Child custody is one of the most difficult and challenging family law matters an attorney handles. A child’s welfare is at stake. If you are fighting to protect your child in Rock Hill, SC, you want an aggressive advocate to fight for you and your child.
At Minor Law Divorce Lawyers, our team is composed of highly-trained, experienced legal professionals dedicated to obtaining justice for our clients. Our Rock Hill child custody lawyer fights to ensure the final custody agreement in your case is in your child’s best interest. We protect your parental rights and your child’s right to have a healthy and continued relationship with both parents whenever possible.
Our founding lawyer, Donae A. Minor, has been recognized for her outstanding legal services and dedication to her clients. As an experienced South Carolina family lawyer, Attorney Minor possesses a comprehensive knowledge of all issues related to child custody.
Contact us today or call us at (803) 504-0971 to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case with our experienced Rock Hill child custody lawyer. We handle child custody cases throughout York County.
How Minor Law Offices Can Help You With a Child Custody Matter in Rock Hill, South Carolina
A joint custody arrangement can allow both parents to remain active in their children’s lives. However, this type of agreement does not always resolve all the issues that must be addressed. Joint custody may not be in a child’s best interest if a parent is unfit.
At Minor Law Offices, our Rock Hill family lawyer approaches each case with a fresh perspective. What works for one family might not work for another family. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to child custody issues.
Instead, we use our extensive experience, skills, and knowledge of child custody laws to develop a parenting plan and custody agreement that works best for your family and protects your child. We make compelling arguments in your favor and fiercely fight on your behalf inside and outside the courtroom.
When you hire Minor Law Offices to handle your case, you can trust we will:
- Listen to you and help you identify your goals for a custody agreement
- Apply the case law and statutes to your case to help build a solid argument for the custody arrangement you desire
- Work with expert witnesses to gather additional evidence supporting your case as necessary
- Keep you updated on the progress we are making and consult you on all major decisions impacting your case
- Provide support and guidance throughout your case
- Fiercely advocate for you and your child during settlement negotiations, hearings, and at trial
Child custody cases can be some of the most difficult cases to win. You need careful planning and preparation. You also need experienced legal representation.
At Minor Law Offices, we are committed to providing you with trusted, effective legal services. Call us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced child custody lawyer in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
South Carolina Abolished the Tender Years Doctrine for Child Custody Cases
South Carolina once operated under the Tender Years Doctrine for child custody matters. The legal doctrine states that a mother should have primary custody and care of the child during the child’s tender years. A child’s “tender years” usually continue from birth until age four.
South Carolina courts used to favor the mother as the custodial parent if a child was under the age of four years old. Judges only awarded fathers custody if the mother was unfit. Being unfit could include committing adultery, among other circumstances.
However, South Carolina abolished the Tender Years Doctrine for child custody cases. Nowadays, family courts do not give either parent preference during a custody matter. Both parents begin on equal footing when beginning a child custody case in Rock Hill.
How Do Courts Decide Custody Cases in Rock Hill, South Carolina?
The primary consideration for child custody decisions is the child’s best interest. South Carolina custody laws require judges to determine what custody arrangement would be in the best interests of a child. Factors judges consider when determining a child’s best interest include:
- A child’s developmental needs and temperament
- The disposition and capacity of parents to understand and meet a child’s needs
- A child’s reasonable preferences
- The parent’s wishes for custody arrangements
- The current and past relationship and interaction between the child and each parent
- The child’s past and current relationships with siblings, grandparents, and other people who might significantly impact a child’s best interest
- A parent’s inclination and actions to encourage a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent
- A parent’s coercive behavior or manipulation to involve a child their dispute with the other parent
- Actions and efforts to disparage a parent in front of a child
- The stability of the child’s existing and proposed homes
- The child’s adjustment to their school, home, and community
- The physical and mental health of the parties
- The child’s spiritual and cultural upbringing and background
- Allegations of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence
- A parent’s relocation within the past year of 100 or more miles away from the child’s primary residence for purposes other than safety
Judges may also consider other factors they deem necessary and relevant to determining the child’s best interest in custody matters. When the court considers a child’s preference regarding custody, the judge gives the child’s preference weight based on the child’s age, maturity, judgment, experience, and ability to express a preference.
What Types of Child Custody Are There in South Carolina?
Rock Hill family court judges can generally grant sole or joint custody.
One parent has the authority to make decisions for the child regarding their education, medical care, residence, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. The other parent has no right to share in making these decisions.
The parent without custody is usually granted visitation. Many counties have standard visitation schedules that allow for visitation with a child every other weekend, one night during the week, and alternating holidays. However, parents can devise a parenting plan to propose to the court that modifies the standard visitation schedule.
A judge could also order supervised visitation if the judge believes leaving a child alone with a parent could endanger the child. In extreme cases, a court could deny visitation if the judge deems visitation with the parent under any circumstances would harm the child.
Joint custody means the parents share the child-rearing responsibilities. They each have the right to make decisions regarding their child. The arrangement is often referred to as co-parenting because the parents work together to make decisions that are in their child’s best interest.
With joint custody, the child usually lives primarily with one party for stability and continuity. That parent is referred to as the custodial parent. The other parent can have liberal visitation with the child.
The court approves a parenting plan that details how the parents intend to share parental responsibilities. The plan includes who makes decisions, how decisions are made, where the child will live, and visitation schedules. The judge must be convinced the parents can work together to ensure the joint custody arrangement works for the best interest of the child.
What Is a Guardian ad Litem in a Rock Hill Child Custody Case?
If child custody is disputed, the family court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to advocate for the child during the custody proceedings. The GAL impartially investigates to determine what would be in a child’s best interest. The GAL reports their findings to the judge, including their position regarding the child’s welfare.
A guardian ad litem can make recommendations to the court based on their investigation. The judge is not bound to follow the GAL’s recommendations. However, GAL reports that include detailed findings and evidence to support their recommendation can significantly impact the outcome of a child custody case.
Modifying Child Custody Orders in Rock Hill, SC
A parent can petition the court to modify child custody based on a substantial change of circumstance that occurred after the date of the current custody order. A substantial change in circumstances could mean several things.
The parent petitioning for a modification of child custody must prove the change substantially impacts the child’s best interests, generally in a negative way.
An experienced Rock Hill child custody lawyer can review your case and explain how the laws impact your chances of changing a custody arrangement.
Schedule an Initial Consultation With Our Rock Hill Child Custody Lawyers
Are you facing a child custody dispute? If so, we are here to help. Call Minor Law Offices to schedule a consultation with our Rock Hill child custody lawyer to discuss your case.
Additional Divorce Resources
- SC Judicial Branch – Visit the official website of SC Judicial Branch
- South Carolina Superior Court Clerk’s Office – Court record storage and retrieval, information, and financial management for the judicial system and county government.
- South Carolina Family and Social Services – Read more about family and social services in South Carolina
Rock Hill, SC Therapists
- Thriveworks Counseling & Psychiatry Rock Hill – 1030 Riverwalk Parkway Suite 203, Rock Hill, SC 29730, United States
- Kennington Counseling – 1420 Ebenezer Rd Suite 101, Rock Hill, SC 29732, United States
- Dr. Lois Veronen, Ph.D. – 229 Johnston St, Rock Hill, SC 29730, United States
- Beacon of Hope Counseling, LLC – 1035 Oakland Ave, Rock Hill, SC 29732, United States
*Disclaimer – we do not endorse these companies or profit from having them listed on our website.