Going through a divorce is physical, financially, and emotionally exhaustive. The process is difficult enough without considering the welfare of your children. When you began building a family with someone, you thought that you were going to be with them forever. However, now you’re facing splitting up the life that you once shared, and you’re worried about who is going to have custody of your children.
Hiring a Charleston, SC divorce attorney can protect your interests and protect your children. Custody cases can become lengthy and you need a professional to guide you through the process. Lauren Taylor is one of the top child custody lawyers in South Carolina, and she’s eager to represent you in your case.
What is child custody?
There are many different arrangements for child custody while handling a Charleston divorce. Custody of your children will determine who is responsible for the decisions of your children, as well as how much time your children will spend with you.
In the past, fathers had a difficult time retaining sole custody because children were normally placed with the mother. However, we are living in a different time where courts do act in the best interest of the children regardless of the gender of the parent. Your child custody agreement will determine which parent will be making the main decisions for your children.
The parent awarded with “legal custody” will be the person responsible for major decisions in the child’s life. Some of these major decisions include your child’s healthcare, education, religion, and other important matters. Also, you will be responsible for daily activities like providing food, housing, clothing, and other tasks.
What is physical custody?
Physical custody of your children will determine how much time your children spend with you and your spouse. One of the biggest questions in a divorce is where your children will be living the majority of the time. If you and your spouse cannot determine a custody arrangement on your own, a judge will decide.
A judge can choose to favor one spouse with primary custody, or you might find that you are splitting time equally with your spouse. In the past, children would reside with one parent and spend weekends or other days with the non-custodial parent. However, now many parents are resolving to split custody 50/50 between each of the households.
What is sole custody?
This is the most common decision in child custody cases. If you are awarded sole custody it means that you are responsible for all the major decisions for your child. Also, your child will physically reside in your household the majority of the time. This type of custody will also define the amount of time that your spouse has visitation with your child. If you are not awarded sole custody, you won’t see your child as often as your spouse.
What is joint custody?
In this decision, the responsibilities for your children will be split between the parents. So, you and your spouse will be responsible for making all major decisions for your child together. Also, this term can also apply to the physical custody of your children. As we mentioned earlier, it can result in your child splitting time equally between both of your households.
What has split custody?
At first glance, many parents confuse joint and split custody. In a split custody case, parents can split the custody of their children. For example, if you have a son and a daughter, your daughter would reside with you while your son resides with your spouse. Your judge can decide that this is in the best interest of your children.
How does a judge decide your custody case?
One of the biggest fears that our clients have in any divorce case is the custody of their children. A divorce is going to change the time and relationship that you have with your children. You don’t want to lose your children, but you also want what’s in their best interest.
In cases where you can’t agree on custody, the judge presiding over your case will decide the best solution for custody. The law for child custody is complicated, so your judge will take many different factors into consideration:
- What are the needs of the child?
- Where does your child want to live?
- Do the parents have the ability to fill the needs of the child?
- What child custody do the parents want?
- Is there any evidence of domestic or child abuse?
- What is the quality of the residences of the parents?
- What is the physical and mental health of both the parents and the child?
- Who was the primary caregiver of the child during the marriage?
These are some of the many questions the judge will ask while deciding on your case. Also, the judge can request any additional evidence to help them make their decision.
What are the best interests of your child?
You might think you know what your child needs, but the court might have a different opinion. Most parents want custody of their children, but the court might not find in their favor. In some cases, the court might appoint guardian ad litem to investigate the conditions of your child’s life as well as your parenting.
The GAL will check into your home life and interview teachers, counselors, physicians, family members, and anyone that can give insight. The goal of the court is to place the child in the best environment possible. You don’t want to gamble with the custody of your child, which is why you need an expert. Contact us today so that we can develop a child custody plan.
How should I hire a South Carolina custody lawyer?
Child custody is one of the most important decisions you face during your divorce. How do you know whom to trust to represent you? You don’t want someone that just has experience representing child custody cases. You need someone that cares about you and the outcome of your children. You want a South Carolina attorney that has good judgment, so they know the best way to handle your case.
Before you decide to hire an attorney, make sure that you interview your potential representation. Each attorney you talk to will want to have an initial consultation to get to know the details of your case, but you should also be asking them questions about their background.
Most attorneys provide a free initial meeting, but some do charge a fee. So, while you are compiling your list of candidates, make sure to ask if there is an initial fee for a meeting.
Make sure that you go into your meeting with any notes or questions that you may have. Be prepared, especially if you are paying for your consultation. Also, we recommend taking notes during your meeting, so you can reflect back at a later time. After you meet with a few attorneys, they can all start to blend together. Having good notes will ensure that you remember each attorney and you select the right one for your case.
What’s the difference in mediation versus a court judgment?
We always recommend trying mediation when you are initially handling your divorce. Court judgments can take a long time and they can be expensive. Through successful mediation, we would meet with your spouse and their legal representation outside of court.
Through these meetings, we would determine your custody agreement. Most clients don’t really want to go to court initially, and we see this option as a last resort. If you and your spouse cannot agree on custody terms, then we will leave it up to a judge.
Child custody vs. child support.
Part of the child custody agreement will involve child support. You need to hire an attorney that is experienced with all aspects of child custody cases. Once we determine who had physical and legal custody of the children, child support is then discussed.
For example, if you are not the legal guardian of your child then you will be required to pay child support. Just because your child does not live with you, doesn’t mean that you’re not financially responsible for them. So, if you lose primary custody of your children, you will also see your finances impacted. It’s important that you have the best legal representation so that you can retain custody of your children.
Select a child custody attorney that cares about your case.
Child custody is one of the biggest aspects of your divorce, and many clients worry about the outcomes of their case. Nobody wants to be without their child, which is why child custody cases can take forever. There are also instances where child custody cases become an ugly affair of spouses bringing up negative information about each other.
An expert child custody attorney will be able to guide you through the process no matter how bad it gets. Our goal is to get you your desired custody agreement. Contact Lauren Taylor Law today so we can begin building your case. We want to settle your divorce so that you and your children can move on in your lives.