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South Carolina Child Custody Laws

Parents must come to an agreement on child custody when they separate. These arrangements include how they will make major decisions regarding their child moving forward (referred to as "legal custody") and how they will share time with the child (referred to as "parenting time," "timesharing," or "physical custody," depending on the state). If parents are unable to come to an agreement, courts will decide the best course of action based on state child custody laws. All states, except Massachusetts, adhere to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which clarifies which state has jurisdiction regarding custody and parenting time matters.

This article provides a general overview of child custody laws in the state of South Carolina.

South Carolina Child Custody Laws: At a Glance

You can find additional details about South Carolina child custody laws in the chart below. See FindLaw's extensive Child Custody section for more articles and resources.

Code Section South Carolina Code Title 63: Children's Code, Chapter 15: Child Custody & Visitation
Year Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Adopted 2008
Joint Custody Yes, under § 63-15-210, joint custody is allowed in the state of South Carolina
Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized? Yes, grandparents can have visitation rights in South Carolina
Child's Wishes Considered? Yes, under § 63-15-240(B)(4), the court does consider the child's preferences

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

The Best Interests of the Child

When a couple splits up, the responsibility to care for any child of both parties is usually shared between them. In South Carolina, the judge decides child custody matters based on the "best interests of the child." This is the most common standard for determining child custody. The factors the judge must consider include:

  • The needs and preferences of the child
  • The child's adjustment to their home, school, or community and the stability at existing or proposed residences, including if a parent moved more than 100 miles from the child's primary residence (unless relocated for safety reasons)
  • The parent's ability to understand and meet those needs and be actively involved in the child's life
  • The parents' desire to have custody
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • Past and current relationship of the child with each parent, sibling, grandparent, etc. who could significantly affect the best interests of the child
  • How each parent has encouraged a continuing parent-child relationship with the other parent
  • Manipulative or coercive behavior by a parent to involve a child in the parents' dispute or disparaging the other parent in front of the child
  • Whether a child or sibling of a child has been abused or neglected by one or both of the parents
  • Whether a parent has abused the other parent or another person and the effect of the domestic violence on the child
  • Other factors the court considers necessary

Research the Law

South Carolina Child Custody Laws: Related Resources

Get Legal Help with Child Custody Today

If you and your child's other parent are separating, you might not agree on who gets custody of your child or what the custody arrangement should look like. There are many other factors to consider in these determinations, but the court's primary concern will be the child's own best interests.

One of the best ways to get a handle on the process is to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney.

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  • Custody & child visitation cases are emotional, and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
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