The terms of your divorce come from the courts as a court order. The division of your assets, the allocation of parental responsibilities and rights, and the obligation to pay spousal or child support are all typically court orders. While that does mean that they are official and legally binding, that does not necessarily mean that those terms are permanent.
Especially in the case of both custody and support matters, the courts recognize that familial situations change over time. What may have been the best possible solution at the time of your divorce may not be appropriate anymore even six months later. Thankfully, you have the right under South Carolina law to request a modification of your custody arrangements after the courts finalize your divorce.
What is a modification?
A modification is a new court order adjusting or changing the terms of the original support or custody order. It is a formal revision that is legally binding. You must go through the courts to obtain a modification. Informal agreements with the other party in your divorce will not stand up in court or protect you from enforcement action in the future.
More time with both parents is usually what's best for the kids
Psychological research is clear that in most family scenarios, shared custody between parents is the best option for the family. Shared custody arrangements, also called co-parenting, allows both parents the opportunity to maintain strong bonds with the children. With the exception of rare situations, such as those involving addiction or abuse, the courts tend to favor shared custody scenarios.
If issues such as addiction or violent behavior impacted the original custody proceedings, you will likely need to demonstrate an improvement in your situation in order for the courts to grant a modification. From completing rehabilitation to undergoing anger management, there are many ways for parents to proactively address situations that culminated in visitation instead of shared custody.
For divorces where a lack of parental interest or stability was the deciding factor, simply asking for more time with the children may be enough to secure it. However, you will still need to demonstrate your desire for more time with your children and your ability to provide a safe and positive environment for them when they stay with you.
Getting a modification can help you spend more time with your kids
If you believe you are ready to be a more active part of your children's lives, you should absolutely sit down with an experienced South Carolina family law attorney. Reviewing your divorce records and discussing your wishes as a parent with a lawyer can help you find the best path toward the future you envision with your family.