If you have a parenting plan set up for your child, you should know when a custody modification is necessary.
There are three main reasons that you might want to request custody modifications.
Reason 1: The Fitness/Unfitness of Parent
If you believe the other parent is not a fit parent, then you may be thinking about seeking a custody modification.
This particular issue can be very tricky. You will need to prove that the other parent cannot provide care for your child. You might imagine, this leads to hurt feelings and potential mudslinging. So stand by for additional stress!
Note: Before you request a modification to your parenting plan, make sure you are not just trying to hurt the other parent and that you have sufficient proof.
On the other hand, if you are the non-custodial parent and believe that you are now fit to parent your child, you can request custody modifications. Again, you have to be able to prove that you are now more fit than when the original parenting plan was set up. You also have to have evidence that it is in your child’s best interest to modify your existing arrangement.
Reason 2: Your Child is Having Problems
If your child has begun to have problems either at home or at school and you believe that they are caused by the circumstances of your child’s life with the other parent, then you want to ask for custody modifications.
You will need to prove that your child is having legitimate problems and that the custodial parent is either not concerned or not able to address the problems. You must also prove that you are the best parent to resolve these problems.
Reason 3: Preference of Your Child
This reason occurs most often when your child becomes a teenager and starts seeking more independence – or even working both parents against each other.
The court will listen to your child’s preference and take into consideration when making any parenting plan. The court understands though that sometimes, teenagers want to live with the least restrictive parent and will keep that in mind too.
The judge would consider your child’s age, their maturity, and their judgment along with their preference.
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.
You must be able to prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstance that occurred after the most recent custody order and the substantial change affects the child’s best interests and welfare.
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If you need help with any issues surrounding a parenting plan modification, reach out to us today!