spouse has become or is now in a situation where they’re receiving more income and are no longer dependent,
  • Whether or not there was a willful change in circumstances to the supporting spouse,
  • Whether or not there was a non-willful change in the circumstances of the supporting spouse,
  • The age and retirement abilities of each party and how their change in financial circumstances will impact that, including the health of each party moving forward.

Can I Appeal A Decision Granted By The Court To Increase Or Decrease Spousal Support?

Spousal Support is a temporary order that is a prelude to a more permanent order of alimony. Since it is not a permanent order, the court considers it interlocutory, which means that the final determination has not been made on that issue. Since a final determination has not been made and there’s a court case still pending on the issue, it is not appealable.

For more information on Modification Of Family Court Orders In NC, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (980) 324-3099 today.

 Hometown Counsel

Call Now To Speak With A Dedicated Attorney!
(980) 324-3099

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