06 Sep South Carolina Child Custody: Parenting Time
Parenting time is a phrase that appears frequently during child custody disputes. At the beginning of a child custody case, parents are asked to submit a parenting time schedule. This is often an issue that many divorcing couples fight over while hearings are held to determine child custody. Even after an award of child custody, a parent may still ask for parenting time. In this article, we’ll examine the differences between child custody and parenting time and help you understand the laws surrounding each.
South Carolina Child Custody
Child custody is a legal term that describes the legal and practical relationship between a parent and their child. It can refer to physical custody of a child or the legal custody of the child. Someone who has custody of a child can have either physical custody, legal custody or both. When a parent has physical custody of a child, that child lives with that parent and the parent is responsible for the day-to-day caring functions for the child, such as feeding the child, bringing them to school and watching over them. Legal child custody refers to the ability of a parent to make legal decisions on matters impacting the child. These can include medical decisions, where the child goes to school and where the child lives.
South Carolina Parenting Time
“Parenting time” usually refers to the time that the noncustodial parent gets to spend with the child and is authorized under South Carolina Children’s Code Section 6-150-240 for the noncustodial parent. Before a final order is entered by the family court, the time that each parent is given to take care of the child is also referred to as parenting time. In the past, parenting time was previously referred to colloquially as “visitation.”
When deciding whether or not a noncustodial parent will get parenting time, the court looks to what is in the best interests of the child. Generally, courts consider it in the best interests of the child to have a relationship with both of their parents. This means that even parents who do not share custody of their child with the other parent may still be allowed parenting time with the child. Absent special circumstances that indicate that seeing the noncustodial parent is not in the best interest of the child, such as if there is suspected neglect or abuse, most noncustodial parents are awarded parenting time.
Parenting time is not the same principle as having legal custody of a child. The noncustodial parent who is awarded parenting time does not have the same legal powers as the custodial parent when it comes to raising the child or making decisions for the child.
Different Concepts, Similar Procedures
While parenting time and custody are two different concepts, they operate under similar procedures under South Carolina law. A parenting time schedule can be agreed upon by both parties and entered into court to become an enforceable court order. If the custodial parent denies the other their parenting time, the family court may enter an order forcing the custodial parent to allow the other visitation. Failure to follow that order can result in a finding of contempt.
Get Help From a Charleston, SC Family Law Attorney
Even in the most amicable child custody disputes, you still want to be assured that your rights are protected when it comes to visiting your child and helping to raise them. It is imperative to have counsel who can represent your rights to help ensure they are asserted to their fullest.
Contact the the Klok Family Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation on your case.