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Child Custody in South Carolina

Familiarize Yourself with South Carolina Child Custody Laws


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South Carolina uses several factors to determine child custody. Parents who wish to file for child custody in South Carolina should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.

Related: Help our readers by sharing your experience with child custody in South Carolina.

Best Interests of the Child

A South Carolina family court will determine custody based on the best interests of the child. The following factors determine a child's best interests in South Carolina:

  • The child's preference, taking into consideration the child's age, experiences, maturity, judgment, and ability to express a preference (generally age 12 or older)
  • Evidence of physical or sexual abuse
  • Evidence of domestic violence

Domestic Violence and Child Custody in South Carolina

A court in South Carolina will award custody or visitation to a parent accused of domestic violence if the court finds that the child and the victim of domestic violence will be safe from harm. To protect a child and the victim, a court in South Carolina may:

  • Order supervised visitation
  • Order a parent accused of domestic violence to participate in an counseling program as a condition of visitation
  • Prohibit overnight visitation
  • Require a bond from a person for a person accused of domestic violence, to guarantee the safe return of the child
  • Order a person accused of domestic violence to refrain from drinking or consuming drugs

De Facto Custodian in South Carolina

In South Carolina, a court will determine whether a person may be considered a de facto custodian of a child. A de facto custodian is a person who has primarily cared for the child and has provided financial support. The custodian must also:

  • Reside with the child for at least 6 months, if the child is under age three, or
  • Reside with the child for at least 1 year if the child is older than age three

A parent who is seeking to regain child custody in South Carolina will be included in the custody proceedings and it will be determined whether the child has lived with the de facto custodian for at least 6 or 12 months. A South Carolina court may grant temporary or permanent custody to a de facto custodian.

For more information about child custody in South Carolina, speak with a qualified attorney in South Carolina or refer to the Code of Laws of South Carolina.

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