Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody disputes are among the most contentious and difficult issues faced by parents or guardians.
Although the determining factor in South Carolina for making custody decisions is “the best interest of the child,” it is critical that these disputes are handled by experienced child custody attorneys.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no presumption favoring mothers over fathers. All other things being equal, mothers and fathers have equal rights to the custody of their children. When children are born of a marriage, both parents have full custody rights to the child until the family court issues an order setting custody.
When a child is born out of wedlock, the mother has custody until the family court issues an order on that child’s custody but then there is no presumption over whether the mother or father should be awarded custody.
The following are commonly asked questions about Child Custody and Visitation:
What is Sole Custody?
Sole legal custody means that one person has sole decision-making power over a child and typically has primary physical custody of that child.
What is Joint Custody?
Joint legal custody means shared decision-making power over a child. It does not mean shared physical custody of the child. Joint custody means shared decision-making power over a child and shared physical custody of the child. It does not necessarily mean equally shared physical custody. When parents have joint custody, they share in major decisions about a child, and need to be able to communicate effectively in parenting their child together.
How is Custody Determined?
Custody may be agreed upon by the parties, with the terms of the custody agreement being set-forth in an Agreement or Consent Order that is filed with the Court. Mediation is a great alternative, to assist parents with coming to an agreement about the best custodial arrangement for their child. If the parties cannot agree, they go to court and let a judge decide. However, it is important to note that South Carolina requires parties to attend in mediation before their matter can be heard by the court.
What are Visitation Rights?
If one parent has custody, the other parent has the right to have visitation with their child. The visitation schedule of the non-custodial parent depends on various factors including: the ages of the children, the children’s schedules, how far apart the parents live, and the work schedules of the parents. When determining a visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent, the parties should consider weekdays, weekends, holidays, and summer. As with custody, the parties may agree on visitation in an Agreement, or go to court and let a judge decide.
At the Law Firm of Sandye T. Hicks, LLC,
We understand the critical nature of child custody cases, and have a wealth of experience in protecting both your children, and your rights as a parent. We assist clients throughout the Conway and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area. We have extensive knowledge about child custody and visitation, and will work hard to protect your family. Call us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your child custody and visitation rights. Choosing the right lawyer is critical (843) 488-2929.