Sumter Child Custody Lawyer

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Sumter Child Custody Attorney

Child custody is one of the most critical aspects of family law, and it is often brought to court within the context of a divorce or legal separation. The process involves determining what living arrangements and parental responsibilities should be outlined in a formal agreement for all children involved. In these cases, the role of a Sumter child custody lawyer is essential for navigating the difficult decisions involved in custody and visitation rights.

At Deas Law Firm, we have spent years serving clients who need to make child custody decisions for their families during divorce. We understand how difficult these decisions can be, especially when trying to minimize as much disruption as possible to your child’s life. This is why we take the time to learn more about your family and its unique needs. That way, we can ensure that the child custody agreement balances everyone’s desires without sacrificing the well-being of any children involved.

No matter how complicated your divorce is, our Sumter child custody lawyer would be honored to help you preserve the health and well-being of everyone involved as much as possible.

Types of Child Custody

For child custody in Sumter, there are two main custody options to understand:

Physical Custody

A physical custody arrangement refers to where the children will actually live post-divorce. Physical custody can be a solo arrangement, meaning that the child will live with one parent permanently. This happens in instances where there is reason to believe that the other parent may not be fit enough to be awarded their own custody rights.

When there is no concern that either individual’s ability to parent is compromised, a joint custody arrangement could be awarded, where a child will split their time living with both parents.

Legal Custody

This type of custody arrangement involves the parental right to make life-altering decisions on behalf of their child. These can include what institutions they receive an education from, their healthcare treatments, and their religious upbringing. Just like physical custody, legal custody can also be a solo venture or split between both parents.

Determining Custody in Court

When parents struggle to agree on a custody arrangement, the matter will be advanced to court. This is where a family law attorney can step in to represent their client’s interests in the proceedings. The court’s primary concern at every point of the custody battle will be what arrangement does not comprise a child’s health, safety, and well-being. It will consider certain factors, such as:

  • A child’s age
  • Each parent’s relationship with the child
  • The child’s preference if they are mature enough to express an opinion

The court will investigate both parents as much as possible. It will attempt to see if both can offer a stable environment independently for the child to be raised in. Any concern that this cannot be offered by any parent will be reflected in the final custody decision by the court, such as offering sole custody to one parent and granting the other visitation rights.

The Role of a Child Custody Attorney

The role of a Sumter child custody lawyer who is well-versed in child custody is multifaceted. This is designed on purpose to help parents navigate what can be a complex and emotional legal journey, which they would otherwise struggle with on their own.

Some of the most valuable services that a child custody attorney can provide include:

Negotiating Custody Arrangements

One of the most critical skills that a child custody attorney has is the ability to negotiate terms and conditions for custody arrangements. They share in the court’s interests to always protect what is most appropriate for the child involved, but that does not mean that they won’t try to balance it with their own client’s interests as well. This process will involve deep discussions, mediation sessions, and even collaboration with the opposing counsel’s legal team to find common ground.

Drafting Custody Arrangements

Once an agreement has been reached between both parties, it will need to be drafted and finalized on an official document. This document will outline every aspect of the child custody agreement, including details on:

  • The physical or legal custody, depending on the situation
  • Visitation schedules
  • Arrangements for the holidays
  • Any other guidelines that might be necessary to help parents make important decisions in the future

Representation in Court

In scenarios where custody is unable to be resolved amicably, the case will need to be advanced to family court. This is where both sides will present their own sets of evidence to persuade the court that their request for a specific arrangement is the most favorable option for the children involved. This might include presenting evidence, such as witness testimonies or communication records, indicating that the other parent involved is not fit to share custody and should only be awarded visitation rights.

Your Sumter child custody lawyer can make these points tactfully in court while preserving your own reputation and credibility to still be an effective parent.

Handling Child Support Matters

Child support is another critical element to decide upon. It can have significant implications for the economic support that a child needs to thrive when spending time at either parent’s home.

A Sumter child custody lawyer can be instrumental when calculating how much money is an appropriate amount of child support. To determine these monthly payments, the court will consult South Carolina’s child support guidelines and examine the financial circumstances of both parents.

While the court will never put a parent in a situation where they cannot afford a monthly child support payment, there will be pressure to ensure that there is enough support so that neither parent is in a state of financial vulnerability.

Advising on Visitation Rights

For a non-custodial parent, a family lawyer can help secure a favorable visitation schedule. This helps ensure that, while the parent might not have custody, they can still have the legal means to maintain a relationship with their child. If any circumstances change in the future that would allow the parent with visitation rights to be considered for joint custody, a child custody attorney can also help with that process.

Sumter Child Custody FAQs

Q: How Are the Interests of a Child Determined in Custody Cases?

A: The family court will assess a variety of factors to make a final custody decision that favors all children involved. These factors include their age, physical and emotional health, and the type of bond that exists between them and both parents.

For the parents, the court will look into each individual’s ability to parent effectively, provide a stable environment to grow up in, and any ties that might exist to a specific school district that they attend or community programs that they are involved in for their own growth and development.

The overall objective will be to ensure that each living arrangement strikes a balance between each parent’s rights and minimizing disruption to the child’s life.

Q: Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in a Custody Case?

A: When children are old and mature enough to express an opinion on what they would like to see in a custody arrangement, the court gives them the space to share this preference. This opportunity is generally allotted to older children and teenagers.

What they share will be taken into consideration, but it is not the only factor that will be involved in the final outcome. This is especially true if there is a disconnect between what the child has shared and what the court believes is in their interest.

If there is any evidence that one parent has forced a child to express a specific opinion, that parent will be held accountable and could lose certain rights in the final custody decision.

Q: How Do Joint Custody Arrangements Work?

A: A joint custody arrangement can be categorized as joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or both. When parents have joint legal custody, they will both be called on to share in certain decision-making responsibilities for the child.

For example, there may be a few different treatment options for a child’s medical condition that require a decision from the parent. In this scenario, both parents will need to discuss the matter and come to an agreement.

In joint physical custody arrangements, both parents will split how much time their child lives with them at their own home. The schedule could alternate specific weeks or weekends, or it might divide the week into specific days for each parent.

Q: How Does Relocation Affect Child Custody?

A: If a parent needs to relocate to a different geographic location, the terms of a child custody arrangement may need to be reevaluated. This is especially true if the move is a significant distance from where the other parent is living, making it difficult to share custody when the child needs to remain in a single school during the week.

The court will look into how this move could impact the child and make a final decision accordingly. Factors that they will examine include:

  • Why the parent has decided to move
  • How it could impact their relationship with the child
  • What benefits or disadvantages it poses on the child’s growth and development

Contact Deas Law Firm Today

At Deas Law Firm, we work tirelessly for you to make sure you are fairly compensated on your personal injury case. From slip and fall cases or even catastrophic injury cases, Deas Law Firm is ready to fight for you and your rights. Call us today or fill out the online form to discuss your personal injury case.

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