Rock Hill Child Custody Lawyer

Child Custody Lawyer - Minor Law Divorce Lawyers

Child custody is one of the most difficult and challenging family law matters an attorney handles. If you are fighting to protect your child in Rock Hill, SC, you want an aggressive family law advocate to fight for you and your child during these challenging times. Call a Rock Hill child custody attorney from Minor Law Divorce Lawyers at (803) 504-0971 to obtain sound advice and learn how we can help you.

At Minor Law Divorce Lawyers, our team is composed of highly-trained, experienced legal professionals dedicated to obtaining justice for our clients. Our attorneys fight to ensure the final agreement is what’s best for your kid. We protect your parental rights and your child’s right to have a healthy and continued relationship with both parents whenever possible.

Our founding attorney, Donae A. Minor, has been recognized for her outstanding family law practice, legal services and dedication to her clients. As an experienced South Carolina family attorney, Attorney Minor possesses a comprehensive knowledge of all important issues related to family law.

Contact us today for a consultation to discuss our family law practice and get valuable advice.

How Minor Law Divorce Lawyers Can Help You With a Child Custody Matter in Rock Hill, SC

How Minor Law Offices Can Help You With a Child Custody Matter in South Carolina 

Joint custody 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. Shared custody may not be appropriate if a parent is unfit and a separation is required.

At Minor Law Divorce Lawyers, our Rock Hill family attorney approaches each case with a fresh perspective, whether we are dealing with an alimony issue, property division, custody arrangements, or other practice area. What works for one family might not work for another family. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to custody issues.

Instead, we use our extensive family law experience, skills, and knowledge of custody laws to develop a parenting plan and custody agreement that works best for your family and protects your kid. We make compelling arguments in your favor and fiercely fight on your behalf inside and outside the courtroom. 

When you hire Minor Law Divorce Lawyers, you can trust your legal representation will:

  • Listen to you and help you identify your goals for an agreement
  • Apply the case law and statutes to your case to help build a solid argument for the arrangement you desire
  • Work with expert witnesses to gather important evidence supporting your case as necessary
  • Keep you updated on the progress we are making and consult you on all major issues
  • Provide support, guidance, and legal representation during these trying times and throughout your family law case 
  • Walk you through the mediation process
  • Fiercely advocate for you and your child during mediation, settlement negotiations, hearings, and at trial 

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 minor during the child’s tender years. A child’s “tender years” usually continue from birth until age four.

South Carolina used to favor the mother as the custodial parent if a child was under the age of four. 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 custody matters. Nowadays, family courts do not give either parent preference during a custody battle. Both parents begin on equal footing when beginning a case.

How Do Courts Decide Custody Cases in Rock Hill?

The main consideration for custody is the child’s best interest. South Carolina laws require judges to determine what custody arrangement would be in the best interests of a child. Factors judges consider when determining this 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 life
  • 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, longterm separation, 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 for custody matters. When the court considers a child’s preference regarding custody, it 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.

Sole Custody 

One parent has the authority to make decisions for the minor 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 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 plan.

Supervised visitation could be ordered if it is believed that leaving a child alone with a parent could be dangerous. In extreme instances, a court could deny visitation if it deems having it under any circumstances would harm the child. 

Joint Custody

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 for the child.

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 time with the child.

The court approves a parenting plan that details how the parents intend to share parental responsibilities. It includes who makes decisions, how they are made, where the child will live, and the schedule. The judge must be convinced the parents can work together to ensure this works for the child. 

What Is a Guardian ad Litem in a Child Custody Case?

If custody is disputed, the family court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to advocate for the child during the proceedings. The GAL impartially investigates. 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 court 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 case. 

Modifying Child Custody Orders

A parent can petition the court to modify the 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 must prove the change substantially impacts the child’s best interests, generally in a negative way.

Can I Pursue Emergency Custody in Rock Hill, South Carolina, If My Children Are in Danger?

If you reasonably believe that your children are in danger when they are in their other parent’s care, you may be able to request an emergency custody order. Your belief must be more than speculation or dissatisfaction with your ex-partner’s parenting style.

Examples of situations that could give rise to emergency custody include: 

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Child neglect
  • Excessive alcohol consumption or drug use
  • Criminal activity in the child’s presence 
  • Parental incapacity
  • Inappropriate visitors that could put the child at risk (e.g., sex offenders)

The process starts with filing a motion for emergency temporary relief and supporting evidence with the court. Your evidence might include photos, videos, third-party statements, and police reports. 

A hearing will typically be scheduled within a few days, where a judge will hear testimony from both parties. If the judge agrees with you, they will most likely grant you emergency custody.

It’s essential to work with a Rock Hill family law attorney through this process. We’ll discuss your concerns and identify the best course of action to protect your children.

What Happens If the Other Parent Is Not Following Our Rock Hill Custody Agreement?

It depends on the nature and extent of the violations. For example, if your child’s other parent missed one school event because they were busy at work, that won’t be enough to modify your custody agreement. Even if they disappoint you or your child on more than one occasion, this probably won’t be sufficient for a court to side with you.

However, suppose that your ex-partner consistently misses their scheduled visitation times. You’ve tried to work with them to accommodate their schedule, but they continuously fail to spend time with your child. In that case, it may be worth revisiting your custody arrangement. 

If your child’s other parent is violating or ignoring your custody agreement, contact us for guidance. We’ll determine whether you may qualify for a modification and help you petition the court.

Schedule a Consultation With Our Rock Hill Child Custody Attorneys

Are you facing a custody dispute in York County? If so, we are here to help. Call Minor Law Divorce Lawyers for an evaluation with our child custody attorney to discuss your options.

Additional Divorce Resources

Local Therapists

  • 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.

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