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Mount Pleasant South Carolina Family Legal Blog

De facto custodians, child custody and visitation rights

In South Carolina, child custody and visitation rights are not always a matter of dispute between parents. Often, others have a relationship with a child and want to at least see the child or have outright custody. These situations can be complicated and difficult to navigate. One that comes up frequently is if there is a de facto custodian. Understanding how the law views a de facto custodian is essential for the parents and anyone else involved in the child's life.

The de facto custodial is someone who, with evidentiary proof, provided financial support and was the main caregiver of the child and the child: was under 3-years-old while living with him or her for at least six months; or was older than three living and lived with him or her for at least one year. The amount of time will not be considered if a parent is seeking to regain custody from the de facto custodian.

Key points to South Carolina child custody and visitation rights

Child custody is one of the most difficult issues in any South Carolina divorce. This is true personally and emotionally. Often, both parties will want to have custody of a child and the state has laws in place that are designed to consider child custody and visitation rights for the parents as well as what is in the child's best interests. As the process begins, the parents should be cognizant of the law and act accordingly while simultaneously factoring in how every decision might impact the child. Having legal advice is a critical factor in these cases.

When determining child custody and visitation, the judge will assess the child's needs; how the child is adjusting to the new situation with a focus on how far one parent's residence is compared to where the child's primary residence is; if the parents can meet the child's needs and have an active role in his or her life; what the parents' custodial desires are; the relationships between the parent and child as well as others in the child's life; the health of all parties; if there is negative behavior on the part of the parents when it comes to the other parent; if there is abuse; and other factors that the court believes are important.

A family law firm can help with division of assets

South Carolina couples that seek to end a marriage will have many issues to deal with as part of the process. A priority will be children from the marriage. Support will have a prominent place in a case too. Once these issues have been factored in, property division and the division of assets will come to the forefront. This might not seem to be the most important aspect of the case especially when placed in the context of children, but failing to pay proper attention to how assets are divided is a mistake that many make and regret. When moving forward with a divorce, the division of assets should be a prominent consideration.

The court's main objective with a division of assets is to achieve some level of fairness for both parties. That does not automatically mean that there will be a split down the middle and each side will get half. Fair and equitable is not the same thing as equal. Not realizing there is a difference is a problem for many people embroiled in a divorce case. There are many factors that will be part of the process. Knowing these is critical from the beginning.

Deployed parents, temporary child custody and visitation rights

When there is a disagreement over child custody and visitation rights in South Carolina, the parents or anyone else who is interested in the child's care and well-being should understand how a custody order is handled under the law. One aspect of child custody that is of concern to many people living in the state is what happens if a parent is a member of the Armed Forces and is deployed. With this, it is important to understand the content of a temporary custody order.

A temporary order for custody based on a parent's deployment must state that it is temporary. It must also specify the destination, duration and what conditions are applicable for the parent's deployment.

Should you show pre-divorce vacation photos on Facebook?

Because you were experiencing so much stress over your upcoming divorce, your parents urged you to spend some time relaxing in their vacation home. That home just happens to be in Bermuda—on the beach. You snapped a few beautiful photos, but should you post them on Facebook?

What your spouse posted

Child custody and visitation rights and the child's best interest

When South Carolina parents are no longer together in a relationship and share a child, child custody and visitation rights will be a major factor as they move on. In many instances, the couple can put their personal differences aside and negotiate a reasonable agreement as to which parent the child will live with the bulk of the time and when the other parent will have visitation rights. Other cases, however, can be more complicated with the parties wanting custody and disagreeing with how the visitation is allocated. A key factor in the determination is the best interest of the child. Knowing what the law says about best interest is integral to a case.

When assessing the child's best interest, the court can consider many issues. That includes how the child's developmental and temperamental needs are impacted; whether the parents have the capacity and ability to grasp what the child's needs are and meet them; if the child has preferences, is mature enough to express them and what they are; what the parents want regarding custody; how the child has interacted with the parents, siblings or anyone else like a grandparent who might have an influence on the child's best interests; and actions the parents take to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent.

Family law and when alimony can be modified in South Carolina

As part of a divorce settlement in South Carolina, one spouse will often be ordered to pay alimony to the other spouse. This is one of the many issues that arises in family law. It can be contentious. The paying spouse will frequently want the amount to be lower than what is ordered. The supported spouse might want the amount to be increased. Once the order is made, however, it does not necessarily mean that it will remain the same for its duration. There are circumstances in which it can be modified and terminated. Understanding when this can take place and how to go about it is an important part of the process. It requires legal assistance to cover every factor.

When there is a change in the situation of a party whether it is the paying former spouse or the receiving former spouse and their financial abilities are altered, either can ask the court to increase, decrease or terminate the payments. The court will provide both sides a chance to be heard and to give evidence that is relevant to the case. It will then make an order with consideration given to the changed circumstances and the amount that is paid and received. It can increase, decrease or confirm the current amount. The paying spouse will then be required to make the payments based on the new order.

Non-marital agreements to address property division issues

Generally speaking, people are waiting until later in life to marry. For some, this means living together for years before choosing to tie the knot. Others live together with a life partner for decades without ever marrying. However, simply because a couple chooses not to marry does not mean that they are immune to family law issues such as child custody, child support, and even property division.

Should you date before the divorce is final?

South Carolina does not grant divorces unless the couple in question meets certain conditions. Some of these grounds include adultery, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness and desertion for a minimum of one year.

After one of these events, a couple may decide divorce is best. Both spouses need to try to be amicable and mature to get through this time quickly and efficiently. While there are no laws explicitly outlawing dating someone during a divorce, it is advisable to avoid seeing other people until you have officially separated from your spouse. 

New tax law can have serious impact on divorce

The law as it relates to family law doesn't change very often. However, when there are fluctuations, the consequences can be staggering. This is why individuals who are considering divorce need to keep up-to-date on any pending legal changes so that they can pick the time that is right for them to end their marriage.

Make Your Appointment With Skilled Counsel

Call our office in Mount Pleasant at 843-352-4530 to make your appointment with one of our South Carolina divorce lawyers. We serve clients throughout the coastal South Carolina communities including Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island, Pawleys Island, Georgetown, and Hilton Head. You may email us if that is easier for you.

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EGJ Family Law

1051 Chuck Dawley Boulevard
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Phone: 843-352-4530
Fax: 843-881-0317
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