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What Are The Types of Child Custody Arrangements in South Carolina?

Essentially, there are two types of child custody in South Carolina – sole and joint: Sole Custody – 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 – Joint custody means both parents have equal rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child. South Carolina law 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.

What Does the Family Court Consider When Awarding Custody in South Carolina? 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;
  • 17. Other factors as the court considers necessary Regarding “other factors,” the court may consider the opinions of others such as social service agencies, doctors and other medical providers, psychologists, and psychiatrists to name a few.

Child Support Laws in South Carolina

Find out how child support is calculated in South Carolina, and how those payments can be modified. <br>Both Parents Contribute to Child Support In South Carolina, either parent may request child support, but both must contribute to the child's well-being. A court could order one or both parents – or in cases where both parents are under 18, then the grandparents – to make payments. Generally, however, the non-custodial parent actually pays support. The non-custodial parent is the one who spends less than half time with the child (or children). The custodial parent, who has the most time with the child, remains responsible for child support too, but the law assumes that this parent spends the required amount directly on the child.

You can estimate your fair share of support by using the South Carolina’s Child Support Guidelines. In most circumstances, the amount of a child support payment depends on the number of children and the income of both parents. In addition, parents must cover the cost of the child’s medical care, childcare, and other expenses, like those required for the child’s education. The way the parents split their parenting time (custody) also impacts how payments are divided between them.

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