In most circumstances, It is beneficial for any child to have both of their parents in their lives. Fender Law supports the legal rights of fathers in the courtroom every day. We proudly partner with Father to Father Inc. to provide legal, social, and employment assistance for fathers trying to stay a part of their child's life. Single fathers have rights when going through divorce and custody battles, but the court can complicate things. Fender Law is dedicated to advocating for fathers in South Carolina's courtrooms.
If you are a South Carolina father who has questions regarding their custody agreement, visitation rights, or child support, continue reading this informative article. Please note, the below information is only to serve as an educational tool and should not replace legal counsel.
Fathers Should Prove Paternity as Quickly as Possible
One of the most important things to do is establish that you are the child's father as soon as possible. This grants you certain legal rights such as custody and visitation. The mother will have sole custody of a child who was born while she was not married. By default, the child legally will not have a father, though the mother can sign a Paternity Acknowledgment form at the hospital.
If you are unsure whether or not you are the father, reach out to the Department of Social Services Child Support Enforcement Division for a genetic test. Once you have acquired papers stating paternity, contact the DSS to find out what steps you need to take. An experienced custody attorney will help guide you through this process.
Fathers' Custody, Visitation & Child Support Rights
The court will determine visitation and custody based on the child's best interests. This depends on the home environment, school systems, the child's physical and psychological health, and – in some cases – the child's preference. Visitation rights are usually granted to the non-custodial parent, but the judge can decrease or eliminate visitation rights if they deem it necessary for the health or safety of the child.
Both parents are obligated to support the child in some way until the age of 18. Usually, this is in the form of child support payments from the non-custodial parent. The court can change or halt child support payments, but the custodial parent CANNOT withhold visitation due to missed or delinquent payments. You can also have child support payments decreased for spending more time with the child.
If you want to appeal or amend your current child custody arrangement or visitation schedule, you should consult a skilled South Carolina custody attorney. Attorneys who are well versed in South Carolina family legal matters will be able to help you figure out your best course of action.
Providing for Your Child's Education and Welfare
Both parents share equal rights and responsibilities when it comes to the religion, education, health, and welfare of the child. Each parent may attend religious and school functions unless restricted by court order and both may access medical and educational records.
This means that even if the father is not the primary custodial parent, he still has a say in his child's day-to-day life. If your former partner has tried to hinder your access to your child's information or has tried to make you stay away from important religious or educational functions, you have options for legal recourse. Seek out legal advice from a lawyer to resolve these issues.
What Happens if The Mother Takes the Child Away?
If your child's mother tries to take the child and hides, you have legal rights and options. There are two situations in which you can use Federal Parent Locator Services.
- If a criminal custodial interference case is being investigated or prosecuted.
- If a civil action to make or enforce a custody order has been filed in state court.
However, this program is not available if the court has disallowed you from information about your child's location. If your child's mother has hidden your child from you, reach out to a South Carolina custody attorney
Can Single Fathers Claim Children on Their Taxes?
The ability for fathers to claim their child as a dependent will hinge mostly on custody. Generally, only the child's primary custodian can claim the child as a dependent on their taxes. However, the court can decide which parent gets to claim the child. If you are married to someone other than the child's mother and are filing jointly with your spouse, special rules may apply.
Child Custody Lawyers for Fathers
Fender Law is proud to support South Carolina fathers and will continue to advocate for their rights. If you are a Beaufort father with a custody, visitation, or child support case, reach out to the Fender Law team as soon as possible. Contact us via email or by calling (843) 379-4888 to schedule a consultation, today.