Child Custody Lawyer in Charleston, SC
Establishing Custody & Visitation for Parents
Whether divorcing amicably or in a contested dispute, it is vital that you have a lawyer who understands family law and who will work as hard as necessary. At Shaw Law Firm, LLC, we have extensive experience helping our clients negotiate terms, enforce their parental rights, and safeguard their child's well-being.
Our child custody lawyers in Charleston understand the emotional complexities involved in this critical legal process and are prepared to provide the supportive counsel you need and deserve through every step of child custody proceedings. We are ready to discuss how you can best assert your rights.
How is Child Custody Determined in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, there is no automatic assumption of which parent would be a better fit to have custody of a child. Taken on a case-by-case basis, the paramount consideration is the best interests of the child. If the two parents cannot agree to terms on their own, a family court may order an evaluation from a professional child custody evaluator. Each parent may also retain a child custody evaluator to assert their capabilities as a parent.
What do family courts factor when establishing child custody orders?
- Which parent has been the primary caretaker
- The financial and educational resources of the parents
- The educational opportunities of the child
- The psychological and emotional state of the child
- Any medical conditions, particularly if the child has special needs or is disabled
- The home environment, including the possible influence of other household members
- Parental conduct, including activities that might have contributed to the divorce
- Child preference if they are deemed old enough to provide input
When it comes to family law matters such as these, it is essential that you have skilled legal counsel to advise you on how to best assert your rights, enabling you to protect your child's future. Whether you handle the case in mediation or court, we can walk with you through each step. There are many legal nuances involved, including judicial tendencies and the reputation of the child custody evaluator.
Types of Child Custody in South Carolina
For years, South Carolina courts considered joint custody as detrimental to the well-being of a child, and judges were hesitant to grant such arrangements. However, our state courts are now mandated to consider all types of arrangements when deliberating custody.
Shaw Law Firm, LLC can help you construct any type of child custody plan including:
- Physical Custody: Determines in which household the child will live. In a sole physical custody arrangement, the child lives exclusively in one parent's home. In joint physical custody arrangements, the child will reside for a set period of time in both homes.
- Legal Custody: Determines a parent's right to make major decisions in regards to the child, including education, medical, and spiritual matters. Joint legal custody is usually given preference. However, the judge may award one party primary decision-making authority for specific matters, such as healthcare, while leaving the other child welfare decisions to be shared between the parents.
- Visitation: The amount of time the noncustodial parent will share with the child. Specified holiday and vacation time are often included in a court-ordered visitation schedule.
What Kind of Rights Does a Father Have in South Carolina?
The first step in seeking visitation with your child is to establish legal paternity. A child born during a marriage is presumed to be the child of the husband. If a child is born outside of marriage or if the husband is not the biological father of the child, then establishing paternity is more complicated. For fathers that were not married to the mother of the child, a court order is required to establish paternity.
In South Carolina, paternity can be established voluntarily or involuntarily. For whatever reason, if a mother or father does not agree on the paternity of a child, the courts can use genetic testing to determine fatherhood. A guardian ad litem may also be appointed to represent the interests of the minor child. Once a man establishes that he has legal father rights to a child, he can pursue visitation rights.
We understand how important it is for you to maintain the strong family bonds you have with your child, without creating disputes. At Shaw Law Firm, LLC we offer the assertive legal counsel and dynamic advocacy you need to safeguard your parental rights during child custody proceedings.
Is South Carolina a Mother State?
In South Carolina, the law states that both parents shall have equal power when it comes to the rights and responsibilities of their children. However, if a father cannot establish paternity, then sole custody is awarded to the mother. Ultimately, a judge in South Carolina will always decide custody on what is in the child's best interests, whether it be with the mother or father. If you are currently seeking custody, there are several things that you can do to help better your chances:
- Consider your living situation and if it would be ideal for a child
- Evaluate your finances including any loans or debt still owed
- Ensure that you are in good health, both physically and mentally
Protect your relationship with your child. Call (843) 256-3499 today! Request a consultation with our child custody attorney.
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