There are three types of child custody in South Carolina: Sole, Joint, and Divided. The courts tend to favor one over the others. This blog will explain the types and what you should expect when seeking custody in South Carolina.
“Sole” custody is the most common custody arrangement. One parent (the custodial parent) is granted physical custody of the child, and the other parent (the noncustodial parent) has visitation with the child, usually on various holidays, select weeks during the summer, when school is not in session, and alternating weekends.
“Joint” custody is the sharing of the child’s home care. It typically provides both parents with more time than the typical visitation schedule awarded to the noncustodial parent in sole custody arrangements. Joint custody is often referred to as “co-parenting” due to the often, yet not necessarily, 50/50 responsibility split between the parents.
“Divided” or “split” custody is a variation of sole custody that occurs when there is more than one child and sole custody of one or more children is awarded to one parent and sole custody of the remaining child or children is awarded to the other parent.
Both joint custody and divided custody arrangements are generally disfavored by South Carolina judges. Why?
What to Expect in Court
For one, cooperation between parents is necessary for a successful joint custody arrangement, however, many divorced parents do not get along well enough to make joint physical custody a reasonable solution. In addition, joint custody arrangements can sometimes be disruptive to the stability of the children’s lives. Nonetheless, if joint physical custody is awarded, it cannot consist of brief alternating periods of day-to-day or even week-to-week, due to the strain such frequent custody changes put on a child’s environmental stability.
Divided custody is disfavored because it separates siblings by giving each parent physical custody of at least one child. It is only granted in extreme circumstances, such as if one parent is incapable of caring for all or children or a high degree of hostility between the children. Forced separation from loved ones can have a traumatic impact on children whose lives are already upset by the divorce experience.
However, when it is requested by both parents and the family court is convinced that the parents are capable of cooperating sufficiently to make it work, South Carolina family court judges will award a joint custody arrangement. On the other hand, if one parent would rather have sole custody and the other parent would prefer joint custody, the family court judge may still grant joint physical custody when they believe, due to exceptional circumstances, it would be better for children than awarding sole custody to one parent.
How King Law Can Help You
If you are involved in a child custody matter and need representation or simply have general questions, call King Law today. Most of our team members are parents and we understand what you are going through. You don’t have to navigate this journey in the dark or alone. Call 888-748-5464 (KING) or complete a consultation request form on our website. For more information on child custody, visit our child custody blog section or family law page.
Below is a list of blogs that can provide you with more information on Custody in South Carolina:
- Procedure in South Carolina Family Court
- Child Abandonment in South Carolina
- South Carolina Custody Law for Unmarried Parents