What Is Family Law?

family law

Family law focuses on numerous areas of law usually pertaining to family matters including divorce, child support, and alimony. Family law also includes adoption and guardianship when it comes to children.

Here’s a closer look at the areas that family law covers as well as what they could mean for you in South Carolina.

Divorce and Annulment

While a divorce is the legal separation of a couple that signifies the end of a marriage, an annulment essentially voids the marriage. However, this can only be done under specific circumstances.

In South Carolina, your marriage may be annulled if you and your spouse have never lived together, if you and your spouse are under the age of 16, or if one spouse coerced the other into getting married.

In a divorce, whether contested or uncontested, you’ll need to make a decision on whether to file for divorce on fault or no-fault grounds, be a resident of South Carolina, and be prepared to negotiate on the division of your marital property as well as custody of the children.

Child Support, Custody, and Visitation

In South Carolina, if you and your spouse have children but were never married, the mother automatically gets full custody unless the father contests this arrangement in court.

However, if you and your spouse have children and are seeking a divorce in South Carolina, neither parent will automatically be granted custody. You and your spouse will need to work out an arrangement or otherwise have the judge decide for you.

The judge will normally allow visitation for the non-custodial parent. The parent who has full custody is responsible for making decisions for the children; however, both parents will retain financial responsibility for the children.

If one parent is ordered to pay child support, the amount will be determined based on a variety of factors, including your income.


Family law also encompasses alimony, in which one spouse financially supports the other spouse in some way. Either spouse can ask for support from the other. Alimony payments may be temporary or indefinite depending on the circumstances.

Do You Need an Attorney?

Working with an attorney who specializes in family law can help you navigate the legal proceedings and fight for the best interest of you and your children. Whether you and your spouse are in the process of adopting a child or getting a divorce, an attorney is essential.

An attorney can also play an important role in negotiating with your spouse to avoid having a judge make decisions for you in court. The judge will always rule in the best interest of the child and you will be responsible for honoring the judge’s decision.

When it comes to family law, having an attorney by your side to make the right decisions is going to help your case. Contact us at Harden Law for a consultation with one of our compassionate, experienced attorneys for support, expert guidance, and peace of mind.

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