Lexington Child Custody Lawyer
How Is Child Custody Decided?
Child custody may be the most important issue in your divorce, and it is also potentially the most contentious. Parents can receive the experienced legal representation at The Law Office of Andrew B. Farley, LLC. In my practice as a South Carolina family lawyer, I have assisted numerous parents in family court throughout the State with the challenge of Custody and visitation while trying to preserve their relationships with their children. I have been admitted to practice in every court in the state of South Carolina, and I have practiced extensively in the family courts. At all times during a family court case, I strive to guide you with the decisions facing parents such as:
- Choosing the right Guardian ad LItem to be involved in your case.
- Deciding whether a Child Psychologist may be appropriate
- Deciding if the Court would need a professional Custody evaluator to testify at trial.
- Choosing the right mediator who has adequate experience in family court custody issues.
For many years South Carolina family courts considered child custody to be the right of the mother. Today's Family Court treats both parents equally, However, the father receives custody in only a quarter of all divorces in the country, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). As the parent who wants custody, how your case is presented is all important as to which parties eventually gets custody. Today, more and more fathers are gaining rights in this matter and being granted custody of the children. Whether you are the mother or the father, you may face considerable opposition from the other parent when seeking custody. Under Section 20-3-160 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, the family court will award custody after consideration of the circumstances of both parents, by the best interests of the child or children."
Forms of Custody in South Carolina
There are different Names for custody that can be in Temporary and Final agreements that can be designated which will affect you rights regarding your children. The Family courts will look at what is in the best interests of the child when making the decision. The Family Courts will often try to include both parents as much as possible for the sake of the child, but if contact with either parent is believed to be detrimental then they may choose to not to give any amount of custody to that parent or restrict the type of custody allowed that parent.. There is also the option of visitation rights for those that do not have custody over their child. The types of custody are known as legal custody and physical custody can be described as follows:
- Joint Custody - Both parties have custody of the child.
- Sole Custody - One parent has custody, while the other may be granted visitation. The custodial parent has the decision making ability.
Legal & Physical Custody in SC
Legal custody means that the parent is responsible for the child in the eyes of the law to make certain major decisions regarding the child, such as medical care, their recreational activities they participate in, which school they go to or other decisions relating to religion, education, discipline and care. This can be given through sole or joint custody. Physical custody is when the parent has physical possession of the child during certain times. One of the parents may be the main decision maker in regards to legal custody, but the other parent may still be granted the right to have the child during scheduled times. This may be weekends, summer breaks, alternating weeks or different times. One of the houses can also be designated as the main address of the child for school and mailing. If there is more than one child, custody may be split and the different children may not all live with the same parent.
Factors that Influence a Custody Decision
Specific factors which usually come into play in determining the award of custody include:
- How much time each parent can spend with the child during the week
- Your ability to supply a stable and supportive home environment
- Which parent has been the primary caretaker
- Any Guardian ad Litem Report that includes conditions of the home and preferences expressed by the child
The court will additionally consider any other issues which are presented, such as Criminal Domestic Violence and drug or alcohol abuse. This can determine whether you may receive sole custody, joint custody, or shared custody. This can also affect your type of visitation. It is possible to have standard, liberal, or supervised visitation. What kind of visitation you may be awarded depends largely upon how well your attorney can persuade the judge to see your side of the situation.