Modification of Child Custody or Visitation
You may have a child custody or visitation order now that addresses you and your child’s needs. However, circumstances can change. One parent may need to move for work or may become ill. The needs of your children will also change throughout their lives.
When changes happen, you or the other parent may want to modify the child custody or visitation order. Because any change to the agreement can have a significant impact on you and your child, it is important to work with a skilled and experienced family lawyer.
To protect your interests and ensure your child’s best interests are fulfilled, do not hesitate to contact the experienced lawyers at Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C. Whether you live in Spartanburg, Greenville, or another Upstate South Carolina city or town, we can help you to protect your legal rights and develop the child custody or visitation provisions you and your child need.
When Does Modification Arise?
A child custody or visitation order might need to be modified in any number of situations, including but not limited to:
- One parent needs to move for work, to take care of family or for another reason
- The child’s other parent has been abusive towards the child
- The parents cannot agree on how to handle the child’s education, medical care, or religious training
- The child has particular medical or other needs that would be better served with a different parenting arrangement
- Another change has occurred that requires a modification of the custody or visitation agreement in order to serve the child’s best interests.
The reasons a modification order may be needed are as unique and varied as the families that seek modification. Your attorney can help ensure the court understands why your child needs this change.
How Is Modification Determined?
In order to establish a need for modification, the parent seeking modification must demonstrate to the court that there has been a substantial and material change of circumstances and that the change is in the child’s best interests.
“changed circumstances” require a change in the custody or visitation agreement to meet the child’s best interests.
According to the South Carolina Court of Appeals, the change in circumstances must be one that “substantially affect[s] the interest and welfare of the child” – not just a change that one or both parents find “convenient.”
The parent seeking the modification must show “changed circumstances” regardless of whether the original custody or visitation arrangement was made through an agreement or established by court order.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
Every situation in which a parent seeks modification of a custody or visitation order is different. The “changed circumstances” depend on the unique circumstances of your life and your child’s life.
Your child’s best interests will depend in part on his or her education, religious upbringing, medical needs and personal relationships with family and friends. Whether your current arrangement was set by agreement or court order will also affect your case.
An experienced attorney understands how all these factors fit together to create a situation unlike any other. Your lawyer can help you to tackle the legal and technical challenges involved in seeking modification in a way that makes clear what your child’s best interests are.
Tasks your attorney can help you complete include:
- Negotiating with your child’s other parent to modify the arrangement
- Gathering and compiling evidence to establish your child’s circumstances and best interests
- Representing you in court hearings
- Drafting motions and other legal documents.
Contact our Upstate South Carolina Child Custody and Visitation Modification Lawyers
Every loving parent knows that when circumstances change, their child’s best interests come first. You can ensure your child’s needs are met by working with an experienced attorney.
The lawyers at Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., are available to speak to you right away about your case. Contact us today so we can protect your rights as a parent.