Life gets complicated, and relationships are difficult. Attorneys at Danko Law, LLC understand the pressures associated with divorce and child custody disputes… beyond just those in the court room.
We’re here to help you manage and understand the family court process.
Typical family court issues that we handle are divorce, child custody, child support, equitable distribution, and spousal support.
In South Carolina, a divorce may be obtained on “fault” or “no-fault” grounds:
“No Fault” requires living separate and apart for at least one year and no chance of reconciliation.
A “fault” based divorce requires one party committing a fault. South Carolina recognizes adultery, desertion, physical cruelty and habitual drunkenness as faults.
If fault grounds are established, a party may be entitled to a divorce from the other party within three months from the date of filing for the divorce.
The issue of child custody can arise when a Husband and Wife separate or divorce, or when parents were never married and are having trouble working out a custody agreement or sticking to an agreed upon arrangement.
There are two basic types of legal custody, sole custody and joint custody. The judge considers the “best interests of the child” when making a custody determination. Factors a court may consider in determining the “best interests” of the child include:
• The relative fitness of each parent
• Who is the primary caretaker of the child
• The amount of time a parent can spend with the child
• Education and parenting skills of each parent
• Each parent’s conduct (immoral or illegal)
• Resources and attributes of each parent
No one factor, alone, will solely determine the custody of a child. Rather, the judge, with the assistance of a court-appointed Guardian ad litem, will consider all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the case before making a determination.
The amount of child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent is governed by statute and based upon the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines are based on the gross income of each parent and take into consideration other expenses for the children (for example, work related care expenses, payment of medical insurance premiums for the child(ren), and the existence of other children from a previous relationship in the home).
Equitable distribution involves identifying assets (house, cars, personal property) acquired during the marriage and dividing the assets fairly between the parties. As a general rule, property acquired prior to the marriage is not subject to distribution; however, the existence of non-marital property may affect an equitable distribution. Factors the court may consider in equitable distribution include:
• Length of marriage
• Marital and non-marital assets
• Child custody
• Income of each spouse
A grant of spousal support/ alimony is the means by which the court may ensure that a spouse maintains the same or similar standard of living that he/she enjoyed during the marriage. Types of spousal support/alimony include:
• Permanent alimony
• Lump sum alimony
• Rehabilitative alimony
• Reimbursement alimony
Factors involved in an award of spousal support/alimony include:
• Duration of the marriage
• Standard of living during the marriage
• Spouse’s need for additional education/training to support himself/herself
• Spouse’s income and ability to pay alimony
• Misconduct of spouse
A premarital/prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into between two prospective spouses prior to their marriage.