What is the standard visitation schedule in Edgefield County, SC?
South Carolina Child Custody Laws
South Carolina no longer adheres to the “Tender Years Doctrine” which gave primary custody of a child to the mother following a separation or divorce. In recent years the state has recognized that children generally benefit from participation from both parents. This is great news for fathers who for years had to fight against custody agreements which generally favored mothers. Recently on our legal forum we had a user ask, “What is the standard child custody arrangement in South Carolina?”
If you and your partner have a decent relationship you may be able to negotiate a custody agreement together without involving the courts. If you cannot agree the court will get involved and a judge will make the child custody arrangement for you.
Child Custody arrangements vary
There is no standard custody arrangement in South Carolina, although the courts will try to make an arrangement which is in the best interest of the child. This means they will analyze a variety of factors to determine where the child should live, how much they should see each parent, who will make legal decisions for them and where they will go to school.
The courts will not give preference to one parent, neither parent will have the automatic right to custody of the child, and parents do not have to prove the other parent is unfit in order to win custody. As mentioned above, the judges want the child to have regular contact with both parents and give each parent the greatest chance to prove they care about them.
When will the judge restrict a parent’s right to reasonable visitation? Only if the judge determines the child would be injured mentally, morally, emotionally or physically if they have contact with one parent.
Factors considered by a South Carolina Court
As mentioned above, prior to determining child custody in South Carolina a judge will review several factors including:
- The child’s preference with consideration for the child's age, experience, maturity, judgment, and ability to express a preference
- Whether there has been domestic violence, including physical or sexual abuse |
- Who the child has been living with
- Who has been providing financial support
After considerations have been reviewed the court may decide to award joint physical and legal custody, which allows both parents equal rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child, including the child's education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities, and religious. They also may give one person sole physical custody but joint legal custody. Or they may give one parent both sole physical and legal custody.
As mentioned above, the overwhelming consideration is what they determine to be in the best interest of the child.
There is no “standard” child custody or visitation arrangements. The court will try to include both parents as much as possible unless they determine one parent is a danger to the child.
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