Disputes over the custody and visitation of children are always emotionally difficult for everyone involved. It’s painful for the adults who are fighting for what they believe to be best for their children and for the children who are at the center of their dispute. It is part of the mission of our firm is to guide families through this difficult time.
In South Carolina, as in most states, there is no clear-cut standard or bright line rule for who will get custody or how much visitation a parent will be awarded. The general rule is that a family court should make custody and visitation decisions based on what is in “the child’s best interest.” As you might imagine, this standard allows judges very broad discretion in deciding both custody and visitation. Each family situation is unique, and each judge has their own particular thoughts and opinions about how custody and visitation and should be handled..
There are special rules for grandparents and other individuals who are not the natural or legal parents of the child. These special rules are one of the few things in custody and visitation cases that tend to be applied very strictly. If a grandparent or aunt, uncle, or other individual who cares about a child can meet these rules and fit within the special sets of circumstances, then they, too, may be granted custody or visitation rights. If they don’t meet these special rules then a judge does not have the authority to grant them custody or visitation no matter what the circumstances or special situation.
Showing a judge what is in a child’s best interest requires the ability to tell the family’s story to a judge in a compelling and convincing way. It requires taking all the information about the family, the child, the history and expectations for the future and crafting a story for the judge that makes it clear why one custody and visitation arrangement is better for the child than any other. At Carolina Family Matters, it’s our job to gather that information and present it to the court so that a judge can understand what is truly in the best interests of the child or children involved. We work closely with our clients to learn about their families so that we can tell their stories and protect their rights.
We take very seriously our role as lawyers to make sure children have the best possible life that they can.
Let us help you and your children. Call us at (864)990 3061 or use the contact form at the bottom of this page to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers.