Change custody from consenting sole custodian?

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Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780


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I have a situation where my niece’s sole custodian (her mother) has consented to transfer custody to my wife and I, in the best interest of the child. The father is still living, but custody and rights to the child were removed from him as of the last effective court order (and he’s also in prison).

I gather there are several options:

  1. File a complaint for custody. While this is a possibility, I understand it’s one of the slowest methods available.

  2. Have the mother file a motion for change of custody. I’ve been told this is the fastest/best solution.

  3. I have read online that a consent agreement to modify child custody would work in this situation. The catch is, it seems that a consent agreement is typically tailored to both parents, whereas only 1 parent has rights/custody regarding the child.

If someone could point me in the right direction, I’d appreciate it.
The biggest problem I’ve encountered is that there are no forms (that I can find) for a motion OR consent agreement, for a change of custody, at least for North Carolina (I’ve found some options for other states).
Also, neither we, nor the mother, have the money available to hire a lawyer to write up the motion or consent.

I’ve read in several areas that filing paperwork without a lawyer, can be done “in pro se”? So does this avoid the need for certain legal mumbo jumbo in the document that is filed?

Also, is there a way to handle this quickly? The child is already living with my wife and I, and we spent an entire week now trying to get her enrolled in our local public school, only to find that the information that was given to us by the local Board of Education was totally incorrect, regarding what was required to get her enrolled (essentially, this would have to be a specific hardship situation, or we must have custody, to enroll the child).

To avoid her missing more days of school, I really need to find a solution fast. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

Just a note, I’ve found a consent agreement on Rosen’s website, but it’s for child support…

I was hoping to find a form somewhere that someone had already submitted themselves, but it appears nobody else has thought to scan in their legally formed documents online for the assistance of others dealing with custody issues in NC.

Looking forward to any helpful replies.