How Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child After Divorce in North Carolina?

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What is the Process of Adopting a Newborn Baby in Wilmington, NC? | Speaks Family Law

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North Carolina vigorously protects the parent-child relationship, allowing each parent to be involved in their children’s lives. However, in some cases, the state will remove a child from the mother’s home and send the child to live with other relatives or with foster parents.

In other situations, parents divorce or have a child out of wedlock, and the mother gets custody. The father might want to modify custody so that he has custody of the child and the mother gets visitation.

If you are worried about custody, contact a Wilmington family lawyer.

What is the Process of Adopting a Newborn Baby in Wilmington, NC? | Speaks Family Law

The State Removes Your Child

Child Protection Services typically gets involved when there has been credible suspicion of abuse, neglect, or endangerment. For example, a schoolteacher might notice bruises on your child’s back and call Child Protection Services to report her suspicions. The agency will investigate and probably speak to you.

If the department suspects abuse, they can remove the child from your home. This does not necessarily mean your parental rights will be terminated. Termination is a last resort, and parents usually have many chances to get themselves together. For example, if you have a drug or alcohol addiction, you might have supervised visitation with your children while you get treatment.

If you cannot turn your life around, then you might not get your children back. They might move in with a relative, such as your parents, or into foster care. Eventually, the state might move to terminate your parental rights.

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The Father Requests Custody Modification

It is hard to modify custody in North Carolina. Once a judge signs off on a custody order, he is not anxious to revisit it. Judges in particular like stability, so they will maintain the status quo unless there is a very good reason to support a change of custody.

What is a legitimate reason to change custody? Here are some of the more common:

  • You are endangering your child, or someone in your household (like a new partner) is a danger to the child. Your new boyfriend might have a criminal history of abuse or molestation, or he could be addicted to drugs.
  • You persistently interfere with the father’s right to visitation. Cancelling visitation or not showing up for no valid reason can anger a judge, especially if you repeatedly deny visitation. Cancelling visitation once is not enough to warrant a change of custody. Significant interference with the other parent’s relationship with your child is. It is also a problem if you try to emotionally alienate your children from their father.

If you have received papers concerning a modification of child custody, reach out to a lawyer today. Often, you can successfully fight off a request to change custody, but you need to convince a judge to maintain the status quo.

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Legal Advice when You Need it Most

At Speaks Law Firm, we have represented many mothers in custody disputes. Our firm has built its reputation providing detailed, passionate representation for many emotional issues. If you would like to find out more, contact us today.