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How do South Carolina courts determine child custody?

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2019 | Custody |

You value the time you spend with your children. But when you go through a divorce, you and your former spouse may disagree on how to split custody. If you can’t agree on an arrangement, a South Carolina judge will rule on the custody of your children.

The court system will make an arrangement that is in the best interest of your children. The court looks past the disagreements you and your spouse have and focuses on what your children need.

The best interests of the children

When deciding on what is best, a judge looks at multiple factors, including:

  • The children’s preference
  • The children’s needs and each parent’s ability to meet those needs
  • The familial relationships that the children have developed, including siblings and grandparents
  • How much each parent stands in the way of the other parent’s relationship with the children
  • How much attachment the child has to a home or community
  • The stability of each parent’s home
  • Any abuse from the parent

These factors and more help the court rule on the custody arrangement.

The judge will consider your preferences as well

When you and your spouse go for a custody hearing, you will each get to submit your custody preferences to the judge in a parenting plan. This plan will include how much time you think each parent should have with the children. You also include any major decisions, like schooling, religious involvement, medical care and more. The judge will consider both plans before making a final ruling.

Deciding between full or joint custody

The final ruling can give either you or your spouse full custody of the children. Or the judge can split custody between the two of you. And depending on the situation, the judge may grant one of you more power to make decisions about the children than the other parent, even if you have joint custody.

If you don’t receive either full or joint custody, the court may still grant you visitation rights for your children.

The court bases the final ruling on the best interests of the children. But the judge will examine multiple factors when deciding what is best.