Child Custody Lawyers and Attorneys in Greenville, SC

Custody can often be one of the most contentious issues when it comes to Family Court litigation.  For many, custody is often the most important aspect of their case.  In contested cases, including when visitation is contested, a Guardian ad Litem is usually appointed by the Court.  It is imperative to have competent representation while navigating this complex issue, whether it is the initial action involving custody, or a modification action.  Please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation involving your custody or visitation matter.

Child Custody Lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina

If you are getting divorced and have children, one of the toughest questions you’ll have to ask yourself is how you’ll handle child custody decisions and how you’ll design your parenting plan. For divorcing couples with children, child custody is likely to be the most emotionally-charged question you’ll have to face.  Linda C. Hayes is an experienced child custody lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina who understands the unique challenges families face as they negotiate divorce and parenting plans. Every family’s needs are unique and, if your children are young, their needs will evolve over time. The kind of time and attention a younger child will need will be different from the amount of time and attention an older child will want or need. It is important to put a parenting plan and child custody plan in place that will evolve with your changing needs.   Linda understands how sensitive child custody questions can be. We offer compassionate and caring counsel that place the best interests of your child first.

Child Custody in South Carolina

Under South Carolina law, there is a newer trend of awarding both parents joint custody of the children. This means that both parents will have the right to make, or at least be given input, into major decisions affecting their children. Generally, these decisions involve schooling, religion, medical care, after school activities, and other major life decisions. Joint custody consists of two aspects:  the actual legal decision making involved in custody, and the physical placement, where generally one parent has physical custody of the child while the other parent has visitation rights. The courts generally favor arrangements where the children can see both parents on a regular basis, while maintaining some stability for the child in a primary household.  More parents are also choosing to split physical custody. While this can sometimes prove logistically challenging, it can be incredibly beneficial for the child’s well-being. Every family’s situation will be different. In some cases, a child will reside with one parent and visit the other parent on the weekends. In other instances, the child will split his or her time with both parents. Only rarely do the courts limit the child from visiting both parents. Usually these limitations only occur in cases where the child may be in physical danger, and even then, supervised visitation is usually permitted.

When you are filing for divorce with children, the courts will look to see that you and your former spouse have a parenting plan in place. This plan will outline who has physical custody and when, how difficult decisions will be made, and how disputes will be resolved. In general, it is often in your children’s best interests and your best interests to avoid a long custody battle with the courts. Should you take your case to court, you run the risk of the judge making a decision that neither party wants. This decision could be binding. Most families strive to resolve their disputes and their differences outside of court, with the help of a Greenville, South Carolina child custody lawyer, like Linda C. Hayes. Our firm can review your concerns, help mediate your situation, and fight to protect the rights and interests of your child. It is important to be honest about your situation, your child’s needs, and what is realistic given everyone’s desires. Linda C. Hayes is a child custody attorney who can help you ask these tough questions.  

What Should be in My Child Custody Parenting Plan?

Generally, the parents know best when it comes to their children’s needs.  A Parenting Plan can be found under the “Forms” section of this website.   However, during a divorce, the state may have a say in how decisions will be made and where the children will reside. To avoid this, many parents choose to draw up detailed parenting plans that outline their desires for their children after divorce. A good parenting plan will be specific, but also flexible. Here are some things to consider for your parenting plan:

  • How will major decisions be made? While most parents choose to let each parent set his or her own rules in his or her home, having some common standards can be helpful. For instance, if it is important to one parent that the children be in bed by a certain time or that they go to church on Sunday, it may be essential to include this in the parenting plan. However, from time to time, major decisions must be made. Your child’s medical or educational needs may change. How will these major decisions be made? Will one parent be in charge of one domain? For instance, mom takes care of school and dad takes care of medical decisions? Or will both parents have to agree before decisions can be made?  What happens if they cannot agree?
  • Visitation and custody schedule. The more detailed, the better, but the plan should also have provisions for changes, should any need to be made (especially if your child is younger). How will holidays be divided? How will weekends be divided? Who will care for the children during the week? What happens on school breaks?   Many people are familiar with “Judge Brown’s Standard Visitation”, which has a fairly extensive schedule covering the majority, but this does not work for all cases.  Nevertheless, it may be a good starting point.
  • Plan for disagreement. A strong parenting plan takes into account that disagreements may arise—and it accounts for them. When disagreements arise how are they resolved? For instance, when making major decisions where there is disagreement, will you use a mediator?
  • Plan for change. As your child grows, and as your own life changes, your schedule may change. Stipulate how changes to the parenting plan regarding scheduling are to be made.  Some changes cannot be anticipated, and the Courts allow you to request a modification when there are substantial changes that negatively affect the child, or when major changes occur that make the current arrangement impossible.
  • How will your child be transported to and from visitations/parenting time? Who will do the driving? Will the child be picked up from a neutral place, like school? If parents live far apart, how will travel arrangements be made and paid for?
  • Communication. Even though your marriage may be ending, you’ll still need to co-parent your child. Plan acceptable and unacceptable methods of communication with your ex and with your child while he or she is with your ex. Are phone calls appropriate? Text messages?

The Law Offices of Linda C. Hayes are child custody lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina who understand how intricate parenting plans can be. The more precise and detailed your parenting plan, the more likely it will be for the courts to approve it. Additionally, a detailed parenting plan protects both you and your family in the future. If you are going through a divorce or have child custody questions, contact Linda C. Hayes in Greenville, South Carolina.