Perhaps one of the most challenging components of divorce is deciding which parent will get custody of the children.
If you and your spouse can’t agree on who gets custody, a judge will decide in the best interest of your child based on what evidence is given to the court.
Here are a few things you should know when deciding your children’s custody arrangements in South Carolina.
Factors Considered in Child Custody Cases
There are numerous aspects courts consider in determining the best interest of your children when it comes to custody.
Some of these factors include:
- The child’s preference for whom he or she wants to live with
- Any history of abuse or domestic violence
- The emotional state of the child as well as the parents
- The environment each parent can provide for the child
These are just a few of the things a judge will evaluate during your child custody proceedings.
Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody
In sole custody, only one parent retains responsibility and rights to the child while the other parent may have visitation rights. It’s common in South Carolina to award sole custody to one parent. Why is this?
Courts often see parents disagreeing when making decisions for their child. If frequent conflict results, the judge may award sole custody to one parent to avoid distress to the child. In addition, sole custody can result in more stability for children, as they won’t have to switch between living arrangements constantly.
A judge may still award joint custody in which both parents will have equal rights and responsibilities to the child. However, a judge can grant joint custody while designating one parent with sole authority to make decisions regarding things such as education and medical care.
Custody arrangements will depend on your unique case, so predicting a given outcome is difficult.
Sole Custody Isn’t Automatically Awarded to the Mother
In the past, South Carolina has granted sole custody to the mother in many instances. However, over the last two decades, this has changed a great deal.
It’s still important for fathers to be vocal about their rights to care for and support their child, even though sole custody won’t automatically be granted to the mother unless the judge rules that this action is in the best interest of the child.
If you’re a father fighting for your rights to your child, an experienced family law attorney can help you build your case to attain the best outcome.
How to Prepare for Custody Proceedings
It’s important to know your rights and your options when it comes to child custody. By talking to a compassionate, experienced family law attorney, you can determine what your best legal moves are to help ensure your child is protected and taken care of.
Contact our attorneys at Harden Law today to discuss your case. We help families secure a peaceful separation with custody arrangements that work for everyone. We look forward to speaking with you!