Greenville Child Custody Attorneys
Filing for Child Custody in South Carolina
Custody can often be one of the most contentious issues when it comes to Family Court litigation. For many, custody is often the most important aspect of their case. In contested cases, including when visitation is contested, a Guardian ad Litem is usually appointed by the Court.
It is imperative to have competent representation while navigating this complex issue, whether it is the initial action involving custody, or a modification action. Please do not hesitate to contact Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC, for a consultation involving your custody or visitation matter.
Putting Your Children First
If you are getting divorced and have children, one of the toughest questions you’ll have to ask yourself is how you’ll handle child custody decisions and how you’ll design your parenting plan. For divorcing couples with children, child custody is likely to be the most emotionally charged question you’ll have to face. Our team understands the unique challenges families face as they negotiate divorce and parenting plans.
Every family’s needs are unique and, if your children are young, their needs will evolve over time. The kind of time and attention a younger child will need will be different from the amount of time and attention an older child will want or need. It is important to put a parenting plan and child custody plan in place that will evolve with your changing needs.
Joint Custody in South Carolina
Under South Carolina law, there is a newer trend of awarding both parents joint custody of the children. This means that both parents will have the right to make major decisions affecting their children.
Generally, these decisions involve:
- Medical care
- After school activities
Joint custody consists of two aspects: the actual legal decision making involved in custody, and the physical placement, where generally one parent has physical custody of the child while the other parent has visitation rights.
The courts generally favor arrangements where the children can see both parents on a regular basis, while maintaining some stability for the child in a primary household. More parents are also choosing to split physical custody. While this can sometimes prove logistically challenging, it can be incredibly beneficial for the child’s well-being.
Every family’s situation will be different. In some cases, a child will reside with one parent and visit the other parent on the weekends. In other instances, the child will split his or her time with both parents. Only rarely do the courts limit the child from visiting both parents. Usually, these limitations only occur in cases where the child may be in physical danger, and even then, supervised visitation is usually permitted.
What is a Parenting Plan?
When you are filing for divorce with children, the courts will look to see that you and your former spouse have a parenting plan in place. This plan will outline who has physical custody and when, how difficult decisions will be made, and how disputes will be resolved. In general, it is often in your children’s best interests and your best interests to avoid a long custody battle with the courts. Should you take your case to court, you run the risk of the judge making a decision that neither party wants. This decision could be binding.
What Should be in My Child Custody Parenting Plan?
Generally, the parents know best when it comes to their children’s needs. However, during a divorce, the state may have a say in how decisions will be made and where the children will reside. To avoid this, many parents choose to draw up detailed parenting plans that outline their desires for their children after divorce. A good parenting plan will be specific, but also flexible.
How will major decisions be made?
While most parents choose to let each parent set the rules of their respective home, having some common standards can be helpful. For instance, if it is important to one parent that the children be in bed by a certain time or that they go to church on Sunday, it may be essential to include this in the parenting plan.
What is the visitation and custody schedule?
The more detailed, the better, but the plan should also have provisions for changes, should any need to be made (especially if your child is younger). How will holidays be divided? How will weekends be divided? Who will care for the children during the week? What happens on school breaks?
What’s our plan for disagreements?
A strong parenting plan takes into account that disagreements may arise—and it accounts for them. When disagreements arise how are they resolved? For instance, when making major decisions where there is disagreement, will you use a mediator?
How will we establish communication?
Even though your marriage may be ending, you’ll still need to co-parent your child. Plan acceptable and unacceptable methods of communication with your ex. Are phone calls appropriate? Text messages?
We understand how intricate parenting plans can be. The more precise and detailed your parenting plan, the more likely it will be for the courts to approve it. Additionally, a detailed parenting plan protects both you and your family in the future.