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Do child custody orders represent the best interest of the child?

During the break-up of the marital home, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. When it comes to child custody, one of the most widely used terms is what plan is in the "best interest of the child/children"? While South Carolina has laws that permit joint custody, it is unclear how many children are given this option.

Sadly, in spite of exhaustive research, it appears that many family courts across the country are still falling back on custody orders that do not truly meet the best needs of the children. Researchers have determined that children who are permitted to spend nearly equal time with both parents appear to be as well-off emotionally as children who reside in an intact home. Unfortunately, a study conducted in one state -- that is supposedly representative of the rest of the country -- is failing to provide children of divorced parents with shared custody agreements.

The majority of this state's 88 counties have continued to order primary or sole physical custody in the majority of their cases. This type of arrangement often means that a child may only spend two out of 14 days with the non-custodial parent. This type of plan denies both the parent and the child with an opportunity to bond during the daily routines of school, homework and chores.

While there are situations that would make shared custody an impossibility, in the majority of cases, children who are granted greater access to both parents experience higher levels of emotional well-being and overall success in their daily lives. There have been efforts to revise child custody laws, but family courts may be slow to respond. South Carolina parents who wish to ensure that they remain an important piece of their child's life may be best served by seeking the guidance of a family law professional who can help safeguard their access to their child throughout the divorce proceedings and beyond.

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