SC Child Custody and Visitation Lawyers in Myrtle Beach
The most difficult and emotionally explosive aspect of divorce proceedings is often child custody and visitation.
Most parents will agree that one of their primary concerns during a divorce is to minimize any collateral damage to their children’s mental and emotional health. Although most parents will agree that a child’s safety and well-being are paramount, they may not agree on what that means…
Your SC divorce lawyer will help you to determine which custody and visitation arrangements will meet your goals, what the Court will ultimately say is in the child’s best interest, and what evidence you will need to gather to make your case to the family court in a contested case.
Child Custody Lawyers in SC
Like many other states, South Carolina uses the “best interest of the child” standard in determining child custody. Although the list is not exclusive, the factors the courts use to decide child custody may include:
- The overall circumstances of each parent (i.e. living situation, employment, etc.);
- The spiritual/emotional upbringing of the child;
- The child’s preference (depending on the age of the child);
- The child’s physical and emotional welfare with each parent; and
- Anything relevant to the primary caretaker.
The authority over the child’s medical, educational, and other life-decisions is almost always shared equally by both parents. Absent extraordinary circumstances, most parents will also share legal custody and participate in important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.
Physical custody, however, can be allocated in different ways depending on the circumstances. Physical custody may be primarily with one parent or the other, or may be divided between the parents depending on what is best for the child.
Once a custody arrangement has been ordered by the Court, both parents must comply with the order – however, if there are changes in circumstances, one or both parents can return to court and custody can be modified.
Child Visitation in SC
Although child custody is usually placed primarily with one parent or the other, there must be rules as to how and when visitation occurs with the non-custodial parent.
Visitation rights can and should be agreed upon between the parties; however, when an agreement cannot be reached, the Court will determine how and when visitation will occur.
If either parent is not complying with the court’s order, a parent may return to court and ask the court to enforce their visitation rights. Also, if there is a significant change in circumstances, either parent can request that the Court modify the visitation rights.
Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in SC
Grandparents don’t have much legal recourse when it comes to enforcing visitation rights with their grandchildren in SC.
However, under very limited circumstances, South Carolina law allows for enforcement of grandparent’s visitation rights, under S.C. Code Section 63-3-530 (33), when:
- The child’s parents or guardians are unreasonably depriving the grandparent of the opportunity to visit with the child, including denying visitation of the minor child to the grandparent for a period exceeding ninety days; and
- The grandparent maintained a relationship similar to a parent-child relationship with the minor child; and
- Awarding grandparent visitation would not interfere with the parent-child relationship; and:
- the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child’s parents or guardians are unfit; or
- the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that there are compelling circumstances to overcome the presumption that the parental decision is in the child’s best interest.
If you are a grandparent in SC who is being denied visitation rights with your grandchild, and your situation fits the above requirements, call your domestic law attorney at Axelrod and Associates to find out what your options are and how we can help.
If you need help getting custody of your children or visitation with your children, modifying or enforcing a family court order, or if you are a grandparent who is being denied visitation with your grandchildren, call your family law attorney at Axelrod and Associates today at 843-353-3449 or complete our contact form to set up an initial consultation.