Will I Receive Equal Parenting Time After a South Carolina Divorce?
At the David W. Martin Law Group, our family law attorneys in Rock Hill and Fort Mill understand that one of the most difficult parts for parents facing a divorce is determining child custody and parenting time.
While it is common for the phrases parenting time and child custody to be used interchangeably before and during the divorce proceedings, they are two vastly different arrangements.
Child custody outlines the guardianship that describes the legal and practical relationship between a parent and their children, which includes legal custody and physical custody.
Parenting time, just as it sounds, is the time that each parent spends with the child(ren). This is true no matter who has legal or physical custody and is often referred to as “visitation.”
In South Carolina, before parenting time or visitation can be arranged, a child custody agreement must be established first. Our experienced York County divorce and child custody attorneys can help.
How is Child Custody Determined in South Carolina?
Child custody agreements can be determined in several ways during divorce proceedings and include two important legal components: Legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody determines which parent makes decisions about the education, healthcare, and welfare of the children.
Physical custody refers to children’s living arrangements and the parents’ visitation schedules.
One or both can be awarded as sole (one parent) or joint (both parents) custody.
The crucial details of who will obtain legal and physical custody can be established in several ways, which is unique to each divorce, and may include:
- Parents making an informal agreement regarding child custody and shared parenting time without legal or judicial involvement
- Child custody and shared parenting time agreements are established during mediation
- A court-mandated custody evaluation
When parents cannot agree on legal or physical custody arrangements without the court’s involvement, the court will consider the following elements:
- The quality of the child’s current home environment
- The fitness of each parent to care for a child
- Proximity to school, healthcare facilities, and other necessities
- The child’s preference and relationship with each parent (when applicable)
- History of violence or abuse from either parent
Once the custody decisions are made, parenting time will be established.
How is Parenting Time Determined in South Carolina?
Visitation, or parenting time, is the time the non-custodial parent spends with the children on certain nights throughout the week or weekend, during school or holiday breaks, and summers.
Ideally, parents will decide on parenting plans that will account for where the kids go to school, their extra-curricular involvement, the parents’ work schedules, and detail the rights and responsibilities of each parent during their time.
Parenting time also requires a schedule of the time each parent spends with the child(ren), who will make certain decisions about the child, and solutions for settling arguments when the parents cannot agree on the details.
If parents cannot make these decisions on their own, the court will ultimately decide their parenting plans for them.
In the end, the courts strive to have both parents involved in the children’s day-to-day lives, which is also beneficial to the children.
Whether each parent will receive equal parenting time is unique to each case. We can help.
Contact Our Experienced Attorneys In Fort Mill, South Carolina At The David W. Martin Law Group Today
If you are concerned about child custody and parenting time or how little you may be awarded during your divorce contact our experienced family law attorneys in Rock Hill and Fort Mill to discuss your divorce details today by calling 803-548-2468 or contact us online.