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What Rules Determine Child Custody in South Carolina?

— August 30, 2022

In custody hearings in South Carolina, there is a guardian ad litem appointed to advocate for the child in the early stages.

Charleston, SCChild custody is often determined by a number of factors that analyze the character of both parents and their practical ability to raise a child safely. South Carolina uses the same standard as most other states. This is called the best interests of the child, and these rules essentially allow the judge to make important decisions about the best environment for the child to grow up in, and which parent can best meet these needs. However, there are some nuances of South Carolina custody law that makes the application of these rules different from other states. 

The primary caretaker

The state follows a rule where custody is presumed to be given to the primary caretaker. In many cases, the primary caretaker will have a majority of custody time, while the other parent will have some visitation rights or custody time with the child. The court determines who is given the title of primary caretaker based on the amount of investment by a parent and prior relationship with the child. Other factors that may be used to find the primary caretaker include the parent’s morality, investment in the child’s education, and their physical and mental fitness to be an effective parent.  

Guardian ad litem

In custody hearings in South Carolina, there is a guardian ad litem appointed to advocate for the child in the early stages. This is a neutral party who can objectively look at the child’s living situation, the character of the parents, and any other relevant information to find the child’s best interests. The guardian will make a recommendation regarding which parent should become the primary caretaker. 

Protection of minor children

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Courts also want to protect children from violence and various other forms of neglect and abuse. If one or both parents have issues with domestic violence, crime, or acts that harm children, it may be difficult for them to have custody rights. Unfortunately, finding out bad things about each parent can become a significant and time consuming part of a custody hearing due to the fact that portraying the other parent negatively can be an effective way to gain custody rights. 

Restrictions on parents

It is also possible that a parent who has been awarded custody will be limited or prohibited from engaging in certain behaviors. This is normally related to smoking and the use of drugs or alcohol, but judges can put any kind of acts of behavior that they consider to be harmful in these orders. 

More information from a custody lawyer in South Carolina is a website that helps people find lawyers in their city. Anyone who needs help with child custody issues in Charleston can choose their location and a relevant practice area to meet with a local attorney. 

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