South Carolina Custody Laws: Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With?

South Carolina Custody Laws

Dealing with a divorce can be messy especially when there are children involved. You want to do what is best. Some parents let their child decide who to stay with during the divorce. There are South Carolina custody laws that factor into whether a child is able to choose which parent to live with. Your family law attorney will be able to discuss how South Carolina custody laws work. If you need help with issues of child custody, it is important to talk with a child custody lawyer.

The Wishes of the Child

In some cases, the child is going to have a preference about which parent they would like to go with. This could vary based on the relationship they have with each parent, how much time they spent with each parent, and other factors. But just because your child has a preference about which parent they want to live with does not mean that the courts have to follow those wishes based on the South Carolina custody laws.

Instead, the court is going to have several factors that will help them determine how much they will consider the child’s preference. They will take into consideration the child’s age, their maturity, their ability to express this preference, and their experience before letting them make the decision.

If you feel that your child would prefer to live with you and would like this preference heard, it is important to talk with a child custody lawyer in Greenville, SC. They will be able to talk to you about the South Carolina custody laws and can help prepare a case so your child’s preferences are taken into consideration.

When the Child is Younger than 12

In most instances, South Carolina is not going to allow children under the age of 12 to voice their preference about which parent they would like to live with.  Most courts will see the child too young to make the decision. They also may think that the parent is trying to manipulate the child into picking them. Working with your family law attorney can help you learn if you want to look into exceptions.

If the Child is between the Ages of 12 and 14

This is a tricky age because only some courts will allow the child to have a preference. This is where the maturity and experience of the child will come into play. If a child is able to voice their opinions, then they can state which parent they choose to reside with. Your family law attorney will be able to work with you and your child if they are between these ages.

If the Child is Over the Age of 14

When your child is over 14, it is more likely that the courts will allow them to voice their preference. Often at this age, the courts will put a lot of weight behind which preference the child has.

These are general guidelines for laws and when the preference of the child is necessary to take into consideration. Depending on your unique case during the divorce, things may proceed a bit differently. If the child wants to stay with a violent parent, the court is less likely to take the child’s preference.

If you are working with child custody, it is important to talk to your child custody attorney in Greenville, SC. They will be able to walk you through the custody laws and help you get the best outcome.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Greenville, SC

If you are interested in learning more about South Carolina custody laws and need to work with a child custody lawyer in Greenville, SC, make sure to contact us at Greenville Family Law. We can help set you up with a family law attorney to help you with your case. Contact us today to get started.

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