The Family Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all matters involving domestic relations.
The Family Court is the only court that can hear cases concerning marriage, divorce, separate support and maintenance, custody, visitation rights, termination of parental rights, adoption, support, alimony, division of marital property, and change of name.
We handle a variety of Family Court matters, including:
- Separation or Settlement Agreements
- Child Support and Paternity
- Visitation Rights
- Grandparent Visitation
- Name Changes
- Birth Certificate Corrections
- Delayed Birth Certificates
- Contempt of Court / Rule to Show Cause
Separation and Divorce
There is no such thing as a "legal separation" in South Carolina. In order to obtain a "no-fault" divorce you and your spouse must simply live separate and apart (under different roofs) without cohabitation (not living with each other) for one year.
In addition to the divorce, other issues such as child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and division of marital property may be raised and decided by a Family Court judge.
Contact Ingram Law Firm to schedule a consultation to discuss your divorce case and the possibility of a "separation agreement" or "marital settlement agreement" to avoid the time, expense, and hassle of multiple court hearings, guardians, excessive guardian fees and attorney's fees, and mandatory court-ordered mediation.
Stepparent or Blood Relative Adoption: Under South Carolina law, a person may adopt a stepchild, grandchild, niece, nephew, or other relative without the necessity of a pre-placement investigation and report, a post-placement investigation and report, or an itemized accounting of all fees and expenses paid in connection with the adoption.
Adult Adoption: Under South Carolina law, an adult may consent to be adopted by another adult. In some cases, the spouse of an adoptive parent must also consent to the adoption.
Adoptions are complicated proceedings that must be prepared carefully and pursued diligently in order for the adoption to be finalized successfully by a Family Court judge. Contact Ingram Law Firm to schedule a consultation to discuss adoption and your options.
Child Support and Paternity
Have you been served with child support papers or received a "Notice of Financial Responsibility" from the Department of Social Services ("DSS")?
Child support in South Carolina is determined using the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. However, calculating the correct amount of child support is neither simple nor straightforward.
Don't get "railroaded" or "bulldozed" by DSS. Contact Ingram Law Firm to schedule a consultation to discuss your rights and to make sure your child support obligation is calculated fairly and correctly.
All parents have a duty to support their children, and all parents have a right to reasonable parenting time or visitation with their children. However, without a court order for visitation, you have no enforceable visitation rights.
If you receive child support papers or a "Notice of Financial Responsibility" from DSS, then you need a knowledgable attorney to assist you in obtaining a court order for visitation because DSS is not concerned with your visitation rights.
On the other hand, if you are being denied your court-ordered visitation rights, then you may need to request a contempt hearing to enforce your rights.
Contact Ingram Law Firm to schedule a consultation to discuss the most effective way to exercise or enforce your visitation rights.
Under South Carolina law, a grandparent who has been deprived of an opportunity to visit with a grandchild unreasonably may obtain a visitation order under specific circumstances if one or both of the parents are deceased or if the parents are divorced or separated.
Grandparent visitation may not interfere with a parent-child relationship, and either the child's parents or guardians must be found to be unfit or other compelling circumstances must exist.
Contact Ingram Law Firm to schedule a consultation to discuss your options as well as your rights as a grandparent.
Adult Name Changes: An adult who desires to change his or her name must obtain specific documentation from the State Law Enforcement Division ("SLED") and the Department of Social Services ("DSS") before filing a petition with the Family Court. In some cases, a name change order may be issued without the necessity of a court hearing.
Minor Child Name Changes: A parent who desires to change the name of a minor child must file a petition with the Family Court. The other parent or the child must also be named as parties, a court-appointed guardian ad litem must represent the child, and a court hearing is required.
Contact Ingram Law Firm to schedule a consultation to discuss obtaining a name change with a minimum amount of expense and inconvenience.
Birth Certificate Corrections and Delayed Birth Certificates
The Family Court has jurisdiction not only to hear and determine cases for the correction of birth records but also to issue court orders establishing birth records by way of a Delayed Certificate of Birth Established by Court Order.
Does your birth certificate contain errors? Do you have no birth certificate at all? Have you been having trouble dealing with Vital Records? Contact Ingram Law Firm to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.
Contempt of Court / Rule to Show Cause
An adult who wilfully violates, neglects, or refuses to follow a Family Court Order may be found by a judge to be in contempt of court. A proceeding for contempt of court may be initiated only by a "rule to show cause" issued and served according to the Rules of Family Court and the Rules of Civil Procedure. A contempt of court hearing is an evidentiary hearing that is conducted according to the Rules of Evidence.
A Family Court judge may punish contempt of court with any combination of:
- a fine of up to $1,500;
- a public works sentence of up to 300 hours; and/or
- imprisonment in a local detention facility for up to one year.
Contempt of court is a serious matter. Therefore, you need an experienced and qualified attorney either to bring or to defend against a Rule to Show Cause.