Determining child custody is one of the most difficult decisions that a parent can make. There are many factors to consider, such as what is best for the child, what each parent wants, and what is feasible based on the parents' circumstances. This blog post will help to explain how custody decisions are made and why it is important to have an experienced custody attorney by your side in these situations.
Reviewing The Important Terms
When discussing child custody in South Carolina, there are several important terms that you should keep in mind. These include:
Legal Custody: The right that a parent has to make crucial decisions about their child and upbringing. This may include where they go to school, the type of health care they receive, and as well as education.
Physical Custody: This is referring to where the child may reside on a regular basis. Physical custody can be designated by a specific schedule depending on the child’s needs.
Sole Custody: In sole custody arrangements, one parent assumes both legal and physical custody of the child.
Joint Custody: However, in joint custody arrangements, both parents will share legal and physical custody of the child.
What About The Best Interests of The Child?
In the context of custody and family law, one phrase that you will frequently hear is “the best interests of the child.” While this may seem like a straightforward concept, there is a lot that goes into determining what is best for children during a divorce. Families have complex dynamics and different situations that require unique approaches to custody. For those reasons, it is important to review what exactly goes into making custody decisions:
Can each parent provide and meet the child’s needs? If one parent is unable to provide the child with a stable and safe environment to grow and mature in, this could impact the outcome of the custody arrangement.
What is each parent’s work schedule? While it is not uncommon for both parents to have jobs these days, it is a possibility that one parent works long hours, or has more frequent work-related trips.
How old is the child or children? It may be more difficult to explain the situation to younger children or help them understand what is happening. In most situations, it is most beneficial to maintain a semblance of normal for children of all ages.
Does the child have any health concerns? If a child has a condition that requires more monitoring and care and only one parent is qualified to do so, it is crucial to take it into consideration.
What type of relationship does each parent have with the child? As children grow, they may form a stronger bond with one parent over another. Will separating the child from this parent have negative repercussions? This is important to consider.
Has there been a present history of abuse or neglect? Unfortunately, not all parents provide adequate physical or emotional care to their children. Meaning that it must be taken into account when custody decisions are made.
Custody Is Not Black and White
As you can see, custody decisions are not taken lightly in family court. Making a decision on what happens with your children is extremely serious and should be done so carefully. However, it is also important to note that these situations are not black and white. Circumstances can change over time, meaning that it may be necessary to revisit custody arrangements.