Child custody and visitation rights cases are never easy in Greenville, SC. Many include long and painful battles. Besides the parents and their children, the grandparents suffer as well. They love their grandchildren and they also want to remain close to them. When the parents do not agree their only chance remains to consult a grandparents’ rights attorney. The latter can explain the laws governing grandparents’ rights in SC and evaluate their options.
Brief Overview of the Laws Governing Grandparents’ Rights in SC
In South Carolina, the rights grandparents have are usually a reflection of their children’s rights. Generally, the grandparents can only see their grandchildren during their child’s visitation schedule. If they do not maintain a good relationship with the child, that may never happen.
The law protects the parents’ liberty interest in their children’s care, control, and custody. It is a fundamental right subject to the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. South Carolina courts have to take into account the decisions of a fit parent regarding visitation. They have to presume that a fit parent acts in the child’s best interests.
As long as the child is well cared for, the court is unlikely to interfere with the parent’s decision. In order to grant visitation rights to a third party, they will need compelling circumstances. The decision has to follow S.C. Code Ann. § 63-15-240 guidelines regarding the child’s best interests.
The court’s decision will take into account the specifics of the case. Some of them are detailed below:
- The child’s preferences and needs
- The child’s relationship with the grandparents and other family members
- The grandparents’ relationship with the child’s parents
- The mental and physical health of everyone involved
- The conditions in which the visits would occur
- Potential impact on the parent’s schedule and financial situation
- Implications regarding residence, school attendance, transportation, and more.
One situation that may influence the court’s decision on grandparents’ rights in SC is the death of one parent. The parents of the deceased will obtain visitation rights if they comply with S.C. Code Ann. § 63-3-530(33). As a result, many grandparents in Greenville choose to work with a family law attorney.
How a Family Law Attorney Can Help Obtain Grandparents’ Rights in SC
In order to obtain visitation rights, the grandparents have to prove one or more of the following circumstances:
- The child’s parent unreasonably denied them visitation rights for more than 90 days
- Their relationship with the child was similar to that between parents and their children
- The grandparents’ rights in SC will not influence the child’s relationship with their parent
- The parents or guardians of the child are unfit
- The parents’ decision is not in the best interests of the child
- The grandparents are psychological parents of the child
In order to consider a grandparent as a psychological parent, the court will assess whether:
- The parents of the child consented to and facilitated the relationship
- The grandparents and the child cohabitated
- Grandparents undertook parenting obligations without expecting financial compensation
- Grandparents maintained their parental role long enough.
Under South Carolina law, child-parent relationships take time to form. This means the grandparents will have to prove that they cohabitated for a considerable period. The court will usually consider petitions only if the grandparents and the child cohabitated for:
- Minimum of six months for children younger than three
- Minimum of one year for children older than three.
These periods refer to continuous cohabitation and should be supported by evidence. Besides considering the available evidence, the court may further investigate the case. They may assign a psychologist on the case. The latter could discuss with all the parties involved to determine the child’s best interest.
Sometimes, the court appoints a family law attorney to represent the child. The parties may use all types of evidence to support their case. Common examples include character witnesses, financial statements, photos, and videos. To increase their odds, visitation petitioners should work with a grandparents’ rights in SC attorney.
Consult an Experienced, Compassionate, and Dedicated Greenville Family Law Attorney Today!
Robert Clark has been defending grandparents’ rights in SC for years. He knows how important the grandparent-child relationship is and does everything possible to protect it. With his help, you can prove how much your grandchild means to you and obtain visitation rights. Call (864) 729-3900 or fill in the contact form and schedule a case review. It is the easiest way to find out where you stand and receive the advice you need!