Year-Round School in North Carolina - How Will it Affect Custody Orders?

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The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board recently approved year-round calendars for four schools beginning July 2013. This change will affect many Miller Bowles Law clients with custody orders that take into account visitation during their child’s summer break; however, there are options that will help families adjust to their child’s new schedule.

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"We are very interested to see how the new school schedules will affect our clients' custody arrangements."
- Chris Miller, Partner

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board recently unanimously approved year-round calendars for four schools in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. This non-traditional schedule will launch in July 2013. Two of the four schools affected will have 19 school days added to their calendar, while the other two schools will spend 180 days in school like other students, but will have their breaks spread out. This break from the traditional Fall through Spring school year is being implemented in an effort to reduce the loss of academic skills during the summer. However, this change has led to many concerns, especially among parents who adhere to custody orders.

Many parents abide by a court-ordered visitation schedule, and many of those schedules have specific summer vacation visits. These summer vacation visits were likely planned based on a “normal” 10-12 week summer break from school. What are parents to do when their child’s school implements a year-round calendar like some of the above-mentioned Charlotte schools? The first course of action should be to try to work out an agreement with the other parent. If the visitation schedule is part of a separation agreement, it can be altered based on the new circumstances if both parents agree to the change. However, if the visitation schedule is found in a child custody order, a motion to have the schedule modified must be made to the Court. Per the North Carolina General Statutes, section 50-13.7, this motion must show that a substantial change of circumstances has occurred that affects the welfare of the child. Additionally, the motion must show that the best interest of the child requires the order to be modified. A North Carolina family law attorney can help file this motion with the Court to ensure the best outcome for your family.

A change in the visitation schedule, like one brought on by altered school schedules, can be frustrating and stressful for parents and children alike. Adjusting to a new schedule can take time and effort for everyone involved. Speaking with a family law attorney in the event your visitation schedule changes will help ease the stress your family may feel. A family law attorney can help modify the visitation schedule to best suit your family so that the transition is as smooth as possible.

Miller Bowles Law is a full-service Charlotte Family Law firm located in the historic district of Dilworth in Charlotte, North Carolina. The attorneys at Miller Bowles Law have over 15 years of combined experience in representing clients in Charlotte family law cases and family law cases in surrounding counties including Union, Gaston, Iredell, and beyond. Our mission, simply stated, is to provide the highest-quality legal representation to our clients so that each feels supported and well-prepared to face the family law court system. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your personal situation in greater detail to help you understand how the North Carolina family laws apply to you and your family, as well as your best course of action.

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Christopher Miller

Kate Bowles Miller
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