How to File for Child Custody in South Carolina

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The South Carolina court system has jurisdiction over divorce proceedings and decides who will have custody of child. If parents cannot decide custody arrangement on their own, the courts will decide who is best fit to care for the child. South Carolina requests you retain a lawyer. The paperwork can be very detailed and require the expertise of someone familiar with the forms and the court system.

Hire a family law attorney in South Carolina to represent you. In South Carolina, you must have legal representation. The attorney should have a good track record of winning custody cases. South Carolina courts will review different variables before placing the child in custody. The courts consider any domestic violence reports, drug abuse, living conditions and financial stability to name a few aspects.

Attempt to obtain custody with the agreement of the opposing parent or guardian. Meet with the respondent in the presence of an attorney to come up with a plan that is best for all. Attorneys witness and document all agreements. In South Carolina, the court will act in the best interest of the child. The court will want the parents to come up with a parent plan before it is forced to decide for you. A parent plan details items like visits, vacations, child support, and holiday arrangements for the child.

Complete the necessary paper work through your attorney to submit to the South Carolina judicial system. There are two basic forms, sole custody and joint custody. Sole custody is one parent or guardian that has legal and physical custody. Joint custody means you share legal and physical custody of the child. The court filing fee is $150 (as of September, 2010).

Provide a set of custody forms to the respondent. In South Carolina, they will serve the respondent for you by an agent appointed by the court. The respondent will be given a reasonable amount of time to respond to your petition. If they do not respond, the court can either reschedule the court date or grant your petition of custody. If the person does respond you will both be contacted to appear before family court to state your cases for custody.