family law Mount Pleasant sc

Helping Parents Build Relationships With Their Children

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in the Charleston, Mount Pleasant, SC area today!

In many divorces, child custody and parenting time issues are the most heated and emotional topics for the parties involved. Ballinger Law Firm takes a balanced, calm approach to difficult child custody issues. We use negotiation, mediation, and litigation to help clients in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, SC, and throughout the Tri-County area and the rest of the Lowcountry, to create custody agreements and visitation schedules that provide parents and children with a sense of security and peace.

Legal Custody Vs. Physical Custody

In South Carolina, child custody is generally broken down into two types:

  • Physical custody refers to the time actually spent with each parent.
  • Legal custody generally refers to decision-making power regarding issues involving the medical care, religion, education, extra-curricular activities, and general upbringing of the child.

Types Of Visitation

It is possible to arrange a custody plan that involves any combination of physical and legal custody. For example, parents often share joint legal custody, while one parent has primary physical custody and the other has ample visitation (also known as "parenting time"). A visitation schedule can be as specific as the parties desire and can detail where the child spends weekends and holidays, and how the child will be transported from one parent to the other.

The Best Interests Of The Child

Have a Child Custody Matter in Charleston or Mount Pleasant, SC?

South Carolina courts determine custody based upon the “best interests of the child” standard. In most families, both parents want what is in the best interests of their child, but a definition of those best interests may differ from one parent to the other. Factors a court may consider in determining the best interests of the child between biological parents include:

  • The fitness of the parents (including substance abuse or domestic violence)
  • Who is the primary caretaker of the child
  • Education and parenting skills of each parent
  • Each parent’s conduct (immoral or illegal)
  • Opinions of experts and other relevant professionals
  • The child’s preference
  • The age, health, and sex of the child
  • Quality of educational opportunities
  • Religious beliefs
  • The quality of educational opportunities
  • Expressed desire to relocate if awarded custody
  • Attributes, resources, and attitudes of each parent (including financial and physical resources, free time to spend with the child, access to friends and relatives, availability of child care, religious training, character, judgment, and attitude toward the other parent)

Neither parent is favored by the court when determining the best interests of the child. We help both mothers and fathers obtain custody of their children.