Whether you are a mother or father facing a breakup in South Carolina, now is the time to throw out your assumptions about how child custody is determined. When it comes married couples, there is no automatic preference for the mother or father. Unmarried mothers get automatic custody, unless the father takes legal action seeking custody. Whether male or female, the parent who has been the child’s primary caretaker is favored, but that is just one piece of the puzzle. Ultimately the court is to make the decision based on what is in the best interest of the child.
Factors Considered in South Carolina Child Custody
It is always best if parents can reach an agreement on child custody. When they cannot, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is usually appointed. The GAL represents the child, not either parent. Custody is not granted to reward or punish either parent. In determining custody, the court considers many factors to make the decision it believes is in the child’s best interest. Examples include:
- The preference of the child, considering the child’s maturity and ability to express his or her preference
- Any domestic violence that has occurred
- The ability and willingness of each parent to meet the needs of the child
- The child’s interaction and relationship with each parent, siblings, and others, such as grandparents
- Each parent’s ability to be actively involved in the child’s life
- The good and bad behavior of each parent when it comes to the child in the context of the break-up, such as efforts to foster a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent, disparaging the other parent in front of the child, or trying to drag the child into the dispute
To learn more about child custody in South Carolina and how we can help, please call the Law Office of J. Darrell Beckham, LLC, at 803-364-9111 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. Mr. Beckham is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.