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Can South Carolina parents move with their kids after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | Family Law

While the decision to divorce can feel like a cataclysmic and shocking decision, months of living in limbo typically follow. Some divorcing spouses continue cohabitating in the early stages of the process.

Generally speaking, spouses mid-divorce need to maintain the status quo to keep things stable for their children and to remain within the same jurisdiction to obtain a divorce. After months or more than a year of feeling not married but not free to change one’s life, those who have finalized their divorces may again start making big plans. They may start new relationships, buy a new house or seek out a better job. Any of those endeavors might lead to a relocation.

Can the parent who has more parenting time with the children move away with them after a South Carolina divorce?

The courts approve most relocation requests

The custodial parent in South Carolina is the adult who has more time with the children and more responsibility over their daily lives. If the custodial parent decides to move to be closer to family or obtain a better personal situation, the courts typically do not prevent them from doing so.

The parent suggesting the move typically needs to notify the other parent and the courts. If the other parent approves of the suggestion, then the relocation can move forward with few complications. If they would prefer to stop the relocation because it may impact their parental rights, then the matter may require a hearing in family court.

The parent seeking to prevent the move needs to convince the courts that the move is not in the children’s best interests, comes from vindictiveness or may harm the relationship they have with the children.  A judge would review the situation to determine if it meets a very specific standard. The family courts can prevent a relocation in certain unusual situations. Otherwise, the judge might modify the parenting arrangements to give the non-custodial parent more time with the children during school breaks as a reflection of their reduced access because of the move.

Those proposing a move and those worried about losing time with their children often benefit from learning more about how South Carolina handles complex parenting matters.