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5 parenting scenarios that can warrant a custody modification

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2023 | Custody |

While a divorce agreement provides finality for ex-couples to move forward with their lives, it is rarely set in stone. South Carolina courts recognize that families experience changes that may warrant a custody modification.

The original court order may be subject to custody modification if substantial changes in circumstances impact the child’s best interests. If both parents do not agree that a change is necessary, the requesting party can prove how the other parent’s poor choices endanger the child’s well-being. 

Poor parenting can harm the child

Not all major life events can automatically become grounds for custody modification. For example, remarrying or relocating to another state may seem significant enough because they can alter the parent-child dynamics. However, if they do not negatively affect the child’s welfare, a modification may not be essential.

On the contrary, the following parenting scenarios often qualify for a modification as they can severely impact the child’s best interests:

  • Interfering with the other parent’s time with the child: Deliberately restricting access by cutting communication channels or not following the approved parenting schedule by not making timely transitions going to the other parent’s house
  • Exposing the child to inappropriate actions: Excessive drinking, taking drugs or watching pornography in the child’s presence
  • Neglecting the child’s educational development: Failing to monitor the child’s academic performance and not signing them up for tutorial sessions, or encouraging them to skip school
  • Creating an unstable environment: Failing to provide consistency to the child’s routines by not actively seeking a secure job or depending on relatives for the child’s basic needs
  • Abusing the child: Manifesting through patterns of physical, emotional, mental or verbal abuse; an unfit parent may also have a mental disability or engage in criminal activities

While the child may look up to their parents for love and support, not all parents reciprocate the same amount of affection. When this happens, the judge may decide on an outcome erring on the child’s safety and protection.

Parent-child relationships can only get more complex

Ideally, both parties agree on co-parenting terms that consider the child’s unique needs and each spouse’s situation. Unfortunately, as the parents and the child age, their growing requirements may become more complicated. Priorities may no longer align, leading to disagreements that escalate into a trial. When this happens, a legal advocate can help look out for parental rights and the child’s future.