Stroman v. Williams, No. 0883

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtGOOLSBY; CURETON; SANDERS; SANDERS
Citation353 S.E.2d 704,291 S.C. 376
PartiesThomas STROMAN, Appellant, v. Joanne T. WILLIAMS, Respondent. . Heard
Decision Date26 January 1987
Docket NumberNo. 0883

Page 704

353 S.E.2d 704
291 S.C. 376
Thomas STROMAN, Appellant,
v.
Joanne T. WILLIAMS, Respondent.
No. 0883.
Court of Appeals of South Carolina.
Heard Jan. 26, 1987.
Decided Feb. 23, 1987.

Page 705

[291 S.C. 377] Zack E. Townsend, Orangeburg, for appellant.

Robert C. Elliott, Columbia, for respondent.

GOOLSBY, Justice:

In this domestic case, the father Thomas Stroman seeks a change of custody of his minor daughter from the mother Joanne T. Williams and, in the alternative, a reduction in the amount of child support he is required to pay the mother each month for the support of his daughter. The trial court held there had been no change of circumstances sufficient to warrant a change in custody from the mother to the father; however, it reduced the amount of weekly child support from $65 to $55. The father appeals, contending the trial court abused its discretion in not transferring custody of his minor daughter and in not reducing the amount of weekly child support to $32.50. We affirm.

The parties separated in 1980. In 1981, the mother and the parties' two children, both girls, began living with another woman and her daughter. The mother admits to having a homosexual relationship with the other woman.

The father and mother divorced in 1984. The divorce decree awarded custody of the parties' children to the mother. At the time of the divorce, the father knew of the mother's homosexuality.

[291 S.C. 378] In July, 1985, the older daughter, who had reached her majority and had graduated from high school, moved from the mother's home.

The father then instituted the present action alleging that the mother's homosexual relationship within the household rendered the mother "an unfit mother as a matter of law" and that the attainment by the older daughter of her majority constituted a change in circumstances entitling him to a reduction in the amount of child support he was required to pay to the mother.

I.

In determining the question of a child's custody, the paramount consideration is the welfare of the child. Davenport v. Davenport, 265 S.C. 524, 220 S.E.2d 228 (1975). The party seeking modification of a child's custody "has the burden of showing [a] material change of circumstances since entry of the judgment or order in question, and that the child's best interests require modification." 67A C.J.S. Parent & Child § 46b at 310 (1978); Heckle v. Heckle, 266 S.C. 355, 223 S.E.2d 590 (1976). A parent's morality, while a proper factor for consideration, "is limited in its force to what relevancy it has, either directly or indirectly, to the welfare of the child." Davenport v. Davenport, 265 S.C. at 527, 220 S.E.2d at 230. The award of a child's custody is a matter that rests largely within the discretion of the trial court. Adams v. Adams, 262 S.C. 85, 202 S.E.2d 639 (1974). Custody is not to be used to penalize or reward a parent for his or her conduct. Davenport v. Davenport, supra.

The father failed to prove that a material change in circumstances has occurred since the entry of the order granting the mother custody and that the child's best interests require a change of custody from the mother to the father.

As we mentioned, the father knew of the mother's homosexuality at the time of their divorce in 1984. The father conceded that he found out about her staying with another...

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34 practice notes
  • SB v. LW, No. 1999-CA-01540-COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • March 13, 2001
    ...v. A., 15 Or. App. 353, 514 P.2d 358, 360 (1973); Constant A. v. Paul C.A., 344 Pa.Super. 49, 496 A.2d 1, 9 (1985); Stroman v. Williams, 291 S.C. 376, 379-80, 353 S.E.2d 704, 705-06 (Ct.App.1987); Kallas v. Kallas, 614 P.2d 641, 645 (Utah 1980); Medeiros v. Medeiros, 8 Fam.L.Rep. (BNA) 2372......
  • White v. Thompson, No. 89-CA-0061
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 17, 1990
    ...A. v. A., 15 Or.App. 353, 514 P.2d 358, 360 (1973); Constant A. v. Paul C.A., 344 Pa.Super. 49, 496 A.2d 1, 9 (1985); Stroman v. Williams, 291 S.C. 376, 379-80, 353 S.E.2d 704, 705-06 (Ct.App.1987); Kallas v. Kallas, 614 P.2d 641, 645 (Utah 1980); Medeiros v. Medeiros, 8 Fam.L.Rep. (BNA) 23......
  • Boswell v. Boswell, 4
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • December 18, 1998
    ...create instability that would adversely affect the children's welfare, and thus custody should be granted to father); Stroman v. Williams, 291 S.C. 376, 353 S.E.2d 704, 705 (1987)(ruling that mother's lesbianism did not mandate a change in custody because there was no evidence that the chil......
  • Pleasant v. Pleasant, No. 1-91-3845
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • December 8, 1993
    ...health or ultimate sexual preference. Bezio, 381 Mass. 563, 410 N.E.2d at 1215-16. The appellate court in Stroman v. Williams (1987), 291 S.C. 376, 353 S.E.2d 704, 795, ruled that the mother's lesbianism did not mandate a change in custody because there was no evidence that the child was ad......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
34 cases
  • SB v. LW, No. 1999-CA-01540-COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • March 13, 2001
    ...v. A., 15 Or. App. 353, 514 P.2d 358, 360 (1973); Constant A. v. Paul C.A., 344 Pa.Super. 49, 496 A.2d 1, 9 (1985); Stroman v. Williams, 291 S.C. 376, 379-80, 353 S.E.2d 704, 705-06 (Ct.App.1987); Kallas v. Kallas, 614 P.2d 641, 645 (Utah 1980); Medeiros v. Medeiros, 8 Fam.L.Rep. (BNA) 2372......
  • White v. Thompson, No. 89-CA-0061
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 17, 1990
    ...A. v. A., 15 Or.App. 353, 514 P.2d 358, 360 (1973); Constant A. v. Paul C.A., 344 Pa.Super. 49, 496 A.2d 1, 9 (1985); Stroman v. Williams, 291 S.C. 376, 379-80, 353 S.E.2d 704, 705-06 (Ct.App.1987); Kallas v. Kallas, 614 P.2d 641, 645 (Utah 1980); Medeiros v. Medeiros, 8 Fam.L.Rep. (BNA) 23......
  • Boswell v. Boswell, 4
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • December 18, 1998
    ...create instability that would adversely affect the children's welfare, and thus custody should be granted to father); Stroman v. Williams, 291 S.C. 376, 353 S.E.2d 704, 705 (1987)(ruling that mother's lesbianism did not mandate a change in custody because there was no evidence that the chil......
  • Pleasant v. Pleasant, No. 1-91-3845
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • December 8, 1993
    ...health or ultimate sexual preference. Bezio, 381 Mass. 563, 410 N.E.2d at 1215-16. The appellate court in Stroman v. Williams (1987), 291 S.C. 376, 353 S.E.2d 704, 795, ruled that the mother's lesbianism did not mandate a change in custody because there was no evidence that the child was ad......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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