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    March 10, 2016

    South Carolina Children’s Rights and The Guardian Ad Litem Program

    greenville upstate sc family lawyer guardian at litem

    Family law deals with a broad number of issues affecting people and their families, such as name changes, divorces, and orders for support and alimony. Many of these issues involve children, and have the potential to significantly impact their lives. While parents and other caregivers may be the legal guardians over teenagers and little ones, it is often necessary for the court to make decisions as to the child’s best interests. Due to their age and lack of maturity, children are often unable to stand up for their rights or to speak out on their own behalf. For those children involved in family law matters, the court often finds it necessary for an outside party to intervene and to act as an advocate for them

    Guardian Ad Litems

    According to the South Carolina Bar Association, while state law considers a child to be anyone under the age of 18, the age of majority in the state varies. The ‘age of majority’ refers to the age at which a person gains the rights and responsibilities of becoming an adult, and prior to that age, parents are responsible for ensuring their children have a roof over their heads, food to eat, and to make sure they regularly attend school. While many children eagerly look forward to when they reach the age at which they can be considered a ‘grown up,’ they often fail to appreciate the consequences of their actions, and lack the experience in life to know what is in their best interests. In order to protect their interests in family law matters, a guardian ad litem is often assigned to represent the child in family court case.

    The South Carolina Guardian Ad Litem Program was started as a way of protecting children in the state from abuse and neglect. The state funded program operates in 45 different counties throughout the Palmetto States, and relies on staff and volunteers to fulfill its role as children’s advocates that are ordered through the court. The state funded program deals only in case in which child abuse or neglect play a role, and they make recommendations to the judge based on what they determine is in the child’s best interests. A Guardian Ad Litem works with social agencies, may take a child to doctor appointments, monitors their school progress, and make home visits to ensure the child is being cared for.

    In divorce and custody matters, private guardian ad litem’s may be used by the court to help the judge in the matter determine the best interests of the child in question. Under Article 7 of the South Carolina Children’s Code, the guardian may be either a lawyer or a layperson, and is expected to make a balanced and impartial investigation into the facts relevant in the situation. While neglect cases involving children require a guardian to be appointed regardless of the parents’ wishes, both parents must agree to the appointment of a guardian in simple divorce or custody cases.  

    Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Family Law Attorney

    If you or someone you care about is involved in family court matters, contact our experienced South Carolina family law attorney. At Lauren Taylor Law, we provide caring, comprehensive legal service, with the kind of aggressive legal representation to ensure your rights are protected. Serving Greenville and the entire Upstate area, call or contact us online today for an initial consultation.