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In North Carolina, as in most states, a child does not get final say on which parent they want to live with, though certainly the older they are, and the better they are able to articulate their wants, and their reasons for wanting to live with one parent versus the other, the more impact it can have. However, their wishes are just that, their wishes, and it is the court that will decide whether to modify custody based on the best interests of the child.
What you need to do is file a motion to modify custody, visitation and child support (since if the children are living with you full-time, you could end up getting child support) with the court. This motion must be served upon the children's mother, who has an opportunity to answer it. In most cases, there will be a hearing on your motion, where the court will look at numerous factors, such as the desires of the children, the emotional, physical and mental well-being of the children, the relationship of the children to each parent, the ability of each parent to properly care for and provide for the children, and the relationship of the parents to one another.
Good luck to you. If you have any additional questions, please press the reply button, and I will be happy to assist you further.
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