McElveen v. McElveen, 21573

Decision Date28 September 1981
Docket NumberNo. 21573,21573
Citation283 S.E.2d 826,277 S.C. 97
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court
PartiesRichard Keith McELVEEN, Respondent, v. Elaine Brennan McELVEEN, Appellant.

Richard J. Whitaker and Peter L. Fuge, of Fuge & Denton, Beaufort, for appellant.

H. Michael Bowers, of Howell & Barnes, Beaufort, for respondent.

GREGORY, Justice:

This appeal is taken from a family court order transferring custody of the parties' two-year old son from appellant (mother) to respondent (father). We reverse.

Appellant was awarded custody of the child by the decree of divorce dated April 5, 1978. On June 28, 1978, less than three months later, respondent filed a petition seeking to transfer custody to him on the basis of changed circumstances. By order dated January 24, 1979, the trial judge found: (1) appellant failed to supervise the child adequately, based on his several falls and head injuries; (2) from the date of the divorce decree in April, 1978 until the final hearing in October, 1978, appellant changed her residence and job several times; (3) appellant used profanity around the child; (4) appellant was then living with her parents, in an environment typified by arguments and emotional turmoil; and (5) respondent had remarried and his home environment would be more suitable for the child.

On appeal from an order of the family court, this Court has jurisdiction to find facts in accordance with its view of the preponderance of the evidence. Stevenson v. Stevenson, S.C., 279 S.E.2d 616 (1981).

Being of the opinion that respondent failed in his burden of proving a change in conditions substantially affecting the interest and welfare of the child, we reverse. Moss v. Moss, 274 S.C. 120, 262 S.E.2d 11 (1980).

The child's two head injuries which occurred after the divorce decree resulted from routine accidents and one happened while he was in respondent father's care. Other injuries occurred before the divorce decree; thus, they were improperly considered. Cook v. Cobb, 271 S.C. 136, 245 S.E.2d 612 (1978). The pediatrician testified the child was healthy and normal and there were no indications of parental neglect.

The record reveals that respondent's failure to make timely support payments contributed in large measure to appellant's job and residence changes. Appellant is currently residing with her parents as she was at the time of the decree. This environment, found to be adequate then, remains unchanged.

Although we have held that remarriage alone is...

To continue reading

Request your trial
2 cases
  • Epperly v. Epperly
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • March 15, 1994
    ...Court, this Court has jurisdiction to find facts in accordance with its view of the preponderance of the evidence. McElveen v. McElveen, 277 S.C. 97, 283 S.E.2d 826 (1981). In order to prove habitual drunkenness, there must be a showing that the abuse of alcohol caused the breakdown of the ......
  • Housand v. Housand, 2911.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • December 14, 1998
    ...and the evidence establishes that the children have a good relationship with their stepmother. See McElveen v. McElveen, 277 S.C. 97, 98-99, 283 S.E.2d 826, 827-28 (1981) ("Although we have held that remarriage alone is insufficient to justify a change of custody, it is a factor to be consi......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT