Parental Visitation

In a South Carolina child custody case, visitation concerns the rights of the parent who doesn’t have custody to see their child, or, in a situation where temporary custody has been given to an otherwise non-custodial parent and/or relative.

Generally, the family law courts in South Carolina will assume that it’s in the best interest of your child to have visitation with the other parent, or shared custody. The courts have a lot of flexibility in its handling of child visitation cases and looks at each case of visitation individually to insure the best interests of your child are being met.

How Visitation Rights in South Carolina are Granted

The law in South Carolina says that a biological parent of a minor child can request visitation as part of a divorce, parentage or custody case, or can file a petition for visitation.  In addition, a family court may grant visitation rights to a grandparent if you or the other parent have passed away, divorced, separated, or it’s in the best interest of your child.

Grandparent Visitation Rights in South Carolina

Family sitting with their child

In South Carolina, there are special state statutes that deal with the rights of grandparents to be granted visitation with their grandchild. However, the law doesn’t give general visitation rights for you to see your grandchild, but under certain parental situations, visitation rights for you as a grandparent may be granted.

  1. If the parents of your grandchild are preventing you from visiting your grandchild without good reason
  2. If your visiting the grandchild doesn’t interfere in any way with the parent-child relationship
  3. The parents of your grandchild are unfit
  4. There are special circumstances that may overcome the parent’s decision to prevent you from seeing your grandchild.

If you’re a relative of the child and want visitation rights, the same criteria as stated above will apply. The experienced family attorneys at Thomason & Pracht, LLC. recommend that you seek out a qualified family law attorney to assist you in your attempt to be granted grandparent’s visitation rights.

Unmarried Parents Visitation Rights in South Carolina

In South Carolina, if you and the mother of your child were never married, before you can pursue visitation rights with your child you must first prove legal paternity.

In many cases, the Department of Social Services (DSS) can assist you in establishing legal paternity by having a Department of Social Services administration hearing.  However, it may be necessary for you to take a paternity test to prove you are the father of your child.

In addition, while the Department of Social Services can help you prove legal paternity and obtain a child support order, the DSS doesn’t receive any Federal funding to help you obtain visitation rights. In order to obtain visitation rights with your child, you or your attorney will need to file the necessary paperwork with the court in the county that your child lives in.

“Parenting Time” Guidelines

In South Carolina, there are “parenting time” guidelines that can assist you in figuring out a schedule for visitation with your child. You need to think about the age of your child, the needs of your child, and your work hours in order to come up with a practical schedule for visitation.

Whatever schedule you may deem practical has to be in the best interest of the child.  For example, your visitation time with your child as a baby will be different than if you have a child that is in school.  You should also take into account any extracurricular activities your child participates in.

Final Visitation Order

A Final Visitation Order in South Carolina should clearly specify the visitation schedule. If the schedule is not clear, the court will not be able to enforce the schedule if it’s too vague.

In South Carolina, whether you have a visitation order due to a divorce, or if you’re an unwed parent, the courts view child support and child visitation as two separate issues.

If A Parent is Denied Visitation by the Other Parent

If you’re a parent with legal visitation rights, but the other parent is denying you the right to see your child, you can file a Pro Se Affidavit.

A Pro Se Affidavit is a document you can file with the court that states you are being denied your legal visitation rights with your child by the other parent.  

After you file this document, the court will schedule a Show Cause hearing which serves to find out why the other parent is denying you visitation rights with your child. If the parent denying the visitation rights is found to be in contempt of the prior Visitation Order they are subject to 1 year in jail and/or a $1,500.00 fine.

Why You Need an Anderson, SC Family Law Attorney for Visitation

The Anderson, South Carolina law offices of Thomason & Pracht, LLC., encourage everyone to seek the advice of a qualified family law attorney to assist you in your child visitation matters.   

South Carolina Child Custody Law is quite complex.  An attorney can assist you in preparing and filing any necessary documents, appear with you in court, and be your advocate to ensure that your rights and the rights of your child are being protected.