At Greenville Family Law, our legal staff understands that child custody is a serious concern when it comes to dealing with a legal separation or the divorce of two parents. While these types of cases are always difficult for the parents and children involved, it can be especially trying when the parents are not married. Often, child custody and visitation rights are the most intensely fought issues in the divorce process. Usually, both parents are extremely passionate about their children and neither parent wants to surrender custody. Sadly, there are numerous cases where the children end up being bargaining tools for the parents. No matter your personal circumstances, in each and every custody case, the main concern is the best interest of the children. When looking out for the child, in contested cases, a guardian ad litem will be assigned to the child. The guardian ad litem’s role is to report on the circumstances of the child through their own investigation and observation. The guardian ad litem is also supposed to look out and advocate for the child’s best interests. Our attorneys have had great success dealing with all types of custody negotiations and visitation scheduling.
Different Types of South Carolina Child Custody Arrangements
South Carolina has several different types of acceptable custodial arrangements. The first type of custody arrangement is sole custody. Sole custody arrangements are when one parent is given sole custody of their child, and the other parent will have visitation. The next type of custody arrangement is joint custody. Joint custody can mean a few different scenarios. First, there is joint legal and physical custody. Joint legal custody is where both parents have the same and equal rights to make decisions regarding their child. Joint physical custody is when both parents are awarded long periods of physical custody. This time spent with the child is usually longer than what would be considered visitation. A common subset of joint custody is where one parent is termed the primary parent, primary legal parent or primary custodial parent. This parent has the right to make important decisions regarding their child, but must consult first with the other parent before the final decision is made. When dealing with physical custody, there are many different ways physical custody can be divided through negotiation or through the courts. Our attentive and creative South Carolina attorneys can help you find the best custody option and schedule for you and your children.
As an end resort, the parties involved can go to court and let the judge determine the custody arrangement. However, it is important to remember that when going to court over custody, there is always a risk that the court will side with the other party or make a schedule that each party may not find desirable. To avoid the uncertainty that comes along from a family court’s decision on custody, both parties should try to agree on custody and visitation issues before attending court. Regardless of whether you and your significant other or your spouse are negotiating child custody issues or are planning on fighting in court for custodial rights, Greenville Family Law has the resources and experience to help you every step of the way.
Modification of Child Custody Arrangements
There are some circumstances where a parent may decide to go back and change a previous custody order. Modifications of child custody can be allowed, but usually only upon a material and substantial change of circumstances that have taken place after the initial custody arrangement. The modification has to be in the child’s best interest as well. Just as in initial custody arrangements, any modification of custody must be fact specific. There is no exact designation of what is sufficient facts to merit a change in custody. However, there are certain circumstances that can lead to a change in custody. Some of these circumstances are interference with the relationship between the child and their non-custodial parent, also if the custodial parent quits being the child’s primary caregiver and the child’s poor performance in school.
Any immoral conduct that affects the child or changes in relative parenting skills and lifestyle changes can also be considered circumstances for custody modifications. Keep in mind, that if custody was initially given to one parent due to the other parent being unfit, that parent’s rehabilitation is required before the previously unfit parent can seek custody. Usually, the mere fact that the parent is no longer unfit is not enough to change a custody arrangement. The rehabilitated parent must prove that a substantial and material change in circumstances affecting the welfare of the child is apparent as well.
Seek Proper Legal Counsel for Your Child Custody Case
Trying to negotiate and determine the proper custody arrangement can be a very difficult time in any parents life. At Greenville Family Law, our staff is compassionate and understanding to your needs during this tough time. We know all too well how difficult separations and divorces can be, not just for the parents but also for the children. Our attorneys always take a personalized approach to each of our client’s case needs. Our legal team has had much success in helping parents get through the custodial negotiations and determining visitation rights. We take the time necessary to explain to you all the details of the law so that you can make the best decisions to protect you and your family. Let us assist you with this complex legal process. Call our office today for a consultation, and to answer any of your custody and divorce related questions.