Primary Caretaker in South Carolina Custody Cases
Written by: Megan Dell
One of the factors that most affects South Carolina custody cases is which parent has been the primary caretaker for the children.
South Carolina Family Courts have long asked which parent has been the primary caretaker when determining custody of a child, sometimes with the assumption that the primary caretaker would be given custody. See Patel v. Patel, 359 S.C. 515 (2004). S.C. Code Ann. § 63-15-240(B)(5) provides that the past and current interaction and relationship of the child with each parent is a relevant factor when determining custody of a child.
As more and more parents work full-time, it has become more difficult to determine whether either has been responsible for most child-related tasks. Many parents claim that they have been the primary caretaker for their child, and it becomes very important to find documentary evidence to prove or disprove those claims.
School records might include daily agendas signed by a parent each day, emails between parents and teachers, and documents from school meetings and parent-teacher conferences. Many schools also require a parent signature on each report card, and this can be evidence of which parent has acted as the primary caretaker in a custody case.
Medical and dental records will frequently note any adult who accompanied the child on each visit.
Other records might include receipts for activities with the minor child (like going to the zoo or seeing a play), or for child-related expenses like diapers, clothing, and toys. Some parents can provide proof of planning their child’s birthday parties as evidence that they have performed caretaking functions for the child.
Witnesses to a parent’s caregiving also become important, as they can corroborate that a parent regularly plans playdates and activities for his or her child, prepares meals, and handles daily care functions like bath and bedtime.
This kind of evidence is extremely important when parents are attempting to prove that they have been their child’s primary caretaker in South Carolina custody cases.
To find out more information about your particular child custody case, schedule a consultation with us today.