Child custody in Charleston, SC and throughout South Carolina includes a number of factors that help the judge determine which parent is best fit to take care of the child. There are many factors that judges are allowed to consider and others that South Carolina judges are not allowed to consider. These considerations will ultimately determine the placement of your child and may have a huge impact on you and your family. You can always appeal and provide evidence for your case if you feel as though the custody arrangement is not in the best interest of the child. Professional family attorneys can help walk you through the process to make sure that you and your spouse come to an agreement that will benefit your whole family.
Factors in Determining Child Custody
South Carolina Code 63-15-240 has a complete list of the factors included in determining child custody. The court will order an evaluation of both parents and the child and may even ask for additional investigation from outside sources if they feel as though their findings are inconclusive. The court will determine the health and stability of each parent, including their income, working hours, relationship status, and criminal record. If any of these factors could negatively impact the child, then they may work against the parent who is trying to maintain custody. The court will also look at the past and current treatment of the child in the home. If there are any reports of abuse and neglect that trace back to one of the parents, then this may also be a significant factor in the decision-making process.
In addition to evaluating the health of the parents, the judges will also consider the stability, temperament, and developmental needs of the child. The voice of the child is considered in the process regardless of their age; however, if the court finds an egregious reason not to place the child with one of the best parents then it will act in a way that is considered in the young person’s best interest.
Factors NOT Used to Determine Child Custody
Although there are many factors that go into determining child custody in South Carolina, many items are not taken into account. For example, a court cannot include gender when determining the placement of the child. Gender bias used to make it so that children would typically be placed in the custody of their mothers; however, this biased rule unfairly isolated fathers from their children. The Tender Years Doctrine was taken away in order to give each parent an equal standing in the courtroom regardless of gender identity. In addition, courts cannot take into consideration race or any other discriminatory identities. The social stigma attached to various identities damaged custody cases for many years; however, now the judge is simply there to determine the best home for the child based on their needs and the parent’s emotional and physical resources.
We have experienced Charleston family law attorneys who are happy to speak with you more about the factors considered in determining child custody. You can contact us by visiting Ayers Family Law online or by calling 843-628-2871.