South Carolina Child Custody Law
Helping Your Family
Settle Down After Divorce
Going through a custody battle can be such an emotionally trying time. Retaining a compassionate and level-headed attorney with the experience and energy to vigorously protect your rights gives you the best chance of navigating the rough waters of custody dispute with your sanity intact. When you retain The McCord Law Firm, LLC to represent you, we will meet with you to discuss your goals in the areas of child custody, custody disputes, visitation rights, child support negotiations, and other family law proceedings. Our goal is to minimize the stress and anxiety associated with divorce as much as possible.
What to Expect
Custody is simply the protective care or guardianship of your children. The main types of custody are sole, joint, and split custody. Many times, parents are able to reach an agreement about their child custody out of court. However, if you and your partner are not able to come to an agreement about custody rights, a judge will decide for you, and in that case, it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney to guide you and advocate for you.
Under South Carolina law, neither parent has an automatic right to custody, and it is The Court that will make a determination as to what is in the best interests of the children. In making that determination, the court will take many factors into consideration when deciding the appropriate home for the children.
Some of the factors include: the new living conditions of the children, the available time each parent will have for their children going forward, and if they have the resources to meet their children’s needs.
In the past, South Carolina applied a “Tender Years Doctrine” to custody disputes, which almost always defaulted to awarding custody to the mother in cases where the children were very young. However, that has been formally abolished, giving each parent an equal chance to claim custody. Even so, it’s important that you prepare to fight for the ability to keep a meaningful role in your children’s lives, otherwise you could be facing the reality of a limited schedule or even loss of custody.
While state law can’t establish a preference for either the mother or father in child custody disputes, there is still a tendency for courts to award primary custody to the mother. However, this does not mean if you are the mother that you’ll automatically be awarded custody. It’s important to establish compelling evidence to support your request for custody.
A judge will unbiasedly weigh all of the evidence to determine what is in the best interest of the children. This includes the stability and safety of each parent’s home environment, who is or has been the primary caregiver, and in some cases the preference of the children.
Another aspect to determine is the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent. Unless the children’s safety is at risk, judges typically award the non-custodial parent visitation to support that parents role in the life of their children.
Judges feel that the children are best off when they are reminded regularly that they have two parents, both of whom care about them. A judge will usually not deny or restrict a parent’s right to reasonable visitation unless he finds that the visitation is bad for a child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.
In South Carolina, both divorced parents are considered financially responsible for their children and child support is calculated using specific guidelines that take into consideration the gross income of the divorcing parents, cost of child care, and medical insurance costs.
Once both child custody and support are determined, it is important to remember that it is not always permanent. If it can be proven that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the initial custody order, the court could revisit and amend child support and even amend the custody arrangements.
Why Choose Us
Seasoned Lawyers. Small Firm Advantage.
The McCord Law Firm, LLC is dedicated to helping you during this stressful time by guarding your financial and parental rights as we guide you through custody disputes, child support and visitation negotiations, and other family law proceedings. You will never be in the dark about the state of your case – we place a high priority on communicating all important matters to you so you can know you are in capable hands.
We would love the chance to talk to you to see how we can assist you with your legal needs.
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Here at The McCord Law Firm, we care about you and your unique challenges. Even if we’re not able to help you in your exact situation, we’ll always guide you in right direction.