Child Custody Attorney in Anderson, South Carolina

Navigating a divorce can be an overwhelming and gut-wrenching experience. When children are involved, things become even more complex. Whether you are a parent needing to modify a custody arrangement or currently trying to figure out how custody arrangements are decided, at David F. Stoddard Law Firm, we help families through this difficult process. 

For over 25 years, we have provided personalized family law representation for families in Anderson, South Carolina, and throughout Northlake, Liberty, Pickens, or anywhere in Greenville County. When you need help in the divorce and child custody process, we are here to help. Contact our office for a consultation.

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Establishing a Child Custody Arrangement

When a divorce involves children, establishing a custody arrangement that supports healthy co-parenting can be a challenge to figure out. Every child custody situation is unique, and there is rarely a one-size-fits-all approach. That being said, there are two general pathways that can establish a child custody arrangement. 

  1. Mutual Agreement — In a mutual child custody agreement, parents can determine and outline their own custody terms and present them to the court for approval. This form of a child custody agreement is quicker and cheaper. We work to help this be a productive meeting. 

  1. Court Determination of Custody — When parents disagree and have exhausted all efforts to establish a mutual custody agreement, the case will be presented to a judge in family court.  Using her or his best judgment, the judge will determine and enact the best possible solution. Each parent should rely on a family law attorney in hopes of arriving at the arrangement they believe is the best option.

Types of Child Custody Arrangements

Child custody arrangements can be enacted in different ways. The main types of arrangements are as follows:

  • Legal Custody — Parents that have legal custody have full ownership of decision-making rights that impact the child.

  • Physical Custody — Children that live with parents who have physical custody. 

  • Sole Custody — One parent has both legal and physical custody of a child. The other parent may have visitation rights but has no legal ability to make major child-related decisions. 

  • Joint Legal Custody — In joint legal custody,  both parents have equal decision-making rights. Neither parent is superior authority so they are required to mutually agree on all major child-related matters. If an agreement cannot be achieved, a mediator or judge may be needed.

  • Joint Physical Custody — Children split time between living with both parents. 

Factors in Determining Child Custody

In every case, there are unique factors that impact the determination for child custody. Although there is no “if this, then that” formula, there are some common factors that will be considered either by the representing attorney or judge overseeing the case. These factors are:

  • Criminal records

  • Ability to provide for the child 

  • Stability of the home

  • The children’s preferences (age appropriate)

  • Health of the parents

  • Home, school, and community involvement 

  • Special or unique considerations

In the event that a mutual agreement for child custody cannot be established, courts will use these factors, as well as others, to determine custody. 

Modifying a Child Custody Agreement 

Even the best child custody arrangements rarely last forever. As children grow and the circumstances of their lives change and evolve, parents may find the need to modify their child custody agreement. When both parents are in mutual agreement, modifications can be filed with the court with relative ease. If parents are unable to agree on the proposed changes, courts would again become involved, and the requesting parent would be required to provide evidence that proves the need for change. When parents disagree, this process can be complex and parents should seek representation from an experienced family law attorney.

Child Custody Attorney in Anderson, South Carolina

In any child custody scenario, you need an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process and help attain the best possible outcome for you and your family. At the David F. Stoddard Law Firm, we understand the emotional rollercoaster that is divorce. Whether you have the ability to work through a mutual agreement or will need the courts assistance to determine custody, we are here to help. For more information about child custody and to get help with your case, reach out to us today.