In 2012, the laws on child custody in South Carolina changed when H 4614 was signed into law in June. The purpose of the new legislation was to define sole and joint custody. The law also imposed a new requirement on parents. Parents must now submit a plan to the court outlining how they see their child’s future after divorce or separation.
The creation of a parenting plan or parenting agreement allows the judge to get broader insight into family dynamic. If the parents are able to agree on a plan that is best for their family, this plan can be put into effect by the court. A divorcing couple may also create separate parenting agreements that suggest different visions for how custody will be divided and decisions will be made after a marriage has ended. The judge will carefully consider the proposed parenting agreements, as well as other submitted evidence and arguments, to decide what is in the best interests of the child.
A lot is at stake when creating a plan or going to court to argue for custody, and you need to ensure you are represented by a Charleston divorce lawyer you can trust. Call Kuhn & Kuhn, LLC today to learn more about how our experienced divorce attorneys can help.
Understanding Parenting Agreements in South Carolina Divorce
When a couple divorces or separates and there are children involved, it is best if the parents can agree on where the child will spend time and how custody will be shared. Traditionally, this was called physical custody. The parents will also need to come to an agreement on who will make decisions on a child’s behalf. Traditionally, this was called legal custody.
Under new South Carolina laws, parents are encouraged to work together to create a parenting plan that addresses these issues. When parents are able to agree, they should prepare, file and submit a joint parenting plan to the court. The court will typically acquiesce to the wishes of the parents and the plan the couple has created will go into effect.
Unfortunately, sometimes no agreement can be reached. If this is the case, parents are now required to submit separate parenting agreements or parenting plans. According to H4614, at all temporary hearings where parents have not agreed on the division of custody, “each parent must prepare, file, and submit to the court a parenting plan, which reflects parental preferences, the allocation of parenting time to be spent with each parent, and major decisions, including, but not limited to, the child’s education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities and religious training.”
The court will consider the parenting plans submitted by both parents before issuing either a temporary or a final custody order. While a judge is not precluded from making a custody decision as a result of a failure to submit a parenting plan, parents want to ensure they get these documents into the court so they have a chance of convincing the judge to choose their preferred custody arrangements.
Kuhn & Kuhn, LLC can assist with the creation of parenting agreements during your custody case. We will help you to negotiate a joint agreement with your spouse; to make compelling arguments for your desired custody order; to write your agreement up; and to present it to the judge. Call today to get started.
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