Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What does Joint Custody mean?

Joint custody can be defined in many ways and should be detailed in a Custody Order. In many cases, parents share joint custody with one of the parents as the primary custodian. In this case, the child lives primarily with the primary custodial parent and that parent makes the primary decision regarding the child's care and well being. The secondary custodian can usually make decisions when the primary custodial parent is unavailable, such as a needed medical treatment consent or decision needed by the child when the primary custodial parent can't be located. The important thing to remember is that there is no one answer. The Custody Order dictates each situation and the terms of custody can be modified as the parents see fit or as needed.

Call an attorney today to discuss your custody options.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Facebook - Friend or Foe?

As a Divorce lawyer, I have had many clients bring me evidence of a spouse's or opposing party's bad or contradictory behavior obtained from a posting on Facebook. Over the past several months I have come across many cases where a party will post things on Facebook that contradicts their statement, complaints or other documents filed in a Divorce or Custody case. This recent article highlights potential pitfalls of posting Facebook when going through a legal matter in Family Court? I would love to get your input as to any similar experience you may have had or whether you think this type of information should be allowed? Your comments are welcome.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

When is Custody Established? Rights and Duties of Parents

A lot of people wonder who has custody when a child is born and what are the rights of the mother and father, particularly if they are not married or living together. Many times Fathers want to know their rights and wonder if they have any rights. Unless otherwise determined by Court, South Carolina (§ 63-5-30) spells out the rights of the biological parents of a child.

According to the statute,

"[t]The mother and father are the joint natural guardians of their minor children and are equally charged with the welfare and education of their minor children and the care and management of the estates of their minor children; and the mother and father have equal power, rights, and duties, and neither parent has any right paramount to the right of the other concerning the custody of the minor or the control of the services or the earnings of the minor or any other matter affecting the minor. Each parent, whether the custodial or noncustodial parent of the child, has equal access and the same right to obtain all educational records and medical records of their minor children and the right to participate in their childrens' school activities unless prohibited by order of the court. Neither parent shall forcibly take a child from the guardianship of the parent legally entitled to custody of the child."

For more information on your rights, consult an attorney regarding your specific situation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

When Should you get your Legal Fees paid during Divorce?

When is it appropriate to be awarded your legal fees and costs from the opposing party in your Divorce case? Judges have the discretion, subject to certain factors and considerations. Get a professional opinion regarding your case.

What constitutes Equitable Division?

South Carolina courts have determined that equitable division of the marital estate needs to be "appropriate." But what is appropriate in the eyes of the law? There is a trend in courts for an equal apportionment of marital property. While it is in the discretion of the Judge, there are several factors that should be considered including the length of the marriage, fault of parties, assets and debts, etc. Take a look at this case for more information.

Appointed Counsel in Child Support Cases?

While Courts appoints counsel in abuse and neglect cases involving the Department of Social Services, should they do the same for Child Support Contempt cases?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pro Se Divorce - Is it a good or bad thing?

The South Carolina Bar website now offers instructions and forms that allow individuals to represent themselves in family court regarding divorces on one year continuous separation or 'no fault' divorces as they are commonly called. This "Self-Represented Litigant Simple Divorce Packet" is available for both Plaintiffs and Defendants involved in the litigation. There are differing opinions on providing the forms online, however, it will definitely be useful to those who feel comfortable navigating their way through the legal system. Are there any thoughts or opinions regarding the forms? Has anyone used them?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Is Alimony Still Relevant in South Carolina Court?

What do you think? Are South Carolina Court less likely to award alimony in this day and age that in the past?

South Carolina law (S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-130(C) (Supp. 2008)) provides that in determining an award of Alimony, Court must "consider and give weight in such proportion as it finds appropriate to all of the following factors:

(1) the duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce or separate maintenance action between the parties;

(2) the physical and emotional condition of each spouse;

(3) the educational background of each spouse, together with need of each spouse for additional training or education in order to achieve that spouse's income potential;

(4) the employment history and earning potential of each spouse;

(5) the standard of living established during the marriage;

(6) the current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses;

(7) the current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of both spouses;

(8) the marital and nonmarital properties of the parties, including those apportioned to him or her in the divorce or separate maintenance action;

(9) custody of the children, particularly where conditions or circumstances render it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home, or where the employment must be of a limited nature;

(10) marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties, whether or not used as a basis for a divorce or separate maintenance decree if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage, except that no evidence of personal conduct which may otherwise be relevant and material for the purpose of this subsection may be considered with regard to this subsection if the conduct took place subsequent to the happening of the earliest of (a) the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement or (b) entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support or of a permanent order approving a property or marital settlement agreement between the parties;

(11) the tax consequences to each party as a result of the particular form of support awarded;

(12) the existence and extent of any support obligation from a prior marriage or for any other reason of either party; and

(13) such other factors the court considers relevant."

Any thoughts out there from those that have gone through a divorce and request for for Alimony?