When you got divorced, you and your spouse had a parenting plan set up for children.
You may be wondering if that parenting plan can be modified.
In this article, we will list milestones you should pay attention to for re-examining your parenting plan.
Changes in the Needs of Your Child
If there have been changes in the needs of your child since your original parenting plan was established, then it is a good time to ask for a re-examination of your parenting plan.
Examples of these changes might include:
- Medical Needs: Your child may develop additional or new medical needs. These needs could result in higher medical costs, additional resources needed for care, or additional time investment to treat your child(ren). In this type of situation, it would be absolutely reasonable to re-examine child support and ask for a modification.
- The Behavior of Child: As your grows, he/she may act out towards one or both parents. In fact, some of this is probably to be expected, puberty is rough for everyone! If the custodial parent is not taking the proper actions to help the child grow in a healthy way (mentally or physically), or you believe their emotional and social challenges to be caused by what is going on at home, you can ask that you become the custodial parent or to otherwise modify the parenting plan to address these issues.
- Age of child: When your child becomes a teenager, he or she may voice their opinion about what parent they would rather live with. The court will take their opinion into consideration and possibly modify the parenting plan.
If one parent’s financial situation changes, it might be time to re-examine the parenting plan. For example, if the custodial parent loses their job, then he/she can request a child support modification. Another example is if the non-custodial parent takes a pay cut, then he or she can request a child support modification.
Changes in Family Makeup
If a child reaches the age of majority, then child support will need to be modified. Also, if custody changes from one parent to the other by any of the children, then child support will also need to be modified.
If the custodial parent wants to relocate, then the parenting plan does not necessarily need to be re-examined unless the non-custodial parent can prove there has been a substantial change that affects the welfare of the child. The court may also look at how a relocation will affect the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent. Other things the court will look at are:
- Best interest of the child
- Reason for relocation
- Degree to which it would improve the child’s health, education, and general circumstances
South Carolina Law
South Carolina Law (S.C. Code Ann. § 63-15-240(B)) lists factors that the court should consider when determining what is in the best interest of your child. A few of these are:
- The temperament and developmental needs of the child;
- The preferences of each minor child;
- The capacity and disposition of the parents to understand and meet the needs of the child;
- The wishes of each parent as to custody;
- The past and current interaction and relationship of the child with each parent, the child’s siblings, and relatives who may significantly affect the best interest of the child;
- The actions of each parent to encourage the continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, including compliance with court orders;
- Any manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents to involve the child in the parents’ dispute;
- Any effort by one parent to disparage the other parent in front of the child;
- The ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child;
- The child’s adjustment to his or home, school, and community environments; and
- The stability of the child’s existing and proposed residences.