Last week, many news outlets reported that Marc Anthony finally filed for divorce from Jennifer Lopez. The couple has been separated for 9 months. His petition cites "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the divorce (which is not a ground for divorce in South Carolina). He also requests joint custody of the couple's twins, Max and Emme.
Many people may read about J.Lo's divorce and think, "I want joint custody too!" But what works in California may not work in South Carolina.
South Carolina judges are unlikely to grant joint custody, unless the parents have reached an agreement that it is the best thing for their children. Why? Because joint custody requires the parents to work issues out amongst themselves, and if two parents cannot agree on what is best for their kids custody-wise, judges don't expect them to get along well enough to make joint custody work.
Additionally, if parents have equal time with the children, then children can feel like they don't have a true "home" because they change houses so frequently. At least one South Carolina Family Court judge is credited with asking a mother, "How would you like to move once a week?" before denying her request for joint custody.
In spite of these problems, there is legislation pending in South Carolina that would create a presumption in favor of joint custody. This has the potential to dramatically change the way custody cases are decided in South Carolina.
Child custody is a rapidly evolving subject, which is why it is important that you contact a licensed South Carolina lawyer if you have questions about a custody case. Please don't rely on information about J.Lo's (or anyone else's!) divorce when making plans for your own.