In North Carolina, temporary custody is the initial appearance before a court to resolve the visitation schedule pending mediation and a permanent hearing. Temporary hearings are often limited in time and involve evidence as to the stability of the parties. The Judge will want to know the following to determine the best interest of the child:
- What was the routine and parental roles of the parties before the action was filed?
- What is the current living, employment, and school setting of the child?
- Can the parties operate under a schedule put into place by the court?
After a temporary custody hearing:
After the temporary custody hearing, the parties often go through mediation that is offered by the court system. This is a fantastic opportunity for two parents to sit down and come up with a schedule that fits their child. Attorneys are not present for this session, but can review any agreement reached.
If the agreement is signed, it is a permanent order of the court and can only be modified by a substantial change of circumstances. If the agreement is not signed, the parties may notice the matter back to court for a permanent order. Like a signed separation agreement, a permanent custody order can only be modified by a substantial change of circumstances.
The passage of time can also turn a temporary custody order into a permanent one. Case law determines that an order two years or older magically becomes permanent and will require a substantial change of circumstances to be modified.