South Carolina Child Custody and what to do when your kids turn 18 and still live at home!
It is much more difficult to get by these days than when I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. It is becoming increasingly common for children to live at home beyond the legal age of their majority. When their parent’s are divorced this can cause a big problem.
The Family Court has jurisdiction to make orders affecting the custody and support of “minor” children. This means that with the exception of a few limited circumstances, the Family Court can make no orders affecting with whom a child will live and how to support him or her once a child turns 18 (child support can run through high school graduation but in any case not past the child’s 19th birthday). However, just because the family court no longer has jurisdiction does not mean that the family will no longer have any problems!
As I have stated many times in previous blog posts, the particular process that a couple chooses to use to reach a divorce agreement will largely control the future relationships between the entire family. If a Husband and Wife choose Collaborative Practice or Mediation they will learn to problem solve in a rational and respectful manner. In fact, their lawyers will model for them a mature and reasoned problem solving process that will benefit the entire family. If a Husband and Wife choose litigators and have a big fight in family court, they will never learn how to solve family problems post divorce and will always run to their lawyers when things get bad.
The problem arises when a family has been involved in a contested South Carolina Child Custody case, has not learned how to co-parent their kids, and then they need to work together to help their young adult. There will be no more lawyers, judges and courts to whom the parents can turn. They will simply be left to handle these problems on their own (or ignore them to the detriment of the children) without ever having learned the skills necessary to help their children through difficult times.
If parents have used a mature and reasoned process, like Collaborative Practice, to end their marriage, they will have learned skills they can use to work together for the benefit of their child regardless of age. Parents will be more inclined work together out of a place of reason and mutual love for their child rather than have their judgement and decisions clouded by strong emotional feelings. Parents who simply fight in court every time they have a problem with their kids will have no skills to help their child and will simply blame the other parent for the child’s difficulties. This will only benefit the trial lawyers and actually be harmful to their children.
South Carolina Child Custody cases end when a child reaches majority. The family unit will continue indefinitely. We all do a disservice to our children, who are our future, by not learning how to solve our problems in a mature and reasoned manner and then modeling this behavior for our children.