What is Sole Custody in South Carolina?
Written by: Megan Dell
What does Sole Custody mean? As the law changes, there is more and more confusion about this answer. We still have sole custody in South Carolina, and there is no presumption in favor of joint custody.
A child’s sole custodian is authorized to make all major decisions for the child, without first consulting the other parent.
Myths about sole custody in South Carolina
An award of sole custody to one parent does not mean that the other parent is unfit or otherwise unworthy of sharing equal parental rights. Instead, there are often reasons that sole custody is appropriate.
For example, if two parents are not able to communicate effectively about their child’s needs (and attempts at communication break down into hostility), then sole custody may be a better choice. Or if two parents live very far apart, it may be difficult for one parent to participate regularly in caring for the child’s educational or medical needs.
Many parents resist the label of sole custody because they fear that their access to their children’s information will be restricted, but there are certain rights that each parent has, regardless of whether sole custody is ordered.
Two statutes, S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-30 and S.C. Code Ann. § 63-15-260, details these rights and provide that each parent is entitled to his or her child’s medical and educational records, and has the right to participate in the child’s school and extracurricular activities when they are held in a public place. Because of these protections, there are many situations when sole custody is more appropriate than joint custody.
Because there are so many misunderstandings about the meaning of sole custody in South Carolina, it’s essential that you get advice from a licensed Family Court lawyer before making decisions about how to best participate in your child’s life and whether sole custody might be the best option.
Ready to schedule a consultation with our family law attorney? Contact us today to discuss your particular situation regarding child custody.