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    Paul A. Meding, P.A., Attorney at Law has served the Columbia, S.C. area for over 30 years, focused solely on family court cases.
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Types of Child Custody in South Carolina

Child Custody Concept
Child custody cases are infamously complex and emotionally draining. Nobody has an easy time, physically or emotionally, fighting for custody. One of your first steps to fighting for custody of your child is to learn more about your state's laws.

South Carolina has its own laws for determining child custody. Acquaint yourself with the laws determining child custody to put yourself in the position to understand custody regulations in your state.

Types of South Carolina Child Custody

South Carolina offers several different types of child custody arrangements. The court considers full or half custody in terms of being able to make legal decisions. A parent may have either half or all of the decision-making rights.

Sole custody is the arrangement that is made when one parent is the only individual who has custody of the child. This parent is the one who is legally responsible for making decisions for the child. This parent manages the child's medical care, dental care, education, and other facets of life.

Joint custody exists when both parents have equal say and responsibility in the life of their child. Both parents can make decisions about the child's religion, education, and medical care. Joint custody does not necessarily mean that each parent has equal physical custody of the child.

When it comes to determining physical custody, or where the child resides, different types of arrangements are available through the court system. The judge will make this determination.
Paternity in South Carolina Child Custody Cases

In cases in which the child's parents are not married to each other, the sole custody reverts to the mother of the child. In order to gain joint custody of a child, the father must prove paternity in the courts. Once the court establishes paternity, the rest of the custody case will go on in the same way as if each parent had already been established from the beginning.

One common misconception about the law is that fathers are never granted custody. The truth is that fathers can have custody of children, even infants, so long as they meet the court's requirements.

Factors in Custody Cases

South Carolina family courts use many different cases to determine which parents should receive custody. The judge considers all components.

When the child is old enough to express an opinion, the court may put some weight on the child's wishes, especially considering physical custody. Teenagers can often tell the court who he or she wants to live with.

The court also considers the preferences of the parent. If one parent does not want custody, the court will consider this.
Courts look down upon parental alienation. If one parent appears to be trying to alienate the other, the court will not look favorably upon this parent when it is time to consider custody and visitation.

In most cases, the courts will try to keep the child's life as normal as possible. If the child does not have to change schools or homes, the courts often have a preference.

You may also find that the court considers any potential abuse or neglect in the past. A child who expresses fear of a parent may not be forced to live with them.

Ultimately, the weight of the decision rests on the child's needs. The court wants to make a decision based on the child's best interest.

While you are not legally required to have an attorney when you come to court to fight for custody, you are always advised to retain legal counsel. Legal assistance helps you represent yourself best in court.

Paul A. Meding, P.A., Attorney at Law, understands the difficulty of child custody cases. An attorney can help you work on your custody case. Call today to set up a consultation.