Custody: Joint v. Sole
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
In South Carolina, the term "Joint custody" means both parents have equal rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child, including the child's education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities, and religious training. However, a judge may designate one parent to have sole authority to make specific, identified decisions while both parents retain equal rights and responsibilities for all other decisions. Section 63-15-210, SC Code of Laws. Therefore, it is very important that your court order designate which parent will be responsible for the major decisions of the child in order to avoid any problems later.
In South Carolina, the term "Sole custody" means a person, including, but not limited to, a parent who has temporary or permanent custody of a child and, unless otherwise provided for by court order, the rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child, including the child's education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities, and religious training. Section 63-15-210, SC Code of Laws.
How does a Judge determine custody?
There has been a long misunderstanding that a family court judge cans only order joint custody if the parties agree to it. However, a family court judge in South Carolina can order joint custody whether or not the parties agree for there to be joint custody, provided the judge finds that the joint custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child(ren). If a court orders joint custody, the order must include how consultations and communications between the parents will take place, generally and specifically, with regard to major decisions concerning the child's health, medical and dental care, education, extracurricular activities, and religious training. S.C. Code of Laws, Sec. 63-15-240. Of course, every case has different facts which will affect how a judge will decide a case. The best course to take is to schedule an appointment with an attorney to discuss all of your facts, so you will have a better understanding of what to expect in court. Contact the Women's Law Center today to schedule a consultation (864).707.1111