Charleston Child Custody Lawyer

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Child Custody Attorney in Charleston, SC

The custody of children is an issue that can lead to a high level of conflict in an action for Divorce where minor children are involved.  It can be a difficult area of the case to resolve quickly, as it often involves emotional decisions and sometimes, actual fear for children’s well-being, which can lead to conflict that can quickly escalate if you don’t have someone with experience on your team.

With that in mind, if you’ve filed for divorce in South Carolina and you have children, you need to turn to a child custody lawyer in Charleston as soon as possible. At Clore Law, we offer legal representation that ensures you receive the fair treatment you deserve during a divorce. Contact us today to learn more about our child custody attorneys. 

Child Custody Laws in South Carolina 

South Carolina law makes a distinction between the physical and legal custody of a child. A parent who has physical custody will live in the same residence with the child. They will handle the everyday responsibilities of feeding and clothing them, as well as providing them with medical care, among other such tasks.

A parent who doesn’t have physical custody of a child can still have legal custody. And that means they can make major educational, medical, and religious decisions on their behalf. It is possible for both parents to share physical and legal custody or one can have both. 

In South Carolina, joint custody means that both parents have frequent contact with the child and have an equal say in important decisions regarding them. However, it’s important to understand that joint physical custody doesn’t mean equal physical time.

In the majority of cases, both parents will share legal custody. If they cannot agree on a matter involving the child, the primary custodial parent will make the decision. And even if one parent has physical and legal custody, the parent who doesn’t can still access the child’s educational and medical records. They can also attend school activities unless a court forbids it. 

Parents can decide on custody agreements themselves or get help from mediators. Either way, it is always a good idea to have a custody attorney helping you through the process. If you reach an agreement, a judge will assess it to ensure it is in the child’s best interests. 

Is It Possible to Get Full Custody in South Carolina?

When choosing whether to award a parent full custody, a family court judge will look at several factors, including the following:

  • Parents’ ages
  • History of domestic violence
  • Parents’ mental health
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • The child’s developmental needs and temperament 
  • The child’s cultural and spiritual background
  • Whether the child has special needs
  • Parents’ ability to provide a stable and safe environment

Despite what most people think, mothers don’t always have an advantage in custody proceedings. Still, the parent who has acted as the child’s primary caretaker throughout their lives is more likely to get full custody.

In instances when a child is born outside of marriage, the mother has sole custody, though the father can apply to gain rights as well. If the child is born within the marriage, both parents have equal rights. 

There is also a common assumption that parents who have committed domestic abuse will not receive full custody. It is possible for the parent to overcome that presumption, but it’s rare. 

Why You Should Hire an Attorney for Child Custody Arrangements

Making child custody arrangements can be highly emotional, which, in turn, can heighten conflicts. Family law attorneys have a better understanding of custody laws, ensuring that you get results that are fair. 

Hiring a child visitation lawyer or child custody attorney is also crucial to improving communication with your spouse. In many instances, speaking through a lawyer can be the only way that you manage to communicate with your partner at all.

Furthermore, a custody attorney can also speed up the entire divorce process, which doesn’t just serve to benefit you and your spouse but your child as well. It can help minimize the impact that the divorce has on them. 

Ultimately, with a child custody lawyer in Charleston, SC, by your side, you’ll have a much better chance of getting the results you want when it comes to your child’s future. 

Child Custody Lawyer FAQs

What Can You Expect From Visitations?

Both parents are entitled to visitations with their child, regardless of whether they have legal or physical custody. The noncustodial parent must receive a minimum number of visitations. That is the case unless their parental rights have been terminated or the court rules that they’re not allowed visits. 

Most of the time, minimum visitation rights include one weeknight visit as well as overnight visits on alternating weekends. A parent cannot prevent visitations, but the child themself can choose not to participate, especially as they grow older. 

How Does South Carolina Determine Child Custody Arrangements?

If both parents are able to come to an agreement on custody and visitation, a judge can then issue an order that confirms the arrangement. If it’s not possible for the parents to agree, then they’ll have to go to mediation. And if mediation doesn’t work, the couple’s next step would be to bring the case to family court.

There, a judge will hear both sides, consider testimony, and look at the various factors that can influence whether one parent is a better guardian than the other. The child’s preferences and best interests are the most important factors in the decision the court makes.

Once a judge’s ruling is made, both parties must abide by whatever that decision is. However, it is possible to pursue an appeal.

Can a Child Decide Which Parent to Live With?

A child’s wishes are considered in court, but it is up to the judge whether they grant that request. Most of the time, the older and more mature the child is, the more weight their opinion holds. In the end, however, it’s just one factor among many that the court must consider before rendering a decision. 

Is Hiring an Attorney for Child Custody a Requirement?

Although it’s not required to get a child custody lawyer when beginning the process, it’s definitely the best option you have. Once a judge makes their decision on custody, it can be very difficult to get things changed, so you’ll want to present your case correctly from the start. And that means turning to a lawyer. 

At Clore Law, we can help you by offering our experience and knowledge of South Carolina law. We can also help with communication between parties, speeding up the process and doing everything possible to make it less contentious. 

What’s the Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody?

In South Carolina, physical custody means that you are the parent who lives with the child. You’re in charge of providing their everyday care, including feeding them, clothing them, ensuring they go to school, and more. 

If you don’t have physical custody, you still have legal custody unless a court declares otherwise. Legal custody allows you to make important decisions on behalf of your child.

Contact a Child Custody Attorney Today

If you’re getting ready to file for divorce or if you and your spouse are having a hard time agreeing on custody, reach out to a family lawyer in Charleston, SC, at Clore Law. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services.