Is delaying child custody hearings an option in North Carolina?

Griffin Law, PLLC
Dec 14, 2023

Working to resolve a child custody case can be stressful, especially when you’re trying to negotiate terms with your spouse and simultaneously manage your day-to-day life. You may find yourself wishing for more time to get things in order. The good news is getting more time is an option under certain circumstances, but you need to know the valid grounds that could influence a judge to grant this decision.

Requesting a delay through a continuance

A continuance refers to the legal postponement of a scheduled court hearing. Either parent can request one for various reasons, such as:

  1. Illness or personal emergency for you or your lawyer
  2. Unavailability of a crucial witness to your case
  3. Need for more time to prepare requirements
  4. Change of legal representation
  5. Conflict with another court setting

It’s important to note that there is no guarantee of a grant of a continuance, and it depends on the trial judge’s discretion.

Making your request

When requesting a continuance, you may submit a written motion or make an oral request in court. You must be ready to explain your need for the continuance and provide any necessary documentation. If the judge grants the continuance, the hearing will be rescheduled, and all parties will receive a notification about the motion. If denied, the hearing will proceed as initially planned.

Get your affairs in order during the continuance

Attending a court-ordered hearing is of utmost importance. Failure to do so can influence the judge’s decision against you and may result in charges of contempt of court. If certain events prevent you from attending a scheduled hearing, a continuance is an option. However, the decision to grant this lies with the judge. Ensure your reasons for the delay are valid and honestly communicated to improve your chances. The court’s main objective is the protection of the child’s best interests. As such, you should frame your continuance request with this priority in mind.

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