G.S. 50-13.7(a) provides that “… an order … for the custody of a minor child may be modified or vacated at any time, upon motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party or anyone interested.” However, case law supplements this statute to provide that an order may be modified only upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the original order, Savani v. Savani, 102 NC App 496 (2001), and the substantial change must affect the welfare of the minor child. Pulliam v. Smith, 348 NC 616 (1998); Shipman v. Shipman, 357 NC 471 (2003).Continue Reading
Child custody orders can be modified upon a showing that there has been a substantial change in circumstances affecting the welfare of the child(ren) since the entry of the last custody order and upon a showing that modification is in the best interest of the child(ren). GS 50-13.7; Shipman v. Shipman, 357 NC 471 (2003). Three relatively recent opinions from the court of appeals clarify that the required substantial change does not necessarily need to be the development or occurrence of a new circumstance; the required substantial change can be a change in the way an existing circumstance impacts the welfare of the child(ren).