Understanding Family Law and Child Custody

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When it comes to family law, the best interests of the children will always come first. Child custody is among the most crucial decisions that family courts need to make when resolving family law matters. The laws governing child custody and family law are developed to ensure that the courts will always prioritize the children’s rights. The determination of child custody rights should be done carefully because these decisions could have profound and lifelong effects on the children. 

Child custody laws also place the interests of the children first before the personal preferences of parents, helping to ensure that the decisions the family courts make will be beneficial for the children. 

Factors the Courts Consider When Determining Child Custody 

When deciding on issues about child custody, visitation, and child support, courts must take into account a wide variety of factors that might impact the wellbeing of children. The courts must balance these factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child and make a decision that does not negatively impact or harm the child.

For example, if a child has special needs and requires more support and accommodations, the court must consider the child’s specific needs when determining custody. It might be that one parent, the one who mainly cares for the child, is more familiar with the specific needs of the child, so the court might grant more extensive custody rights than the child’s other parent. Broadly speaking, family courts typically use the following factors to determine child custody in separation or divorce cases: 

  • Whether one of the parents has been the child’s primary caretaker
  • The child’s history and relationship with each parent 
  • The child’s and parents’ physical, emotional, and mental health
  • The child’s adjustment and background with their home, neighborhood, and school
  • Whether the child needs particular medical, health, emotional, or psychological requirements and accommodations
  • The child’s personal preferences, depending on the age and maturity

It’s also important to note that if the parents can create and agree to a child custody agreement, courts will typically grant the arrangement if they deem it in the child’s best interest. Otherwise, courts will need to consider the factors above and the child’s preferences when deciding on custody and related matters. 

Speak to a Greenville Child Custody Attorney 

For more questions or concerns about child custody, get in touch with Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey. Call us at 864-523-7742 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our Greenville child custody attorney. 

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Child Custody FAQ

Who gets child custody in a divorce or legal separation?

Either parent can be awarded child custody in a divorce because the court will base its decisions according to the child’s best interests.

What is visitation?

The court awards a noncustodial parent visitation or parenting time with the child unless the parent has waived their parental rights. 

What are joint child custody and sole child custody?

With joint child custody, both parents are involved in major decisions regarding the child’s wellbeing. With sole custody, one parent has final decision making power on these decisions.

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