In a divorce, the most contentious and emotional of all issues can be child custody. When the well-being of your children is at stake, it’s only natural to want to protect them.
Tragically, there are some parents who take this natural inclination too far. Recently, the American Bar Association Journal reported the stories of several women who plotted to murder their former husbands. They did so because they were upset by their custody arrangements.
In the most recent case, a former elementary school teacher and her father pleaded guilty to plotting to kill her former husband.
In another case, a woman has pleaded guilty to the 2010 murder of her ex-husband. Her mother has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. She and her daughter plotted to kill the victim’s mother because they feared she would testify in her son’s case.
Cases like these are so tragic because the children end up being deprived of one or both parents.
Obviously, the right way to modify a child custody arrangement is through the court system. In South Carolina, the court allows modification of child custody orders “based upon changed circumstances that have materially affected the children,” according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
When modifying a child custody order, “the court must consider the best interest of the child,” states the South Carolina Code. The best interest of a child includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- The temperament and needs of the child
- The child’s preference, if he or she is old enough to express a preference
- The wishes of the parents
- The relationship between the child and his or her parents, siblings, grandparents, and anyone else who has a significant impact on his or her best interest
- The adjustment of the child to his or her home, school, and community
- Whether or not one parent has perpetrated domestic violence or abuse
- Whether or not one parent has moved more than one hundred miles away from the child’s primary residence
Unfortunately, it is not enough to simply want more time with your child. In order to modify a child custody determination, there must have been a change in circumstances affecting the best interest of the child.
If you would like to modify an existing child custody order, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be glad to help you.