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How does child custody work for soldiers?

If you are facing a child custody battle in South Carolina, you may worry about the key points in the law that are applicable to you. Here are some key aspects highlighted by the South Carolina Bar that a soldier may find important. Note that you can find all laws related to child custody in Title 63 of South Carolina’s Children’s Code.

In all custody cases, the court tries to rule in favor of the best interests of the child. Some of the many factors the courts consider include the physical, mental, spiritual, familial and recreational aspects of a child’s life. To meet this need, courts assess how fit a parent is to take care of the child.

Many soldiers may worry about how deployment affects their eligibility. The South Carolina Bar insists that courts do not consider future or past deployment in and of itself. However, they may consider how the effects of these times away may impact the child for better or worse.

This in turn may affect whether or not you receive full custody of a child. For sole custody, one parent retains the rights and responsibilities for most of the major decisions in the child’s life. For joint custody setups, both parents share equal rights and responsibilities, though the child may still spend an overwhelming amount of time with one parent over the other.

For joint custody cases, parents submit parenting plans that help dictate how much time the child will spend with each parent. The parenting plan should also decide who becomes the main decisionmaker for key aspects, such as education, medical care and religious upbringing. If you have future deployments ahead, you may also need to include arrangements for the child’s care in your absence. Finally, note that if the child is a Native American or Indian child, different rules may apply even if one parent is not Native American.

This article shares information on child custody. It should not be misconstrued as or used in place of legal advice.

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