Posts tagged #Child Custody

Does Fault in Divorce Effect Child Custody?

In South Carolina, the best interest of the child is the controlling factor in child custody determinations. Our family courts are routinely working with families in an effort to create child custody and visitation schedules that benefit both the parents and the child. Child custody should not be granted to reward or punish parents, but the fitness/unfitness of a parent or a parent’s ability to care for a child certainly play a role.

Typically, adultery does not have an impact on child custody determinations in South Carolina (other than in circumstances where the adultery directly effects the children).

Other fault-based grounds for divorce (i.e. Physical Cruelty, Habitual Drunkenness or Drug Abuse, and Desertion), however, can definitely impact a child custody determination. These fault-based factors often speak to characteristics of a parent that could be detrimental to a child’s welbeing. Sometimes, a parent exhibiting behaviors that would put a child at risk may be given an opportunity for rehabilitation in order to have a chance to regain custody or visitation rights. Courts can also place restraining orders on parental conduct to limit parent behavior and protect the best interest of the child. A parent who has previously been denied custody rights or has had their custody or visitation rights limited, may petition the court for a modification of child custody if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.

If you have questions about divorce, child custody, or visitation call our office to set up a free consultation.


Judge Brown's Standard Visitation Schedule is a child custody and visitation schedule that is commonly used in Greenville, South Carolina and surrounding areas. All family law attorneys in the Upstate should be familiar with Judge Brown's Standard Visitation Schedule as most attorneys use this as a basis to begin a discussion with their clients about child custody and visitation. At Christophillis & Gallivan, we like to work with our clients to customize visitation schedules to fit each family's specific needs. We will walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of using Judge Brown's Standard Visitation Schedule and restraining orders to see if this schedule is the right fit for your family.


Judge Brown's Standard Visitation Schedule


If you have any questions about child custody, please contact us for a free initial consultation.

The Cost of Divorce

One of the first questions we are asked in our initial consultations is "How much is a divorce going to cost me?" Our answer is and always will be the depends on the specific facts. Each family is different and thus each divorce is different. So much will depend on the grounds for filing for divorce, whether children are involved, and the complexity of dividing the marital assets and debts.

Recently, we read an article written by Susan Caminiti on CNBC's Today show blog that echoed the same messages we often tell our clients.


The more willing the parties are to compromise and fully disclose their information, the less expensive the divorce process can be.

The Today show article lists four major mistakes people make that can create more expensive legal fees, which include:

1) Fighting about minor parenting issues;

2) Not being flexible;

3) Treating your lawyers like a therapist; and

4) Not being financially prepared

At Christophillis & Gallivan, we work closely with our clients to ensure that each client's goals are fully heard and are kept as the focus of the case. Divorce is difficult and there is no easy road when it comes to your most personal issues. However, we expect the best from our clients and implore each and every client to stay focused on the big picture. We walk each client through the issues that commonly arise with divorce, child custody, child support, and division of assets. We firmly believe that the best resolutions are the ones that can be reached by compromise between the two parties

We want our clients to know that there is not a "one-size fits all" approach to the divorce process.  At the end of the day, our job is to help you through the divorce process and create a new "normal" that allows you to look towards the future with hope.

Child Custody Arrangements for the Modern Family

According to the U.S. 2010 Census, 13.1% of children in the state of South Carolina live in the households of grandparents or other relatives, and this number continues to rise. Of these roughly 57,000 children, approximately 24,000 have no parents present in the home ( SouthCarolina). Raising a grandchild can be rewarding and challenging all at the same time. Grandparents can provide emotional support, stability, and a nurturing environment for a child, but sometimes they too need help. Our state and many others have programs and organizations specifically designed to assist family members in these situations. (See for information about your state.)

It is also very important for grandparents and/or other family members to know their legal rights and responsibilities when caring for a grandchild. Legally, there are different custody arrangements that offer varying degrees of legal rights to grandparent caregivers. In South Carolina, Power of Attorney, Guardianship, Legal Custody, and Adoption all constitute different arrangements for custody of a relative or grandchild. Keep in mind that South Carolina does not recognize grandparent rights when one or both parents involved in the child’s life are deemed to be “fit”. Whether or not a parent is fit or unfit is a legal determination that will be made by the courts.

Below is a brief overview of different types of legal custody relationships in South Carolina.

Power of Attorney: Is a short-term arrangement that can be established without the involvement of the court system. A Power of Attorney is a written statement from the parent giving the grandparent or other family member authority regarding specific types of care and custody of the child. The parent may specify powers over such things as medical and educational decisions. The Power of Attorney needs to be signed before a notary public or an attorney and can be revoked (or taken back) by the parent at any time.

Guardianship: Is a formal legal relationship that is achieved through the Probate Court. As legal guardian you can have practically all of the legal rights and responsibilities as the child’s parent. Legal guardianship suspends the rights of the birth parents, but it does not terminate them. Parents can petition the Probate Court at any time to regain custody of the child.

Legal Custody: Is also a formal legal relationship that is ordered through a court process. Legal custody is different from guardianship because it is granted by a different court and thus different rules that apply. Legal custody may be ordered to relatives in DSS Abuse and Neglect cases, in petitions by family members in an action for custody of the child, or in other case specific circumstances. You should seek the advice of an attorney if you are pursing legal custody.

Adoption: Is a permanent arrangement making you the child’s legal parent with all the same rights and responsibilities. Adoption terminates the rights of the biological parents. This can be done voluntarily by the birth parents, through a relinquishment, or ordered by a judge in court. Once a parent’s rights are terminated, a family member can petition the court for adoption. You should seek the advice of an attorney if you are interested in an adoption.

** As each situation is unique, you should consult with an attorney regarding your circumstances and any questions you may have about your legal rights to custody.