Family Court Mediator
Mediation is mandatory in every contested Family Court Case in the state of South Carolina. Mrs. Sturkie is a Certified Family Court Mediator who has also attended 100s of mediations as either the attorney for the litigant or, as a Guardian Ad Litem.
Mediation costs are typically shared between the parties in a case. Mediation is an essential alternative dispute process that typically works in the majority of cases. It can save thousands of dollars in litigation costs and more importantly can save the emotional costs of a contested trial.
There are unique laws in South Carolina dealing with divorce that differ from other states. In South Carolina there are five grounds for divorce: separation of the spouses for at least one year (the “no-fault divorce”), adultery, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness (alcohol or narcotic drugs) and desertion. The proof needed to allow the court to grant a divorce on one of these five reasons depends on your circumstances. At Sturkie Law we understand how devastating a divorce or separation can be no matter what the circumstances are.
We help clients resolve their divorce concerns, addressing issues such as finances, property settlements agreements, child support, custody and visitation. When it is possible, we encourage our clients to resolve their divorce matters outside of court; however, when that is not feasible, we aggressively represent our clients in court.
While it is an emotional time for everyone, having the right legal representation can make the process less stressful. We have practiced family law in Florence, SC for more than a decade. We use our dedication and experience with South Carolina family law to resolve your divorce or separation with empathy and compassion.
South Carolina law has no presumption favoring mothers over fathers or fathers over mothers in child custody cases. At Sturkie Law we know your children are the most important part of your life. We know you want what is best for your children. We are dedicated to ensuring you are able to maximize your time with your children.
Many clients who contact our firm are confused by the court’s child custody or visitation arrangement decisions. Factors such cheating or lying do not necessarily make a person a bad parent; the court’s decision is always based on the best interests of the child. We help clients negotiate with the opposing party to resolve child custody and visitation disputes.
Child support guidelines often take people by surprise, either with the amount they are responsible for paying or the amount they will be receiving. Each situation is different, we understand the parameters of the law and will work to be certain you remain a vital part of your children’s lives.
Guardian Ad Litem
A Guardian Ad Litem, who is an advocate for your child, may be appointed by the court. The Guardian Ad Litem typically interviews the child or children, parents, and other people involved in the case. The Guardian Ad Litem then reports back to the judge about their observations and opinions.
Did you know that in the divorce process, often children feel divided between their parents? By offering Guardian Ad Litem services in private custody cases, Sturkie Law advocates for the child’s best interests. At Sturkie Law we understand that the idea of being separated from your children is unbearable, a Guardian Ad Litem works with the family courts of South Carolina to advocate what is best for the children.
In South Carolina there are different types of alimony such as permanent periodic, rehabilitative, and lump sum alimony. Unlike other states South Carolina has no formula for calculating alimony. There are many considerations when seeking spousal support; fault grounds for the divorce, disparities in income, the length of the marriage, how many children there are.
Different types of situations require expert knowledge. By considering all the factors such as misconduct or fault, mental conditions, and financial status of the marital assets, we can help you fully protect your assets and your rights.
There is nothing more joyful than adding a new child to your life, however the process of and laws surrounding adoptions can be confusing. As an adoptive parent herself Michele Dahl Sturkie knows first hand the adoption process.
There are many complex requirements for all kinds of adoptions. From home visits to health exams adoptive parents are required to pass certain tests and requirements before bringing a new child home. In private adoption considering which type of adoption – open, visitation, or closed-is an important decision when choosing what is best for your family.
Whether through private or state adoption Sturkie Law can help you navigate the complex laws of the process. Your rights as a new parent need to be protected, we can guide you through the entire process from start to finish.
Following a divorce, adoption or custody case many people wish to change their names or the last names of their children. In South Carolina, there are different requirements for adults and children. Each situation involving name changes is unique with a variety of rules and regulations that must be followed before petitioning the court. Having an experienced attorney by your side through the many different steps can help your name change go smoothly and without issues.
Sturkie Law has helped dozens of people return to their maiden names, change the names of their children and helped others change their names for a variety of reasons. We can guide you through the entire process, being certain that all the paper work is in order the first time.