Three judges are due to meet on Wednesday, December 9, to resolve a custody dispute that has arisen between two families. The dispute has also created confusion as to which state has jurisdiction over the matter, and one of the judges belongs to Florida whereas a second hails from South Carolina.
The origins of the dispute go back all the way to mid 2017. Stephanie Shavnore Kelly brought her minor child to the house of her first cousin Cassie Hardy. She left the child at Hardy’s home, saying that she had issues in her life which she needed to sort out.
Some days later, Hardy had to persuade Kelly to pick up her child. Kelly agreed and took her child back with her. However, only nine days later, Kelly was once again at Hardy’s home with her child. She left the child with Hardy’s family and went to Florida which is where she lives.
Nearly three months later, Kelly contacted Hardy, seeking to meet with her child at Thanksgiving. She arrived at Hardy’s home and met with the child. However, she didn’t speak about taking the child back.
It was then in October 2020, nearly three years later, that Kelly once again contacted Hardy. This time, she simply told Hardy that her husband would be there to pick up their child. Hardy resisted, stating that such a sudden change of custody would not be right for the child.
When Hardy refused to hand over the child just like that, Kelly contacted the local authorities. She sought the help of the Clarendon County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office told the Hardy family that they must return the child or face consequences. However, a Kingstree judge later ordered that the child be returned to Hardy.
When Hardy drove to Kelly’s to get back the child, it was made apparent that a Florida court was also considering the matter. In addition, a third judge who was presiding over the dispute between Kelly and her ex-husband was also involved in the matter. The three judges are now due to meet soon and see how the matter may be resolved.
If you or a loved one needs to resolve a custody dispute, the first step is to contact a South Carolina child custody lawyer right away.