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  1. This site applies to the state of South Carolina law only.​

  2. This site is not and should not be considered a comprehensive explanation of any area of law  and should not be relied upon as such.

  3. The information on this site is not legal advice because we do not know the facts of your case. If you need or are seeking legal advice, you should meet with a qualified attorney. Only your attorney can give you legal advice.

  4. Reading this website or sending documents to our Firm does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Frequently Asked Questions


“What are the different types of legal and physical custody arrangements recognized in South Carolina?”


There are many custody arrangements that can be made by agreement or ordered by the Courts in South Carolina and the meaning of each are often misunderstood.


  • Legal custody primarily defines the decision-making authority of the parents. 


  • Joint Legal Custody

    • If both parents are involved in the child’s life and generally agree on important child rearing decisions concerning such matters as education, health care , extra-curricular activities, religious upbringing, etc., a joint legal custody arrangement will work well.  The parent who has  physical or residential custody of the child is usually named as primary custodian and that parent will be charged with making the final decision on such matters should the parents be unable to agree.


  • Sole Custody

    • On the other hand, if one or the other parent is not involved in the child’s life or the parents are generally at odds on important decisions or even simple decisions on what is best for their child, a co-parenting arrangement like joint legal custody may not be in the child’s best interest and one or the other parent will generally be awarded sole custody in order to prevent on-going battles which almost always negatively impact the child.


  • Physical Custody

    • With regard to physical custody, it is generally recognized that a child benefits by having regular contact with both parents, so under either a sole or joint custody arrangement the non-residential custodial parent will be awarded reasonable or liberal visitation or parenting time on a schedule agreed upon by the parents or on a schedule found by the court to be in the child’s best interests.  The parents can agree or the court may order a joint and shared custody arrangement wherein the parents may share physical custody on an approximately equal bases.


In any custody arrangement agreed upon or awarded by the Court, the parents may agree or the court may order certain conditions and restrictions on the conduct of the parents toward or in the presence of the child.


“Under what circumstances will the Court order that visitation be supervised?”


If the non-custodial parent has a psychological condition, a drug or alcohol habit, or there exists other factors that convince the Court that the health or safety of the child will be at risk without supervision, supervised visitation may be ordered.  


“Can a grandparent or other relative win custody of children from a parent?”


Yes. A non-parent can obtain custody either by agreement of the parents or if the Court finds the parents “unfit.” Unfortunately, due to the prevalence of drug dependency and abuse in society today, grandparent and even great-grand parent custody actions are becoming increasingly more  common.


“What percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income will be paid in child support?”


In South Carolina there is no way to calculate child support by merely using a percentage of income. Child support is determined by the S.C. Child Support Guidelines published by the S.C. Department of Social Services.           


“The custodial parent is using or will use the child support I am ordered to pay for a new car, vacation, or partying lifestyle. What can I do about that?”


The custodial parent does not have to account for the child support received if that parent is properly providing for the child. If the parent is not providing for the child’s needs the solution is to seek custody, not withhold child support.


"The custodial parent is not allowing me to see my child. Do I still have to pay support? Can I withhold the support until I am allowed visitation?"


No. There is no connection under the law between child support and visitation. If there is no court-ordered visitation you may apply to the court for court-ordered visitation or bring an action to enforce a prior visitation Order. If child support is not being paid, court-ordered visitation cannot be withheld. In the event you are not receiving visitation or child support as ordered, your sole remedy is to apply to the Court for relief.



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