Can Fathers Win Child Custody Cases in South Carolina?
Not so many years ago, it was almost a foregone conclusion in child custody cases in South Carolina that whenever custody was contested, mothers would win unless they were proven to be unfit. Is that still the case, or can fathers win child custody cases in South Carolina today?
These days, fathers stand on equal footing with mothers in contested custody cases. However, there are things that dads can do to either help or hurt their chances in a custody case. Consider the following:
- Failing to maintain a relationship with your child can be a fatal mistake. While you may want to avoid a toxic interaction with an ex-spouse, you shouldn’t let anything come between you and your children. Evidence of a strong paternal bond is an important factor that the judge will consider when choosing which parent gets custody.
- Staying involved in your kids’ day-to-day lives is the best way to maintain that bond. This means that your child’s teacher should know your name. You should at least attend (and preferably be involved in) your child’s extracurricular activities. You should know who their friends are. You should know the name of your child’s doctor and attend appointments when possible. You should also participate in making important decisions concerning your child’s health and well-being.
- Abusing alcohol or drugs is a huge mistake. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have a social drink, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t take medications that are prescribed to you. However, be mindful at all times if you choose to consume any intoxicant. You should be especially careful when you are about to embark on a child custody battle or if you’re in the middle of one.
- Be mindful of your social media usage. Technology is a factor in cases today more than ever before. Suddenly, a few unflattering photos taken on a smartphone can have a very real impact on your future with your kids. What may seem cute or funny to you or your friends in the moment may look very different later in the eyes of a family court judge.
- Be careful with your communication with the other parent. Give thought before sending any text messages, e-mails, and voice mail communications with him or her. While it might be tempting to impulsively rant or rage at the other parent, doing so will likely come back to haunt you in family court. Keep your cool and avoid shooting yourself in the foot.
- Do not disparage the other parent. In the overwhelming majority of cases, children benefit from maintaining close relationships with both parents. If you are seeking primary custody, you need to show that you will do everything in your power to foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent. Constantly putting the other parent down shows the exact opposite, as it demonstrates a lack of maturity and a failure to put the child’s needs first.
- Follow your attorney’s advice. Going through a child custody case is one of the most emotionally taxing experiences you will ever endure, and it’s understandable that you might become frustrated with the process. However, it is imperative that you retain the best attorney you can and that you work with him to achieve your ultimate goal: custody of your children. An integral part of this process is listening and following the advice of your attorney.
Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule an initial consultation.
ABOUT J. BENJAMIN STEVENS
Ben.Stevens@offitkurman.com | 864.598.9172
Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is one of only two attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. He has held numerous leadership positions in the AAML, and he currently serves as one of its National Vice Presidents. Mr. Stevens has a statewide practice and regularly appears all across South Carolina. His practice is focused on complex divorce and child custody cases.
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