South Carolina Child Custody
When the parents of minor children split up, they have to come to an agreement on child custody, visitation and child support. In some instances, parents may make these decisions without the help of child custody attorneys or South Carolina courts. But lawyers and the judicial system can help ensure that each parent is treated fairly and that agreements are enforced.
Before a South Carolina Family Court will rule on issues of child custody, visitation and child support, it may first be necessary to establish legal parentage. This is necessary when a child is born to unmarried parents.
In South Carolina, there are several ways to establish paternity of a child:
- Both parents sign a voluntary paternity acknowledgement at the hospital after a child is born, at the State Office of Vital Records, or at the Vital Records Office of the local County Health Department
- DNA testing
- Court or administrative order
South Carolina child custody law recognizes two types of custody: Legal custody and physical custody.
Physical custody determines with which parent a child primarily lives. Legal custody determines which parent has the right and responsibilities to make major life decisions on a child's behalf. In each case, one parent may have sole custody or both parents may share joint custody. If one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent will typically have visitation rights.
If parents cannot reach a custody agreement, then the judge will make a custody decision based on the best interests of the child. The judge will also make visitation decisions if the parents cannot agree to a visitation schedule themselves.
Both parents are bound by the court's custody order once it has been signed by the judge and filed with the court clerk.
Child support in South Carolina is calculated based on both parents' monthly gross income and the number of children each parent supports.
A judge can adjust the child support amount if there are certain extenuating circumstances that make the calculated support amount unjust or inappropriate. These factors would include:
- Educational expenses for either parent or child
- Substantial debt
- More than six children
- Significant unreimbursed medical expenses for either parent or child
- The child has significant income
- Either parent is required to make mandatory retirement contributions
- Other agreements between both parents
South Carolina child support rules also say that either parent can request that the child support be adjusted if there is a change in circumstances. These would include:
- A significant change in one parent's income
- A change in the child's financial needs (such as extraordinary medical or educational expenses)
Find & Hire Local South Carolina Child Custody Attorneys
A child custody lawyer can help ensure that you understand your responsibilities as a parent and that your rights are protected. Since child custody and child support agreements can have long-lasting effects on both parents and children, it helps to have a lawyer's guidance. For assistance locating child custody lawyers in your area, call Attorneys.com at 877-913-7222 or complete the form on this page.