Child Law

Brian P. Johnson, Esq. – Child Custody Lawyer located in Greenville, SC – handling cases throughout Upstate SC

Child custody issues can be highly emotional and often seem overwhelming.  The Law Office of Brian P. Johnson, LLC is here to help you understand your rights and to guide you through the legal process.  During this difficult time you need an attorney who you can trust to handle your case with the utmost compassion, skill, and professionalism.

Overall, the Family Court is concerned with the best interests of children, and we have an in depth understanding of the qualities they look for to make these determinations.   We stay apprised of the latest Family Law case decisions, and we are familiar with the local Judges.

Each case is unique, and it is important that you have an experienced attorney working on your behalf.  However, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of custody and visitation rights.

The Basic Types of Custody

First and foremost, there is Sole Custody. Sole Custody is when one parent holds legal and physical custody of a child. Generally, the other parent will be awarded visitation rights (refer to the Visitation section below).

Joint Legal Custody essentially means that the responsibility is shared.  Furthermore, it implies that both parents will be involved in making decisions for the child’s welfare, just as if the family was still intact. One parent is generally designated as the “primary” custodian to “break the tie,” and the child typically resides with the primary custodian.

Another arrangement is known as Joint Physical Custody. In this arrangement both parties share residential care of the child.  Moreover, it is important to note that this arrangement directly affects child support awards, if both parents have more than 109 “overnights” with the child.

Finally, there is Split Custody, which only applies when there is more than one child involved. In this situation, one parent has custody of one (or more) children, while the other parent has custody of the other children.

Considerations When Determining Custody

There are numerous factors considered, which are based upon the Best Interest of the Child. The Best Interest of the Child is governed by SC Code 63-15-240 (B).  Please note that the factors are listed and discussed on my blog and can be accessed here.

In my experience, Judges tend to pay special attention a few key determinants. First, they tend to be very mindful of the party who has functioned as the child’s primary caregiver. Second, they want to know if one parent has made any attempt to alienate the other parent from the child.  Lastly, the overall backgrounds of the parties, including any education or criminal records, are an important consideration.  I have expounded on this subject in the Frequently Asked Questions section below.

Types of Visitation Arrangements

Generally, the Courts consider it to be in the best interest of the child for the noncustodial parent to have regular contact with her.   The most well known schedule of visitation is Judge Brown’s “Standard Visitation Guidelines and Restraining Orders.” Other popular schedules used in the Upstate of South Carolina include the Honorable Alvin D. Johnson’s Standard Visitation Schedule and the Honorable W. Marsh Robertson’s Child Placement and Parenting Plan.  Most forms of “standard visitation” include the following: every other weekend visitations, extended summer visitation, and the division of holidays.

Where to File

It is also important to consider which Family Court to file for custody or visitation.  For this subject, it is more easily explained by breaking it down into two different circumstances.  The first is when the parties have never been to Court on the issue of custody.  In this instance, as a general rule, you file where the child lives.  This is due to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.  A blog on the statute can be accessed here.

On the other hand, when the parties have already been to Court on the issue, you generally will file in the same Family Court that decided the issue originally.  This is true even if the parties and the child move away.  However, this issue can be remedied by transferring the case to the Family Court of the child’s new home.

Family Law, Divorce, and Blog Pages

I practice in all areas of Family Law in addition to child custody and visitation law.  That includes, but not limited to:  Divorce, DSS Defense, and Child Support.  Please check out those respective pages for more information as most Family Law issues are closely related.  I also update my Blog regularly on various Family Law subjects, I have linked some of them in my Frequently Asked Questions section below.

Frequently Asked Questions on Child Custody and Visitation

How does the judge decide who should get custody?

Do grandparents have child custody and visitation rights?

Will custody affect child support?

How can a father/mother sign his/her rights away?

How long does it take to get custody or visitation?

Can I appeal a decision on child custody?

What are my rights as a mother in South Carolina?

What are my rights as a father in South Carolina?

Time to Act

Now is the time to hire an experienced attorney who can help you navigate your case successfully.   The Law Office of Brian P. Johnson, LLC, has handled hundreds of custody and visitation cases, and we work hard to achieve positive outcomes for our clients smoothly and efficiently. Please remember that each case is unique, and we urge you to call us with any questions that you may have.

In order to be flexible and convenient, we have open office hours, easy appointment scheduling, and payment plans available. Call today and schedule your free confidential consultation.  Our law office serves people across the Upstate, South Carolina, including: Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, Laurens, and Oconee counties.