Skinner v. King, 20904

Decision Date05 March 1979
Docket NumberNo. 20904,20904
Citation252 S.E.2d 891,272 S.C. 520
PartiesCharles D. SKINNER, Jr., Respondent, v. Mr. and Mrs. James KING, and Pamela K. Skinner, Appellants.
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court

Julius B. Aiken, Greenville, for appellants.

Griffin & Howard, Greenville, for respondent.

GREGORY, Justice:

This appeal is from the order of the family court transferring custody of a minor child from appellants Rev. and Mrs. James King, the maternal grandparents, to respondent Charles D. Skinner, Jr., the father. We reverse.

Charles D. Skinner, Jr. and Pamela K. Skinner were married on January 25, 1973. To this union was born one daughter, Stephanie Dawn, on August 18, 1973. Mr. and Mrs. Skinner were divorced by order of the family court dated May 30, 1975. Custody of Stephanie was temporarily placed with Rev. and Mrs. King instead of either of the parents because of Mr. Skinner's habitual use of narcotic drugs and apparent inability to maintain regular employment, and because of Mrs. Skinner's immaturity. At the time Mrs. Skinner was seventeen (17) years old.

In November 1975 Mr. Skinner filed a petition for custody with the family court in which he alleged that during the six months from May 1975 to November 1975 he had become a fit and proper parent and that a change in custody would be in Stephanie's best interest.

The family court found there had been no change in circumstances affecting Stephanie's best interest and by order dated March 24, 1976 denied Mr. Skinner's petition. No appeal was taken from this order.

On February 1, 1977 Mr. Skinner filed a second petition for custody which was virtually identical to the petition filed in November 1975. Rev. and Mrs. King and Mrs. Skinner replied to the petition. Mrs. Skinner also cross-petitioned against Rev. and Mrs. King seeking custody of Stephanie in the event the family court determined the time was ripe to place Stephanie with one of her parents.

The family court found that a sufficient amount of time had passed since the order of May 30, 1975 placing Stephanie with the maternal grandparents, and that it was now appropriate to place Stephanie with either her father or her mother. By order dated November 2, 1977, the family court transferred custody of Stephanie from Rev. and Mrs. King to Mr. Skinner. This appeal by Rev. and Mrs. King and Mrs. Skinner followed.

On appeal from an order of the family court, in a case heard without a reference, this Court has jurisdiction to review the entire record to determine the facts in accordance with our own view of the preponderance of the evidence. This broad scope of review does not require us, however, to disregard the findings of the family court, nor does it relieve the appellant of the burden of convincing this Court that the family court committed error. Spires v. Higgins, S.C., 248 S.E.2d 488 (1978).

When Mr. and Mrs. Skinner were divorced in 1975, neither party was able to provide a proper home for Stephanie and the family court determined it would be in Stephanie's best interests to place her in the custody of her maternal grandparents, Rev. and Mrs. King. This custody arrangement was intended to last only until either Mr. or Mrs. Skinner could provide Stephanie with a good home. The Kings acquiesced in this order and have provided exceptional care for the child. Both parents have visited regularly with Stephanie on alternate weekends.

Stephanie's father and mother have each sought a change in custody. We have often stated that in order to justify a change of custody, the party seeking the transfer bears the burden of establishing a material change of conditions substantially effecting the welfare of the child. Lowe v. Lindley, S.C., 249 S.E.2d 750 (1978). A change in circumstances justifying a change in the custody of a child simply means that sufficient facts have been shown to warrant the conclusion that the best interests of the child will be served by the change. Stutz v. Funderburk, S.C., 252 S.E.2d 32 (1979). Not every change of conditions will warrant a change of custody. Lowe v. Lindley, supra.

While we recognize that a preference should be given to the parents as against others in child custody disputes, the claim of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
49 cases
  • Davis v. Davis
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • December 21, 2006
    ...this court the family court committed error. Nasser-Moghaddassi, 364 S.C. at 190, 612 S.E.2d at 711 (citing Skinner v. King, 272 S.C. 520, 522-23, 252 S.E.2d 891, 892 (1979)). LAW/ANALYSIS I. Husband argues the family court failed to effectuate the parties' intention as found within the agr......
  • Lanier v. Lanier
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • March 21, 2005
    ...of review does not relieve appellant of her burden to convince this Court the family court committed error. Skinner v. King, 272 S.C. 520, 522-23, 252 S.E.2d 891, 892 (1979). A party seeking to set aside a judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b) has the burden of presenting evidence entitling him t......
  • Dawkins v. Dawkins
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • October 11, 2007
    ... ... Nasser-Moghaddassi , 364 S.C. at 190, 612 S.E.2d at ... 711 (citing Skinner v. King , 272 S.C. 520, 522-23, ... 252 S.E.2d 891, 892 (1979)) ... ...
  • Nicholson v. Nicholson, 4404.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • June 6, 2008
    ...scope of review does not relieve the appellant of the burden of convincing this court the family court erred. Skinner v. King, 272 S.C. 520, 522-23, 252 S.E.2d 891, 892 (1979); Davis v. Davis, 372 S.C. 64, 74, 641 S.E.2d 446, 451 (Ct.App.2006); Nasser Moghaddassi v. Moghaddassi, 364 S.C. 18......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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