When a judge in South Carolina is the one making custody decisions, they need to focus on what is best for the children. Although there is no straightforward definition for this term, the law does require that a judge consider numerous specific factors.
What are some of the family circumstances that will influence how a South Carolina judge splits up your parental responsibilities in a contested divorce?
The circumstances of the parents
A judge has to consider how well the parents can understand and successfully meet the needs of their children. Stable parents who have been active participants in their children’s lives have the strongest claim to parenting time.
Everything from how much parenting responsibility they have previously shouldered to whether they have secure housing can influence what custody arrangements a judge feels will be best for the children in the family.
The wishes of the children
If your child has a strong preference to spend more time with either you or your co-parent, the judge presiding over your divorce will consider that when making their custody decision. In fact, they will think about your wishes too, particularly if you feel incapable of fulfilling certain parental responsibilities.
The relationship between the parents
Your ability to get along with the kids isn’t the only consideration. A judge wants to also see that you would try to keep a workable relationship with your co-parent. Your willingness to cooperate and communicate with them will influence how much parental responsibility and parenting time the judge gives you.
Understanding what influences custody decisions will help you present a more compelling case if your custody matter goes to court.