Custody is often the most contentious issue in a family court case.
Custody fights are emotionally and financially draining. Custody fights scar children and their parents, sometimes permanently.
Sane rational parents who love their children will do all within their power to avoid a custody fight. Where custody cannot be resolved, the family court must decide.
Custody battles are generally between parents. Occasionally a grandparent or other person seeks custody. If custody is an issue, you must prove both your ability and your willingness to care for your child. Judges and lawyers claim the overriding concern in any custody case is the best interest of the child. The practical application of this is the belief that the best interest of the child is served by being with the parent who does the most to have a good relationship with the other parent, demonstrates a willingness to co-parent, treats the other parent with decency and respect, and respects the rights of the other parent regarding the child.
Joint custody originally meant equally shared time and responsibility. The public policy of South Carolina disfavors joint custody. However, the meaning of the term has weakened over the years. Family court judges usually will not order true joint custody without an agreement of the parties but frequent use the term joint custody when the noncustodial parent receives far less than joint custody. Even so, most judges will consider joint custody only where parents can get along and cooperate with each other to benefit the children.
Beginning a separation or divorce can be taxing. We've put together a Clients' Guide to help you get started.