Moving family law forward

As the modern family changes, so does family law. At Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, we are committed to finding fair solutions for all families in this rapidly changing legal world.

A generation ago, family law was fairly straightforward. In a divorce, custody typically went to the mother. The father paid support, usually alimony too, and got visitation rights.

Slowly, the law began to recognize father’s rights. Today, shared child custody is the norm unless there’s a reason one parent shouldn’t be in the child’s life.

Courts then began to address issues involving unmarried couples in long-term relationships. South Carolina is one of a handful of states that recognizes common-law marriage, but it’s still unclear as to whether those laws apply to same-sex couples who were together before they could wed legally.

And while same-sex marriage is now the law of the land, on the legal front it’s still complicated.

Issues remain concerning child custody and what steps same-sex couples must take to make sure they’re both legally recognized as parents. The area of assisted reproduction continues to evolve for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Many same-sex couples still must battle for retirement benefits, including Social Security and military pensions.

And, of course, some same-sex couples will choose to remain unmarried, just as some opposite-sex couples do. There still are protections that can be put in place for both partners in these committed relationships.

At Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, we represent clients in a wide range of family law issues, from traditional divorce to transgender name and gender changes on official documents.

We can help unmarried couples, both opposite and same sex, make sure they’re protected through domestic partnership agreements and other legal mechanisms. We can help all couples, straight or LGBTQ, become parents through adoption or help them take care of legal issues surrounding in vitro fertilization or surrogacy.

We also represent clients in separations and divorces, with a goal of making an often-traumatic situation as smooth as possible.