Divorce, child custody disputes and other family law matters are highly emotional in nature and require sensitive and skillful handling. At Barker Family Law in Mount Pleasant, you can trust our experienced attorneys to always have your best interests in mind as we work to provide the most effective solution for your case based on your circumstances and goals. Our South Carolina family law firm is committed to delivering outstanding legal services to each and every client we represent throughout Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties.
When you file for divorce, you must state a ground for ending your marriage. Grounds include adultery, alcohol or substance abuse, desertion and physical cruelty. You can also file under no-fault grounds, where it is only necessary to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. For no-fault grounds, you must live separately for a year before filing. If you agree on all the key issues of your marriage dissolution, your divorce is uncontested and you can prepare an agreement for signoff by the court without going to trial. If you don’t agree on even one of the issues, your divorce is contested and those issues will be decided by a judge. We can assist you through all steps in the divorce process to make it as smooth as possible, whether it is contested or uncontested.
Under South Carolina law, you are either married or divorced. There is no legal separation status. If you are living apart from your spouse either with the intent of divorcing or not, you can protect your rights regarding child custody and financial concerns through a court order called an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support. One of our family lawyers can explain how such a document may be beneficial for your situation and prepare one that takes into account your unique needs and circumstances.
When parents cannot come to an agreement on child custody amongst themselves, the family court will make the determination for them. To make a custody decision, the judge will examine various factors to decide what arrangement is in the child’s best interests, such as each parent’s capacity to provide adequate care.
There is both legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to who has the authority to make educational, healthcare and other important decisions for the child’s upbringing, and it may be awarded to one or both parents. Physical custody refers to which child the parent lives with most often and that parent is the custodial parent. The other parent is the non-custodial parent, has visitation rights and typically pays child support. Our law firm will advocate for you and your child’s interests in custody and support decisions.
Alimony is not a concern in every divorce. It must be requested, and the requesting spouse has to make their case as to why it is needed. Alimony may be ordered by the judge on a temporary or more permanent basis depending upon the circumstances. When deciding alimony, the court will review each spouse’s financial situation, the length of the marriage, the marital standard of living and additional relevant factors. We can help you pursue a fair alimony award in your divorce whether you are the one making payments or the obligee.
A prenuptial agreement is a document put in place before marriage that states how certain assets will be handled should the couple divorce. It is useful in preventing certain assets from being designated as marital property and thus subject to equitable division. At our law firm, we draft solid prenuptial agreements that stand up to potential legal challenges.
Mediation can help disputing spouses resolve divorce issues on their own, outside of the court setting. Our attorney Douglas Barker is a Certified Family Court Mediator. He provides neutral mediation services — meaning he does not represent one party or the other — to assist spouses in coming to agreement on divorce issues. He will seek to guide you to a mutually acceptable resolution.
The dedicated attorneys at Barker Family Law in Mount Pleasant are committed to protecting the rights of South Carolina clients undergoing divorce, child custody disputes and other complex family law issues. Call our firm at 843-640-0532 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.