I’m not the biological parent, but I’ve been present for the entirety of the child’s life.

The family dynamic is ever changing these days, and there is no such thing as the status quo anymore. It is becoming increasingly frequent that we see blended families come together, shifting roles as caregivers, with grandparents, aunts and uncles, or even siblings helping to raise children. This has truly brought to fruition the idiom, ‘it takes a village.” Often times, there are minor children involved when two previously separate families join each other to become one. Alternatively, when other parties begin to care for and rear the child of another, it is usually the result of some difficult familial circumstance.  As time passes you come to see these children as your own, and they view you as parental figure in their lives. Things rarely remain the same, however, and there may come a point where you are no longer able to be present in the child’s life. Be it through divorce, change in custody, or the child’s biological parents returning to the picture, all of this can lead to a removal of a child you’ve established a bond with leaving your life.

While, you may understand that it wasn’t exactly a permanent thing it does not make the loss any easier, and if possible you would like to still be in the child’s life. So, what are your options? In South Carolina, there is something called a “psychological parent.” What is a psychological parent, and what rights are they entitled to?

The Supreme Court of South Carolina has adopted a four prong test, which was established by the Wisconsin Court of appeals, for determining an individual’s status as a psychological parent. In evaluating the status of a person as a psychological parent court looks to:

(1) that the biological parents consented to, and fostered the formation of that parent like relationship;

(2) that you and the child lived together in the same house hold;

(3) that the you assumed the obligations of a parent, in the form of childcare, education and development all of which without expecting to be compensated for it; and

(4) that you have been in that parental role long enough to have created a bond with that child.

Establishing that you’re the psychological parent of a child is no easy task, and doing that does not necessarily guarantee that you have rights in regards to the child. However, one of our attorney’s would be able to help you better understand what your rights would be. By sitting down and speaking with one of our attorney’s we can help you work to keep that relationship open. We invite you to come in and talk with one of our attorneys in person. We have offices in South Carolina and North Carolina. Call in today to schedule a free consultation. Our number is 888-748-KING (5464).