Child Custody in North Carolina


Child custody can be very stressful, filled with emotional and legal issues. The attorneys at Gilles Law know the important questions to ask when determining how child custody could be decided in your case. We want to learn about your child or children and help you decide the best course of action for the best possible outcome for you and your child or children.


North Carolina law requires the Court to make a determination of child custody based on what will be in the best interest and welfare of the child. The Court will look at all relevant factors to determine what child custody arrangement the Court believes is the in the best interests of the child. Therefore, just about any topic may be relevant, including information about each parent and his/her home, each parent’s work schedule or ability to care for the child, the care previously provided by each parent, medical issues for either parent or the child, and any other issues the Court deems necessary.

The law encourages the parents to resolve the custody issue outside of Court by requiring parents to engage in some form of mediation outside of Court. The purpose of mediation is to give the parents an opportunity to resolve their child custody case without the need for judicial intervention. Reaching an agreement on child custody allows each parent to have a say in the custody arrangement and tailor any agreement to the parents’ and child’s schedules. If the parties are not able to reach a settlement, then the issue will be heard by one of the Family Court judges, who will determine and decide child custody.


For a child custody order to be modified in North Carolina, there must be a substantial change in circumstances since the original order was entered. This change must affect the welfare of the child. Additionally, the modification must be in the child’s best interest.  Once you can show that there was a substantial change in circumstances, the judge will determine what change can be made to the order to align with the child’s best interest.