When it comes to issues involving children in Greenville, South Carolina family law, there are a lot of emotions and fears that come into play. Non-custodial parents are often fearful of losing their rights and their relationships with their kids. Custodial parents are often fearful of being left without any support or of the emotional damage that could caused to their children if the other parent decides to make a clean break and walk away. In many cases, parents are afraid of each other turning the kids against them. They might even be concerned about the wellbeing of their children while in the other parent’s care.
Beyond fear, there is often a lot of anger and suspicion, too. The parents might be hurt and angry about issues related to their separation. They might be suspicious of new boyfriends or girlfriends. They might be suspicious of their ex spouse trying to take advantage of them in terms of custody, visitation, and child support. In some cases, parents doubt the paternity of the child, or one parent may deny paternity as an emotionally manipulative tool to hurt the other.
If you are facing the emotional turmoil of family law issues concerning children in Greenville, South Carolina, you likely have a lot of questions that need answers. The Elliott Frazier Law Firm is here to help you sort through the challenges and achieve your family goals. Following are some of the questions you may need answers to at this difficult time.
Concerns About the Paternity of Children in Greenville, South Carolina
If there are any questions about the paternity of your child or children, you can address this in court. A judge can order a DNA paternity test to establish whether or not you are the father of the child or to prove that you are correct in your belief that the given individual is the father of your child. In cases where you believe that you are the father of a child, but the mother will not allow you to have access or rights to the child, you can seek a DNA test in the same way, by filing a suit to prove paternity with an order from a judge. You can do this even if you had a child with a woman who was married to someone else at the time.
Concerns About Child Custody Issues in Greenville, South Carolina
Child custody is one of the biggest issues in family law in Greenville. In some cases, both parents want physical custody or one parent refuses to share legal custody. Fortunately, these decisions are not made by the parents, unless they can agree on them. If you cannot come to an agreement, then the courts will decide custody issues in a manner that is fair and just for the best interests of the children, which are almost always to have equal access to their parents.
The three different forms of child custody include sole custody, joint custody, and split custody. In many cases, there will be a guardian ad litem who is appointed to represent the children’s best interests, outside of the emotional turmoil of the parents. Further, custody orders can be modified as circumstances change, whenever it is appropriate to do so.
The court will consider various factors when deciding on the legal custody and visitation arrangement for your family. Every situation is different, so multiple variables have to be taken into account for each case. Examples of these variables include the preference of the child or children, the fitness of the parents, the attitude of the parents, the likelihood of each parent fostering a positive relationship with the other, the current and ongoing arrangement, and any prior written agreements between the parents.
In some cases, religion will also factor in. For example, if a child has been raised within a given religion, but one parent wants to change this, this may be something that factors into the decision of who should have custody. In other cases, a history of intoxication or abuse could factor into these decisions. If one parent has been abusive or struggles with addiction, then this could impact the decisions of the courts concerning custody and visitation.
Concerns About Child Support Issues in Greenville, South Carolina
Like child custody arrangements, child support orders can be changed when appropriate. If the non-custodial parent becomes unable to pay the ordered amount of support, through no fault of their own, then it may be possible to lower it. If the non-custodial parent gets a raise, then it may be possible to increase the amount of child support. If you need to make any changes to a child support order, either because of changes in financial position or changes in custody, or if child support is not being paid to you as ordered, you will want to file a motion with the court. Yet, before any of this happens, the child support order will have to be initiated and calculated by the courts based on your current financial circumstances and custody arrangement.
Also like child custody concerns, many factors are considered in calculating child support for children in Greenville, South Carolina. For example, the income of both parents will be considered, as will the expenses associated with daycare, education, and medical issues, which can include any special medical care expenses and medical insurance. If there are any income generating assets, such as a rental property that is owned by either party, this could be relevant in the child support arrangement, too. The South Carolina Child Support Guidelines will be the basis for most child support calculations.
It is important to note that if there is a step parent in the home, then this person’s income will not be factored in. This is because the step parent may help to provide support, but they are not legally obligated to do so. If the relationship fails, then the step parent can legally walk away and discontinue all support. It is the responsibility of the child’s legal parents to provide for the child, so step parents are not usually factored into child support calculations.
Learn More About Issues Concerning Children in Greenville, South Carolina Family Law
Every case is different, and you are likely to have more questions about how the law is going to impact your custody arrangement, support calculations, and other concerns related to your children in Greenville, South Carolina family law. Contact the Elliott Frazier Law Firm to schedule a free consultation and get all of your questions answered.