Sumter Child Custody Lawyer

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Sumter, SC Child Custody Attorney

Child custody is a legal arrangement between two individuals once they decide to divorce from one another. It dictates when and where each parent will be responsible for the care and upbringing of a child. Working with a Sumter child custody lawyer can help alleviate some of the stress associated with making these important decisions when both parties are unable to come to a compromise on their own.

At Charles T. Brooks, our Sumter family lawyers understand how delicate conversations of child custody can be. We have worked with countless parents in the same scenario, and we can help introduce some resolution methods that may apply to your case. If you feel defeated, give our attorneys a call to help resolve the matter as amicably as possible.

Deciding Between Physical or Legal Child Custody

There are two main custody options that parting couples will need to find an agreement for. The first is physical custody, which determines where the child will physically live. This could be either full-time in one parent’s home or split between two homes.

On the other hand, legal custody is having decision-making rights over the child’s welfare. This can include where the child will go to school, what type of medical treatment they will receive, and their religious upbringing.


If one parent plans to move significantly further away from the other parent’s home after divorce, this can pose some additional challenges in a custody arrangement. This is especially true when the second parent moves to a completely different school district or if it would limit the other parent from being able to keep a consistent visitation schedule.

These types of disputes often require the court to look into why the individual is moving and what type of arrangement would be most appropriate to allow both parents to still maintain a relationship with the child.

Parental Alienation

Sometimes in custody battles, one parent attempts to negatively influence how their child perceives the other parent. This can lead to unnecessary resentment and alienation.

For example, a parent could try to make their child believe that the other parent is dangerous or said something upsetting that was never actually said. Any evidence that a parent engaged in this behavior should be brought up in court and taken into consideration when deciding what arrangement is most favorable to the child.

Allegations of Abuse or Neglect

Because the court will always prioritize the welfare of a child over the individual preferences of their parents, any accusations that a parent has abused or neglected their child will be taken seriously. The abuse could be physical, emotional, or sexual.

Before making a final custody decision, the court will demand specific investigations and look into the validity of these claims. The results of these investigations will dictate if the alleged parent is clear from the allegations or will have some of their parental rights restricted for the safety of the child.

FAQs About Sumter Child Custody Lawyer

Who Pays Attorney Fees in Child Custody Cases in South Carolina?


The court in South Carolina will determine who has the responsibility of paying attorney fees in certain child custody cases. The decision is typically based on the court’s assessment of who is able to afford the fees, the final outcome of the case, and whether either party has acted in bad faith throughout the process and is deserving of this penalty.

In many cases, the court may require the parent who makes a larger income to cover the costs as a condition of a spousal or child support arrangement. If you are worried about affording your attorney fees, discuss with your attorney the likelihood of having the other parent cover the costs or if they can offer any unique payment structures to meet your financial needs.

How Do You Stay Positive During a Custody Battle?

Staying positive can make a huge difference in your mental and physical health during a contentious custody battle. Seeking support from your friends, family, or a professional therapist can help to provide much-needed emotional stability. Additionally, if you focus on your child’s needs and well-being, this clear purpose can help restore some positivity in the process.

Finally, trust that your legal representation and the established judicial process are designed to take care of you and your family. The court shares your desire to prioritize the well-being of your child, so keep this in mind to help stay focused and as positive as possible.

What Age Can a Child Choose to Live With a Parent in South Carolina?

There isn’t a specific age that dictates when a child is able to express an opinion on their own custody arrangement. The court is always open to hearing a child’s preference but will also consider their maturity. This typically means that children over the age of 12 are more likely to be heard.

If the court feels that there is any contradiction between what a child is expressing they want with what objectively seems like the optimal arrangement for their welfare, the court will side with its own observations.

Is South Carolina a 50/50 Custody State?

South Carolina does not automatically award a 50/50 custody arrangement, but this doesn’t mean that the state’s law favors one parent over the other. Rather, it demands that each case be assessed and treated individually.

Because of this, the court will spend time examining each parent’s relationship with the child, the child’s needs, and each parent’s ability to provide a loving and stable home. The results of this assessment will vary, awarding either a sole or joint custody arrangement with visitation rights to one parent if applicable.

Contact Our Sumter Child Custody Lawyers Today

If you are facing the prospect of a child custody battle and need legal support, get in touch with a family law attorney at Charles T. Brooks today. We have been honored to serve the Sumter community for many years, and we are ready to extend our legal services and support to devise a quality custody arrangement that meets the needs of your new family structure.

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