In Greenville, South Carolina, divorce cases, the law allows for married couples to end their marriages if they meet one of five conditions. These conditions are divided into fault and no-fault reasons. With the at-fault reasons, one spouse blames the other for destroying the marriage, either through adultery, physical abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, or desertion. Alternatively, a couple can opt for a no-fault divorce, but only after living separately for one year or more. Regardless of which type of divorce you opt for, there will be several agreements and decisions that you and your spouse will have to come to regarding your post-divorce life. These include alimony payments, division of property and debts, child custody, child support, and so on.
Types of Child Custody in Greenville, South Carolina, Divorce Cases
Child custody is one of the most important aspects that parents have to decide upon while getting a divorce. For most parents, losing custody of their children could be a heart wrenching experience. It is important to note that in Greenville, South Carolina, child custody does not only refer to the location and parent with whom the child is going to live. It also refers to custody in terms of which parent is given the authority to make important decisions for and about the child. There are two types of child custody in Greenville, South Carolina. There is legal custody and physical custody. These are further divided into sole legal custody, joint legal custody, sole physical custody, and joint physical custody.
When a parent is given legal custody of a child, it means that they are given the right and responsibility to make major decisions in the child’s life, including decisions about education, decisions about medical treatment, decisions about extracurricular activities, and so on. Legal custody can be given to a single parent (sole custody) or can be shared by both parents (joint custody). However, it helps to clarify that sometimes, even in a joint custody situation, the court may not allow all rights and responsibilities to be shared by both parents. One parent may be given sole authority to make certain decisions, while the other will be allowed to make some decisions jointly.
Physical custody refers to the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, living in one home or the other. It is generally believed that the mother is naturally given custody of young children, but that is not always true. Custody will be given to the parent that the court finds suitable. Sole physical custody is not always in the best interests of the child. It is often only applied in cases where the other parent is proved to be dangerous or harmful for the child. It is more common for one parent to be given sole custody with visitation rights for the other. Further, if a court awards joint physical custody to both parents, it does not mean that the child will spend equal amounts of time with each parent. It means that the parenting time will be divided in a way that is in favor of the child’s best interests.
How is Custody Determined in Greenville, South Carolina, Divorce Cases?
Family courts make custody and visitation decisions in Greenville, South Carolina, divorce cases based on what is best for the child. Several aspects are taken into consideration before a decision is made. Some factors that the court takes into consideration include:
- Each parent’s living situation and financial stability – Often, parents that are awarded the family residence in the divorce are given custody of the children for stability reasons. The court will also ensure that you are financially equipped to fulfill the needs of the child.
- Each parent’s relationship with the child and their involvement in the child’s life prior to the divorce.
- The child’s preference – The child’s preference holds great importance in custody issues, especially if he or she is older.
- Each parent’s emotional and mental stability.
- If there is any history of abuse or neglect by a parent, then the judge is likely to limit that parent’s visitation rights.
Helping Your Children through the Challenges of Divorce in Greenville, South Carolina
While divorce can be overwhelming for you and your spouse, it can also be emotionally distressing for your children. They might not understand your reasons to separate, and they might even try to convince you otherwise. They might also become aggressive, withdrawn, depressed, or uncooperative.
You must protect your children’s mental and emotional health and help them to cope with the divorce. A few things that you can do to help your children include being transparent and honest with them, explaining to them your reasons for divorce at an age appropriate level, showing cooperation with your spouse throughout the divorce, avoiding putting any pressure on them to choose a side, and ensuring them that both you and your spouse will still be actively involved in their lives.
Ensuring a Smooth Process in Greenville, South Carolina, Divorce Cases
Family relationships can and do continue after a divorce. As long as your spouse wasn’t dangerous or abusive to you or your children, you can still continue to be a family without being married. You must be respectful and cooperative throughout the process to minimize any emotional distress. Moreover, a smooth divorce will show your children that you are capable of resolving conflicts maturely and set a good example for them to carry forward in their own lives.
Contacting the Elliott Frazier Law Firm to Ensure that Your Divorce Goes Smoothly
Greenville, South Carolina, divorces and custody issues are complicated and exhausting. Hiring a legal professional who will guide you through this lengthy process will relieve some of your stress. Before you meet with an attorney, consider making a list of the questions that you may wish to ask. No matter the nature of your divorce, it is in your and your child’s best interest to hire an attorney. Divorce and child custody is something that could change the course of your family’s life and you must ensure that an experienced lawyer represents you. Call the Elliott Frazier Law Firm to learn more.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.