Child Custody Lawyers in Rock Hill, SC, Helping Parents Find Resolutions to Custody Cases
One of the most contentious aspects of family law is finding resolutions to child custody issues. When spouses go through a divorce, deciding on child custody arrangements often becomes a sticking point, with both parents wanting the child to reside with them.
However, with the help of our skilled child custody lawyers, this does not have to be the case for all parents. Our law firm is dedicated to assisting families during this difficult time and can give them the guidance they need to create a parenting plan that works for both parties.
If you are struggling with child custody issues, contact Johannesmeyer & Sawyer, PLLC of Rock Hill, South Carolina, and ask to schedule a consultation. A qualified legal team member will gladly meet with you to answer your questions and explain your rights.
What Types of Child Custody Are Available in South Carolina?
South Carolina recognizes two types of custody, sole and joint custody. Nevertheless, there are other legal aspects that parents should be made aware of when trying to decide on child custody arrangements.
Physical custody refers to where the child will reside. The parent who retains physical custody is responsible for the child’s care and supervision. Some terms parents should be familiar with when discussing physical custody include:
- Sole physical custody: The parent with whom the child will spend the majority of their time on a daily basis and is the primary caregiver. It does not mean, however, that the other parent will not have access to the child. However, depending on the circumstances, the family court judge may feel it necessary to order supervised visitation.
- Joint physical custody: Each parent shares equal time with the child. In this type of custody arrangement, the child splits their time between each parent’s house.
- Shared physical custody: Also known as primary physical custody, in this type of custody, the child lives with one parent, and the other parent has visitation rights.
Courts do approve of shared physical custody where the child resides with the custodial parent. The other parent who has visitation rights is known as the non-custodial parent. In this custody arrangement, the child lives in their primary residence and then spends time at the other parent’s house during weekends, holidays, or other agreed-upon times.
Legal custody is the right to make decisions about your child’s life and includes sole and joint legal custody. Legal custody enables parents to make important decisions about a child’s life, including religious upbringing, education, and healthcare.
- Sole legal custody: One parent has the legal authority to make decisions. Typically courts only award this sole custody if they determine it is in the child’s best interests to do so.
- Joint legal custody: Both parents share the legal authority to make major life decisions for the child.
How Do Family Law Courts Decide Child Custody?
The court will examine various factors when determining which parent should be awarded child custody. Some of the determinants used to make a child custody agreement include:
- Each parent’s physical and mental health
- Each parent’s ability to provide a safe, stable, and loving environment for the child.
- Any history of domestic violence or child abuse
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- Each parent’s willingness and ability to be involved in the child’s life.
- Each parent’s willingness to encourage a relationship with the other parent.
- The child’s wishes.
- The child’s developmental needs
- The child’s educational and community history
Although the court may consider a child’s preference when making a decision, it would never be the sole basis for deciding custody issues. While some children have the maturity and mental capability to make this important decision, many do not, and the court will always err with caution in deciding child custody issues.
One of the main goals of family court is to protect the rights of both children and their parents. For this reason, the judge will evaluate all factors to ensure that the final decision is the best choice for the child.
How Long Do Child Custody Cases Take to Be Settled?
The length of time it takes to decide on a child custody case can depend on many factors. In many cases, parents are able to come up with their own parenting plan, which cuts down the time significantly. In most instances, the courts will approve the parenting plan and visitation schedule that parents create as long as neither party opposes it.
Nevertheless, because child custody can be such a contentious issue, cases often end up going to trial to be decided. When a case goes to trial, both parties may be required to appear several times in court before the issues can be decided. Moreover, the court docket is usually full of other similar cases, which can delay settling the case even longer.
Therefore, one of the best options for parents is to work together to create a parenting plan that works for both parties. However, if the parents cannot come to a mutual decision, then it may be necessary for both parties to go through mediation to resolve their differences.
Some of the details that mediation can help parents decide on include:
- A parenting schedule that works for both parties.
- Communication preferences
- The sharing of costs and other child-related expenses
- Vacation and travel schedules
After a parenting plan has been created through mediation, the judge will review it and approve it as a court order.
What Kind of Service Can I Expect From Your Law Firm?
Our law firm is passionately committed to assisting parents through this challenging time in their lives. Our Rock Hill child custody attorneys will work side by side with you to ensure that your parental rights are upheld and that you obtain a resolution that is in your child’s best interests.
We realize that as a parent, you have concerns about your child’s future and well-being when with your former spouse or another parent. One of the best ways to ease your mind is to speak with a highly-trained child custody lawyer who can help create an effective legal strategy to protect your child’s future. We pledge to provide the support you need to help make a safe and informed decision about your child custody case.
If you need help with a current visitation case, need to create a parenting plan, or have concerns about where your child will live during your separation period, contact Johannesmeyer & Sawyer, PLLC, by calling 803-258-6681 and asking to schedule a consultation with an experienced child custody lawyer who can answer your questions.