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December 18, 2018

How Can Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody in South Carolina?

Divorce Lawyer in Greenville South Carolina

Domestic violence, whether it is emotional or physical, can leave scars that last a lifetime. This is particularly true if child custody issues are involved. A parent that has a history of abuse towards a child or other family member may have limitations placed on their right to visit the child, or may even lose their right to visitation entirely.

Protection from Domestic Violence

In South Carolina, domestic violence is defined as any time a person threatens to harm a person or actually causes physical harm to someone in their household. A household member includes any relatives that live together or have lived together present and former spouses, and relatives by marriage or blood.

Because domestic violence is rarely something that occurs one time, if you have suffered from abuse, you may be able to file an order for protection in the court. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine if this is an option for you.

Child Custody and Domestic Violence

The South Carolina courts will always try to do what they believe is in the best interests of the child. When awarding child custody to the parents, a judge will almost always take into consideration a history of domestic violence. Although a parent that has been abusive may not be prevented from having custody of their child, in some cases it could result in an award of sole custody to the victimized parent. An abusive parent may also have additional restrictions placed on their visitation time. These may include the following:

  • Supervised Visitation – This may require all visitation that takes place between the abusive parent and child to be supervised by an agency or authorized adult. These visits may also require the parent to refrain from using any drugs or alcohol for 24 hours prior to their visitation time with the child, prohibit visits that take place overnight or require a bond payment that ensures the child will be returned safely. Supervised visitation is often temporary and can be changed to traditional, unsupervised visitation with the child if the abusive parents can show that it would be in the child’s best interest.
  • Termination of Parental Rights – This is a permanent arrangement and only takes place in the most extreme abuse cases. Before terminating a parent’s rights, the judge will require proof of the abuse and proof that terminating the parent’s relationship with the child would be best for the child. Situations that may result in the rights of a parent being terminated include sexual abuse of any child, felony assault that resulted in significant bodily injuries to the parent of the child or the child, or attempted murder or murder of the other parent of the child.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

Domestic violence can have a long-lasting effect on a child making it imperative that you stop the abuse as soon as possible. Attorney Lauren Taylor can review your situation and help advise you of what your legal options are if you are experiencing domestic violence. Contact the office of Lauren Taylor Law today to schedule a consultation.