Guidance Through Your Family Law Or Divorce Issues
Family law covers two broad areas:
- Marriage and the Dissolution of Marriage; and
- Child Custody, Visitation, and Support
In South Carolina most family law issues are addressed in family court and most family court cases involve family law issues. However, there are cases that are handled by the family court that are not as obvious. Juvenile delinquency cases are handled in family court but, while differing somewhat in procedure, are similar to criminal law cases and are often defended by criminal law attorneys, not by a family law attorney. After the death of an alleged common-law spouse, any action to establish a common law marriage is handled in probate court. Elder abuse cases are handled in family court. Appeals of family court cases are handled by the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court. However, most, but not all, family law matters are handled by the family courts. Having an experienced family law attorney on your side can help you navigate the family courts.
South Carolina Divorce Attorney
South Carolina has five grounds for divorce: four fault grounds and one no-fault ground. Which fault grounds you pursue will have different ramifications for your divorce settlement agreement. The four fault grounds are adultery, habitual intoxication, physical cruelty and one year's desertion. The no-fault ground is one year's continuous separation. There is a three month waiting period from the date of filing until the court can grant a fault divorce. There is no waiting period for a no-fault divorce. Working with a divorce attorney who is experienced with South Carolina divorce court can greatly reduce the stress involved with a divorce.
Spouses do not need to be separated for the innocent spouse to file for an adultery, habitual intoxication or physical cruelty divorce. The family court can order the at-fault spouse out of the house at the initial hearing if the innocent spouse presents some evidence of fault. Enlisting experienced counsel's divorce services early for an at-fault divorce can save a great deal of time and money.
South Carolina Child Custody, Visitation, and Support Attorney
Child custody and visitation involve the most difficult decisions separating parents will make. At the Hopkins Law Firm, we can help you achieve a workable and amiable child custody resolution that meets your child's needs.
When parents divorce, often the most highly contested issue is how to establish a child custody and visitation plan that fits both parents' schedules. Parents can resolve these arrangements between themselves, either on their own or with the assistance of their attorneys or through mediation.
While every custody case is different, a negotiated custody arrangement is often more favorable to what a judge would decide as the parents have a “say so” in the arrangement.
Should parents not reach an amiable resolution, they are left to the decision of the Family Court Judge. The “tender years” doctrine was abolished in South Carolina and therefore the Family Court Judges no longer operate under the bias that a child automatically ought to be with the mother. Instead, judges start from the perspective that parenting can be done by either parent and each has equal rights to the children. From there, the focus of the law is always on what is in the best interests of the children. What each judge believes is the “best interests” of the children differs from judge to judge.
Contact A South Carolina Family Law Attorney
If you are contemplating, or going through, a divorce or child custody, visitation, or support situation, call the experienced team at Hopkins Law Firm first to find out your rights and learn how the family court process works in South Carolina. Please call us at 843-314-4202 or email us and we will respond promptly. Our attorney is here to listen and to help.