When parents decide to separate or divorce, it can be a challenging time for a family.
South Carolina child custody law will decide who gets custody of the children as well as award visitation rights and more.
Once you begin the divorce or separation process, how will your child’s custody be determined? Here’s what you should know when it comes to child custody law in South Carolina.
Whether or Not You Were Married Matters
If you were married when your child was born, the court will not automatically find favor with the mother or the father. You both will be considered legally responsible for the child.
However, if you and your spouse were not married when your child was born, custody will be awarded to the child’s mother until the court can make an official decision on paternity and custody arrangements.
The court will consider awarding custody to another party if the parents are deemed unfit to care for the child or the they give up their rights to the child.
Factors the Court Will Consider
The court will evaluate many factors when making a decision regarding the custody of the child. Just a few of these considerations include:
- The best interest of the child
- The needs of the child
- Primary caretaker of the child
- The stability of each parents’ living environment
- The ability of each parent to care for the child
- Guardian ad Litem reports
In the event that one spouse opposes the custody arrangements, a guardian—typically an attorney—will be appointed to investigate the child’s life, speak to relatives and witnesses, and observe the child with their parents to help the court determine what would be in the best interest of the child.
What to Expect for Visitation Rights
When one parent is awarded custody, the other parent will be awarded visitation.
In South Carolina, it’s uncommon to require supervised visitation or to prohibit visitation entirely; this typically only happens when one parent is deemed to be dangerous or unfit to be around the child.
Visitation times vary depending on factors such as:
- Physical location of both parents
- Relationship of the non-custodial parent and child
- Schedules of the parents
Don’t be alarmed if the other parent was awarded custody at a temporary hearing while the court takes its time to make a final decision. Your attorney can help you to gain more parenting time in a variety of ways on a permanent basis.
Considering a Custody Attorney?
Working with an attorney who specializes in family law can help you navigate the often difficult and painful process of determining child custody.
A caring and experienced lawyer who fights for your best interest as well as that of your child can help child custody proceedings go as smoothly as possible under the circumstances.
Consider working with us at Harden Law to get the representation you need when fighting for your child in South Carolina. We’re here to help your family during this difficult time.