After settling a divorce, there may come a time for modification in child custody. One or both parents may have a new or different working situation, or perhaps the child is older and has made a request for a change in visitation. It could also depend upon the financial position of a parent. Whatever the case, a child support and custody order is a direct order of the court. It is best to go through the court to make and document any modifications taking place to the original court order.
If you are looking to modify your custody agreement, contact a child custody lawyer in Fort Mill today.
In many cases, parents can come to their own agreements without involving the court directly before making it official within the court system. If a case is already established and both parents have reached an agreement on their own, the Department of Social Services can review the case and make this change administratively, at no cost.
Two Kinds of Custody
South Carolina has two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. In a divorce, a couple can agree to split both legal and physical custody or agree to a joint custody situation. Or, one parent might opt to have both types of custody in their name. The latter request would most likely end up in a court with a judge, should the other parent disagree about the terms of custody. In most cases throughout the United States, the judge will do what’s in the best interest of the child.
When both parents agree to share custody, it is a joint custody agreement. The courts prefer that in joint custody situations, the parents split their time by one parent having the child during the week and the other on the weekends. This allows ongoing stability in the child’s life. Sole custody means one parent has full custody of the child and the other parent may have some or no visitation rights. In these cases, the courts have decided it is in the best interest of the child.
To change or modify a set custody agreement, you must meet various criteria. One criterion would be a substantial change in the circumstances of one or both parents. This could be as simple as a work-related issue based on the parents’ schedules.
Changing Circumstances Call for Changes in Custody
Another reason might be because the child requests the change or because of a potential change in the home environment. If the circumstances have changed, for example, if one of the parents is unfit to care for the child and the home has become unstable, the court may choose to allow a custody modification until further notice.
Many other ways exist to determine who will get child custody in the South Carolina court system.
- The child’s preference for parental custody, if applicable
- The religious faith of the child and the parents
- A history of domestic violence in the home
- Parental behaviors – irrational, violent, abusive
- A child’s relationship with the parents
- The home environment
After a couple divorces, every state has its own criteria for custody. One thing remains true across the board: The court system hopes the parents will work together to provide a stable and workable living situation for their children in any custody and divorce situation. It would be beneficial for everyone involved if the parents can agree on what is best for the child/children and that they are willing to share custody jointly. The court will also work with the family to modify the custody agreement to everyone’s satisfaction.
Contact us to learn more.