Out of all the areas of law, family law is the most emotionally taxing for an individual. When a person needs assistance for a family law-related problem, often that need arises from a difficult and sensitive period in a person’s life. As such, a Lexington family law attorney must understand legal issues that can be complex and emotionally charged like divorce, custody, and alimony.
When is a Family Law Attorney Needed?
Parties seeking a divorce, establishing paternity, obtaining child support or alimony, or who are the victims of domestic violence must navigate the family courts to protect their rights in spite of the various passions and temperaments involved with each case. Family law and litigation can turn into a messy and emotional affair, which can be an unavoidable consequence of litigating highly personal matters in an adversarial setting.
As a result, family law litigants many times make the mistake of letting their emotions dictate their legal strategy. Experienced legal counsel can offer the right amount of objectivity and compassion to assist their clients to navigate this difficult time.
What Services Does a Family Law Attorney Offer?
A Lexington attorney experienced in family law and litigation can provide legal advice regarding your rights under South Carolina family law and what to expect from family law litigation. This type of case requires experienced counsel who is both well versed in the often-complicated family law and who can understand the personal side of this type of litigation.
Family law involves several areas which may require a Lexington family law attorney to provide compassionate guidance, but also strong and vigorous representation to their client.
Divorce not only involves the legal dissolution of a marriage but also consists of a wealth of other issues, including the division of assets, debt, child support, child custody, and alimony. Facing a divorce alone can result in an adverse outcome that can have devastating long-term consequences. Effectively litigating a divorce requires experienced and passionate representation.
A capable Lexington divorce attorney not only assists the client in navigating the legal issues surrounding divorce but also understands the legal decisions made have deeply personal consequences.
All decisions in family court should consider the human cost. The strategic choices made while litigating a divorce case can have lasting personal consequences, particularly when handling child custody, support, and financial matters. It should not be a journey taken alone.
South Carolina, like other states, provides two paths to obtain a divorce: fault grounds and a no-fault ground.
South Carolina Law lists four fault grounds for divorce:
- Habitual drunkenness or narcotics abuse
- Physical cruelty
- One year’s desertion
When using fault grounds for divorce, a person seeking a divorce must prove that their spouse’s behavior falls under one of these categories. The spouse responding to the allegations may contest them and present evidence to the contrary. The more common route involves the no-fault approach. In a no-fault divorce, the party requesting the divorce must only prove separation from their spouse for at least one year without reconciling or living together, and that the marriage is beyond salvage.
Child custody cases are not just a matter of determining which parent should have custody of minor children. The court must resolve several issues which center on establishing a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child. Custody determination is not an easy task and often involves the court making difficult decisions, which can limit a parent’s time with his or her child and limit a parent’s decision making authority for the child
Under South Carolina law, there is not a preference that a child remain with his or her mother. Instead, the courts consider numerous factors to determine the “best interests of the child” in setting child custody.
An experienced child custody case lawyer can provide the best strategy for asserting your rights as a parent and in protecting the best interests of your child. A child custody lawyer can ensure that the parenting plan and case strategy consider the child’s best interests, along with the desires of the parents.
South Carolina law requires that every parent financially supports his or her child either while in their custody or through child support if not living with the child. How a person requests child support depends on several factors, including whether parentage has been established for the child, the amount of support sought, whether there is an open family court case involving the child, or whether the party requesting child support receives public assistance.
In South Carolina, the amount of child support that a noncustodial parent should pay is based on the income of both parents, whether the other parent receives alimony, the number of other biological children in the home, whether either parent must pay for health insurance, childcare costs, and some medical expenses.
Spousal support or alimony refers to payments made by one spouse to the other spouse during their separation or following a divorce. Alimony payments are intended to minimize the financial hardship of separation or divorce and help maintain the recipient’s lifestyle similar to that enjoyed during the marriage. Alimony must be specifically requested and will be granted in the court’s discretion considering numerous factors outlined under South Carolina law.
South Carolina law allows four types of alimony:
- Periodic alimony: This is the most common type of alimony or support. A set amount is generally paid every month. However, it terminates on the remarriage or continued cohabitation of the supported spouse.
- Lump-sum alimony: An alimony payment is paid in one installment, or scheduled installments. Lump-sum alimony is a fixed amount that is not modifiable.
- Rehabilitative alimony: An alimony payment is paid in one installment, or scheduled installments. The purpose of this type of alimony is to provide for the completion of job training or education to improve the supported spouse’s earning capacity. It is generally payable for a specific, court ordered duration and then stops.
- Reimbursement alimony: An alimony payment paid in one installment, or scheduled installments. This type of alimony or support is designed to reimburse the spouse who invested in the other spouse’s education or business, especially when the anticipated fruits of the investment is no longer possible because of the separation or divorce.
Call a Lexington Family Law Attorney Today
McCutchen McLean, LLC can offer years of experience and compassionate guidance for your family law needs. If you have family law questions, call our Lexington office at (803) 271-0909