Wanting your children with you full-time is not enough for the North Carolina courts to grant you full custody. You will need a valid reason for petitioning officials to give you primary care of your children.
Knowing under what circumstances you have a reasonable chance of succeeding can help you identify your next steps. If at any point your original agreement no longer works, you have the right to request a modification.
Abuse and neglect
Concerns about the physical well-being of your children are a legitimate and pressing reason to petition for sole custody. According to the North Carolina Judicial Branch, the best interests of your children include all factors related to their welfare. Additionally, splitting the time between you and your ex equally is not a priority for the courts if your children’s welfare is in jeopardy.
If you notice that your children have unexplained injuries or illnesses you might want to pay closer attention to the situation at your ex’s home. Another potential red flag is the way your children behave. Do they seem fearful to spend time with your ex? Do they become withdrawn or anxious? If your children tell you things that concern you, considering sole custody might take priority.
Instability and relocation
There might also be extenuating circumstances that leave your ex unable to provide a stable household for your children. Job loss or an unexpected illness or disability could interfere with your ex’s mental health and ability to responsibly parent. Abandonment, depression and suicidal thoughts can endanger your children and their ability to grow in a safe environment.
Other reasons to seek full custody include incarceration or relocation. Consulting with your legal team prior to asking for sole custody can help you articulate a persuasive argument about why this change would benefit your children more than the current agreement.