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Best Family Lawyers in Columbia

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Building Families logo
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Building Families

1122 Lady Street, Suite 1103, Columbia, SC 29201
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  • Adoption

Business Description

Building Families is a law firm in Columbia established in 2014. Its founding attorney, Allison McNair, caters to clients regardless of sexual orientation, marital status, or religion, helping them build families through surrogacy and adoption. Her surrogacy services involve drafting and negotiating the gestational carrier agreement and working closely with the couples to obtain a birth certificate and a final parentage. She has also assisted parents in contested, domestic, interstate, stepparent, and foster care adoption.

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Gerald Law Firm, P.A. logo
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Gerald Law Firm, P.A.

1406 Richland Street, Columbia, SC 29201
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  • Adoption
  • Child Custody
  • Divorce

Business Description

The Gerald Law Firm, P.A., serves clients in Columbia. It handles matters related to family law, such as prenuptial agreements, divorce, child support, and visitation. The firm's adoption practice also focuses on representing the legal interests of the minor child as well as the adoptive, birth, and same-sex adoptive parents. Additionally, it offers estate planning services and drafts living wills. Principal attorney Dennis M. Gerald has been practicing law for over three decades. He is a former South Carolina Council on Adoptable Children board member.

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Hanson Law Firm, P.A. logo
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Hanson Law Firm, P.A.

6156 St Andrews Rd #101, Columbia, SC 29212
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  • Child Custody
  • Divorce

Business Description

Hanson Law Firm, P.A., represents residents of Columbia who need family relations solutions. The office handles divorce processes for couples who have begun living apart or have been torn by habitual drunkenness and drug abuse. It resolves matters concerning the division of common assets and the custody of minor offspring. The firm also undertakes adoption proceedings. Practitioner Ken Hanson was part of the Bedford Police Department and took his lawyer's oath in 1977. He taught in the Midlands Technical College's Criminal Justice Department.

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Hart & Sercer, LLC logo
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Hart & Sercer, LLC

6300 St. Andrews Rd Suite C, Columbia, SC 29212
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  • Adoption
  • Child Custody
  • Divorce

Business Description

Hart & Sercer, LLC, is a legal practice serving clients throughout Columbia. It works to achieve a peaceful solution for families dealing with divorce, legal separation, child custody and support, alimony, and property distribution. It also protects the rights of individuals who have suffered domestic violence. The firm's lawyer, Grady G. Hart Jr., has been practicing exclusively in the Family Court since 1995. His prior career history includes a position in the Richland County Solicitor's Office and the South Carolina Senate.

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Kana Law Office logo
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Kana Law Office

1813 Marion Street, Columbia, SC 29201
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  • Child Custody
  • Divorce

Business Description

Kana Law Office accommodates clients in Columbia. It represents individuals facing family legal issues and helps them navigate the court system. Among the cases it handles include child custody and visitation, spousal support, property division, and divorce. The firm also assists in the modification and enforcement of court orders. Kana Rahman, the founding attorney, draws on her prior experience as a state prosecutor to get to know her clients and their cases personally and address their unique legal requirements inside and outside of court.

Professionalism:

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Law Office of  Nick Mermiges logo
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Law Office of Nick Mermiges

1720 Main Street, Suite 202, Columbia, SC 29201
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Business Description

The Law Office of Nick Mermiges helps Columbia residents deal with family law matters. It assists the parties in simple, complex, fault-based, or military divorce cases in preparing, planning, and executing their separation strategies. Additionally, it helps with asset distribution or concealment, business assessment, the comingling of funds, the dissipation of marital assets, and prenuptial agreements. The firm also handles custody disputes originating from divorce, military deployment, emergencies, and one parent moving out of state. Nick Mermiges has been a lawyer since 2010.

Law Office of Catherine Johnson logo
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Law Office of Catherine Johnson

712 Richland Street, Suite H, Columbia, SC 29201
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  • Divorce

Business Description

The Law Office of Catherine Johnson serves families and individuals in Columbia seeking legal services. It provides compassionate support and representation to clients dealing with family issues such as divorce, annulment, child custody and visitation rights, alimony, and division of property. It also provides legal advice and assists in drafting parenting and prenuptial agreements. The law firm strives to help clients throughout the process by offering one-on-one consultations to discuss its client's needs and goals.

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Palmetto State Law Group, LLC logo
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Palmetto State Law Group, LLC

2241 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC 29210
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  • Child Custody
  • Divorce

Business Description

Palmetto State Law Group, LLC, has been representing clients in Columbia in various aspects of marriage and family law for over 20 years. Its attorneys deal with divorce, asset division, spousal support and alimony, domestic violence, and child custody and support. They also confer with tax and real estate professionals, therapists, and medical providers to select the right solution for the situation. One of the firm's attorneys, Elizabeth D. Moore, also focuses on estate planning and civil matters.

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Strom Family Law logo
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Strom Family Law

6923 N. Trenholm Road Suite 201, Columbia, SC 29206
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  • Adoption
  • Child Custody
  • Divorce

Business Description

Strom Family Law caters to people in Columbia. Its attorneys have over 50 years of collective experience handling various family law issues, including divorce, adoption, paternity, complex property division, and child custody and visitation. They work on contested, uncontested, military, high-net-worth, and LGBT divorce matters. Its attorneys also assist in creating pre- and post-nuptial agreements and birth record amendments. Its associate, Michelle Boykin Matthew, has written about international child custody disputes and has been featured in Family Law Quarterly.

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The Laubshire Law Firm, LLC logo
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The Laubshire Law Firm, LLC

455 St Andrews Rd., Suite E-1, Columbia, SC 29210
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  • Child Custody
  • Alimony
  • Divorce

Business Description

The Laubshire Law Firm, LLC, represents individuals and families across Columbia and the surrounding areas. It offers legal guidance to clients who wish to resolve their family law issues involving divorce, domestic violence, and child custody. It helps clients handle rehabilitative, periodic, reimbursement, and lump-sum alimony cases. Founding attorney Michael Laubshire extends his legal services to New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. Michael is a former prosecutor of the 10th Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of cases do family lawyers handle?

Family lawyers handle all types of family-related issues, including divorce, child support and spousal support, custody, adoption, paternity and guardianship. Family attorneys can also handle prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and divide marital assets based on the policies outlined in these documents. Domestic violence cases are also within the purview of family law attorneys.

Is family court different from district court?

In most states, family court is a division of the district court rather than a separate court system. Family law judges primarily preside over family disputes, such as divorce and custody hearings. Most states require family law judges to receive special training on how to best address family law matters.

How long do custody cases last in family court?

The duration of custody cases can differ based on the circumstances surrounding the claim. A case in which parents agree to split custody can be quick, while lawsuits in which both parents or guardians are fighting for full custody can take much longer. Most child custody cases last three to 10 days, but this can vary under more challenging circumstances.

Why is there no jury in family court?

There are no juries in family court cases because the concept of innocence or guilt does not apply. While there may be some cases in which additional opinions could be helpful, most cases are based on the letter of the law versus individual circumstances. Some states, including Texas, permit jury trials for family court cases, but this is uncommon.

What are the most common cases in family court?

Family law covers a variety of different cases pertaining to familial relations. The most common cases in family court include:

  • Divorce cases, including settling issues of alimony, property distribution, and child care
  • Child custody and the determination of paternity
  • Domestic violence protection orders
  • Name changes, including modifications due to adoption or personal preference
  • Guardianship, including who will handle the care of a child or adult should current caretakers be unable to do so
  • Adoptions and the termination of parental rights
  • Juvenile matters, including child abuse and neglect, foster placements, and criminal conduct
  • Emancipation, which is the process of declaring a minor as independent from their parents
  • Approval of underage marriages

Do family lawyers handle mediation?

Mediation can be a valuable part of a divorce case, counseling spouses to work through areas of disagreement in a fair, calm, and unbiased manner. Most, but not all, family lawyers handle mediation. Anyone who believes they may need intervention services is encouraged to ask about an attorney’s experience with resolving disputes, to ensure that support is available if necessary.

What is family law?

Family law is an area of legal practice that places a special focus on issues concerning families. Common areas of family law include separation of assets and potential alimony arrangements during a divorce, child custody and child support mediation between estranged or divorced parents, paternity cases, and matters of adoption. Family lawyers not only oversee mediation during disputes over things like child support and custody arrangements, but they also represent parties' interests when family matters are dealt with in court.

What is a custodial parent?

When two parents do not live together with a child, one will be named as the custodial parent. The designated parent—or other guardian if both biological parents are deemed unfit—will have precedence in any legal decisions made concerning the child's life, including education and other matters of the child's welfare. The other parent is referred to as the noncustodial parent.

What is sole custody?

When a child lives with one parent full time after a divorce or a legal separation, that parent has sole custody. This parent will be fully responsible for providing basic necessities for the child's well-being, including food, shelter, and clothing. The alternative is joint custody, in which both parents share physical custody of the child, based on a predetermined legal arrangement.

While they may sound the same, sole custody is not identical to full custody. In full custody, the noncustodial parent may have visitation rights, while in sole custody, they do not. A court would rule that a parent has sole custody rather than full custody when only one parent is deemed fit to act in the best interests of the child.

What is joint custody?

Joint custody is a preset arrangement that occurs after a marriage is dissolved. In joint custody, a child lives with their custodial parent for certain days or weeks and their noncustodial parent for the remainder. The custody arrangement may be decided in a hearing, but if two parents come up with a suitable agreement on their own, the court will likely accept it.

What makes a good family lawyer?

There are a number of characteristics to look for in a good family lawyer. The first is experience. An experienced family law attorney will understand the right steps to take to come to an equitable resolution that reflects the best interests of the family, often without going to court. The ability to communicate and act as an intermediary between parties in a dispute is important, whether it concerns a divorce, custody, paternity, or something else. Family legal disputes can be stressful to manage, especially when mediation and finding a common ground is involved. A good family lawyer is also available as a resource to help their client navigate a difficult situation in a way that won't harm their chances for a positive resolution.

How can a mother lose custody of her child?

A mother could lose custody of her child if she's deemed unfit to provide or take proper care of them. This decision often comes as a result of the mother being unable to provide a safe home or take care of a child's basic needs. It can also come from a mother abusing the child or neglecting them, abusing drugs and alcohol, or frequently being arrested.

In any of these cases, the state can revoke custody from the mother, citing details learned through home visits, interviews, court records, and a variety of other sources as the reasons. In this case, sole custody would be given to the other parent, if he/she is able.

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