Williams v. Chaney (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-220-17, 24 pp.) (Donna Stroud, J.) Appealed from Lincoln County District Court (Larry Wilson, J.) N.C. App.
Holding: Since the trial court’s October 2013 custody order, the only changes have been negative: failed efforts at counseling, the child’s increased anxiety, and the plaintiff-mother’s continued failure to improve her behavior. Where the trial court made unchallenged findings that prior reunification efforts have caused the parties’ child “intense psychological stress” and that more reunification counseling would “re-traumatize” him, the trial court’s findings do not support its conclusion that there was a substantial change in circumstances justifying a modification of the custody order such that the defendant-father was required to select a psychologist or counselor to counsel with the child, the mother and, as appropriate, both of them, “to explore the issue of resuming visitation between Mother and child, even on a limited basis.”
We affirm the trial court’s findings of fact, reverse its conclusion of law, and remand for entry of a conclusion that there has been no substantial change of circumstances justifying modification of the October 2013 order.