In the case of Keaton v. Keaton, the North Carolina Court of Appeals reviewed the trial court’s determination that neither party met their burden of proving that there had been a substantial change in circumstances affecting the welbeing of the minor child. The parties separation agreement, which was incorporated into their Judgment of Absolute Divorce, provided primary child custody of the parties’ minor child to Mom with visitation to Dad.
A month after the entry of the divorce decree incorporating the separation agreement, Mom filed a motion to modify child custody and asked that Dad have no visitation whatsoever. Dad also filed a motion to modify child custody.
During the hearing on the cross motions to modify custody, Mom testified that Dad had physically and sexually abused the child. The trial court denied both motions to modify finding that neither party had proven that there had been a substantial change in circumstances affecting the minor child. Mom appealed and argued that certain findings of fact (those that Dad did not abuse the minor child) were not supported by competent evidence. The Court of Appeals ruled that, although there was conflicting evidence on these points, there was competent evidence to support the trial court’s findings of fact.
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