When a North Carolina married couple who are parents file for divorce, they must resolve all important issues pertaining to their children. Child custody is usually a top priority, and the more parents are willing to cooperate for the sake of their kids, the less stressful the process might be. That does not guarantee, however, that a legal complication will not arise, in which case it pays to know where to seek additional support as needed. For instance, if a parent wishes to request a child custody modification, additional support can be beneficial.

The court expects parents to thoroughly discuss all material child custody, parenting time and child support issues before signing an agreement. A modification request can be made, however, after an existing agreement has been reduced to a court order. Such a request may also be made in connection with parenting time or child support, as well.

If a parent files a petition asking the court to modify the terms of an existing court order, he or she must be prepared to show legitimate cause for doing so. The focus of a family court judge in these matters is the best interest of the children involved. Issues that might prompt the court to grant a modification request might include a change in employment status or a decrease or loss of income. A parent’s need for relocation due to his or her job may also impede the ability to adhere to the existing terms of a court order.

When North Carolina parents agree to specific child custody, parenting time or child support plan, which subsequently becomes a court order, they must fully adhere to its terms. Even if both parents are willing to change an agreement, they cannot do so unless the court has approved the change. For instance, a parent who can no longer meet the terms of a child support agreement because he or she has lost a job is expected to keep making payments in a timely manner unless and until the judge overseeing the case grants a request for modification. Any parent with questions regarding these or other legal issues may request a meeting with an experienced family law attorney for support.