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A family law attorney can assist with some of the most monumental events in someone’s life. Whether you are considering a divorce, negotiating a child custody agreement, or looking to adopt, a seasoned legal professional can guide your proceedings from start to finish.
While family matters can be a lot to manage, working with a Mount Pleasant family lawyer from our firm could help. Contact Geel & Gentry, LLC today to discuss your unique situation with a compassionate attorney.
Marriage is a legal commitment, and South Carolina law does not allow couples to walk away from that commitment without lawful reasons. According to the South Carolina Code of Laws § 20-3-10, the only no-fault grounds for divorce is when you and your spouse have been separated for at least a year. Otherwise, you cannot dissolve your marriage unless one of you proves the other guilty of:
Proving fault-based grounds can be stressful for both parties and often increases the rancor of a divorce; it could also be especially difficult when you have children. Separating for a year may be the best option for many couples. A Mount Pleasant attorney from our firm could help you develop child support and custody agreements that allow you to maintain separate households and still have meaningful relationships with your children.
The law in South Carolina recognizes each parent as having an equal right to the custody of their children. Ideally, parents will create their own co-parenting plan. You and your spouse know your children’s needs and preferences, understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses as parents, and are best positioned to do the right thing for your children. If you can develop a parenting plan before or during the divorce proceedings, you can submit it to the court for review and, hopefully, approval. A judge must review the plan to determine whether it promotes the children’s best interests.
When spouses cannot agree on custody, the court typically appoints a guardian ad litem (GAL) to help the judge decide. The GAL might be an attorney or a specially trained person who has experience with children, such as a social worker or teacher. The GAL interviews the parents and children, visits your homes, and might observe the children with each of you, then makes written recommendations to the judge. A family attorney from Geel & Gentry, LLC could coach you on what to expect from a Mount Pleasant GAL and how best to interact with them.
Disentangling your financial lives can be a time-consuming and stressful aspect of divorce.
Spouses must catalog and value all their property, then agree on a fair division.
When you and your spouse cannot agree on the division of property, the judge will use equitable distribution principles to decide for you. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean an even split of assets and debts, though: The judge will consider several factors that might vary depending on the couple’s circumstances, including the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions to it, and each spouse’s ability to earn a living.
A spouse can request continuing financial support after a divorce. The court typically awards alimony for a fixed period after a divorce, to allow the spouse who receives it time to become self-supporting.
Child support is typically determined by a formula that accounts for factors including each spouse’s income, how much time the children spend with each parent, and who pays for the children’s health insurance. The court may also adjust child support based on whether a parent has a great deal or very little income.
Many families choose to expand through adoption. Depending on the route to adoption, the process can be time-consuming and complicated.
Many families choose to adopt through a private agency or the state’s foster care system. Both methods require the prospective parents to complete a comprehensive application and undergo a home study. Our family attorneys in Mount Pleasant could help the prospective parent(s) complete the application and explain what to expect during the home study.
Sometimes a relative wants to adopt a child whose parents have died or cannot care for them. Stepparents often adopt their spouse’s children. These adoptions are simpler than agency adoptions. Same-sex couples who are not married could adopt a partner’s child through second-parent adoption. South Carolina law does not expressly authorize second-parent adoption, but any resident of the state couple petition to adopt a child.
When you need assistance with a family law matter, speak with a Mount Pleasant family lawyer from Geel & Gentry, LLC immediately. Knowing what to expect from these complex legal processes can help you plan accordingly and make informed decisions.
You do not need to pursue legal action alone. Schedule a free consultation today with our devoted attorneys.