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Child Custody Laws in South Carolina ▪ Charleston Custody Attorneys


Charleston Custody Lawyers - Charleston Custody Attorneys

Child Custody Laws in South Carolina ▪ Charleston Custody Attorneys

Child Custody Lawyers in Charleston

As child custody attorneys in Charleston, SC, we’re often asked about the types of custody arrangements between parents. In this article, we explain the differences between sole custody and joint custody and the factors the family court considers in deciding which type to use.

Sole Custody in South Carolina

Sole custody, which was favored under prior South Carolina case law, is when a parent “has temporary or permanent custody of a child and . . . the rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child, including . . . education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities, and religious training.” Joint custody “means both parents have equal rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child.”]

Joint Custody

Until recently, South Carolina’s family courts have held that “[a]bsent exceptional circumstances, the law regards joint custody as typically harmful to the children and not in their best interests.” This view has been changed by recent amendments to South Carolina’s Children’s Code. Section 63-15-230 now requires that the family court “consider all custody options, including, but not limited to, joint custody” in contested custody cases or if either parent requests joint custody. In the court’s final order concerning custody,the court must explain its reason for awarding, or not awarding, joint custody. In its reasoning, the court may consider the following factors:

      (1) the temperament and developmental needs of the child;
      (2) the capacity and the disposition of the parents to understand and meet the needs of the child;
      (3) the preferences of each child;
      (4) the wishes of the parents as to custody;
      (5) the past and current interaction and relationship of the child with each parent, the child’s siblings, and any other person, including a grandparent, who may significantly affect the best interest of the child;
      (6) the actions of each parent to encourage the continuing parent child relationship between the child and the other parent, as is appropriate, including compliance with court orders;
      (7) the manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parents’ dispute;
      (8) any effort by one parent to disparage the other parent in front of the child;
      (9) the ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child;
      (10) the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community environments;
      (11) the stability of the child’s existing and proposed residences;
      (12) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability of a proposed custodial parent or other party, in and of itself, must not be determinative of custody unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interest of the child;
      (13) the child’s cultural and spiritual background;
      (14) whether the child or a sibling of the child has been abused or neglected;
      (15) whether one parent has perpetrated domestic violence or child abuse or the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser if any domestic violence has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual or between the parent and the child;
      (16) whether one parent has relocated more than one hundred miles from the child’s primary residence in the past year, unless the parent relocated for safety reasons; and
      (17) other factors as the court considers necessary

Ultimately, the court’s determination concerning custody is still governed by what the family court concludes is in the “best interest of the child.”

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Charleston Child Custody Lawyers

If you need a child custody attorney in Charleston, SC, contact Futeral & Nelson, LLC. Our child custody lawyers help people in Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, Hanahan, Moncks Corner, James Island, West Ashley, Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Awendaw, McClellanville and the surrounding areas. For more information, please visit our Family Law Services Page.


If you need a child custody in Charleston, SC, call Futeral & Nelson today. 843-284-5500.



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