Modifying Child Custody in South Carolina

It can be difficult to determine the documentation and other information that is required to modify a custody decision in South Carolina. In order for a court to grant a change in child custody the non-custodial parent must show a change in circumstances that negatively impacts the child’s welfare and best interests. The court considers the way in which a change in custody will impact all aspects of a child’s life, including their physical, psychological, spiritual, educational, familial, emotional, and recreational health. The court generally examines each party’s character to determine which parent is best equipped to care for the overall well being of the child. There are some common ways in which non-custodial parents have successfully convinced a court to change custody.

De Facto v. De Jure Custody

Although the custody of a child may be determined in a courtroom, the actual physical placement of the child may differ on a day-to-day basis. For example, there are numerous cases in which the child spends long periods of time, such as weeks or months, with the non-custodial parent without either party seeking modification of the custody order. This kind of arrangement may cause additional problems if the custodial parent asks for child support or the parent who has legal custody of the child wants them back at some point. If a spouse is seeking modification based on the living arrangement of a child, then they should consider their readiness to care for the child, as well as the happiness and success of the child that is brought about by their care. Once a court has determined that a parent is unfit, the child will be moved to the appropriate party.

Prove One Parent Unfit

Although the conversation between de facto and de jure custody also brings into consideration the fitness of either parent, a separate type of modification case is one in which the transfer of a child is predicated on the inability of a parent to care for their young one. Often times the Department of Social Services will pursue a case for abuse or neglect when a parent is being reviewed for their fitness. Fortunately, during these types of hearings there is typically a significant amount of time for the unfit party to heal and recover and for the fit parent to begin to develop a relationship with the child, if it does not already exist.

Substantial Problems Associated with Custodial Parent

Sometimes, a custodial parent is unable to fix significant problems that their child is facing, which may cause there to be a change in custody. During a modification case in which one parent is unable to mediate the problems of a child, an attorney may suggest that you consider requesting the appointment of a guardian ad item, which will help to validate the extent of the child’s problems. Often times the custodial parent will try to minimize the child’s problems, which is where a guardian ad item becomes useful.

Each time a non-custodial party requests to change custody different type of information must be provided to the court. At Ayers Family Law we have a team of attorneys that understand your desire to see your child and we believe that you should receive the best possible support. If you need divorce counsel then you can call 843-628-2871 to speak with an experienced Charleston divorce attorney.