How to Modify a North Carolina Family Law Order

There are many types of Family Law Orders. You may have an Equitable Distribution (property) Order, a Child Custody and Child Support Order, a Child Custody Order and an Alimony Order, or any combination thereof. The one thing they have in common is they are in fact, Orders…they will be signed by a judge, either by consent among the parties and their attorneys or after a hearing or trial. Once you have a family law order in place how does one change it?

Court orders can be modified upon a showing of significant changes of circumstances since the prior order and then proving the changes requested are warranted by existing law, or in custody matters, are in the best interests of the children. One commences the action by filing a Motion to Modify enumerating as many significant changes as possible and asking for the relief desired. You then serve the motion on the opposing party or his/her attorney. Typical issues that change over time that can be the subject of motions to modify are limited overnights for a parent when a child is an infant, but the child is now 10 years old; where one child ages out, and child support needs to be recalculated for the remaining children; where a payor of alimony or child support loses their job through no fault of their own; or where a parent starts acting in ways that are not in the best interests of the children.

As in all matters before the Court, it is best to get an opinion of an experienced attorney regarding the possible outcome of your motion to modify. Once the court has jurisdiction of the matter, the court has discretion to modify the order in the way it deems is appropriate or is best for the children no matter if you asked the court for an entirely different outcome.