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Charleston Parental Rights Lawyer

At Query Sautter & Associates, LLC, we understand the intricacies of family law and the profound impact these cases have on families. Our Charleston law firm, established in 1985, brings decades of collective experience in handling sensitive legal matters, including those involving parental rights.

Advocating for Your Parental Rights

In South Carolina, advocating for parental rights involves navigating a complex legal landscape that prioritizes the child’s best interests. These rights are not explicitly defined as fundamental by state statute but are recognized by courts as deserving of strict scrutiny. Understanding these rights is important for parents facing custody disputes, divorce, or other family law issues.

Custody and Visitation

In South Carolina, custody arrangements are categorized as either “joint custody” or “sole custody.” Joint custody implies that both parents share equal rights and responsibilities in making significant decisions about the child’s life, including education, health care, and religious upbringing. On the other hand, sole custody grants these decision-making rights to only one parent.

The court’s decision in awarding custody is primarily based on the child’s best interests. This involves considering factors like the child’s temperament, developmental needs, parental capacity to meet these needs, the child’s preferences, and the parents’ wishes regarding custody. Additionally, the court assesses the past and current interactions between the child and each parent, the stability of the proposed residences, and the mental and physical health of all individuals involved.

Decision-Making Authority

When determining parental rights in South Carolina, the courts give considerable weight to which parent will best foster the child’s relationship with the other parent, free from manipulation or disparaging behavior. The ability of each parent to be actively involved in the child’s life is a key consideration. The court also examines each parent’s character, fitness, and attitude, assessing how these factors impact the child.

Financial Responsibilities

Financial responsibilities, including child support, are an integral part of parental rights. Generally, the non-custodial parent is required to contribute financially to the child’s upbringing. This support is meant to cover various expenses such as food, clothing, shelter, education, and medical care. The amount is typically determined based on the parents’ income and the needs of the child.

Parenting Plans

In custody proceedings, South Carolina courts require parents to submit parenting plans. These plans should reflect how much time the child will spend with each parent and which parent will make significant decisions on behalf of the child. The most common arrangement usually sees one parent as the primary caretaker, with the other parent having visitation rights.

Role of Guardians Ad Litem

In custody actions, the court often appoints a guardian ad litem. This independent individual interviews parents, children, family members, and others involved in the family’s life to gather evidence and make a recommendation for the best custody arrangement for the child.

Every family is unique, and so are the challenges they face. At Query Sautter & Associates, LLC, we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Our team takes the time to understand your specific situation, your needs, and your goals. We then tailor a legal strategy that best reflects and protects your parental rights, ensuring that your voice is heard, and your concerns are addressed.

If you’re facing a parental rights issue in Charleston, SC, turn to Query Sautter & Associates, LLC for the legal support and representation you deserve. Contact us at 843-795-9500 or reach out online to schedule your initial consultation.