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How Do Child Custody Laws in South Carolina Work?

custody laws in sc

Child custody laws in South Carolina are complex and can be difficult to understand. Navigating the legal system is not easy, especially when it comes to something as important as your children’s future. Knowing what these laws mean for you and how they may affect your family is essential if you’re facing a child custody case in South Carolina.

In this article, we’ll examine exactly how custody laws in SC work so that you have all of the information necessary to make informed decisions regarding your kids.

Who Has the Right to File for Custody in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, either parent can file for custody of their child.

The legal system doesn’t give preference to the mother or father. Instead, it looks at what’s best for the child. If a court determines that shared parenting is in the best interests of the child, then both parents may be granted equal rights and responsibilities regarding decisions about education, healthcare, and other matters related to the child’s welfare.

However, if one parent can prove that giving full control to the other could hurt their child emotionally or physically, they may have grounds to seek sole custody. When this happens, all parental rights are given exclusively to one parent, who will become responsible for making all major decisions on behalf of their child.

Types of Custody in South Carolina

In South Carolina, two types of custody may be granted to either the parent or legal guardian: legal and physical.

Legal custody gives a person the right to make decisions concerning the child’s upbringing— such as healthcare, education, and religious beliefs—while physical custody grants parenting time with the child.

It is essential for parents or guardians to understand these distinctions, as they will impact how much involvement each party has in their child’s life. It is also important to note that both forms of custody can be shared by both parties depending on what works best for everyone involved.

Factors That Determine Custody in South Carolina

When establishing child custody in South Carolina, there are several factors the court will consider, such as:

  • Each parent’s physical and mental health
  • Their ability to provide care for the child
  • Both parents’ involvement with the child before any legal proceedings
  • How well each parent can co-parent together

The courts also take into account a variety of other circumstances when making a decision about custody.

The most crucial factor determining custody is what arrangement is in the child’s best interests. This includes considering which parent is more likely to facilitate meaningful relationships between siblings and extended family members and evaluating safety concerns like abuse or neglect from either party.

In cases where one parent has primary physical custody, judges may order reasonable visitation rights for the noncustodial parent if it’s determined that it would benefit the child’s wellbeing.

Modifying Custody Orders in South Carolina

Modifying or terminating custody orders in South Carolina can be a complicated process. Typically, the court only looks to do this if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order was issued. The parent requesting the modification must prove that it’s in the best interests of any minor children affected by the order and demonstrate why changes are necessary.

For instance, if one parent moves away from South Carolina, they may be able to petition for an out-of-state relocation with their child. Additionally, if either party experiences a significant financial setback or needs to relocate due to job opportunities, those can also be reasons for modifying child custody arrangements.

It’s important for parents who want to pursue modifications to understand how the courts view these requests and what type of evidence they need to present when filing paperwork. With this understanding, parents will have a much better chance of obtaining favorable outcomes from their petitions.

Under some emergency circumstances, such as cases involving domestic violence and abuse, courts may decide that certain types of custodial agreements no longer serve the child’s best interests. In these situations, the courts may grant custody to someone else to remove the child from immediate danger. However, the courts will not terminate a custody order without issuing a new one.

Enforcement of Custody Orders in South Carolina

When enforcing a custody order, it’s essential to act quickly to keep your rights intact. This means following all aspects of the court order, such as visitation schedules, financial support payments, and any other provisions laid out by the judge.

If one party fails to comply with these orders, legal mechanisms are available to ensure compliance or modify existing arrangements. The parent who is not abiding by the court’s decision may face penalties, including fines or jail time, depending on the severity of the violation. Additionally, they may have limited access to their child until full adherence has been established.

It is possible for parties involved in a child custody dispute to come up with alternative solutions without involving law enforcement; however, it’s always best practice to consult an attorney when deciding how to resolve issues related to enforcing parenting agreements in South Carolina.

Contact Steele Family Law Today

South Carolina child custody laws can be complex and difficult to understand. Each case is unique, and the outcome will depend on several factors. Parents must be aware of their rights under the law so they know what to expect if they ever face a custody dispute.

If you’re facing a child custody issue in South Carolina, you must seek experienced legal advice from an attorney who has knowledge of family law. They’ll help ensure your rights are protected throughout the process and work towards achieving a favorable outcome for you and your family.

If you’d like to talk to a reliable child custody lawyer, contact Steele Family Law today. Call now to schedule a consultation.

Author Bio

Greg Steele is CEO and Managing Partner of Steele Family Law, a South Carolina estate planning and family law firm. With years of experience in practicing law, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including divorce, child custody and support, estate planning, probate, and other legal cases.

Greg received his Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia and is a member of the South Carolina Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among Anderson’s Top 20 Under 40 in 2022.

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