Do SC Courts Get To Make Custody Decisions If Parents Are In Differing States?

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Going through a divorce command credibly difficult, and most people are relieved when the process is finally complete. However, just because the divorce is over does not mean that there will no longer be any complications, particularly when there are minor children involved. It is not uncommon for former spouses or unmarried parents to live in different states, but this can make co-parenting more difficult, especially when you are in a joint custody scenario. If you share physical custody of your child and you live in a different state from the other parent, you need to understand your rights and the rights of the other parent. 

The Full Faith and Credit Clause applies to custody arrangements

In most cases, it is not feasible to ask one parent to move to a different state simply to make it easier for child custody and visitation. However, it needs to be clear which state has the right to make custody orders for the child. 

Nearly every state, including South Carolina, has enacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJA). The purpose of this law is to determine whether SC (and other states) have the jurisdiction to make an award of child custody, to modify, or to enforce the child custody orders of another state. 

Under the UCCJA, the family court of South Carolina can make decisions about child custody if:

  • The state making the decision is the home state of the child. This means that the child has resided with a parent in the state for six months prior to legal action being brought. 
  • The child has significant connections with people inside the state. This can include connections with grandparents, doctors, teachers, and more. 
  • The child is in the state for safety purposes. This would include the child being moved to the state from another state due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
  • No other state meets the three points above. If no other state in the US meets the three points made above, then the SC courts can assert jurisdiction. 

We can help with child visitation and custody issues

At the Elliott Frazier Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping families understand the complexities of child custody. You can contact our Greenville child custody attorney for a consultation today so we can help you navigate these difficult legal situations.

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