NC COA Case Summary: Shell v. Shell

By Ketan P. Soni

Custody Modification, COA17-990, Aug. 21, 2018 
David W. Shell & Donna Shell v. David Dwayne Shell & Nicole Green
Watauga County

A custody order was entered in 2012. Plaintiffs are the paternal grandparents.

Defendant is the father of the children, and Nicole is the mother.

In 2012, Father was granted sole legal and physical custody of the children. Mother was granted visitation. Father lived with Grandparents at the time.

After trial on the Motion to Modify, the trial court reversed custody and granted primary physical custody to Mother.

In this case, the substantial change of circumstances were Mother’s positive changes of 1) becoming sober, which had a positive impact on her relationship with the children; 2) getting remarried, and specifically because the children’s relationship with their step-father had grown stronger over the years; 3) Mother’s efforts to improve communication coupled with Father’s continued attempts to diminish cooperation between the parents; and 4) Father’s incapability compared to Mother to provide help and involvement with school-aged children versus the time of the 2012 order, when the children were not in school.

Modification of the Order was upheld.