Sometimes parents in South Carolina going through a divorce can make child custody and visitation decisions on their own through out-of-court negotiations. However, other times a settlement cannot be reached, and they must turn to the court to make child custody and visitation decisions. Courts use the basis of the “best interests of the child” when issuing a child custody order.
The parties’ wishes, abilities and health
There are a number of factors courts may consider under South Carolina law when determining the best interests of the child. For example, they may consider the child’s temperament and developmental needs. They may also consider each parent’s ability and willingness to understand and meet the child’s needs. The child’s wishes may be considered, as may the wishes of the parents. The mental and physical health of both parents and the child may also be considered.
The parents’ relationship with the child
The child’s past and current relationship with each parent as well as the child’s relationship with siblings and other persons such as grandparents may be considered. Each parent’s ability to be actively involved in the child’s life may be considered, as may the child’s adjustment to their home, school and community. The stability of the child’s current and proposed home may also be considered, as may whether one parent has relocated more than 100 miles from the child’s home in the past year. The child’s cultural and religious background may also be considered. Each parent’s ability and willingness to encourage the child to have a relationship with the other parent may be considered.
Instances of manipulation, neglect and abuse
Whether either parent has manipulated or coerced the child in a dispute between the parents may be considered. Whether one parent has disparaged their ex in the child’s presence may be considered. Instances of child abuse or domestic violence may also be considered. Finally, courts will consider any other necessary factors.
Seek help with child custody issues
Ultimately, this post is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice, nor can it promise any specific outcome in a child custody case. Those in South Carolina who want more information on the “best interests of the child” factors may want to consult with an attorney before moving forward.