511 S.E.2d 60 (S.C. 1999), 24880, Pitt v. Olds

Docket Nº:24880.
Citation:511 S.E.2d 60, 333 S.C. 478
Opinion Judge:WALLER, Justice:
Party Name:Sonya Lynn PITT, Respondent, v. Brian Todd OLDS, Petitioner.
Attorney:D. Mark Stokes, of N. Charleston, for petitioner. Greg Myers, Pratt-Thomas, Pearce, Epting and Walker, of Charleston, for respondent. Cindy M. Floyd, of N. Charleston, Guardian ad Litem.
Case Date:January 18, 1999
Court:Supreme Court of South Carolina
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 60

511 S.E.2d 60 (S.C. 1999)

333 S.C. 478

Sonya Lynn PITT, Respondent,

v.

Brian Todd OLDS, Petitioner.

No. 24880.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

January 18, 1999

Heard Dec. 1, 1998.

Rehearing Denied Feb. 22, 1999.

Page 61

[333 S.C. 479] D. Mark Stokes, of N. Charleston, for petitioner.

[333 S.C. 480] Greg Myers, Pratt-Thomas, Pearce, Epting and Walker, of Charleston, for respondent.

Cindy M. Floyd, of N. Charleston, Guardian ad Litem.

WALLER, Justice:

We granted a writ of certiorari to review the Court of Appeals' opinion in Pitt v. Olds, 327 S.C. 512, 489 S.E.2d 666 (Ct.App.1997). We reverse.

FACTS

This is a custody dispute. Respondent, Sonya Pitt (Mother), and Petitioner, Brian Olds (Father), were married in Berkeley County in May, 1988. They had one child, Ashton, born in December, 1988. They were divorced in September, 1991 based on one year's continuous separation. The divorce decree granted the parties joint legal custody, with Mother having primary custody, and father having secondary custody and liberal visitation.

In March, 1993, Mother and Father consented to an order of the family court enjoining either of them from permanently removing Ashton from the State of South Carolina on a permanent basis prior to obtaining leave of court. In April, 1994, Mother, then age 23, married George Pitt, a 49 year old businessman from Arizona. 1 The following month, Mother petitioned family court seeking to permanently move with Ashton to Arizona to set up residence with her new husband. After a lengthy hearing, the family court ruled it would be "clearly adverse to the best interests of Ashton Olds were she to be removed from her family and friends, familiar surroundings, and her father here in South Carolina to ... Phoenix, Arizona where she would be essentially a stranger and not have the necessary family support network ..." The family court found no evidence a move to Arizona would be in the best interests of the child. Accordingly, the court continued the parties' joint custody arrangement with Mother having primary custody so long as she established permanent residency in the geographical area, but that if she failed to do so, Father would become primary custodian.

[333 S.C. 481] The Court of Appeals reversed, holding Mother's desire to join her new husband in Arizona constituted a "pressing need" sufficient to allow...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP