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Family courts must consider fathers' rights

South Carolina unmarried fathers have certain rights. A man is automatically recognized as the baby's legal father with equivalent legal parental standing when he is named on the birth certificate. He is also more likely to pay child support. Fathers' rights focus on fairness. Fathers want an equal opportunity for a relationship with the child.

According to a study published in the journal Human Nature, paternity establishment begins at birth. The father should be named on the birth certificate. If the parents are married, the husband will usually be named. However, 40.6 percent of babies were born to unmarried mothers in 2013. It is important for the mother to name the father on the birth certificate and for the father to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity when they are not married.

Reaching a decision about frozen embryos during a divorce

Couples in South Carolina who have IVF treatments may not think about what may become of their embryos if they divorce. Usually, facilities have couples sign a contract that specifies whether they want their embryos donated or destroyed in the case of divorce. Keeping the embryos frozen may be another option. However, these contracts might not be legally enforceable.

If a couple cannot agree on the fate of their embryos, it could result in a long court case. Estranged couples need to keep up with their payments to the storage facility so the embryos they're fighting over don't end up being destroyed.

Obama child support rule left alone by Trump

A rule that took effect just before former President Barack Obama left office has so far been left unchanged by President Donald Trump. The law would require South Carolina and other states to set realistic child support levels for noncustodial parents who are in jail or who live in poverty. The goal is to ensure that noncustodial parents don't accumulate debt that they can't afford, which could trigger a cycle of incarceration.

This rule was one of more than 600 that were passed in Obama's final month in office. According to the Supreme Court, courts must first inquire about a parent's ability to pay support before finding them in civil contempt or putting them in jail for nonpayment. Failure to do so was found to be a violation of that person's right to due process.

Dealing with the family home when a divorce occurs

If a South Carolina couple is considering divorce, they may be wondering what will happen to the family home. Because people often have an emotional connection to their home, especially if they built it themselves or raised their children there, it can be very difficult to make a rational decision that makes sense when post-divorce finances are taken into consideration.

The first decision that has to be made is whether or not a person wants to stay in the home. For example, if the home is comfortable place that provides emotional security and is close to work, a person may want to retain ownership of the home. If the home evokes unpleasant memories and a person wants to make a new start somewhere else, selling the home will be a priority.

Learn more about past due child support payments

South Carolina custodial parents may be entitled to missed child support payments even after the child turns 18 or is otherwise emancipated. Therefore, a noncustodial parent is obligated to pay any support that is in arrears until that past due balance is paid off. To ensure that a past due balance is paid, the government may suspend professional licenses, garnish wages or seize tax refunds.

Those who are behind in their child support generally cannot have the debt discharged in bankruptcy. In extreme cases, a parent who owes back child support may be sent to jail. However, there may be a statue of limitations as it relates to how long a parent can collect past due balances. Therefore, it may be necessary to have an order renewed to ensure that those past due payments are made.

Prioritizing children in a divorce

South Carolina parents who are divorcing need to make sure that they put their children first. This may also mean giving each other the benefit of the doubt even when one believes that the other parent does not deserve it. For example, rather than assuming that an ex-spouse is irresponsible by not adhering to a time schedule, a parent should assume there is a good reason for the tardiness. Parents also need to keep their own emotions in check around the children and avoid venting or saying negative things about each other in front of the child.

Effective co-parenting is important because in most cases, children still need to have a relationship with both parents. A written parenting plan can help reduce conflict. Items to consider for the plan include grandparent visitation, schooling, health care, how much contact children will have with new partners and setting aside a time to discuss any additional problems that might arise. Over time, the agreement might need to be altered.

Child custody exchanges can be dangerous for some people

In some South Carolina families who share custody of their children, child custody exchanges have the potential to be very volatile. It is important for people to remember that fighting in front of their children with their children's other parent is never in the best interests of the children.

While most exchanges of children happen without incident, they are filled with conflict for some people. Parents sometimes get into arguments about such issues as child support, parenting and school during child custody exchanges. In some cases, the arguments escalate to name-calling, pushing and hitting. There have been incidents in which parents have been shot by the other parent or by the other parent's new partner.

Mistakes to avoid when filing for divorce in January

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, up to 30 percent more couples tend to seek a divorce in January after the holidays have ended. For South Carolina residents who are thinking about doing so, there are some mistakes that they should avoid making.

People should never file for divorce out of anger. Instead, they should treat a divorce as a business deal. Being emotional and aggressive can result in an overly combative situation, which means not only a contentious divorce, but when lawyer fees are considered, a more expensive one than it would have been otherwise.

New regulations for inmate child support issued

After South Carolina courts have issued child support orders, some parents who are ordered to pay end up being incarcerated after committing criminal offenses. When inmates are in prison, they make very little money. Consequently, many inmates who have child support orders leave prison facing substantial amounts of delinquent child support debts.

On Dec. 19, the Obama administration issued new regulations that are aimed at reducing the amounts of child support debts that inmates face. The administration is attempting to do so because of the potential of reincarceration. The rules require that the states let inmates file motions to have their child support payment amounts reduced while they are in prison. Many states view incarceration as a form of voluntary unemployment and do not allow reductions based on it.

Retirement benefits possible even decades after divorce

Social Security rules contain provisions for ex-spouses that allow for the payout of benefits even decades after a divorce. People who had been married for at least 10 years may be missing out on retirement funds by not investigating their benefits compared to those of their ex-partner. Claiming benefits after a divorce requires meeting certain criteria. The formulas determining the benefit totals are complex as well.

Besides the minimum 10 years of marriage, claims on an ex-spouse's work record also require the claimant to be unmarried at the time it is file. In one example, a divorced woman who later remarried may claim benefits on her first husband's marriage as long as her second marriage ended in divorce, annulment or death. The minimum age for claiming benefits is still 62, and the maximum payout requires waiting for full retirement age. .