Family Law

What we do

We believe family always comes first. For most of us, the stability and integrity of our family is the number one priority in life. We expect our family to be a place of security and a source of love and support. As a result, most folks will aggressively protect their family if anything threatens to change those expectations. Our family courts and state and federal laws provide guidance for resolving family conflict, protecting children, and providing remedies for many problems families face. Understanding what options you have under the law gives you the power of knowledge, puts you in the driver's seat, and can help reduce the stress involved in your case.

The Rankin Law Firm in Charleston, SC, provides guidance, solutions, and advocacy and in all areas of family law. Our approach is to establish expectations based on the evidence that can be presented to court and pursue every opportunity available to protect your family’s interests.

Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody and visitation actions allow the court, and sometimes the parents themselves, to establish legally enforceable guidelines about legal and physical custody of children. Legal custody is a parent's or guardian's right to basic care and control of a child. This right includes a duty to provide protection, food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, supervision and discipline for a child. It can also include the authority to decide where the child will live and make important medical decisions under certain circumstances. Physical custody means the lawful, actual possession and control of a child.

In South Carolina there are three basic types of legal custody: sole, joint, and divided custody. In making a custody determination, the “best interests” of the child is the governing factor. Some of the other elements the court will look to include: the relative fitness of each parent, who is the primary caretaker of the child, education, beliefs and parenting skills of each parent, each parent’s conduct (immoral or legal), resources and attributes of each parent, and the opinions of experts and others. The court may also consider the recommendations of a Guardian ad litem, appointed to represent the child. However, no one factor by itself will determine the custody of a child. The court will consider all facts and circumstances surrounding the case and in making a determination

Child Support

When a child lives primarily with one parent, the other parent is responsible for making payments to assist in the child’s care. We can help make sure your children get the financial support they are entitled to.

Emergency Relief

The Rankin Law Firm is prepared to take action when circumstances in your case require immediate attention from the family court. If an Emergency Hearing is granted, the court will suspend the notice requirements and allow the parties to present evidence on the emergency issues at the earliest available docket opportunity. A Motion for Emergency Relief seeks substantive relief on a temporary basis for the requesting party. Contact the Rankin Law Firm in Charleston, SC, today to schedule a consultation if you have questions about whether you are entitled to emergency relief from the family court.

Step-Parent Adoption

When a step-parent serves in all aspects as a child's actual mother or father despite not having that legal and biological relationship, they may seek to take that final step of adopting the child. The procedures for adoption in South Carolina are strictly regulated by statute. In order to obtain an adoption in South Carolina, a party must show the court that the parental rights of the biological mother or father have been terminated, and the adoption is in the best interest of the child. To represent the child, a guardian ad litem will be appointed to conduct an investigation and present findings to the court. Often this is a difficult, costly and time-consuming process. Fortunately, in the context of a step-parent adoption, the court waives some requirements, making the process slightly easier to navigate. If you would like more information about a step-parent adoption, please contact us today and schedule a consultation.

Name Changes

The South Carolina Family Court has jurisdiction over actions to change a citizen’s legal name. Before granting a name change, the court requires petitioners to provide proof of certain information, including a criminal background check, abuse and neglect central registry check, sexual predator registry check, and an affidavit and petitioner stating reasons for name change. At the Dyllan Rankin Law Office we have the experience and the resources to guide you through this process and can provide guidance on amending certain vital records following a successful South Carolina name change action.