The Basics of Child Custody
The parent with “custody” is the parent who has the most control over the child or children, including where they will live, what they will do daily, where they will attend school, what their religious upbringing will be, when they will visit the doctor, etc. However, under the South Carolina divorce law, neither parent has an automatic right to custody of the child(ren).
In the past, the mother was typically chosen to have full custody of the children; however, today the court will award custody to whichever parent is the most fit to care for the children and their needs. Parents also do not need to prove the other parent unfit to care for the children in order to win the case.
In most cases, the non-custodial parent will still have visitation rights to the children, unless they pose a safety risk to the children. Both parents are meant to have a role in the children’s life, unless the judge feels that one parent may be bad for the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.
South Carolina Child Support
After a divorce, South Carolina law holds both parents financially responsible for the care of their child or children. Child support is calculated
based on specific guidelines. When deciding how much and if to award child support, the court will consider both parents’ gross income, child care costs, medical insurance costs, and much more.
The court may ensure that payments are made by ordering the parent to submit payments (along with a collection fee) to the court clerk. A parent may also ask his or her employer whether they offer an automatic payroll deduction for child support payments. Many employers do this.
One important thing to remember about child support and custody is that the original agreement set forth by the court is not set in stone. If the parents’ or children’s circumstances greatly change, the order(s) may be revisited and adjusted at a later date.