Can you get a custody modification over holiday disputes?

Custody orders or not, it’s not unusual for divorced parents to end up in disputes over their holiday plans. Usually, those disputes center around who has the children at what time — and whether a co-parent will agree to any changes in the visitation schedule.

For example, if your custody schedule says that your child is supposed to spend this Thanksgiving with your ex-spouse but your parents are coming into town just that weekend, you may be frustrated and angry if your ex won’t make any adjustments to accommodate a visit with their grandchild.

Is this kind of a dispute enough to get a custody modification?

North Carolina only allows custody orders to be modified when there has been a substantial change in circumstances and there is evidence that a modification will serve the child’s best interests.

In general, a dispute over visitation with the child’s extended relatives that happens to interfere with your co-parent’s custody time isn’t enough to warrant modification. While upsetting, if your ex-spouse is within their rights, there’s probably not much you can do.

That being said, the holiday season can bring to a head issues with custody that were already simmering. If, for example, your ex-spouse has generally refused to facilitate any opportunities for your child to interact with their extended relatives on your side of the family, that could be a consideration that the court will take seriously.

In all custody disputes, the best interests of the child reign supreme — no matter how that may affect you as their parent. If you’re unsure what you can do about a problematic custody situation, it may be time to find out more about the options you have.

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