PROTECTING THE FAMILY, MINIMIZING THE DAMAGE Child Custody Backed by 15+ years' experience, we provide innovative services to protect the family from damage and trauma as much as possible. When necessary, we aggressively protect our clients’ best interests in court.


The "best interest" of the child is the standard utilized under South Carolina law in determining child custody and visitation.

In divorce cases and cases of unmarried or separated parents, courts must weigh various factors and circumstances in determining which parent or caregiver can best meet the child's physical, psychological, emotional, and general well-being and needs. Typically, visitation schedules for the noncustodial parent are set to avoid continued shuffling of children between parent households and to avoid disruption in the children's schedules and routines.

However, each child custody dispute is unique, bringing unique circumstances and scenarios that may affect any outcome. Our Columbia child custody and divorce modifications lawyer, Carrie Warner, would be happy to discuss the details of your case and help you achieve your custody goals.

Tell our Columbia Child Custody Lawyer about your child custody goals in a personalized consultation: (803) 994-8171.

Key Factors in Determining Child Custody in Columbia, SC

Our experienced Columbia child custody lawyers at Carrie Warner, Attorney at Law are familiar with the laws that may affect your case. We are frank and upfront with our clients so that each client is familiar with what obstacles they must overcome.

Factors that may influence child custody decisions in Columbia include:

  • The geographic location of each parent (in-state, out-of-state, or out of the country)
  • Stability in the custodial parent's home
  • The abilities of each parent to meet the child's emotional, physical, and other needs
  • The mental and moral fitness of each parent
  • Whether there is, or has been, violence in the home

Benefits of Negotiating Child Custody Agreements

When both parents mutually agree upon their children's living arrangements, the family unit is preserved as much as possible. It frees the parties from the emotional turmoil of contentious custody battles. Although our Columbia child custody attorneys fight aggressively and vigorously on behalf of our clients when needed, the value of amicable negotiations for child custody matters cannot be understated.

Understanding Relocation Laws for Parents in South Carolina

A mother can move a child away from the father in South Carolina, but she must first get permission from the court. If the mother does not get permission from the court, the father can file a motion to prevent the move.

The court will then decide whether the relocation is in the child's best interests. If the court finds that the move is in the child's best interests, it will issue an order allowing the mother to move. However, if the judge finds that the relocation is not in the child's best interests, it will issue an order preventing the move.

When Can Children in SC Decide Their Living Arrangements?

In South Carolina, a child can choose which parent to live with when they are 14 years old or older.

The court may consider the child's preference if the child is 12 or 13, but it is not a controlling factor. Instead, the court will weigh the child's preference against other factors, such as the children's relationship with each parent, the stability of each parent's home environment, and the willingness and ability of each parent to meet the child's needs.

If the child is younger than 12, the judge will not consider the child's preference. Instead, the judge will decide based on what they believe is in the child's best interests.

Joint Physical Custody: The Preferred Arrangement in SC

The most common custody arrangement in South Carolina is joint physical custody. This arrangement means that the child lives with both parents for significant periods. In some cases, the child may live with one parent for more of the time but still have regular visits with the other parent.

Joint physical custody is generally in the child's best interests. This arrangement allows the child to maintain a close relationship with both parents. It also provides the children stability and continuity, even though their parents no longer live together.

However, joint physical custody is only sometimes possible or desirable. Sometimes, one parent may be unable or unwilling to care for the child for significant periods. In other cases, the parents may need help cooperating effectively in childcare decisions.

If the parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court will decide based on the child's best interests. The judge will contemplate many factors, including the child's age, the child's wishes, the parent's parenting skills, and the parent's ability to cooperate.

Our child custody attorney can help you understand your rights and can help you negotiate a custody arrangement that is in your children's best interests.

Modifying Child Custody Orders in South Carolina

Depending on the situation, a child custody order modification can occur if there has been a change in circumstances since the time of the order. A change that could warrant a modification might be the parent with partial custody finding gainful employment and petitioning the court to have more visitation time or even joint custody of the child. Conversely, a parent might seek full custody of a child to protect them from a parent that could now be considered a danger to the child's well-being. Our dedicated legal team has represented many parents facing a variety of scenarios in custody modifications.

To learn more about your child custody options under SC family law - whether through negotiation, litigation, or modification - please contact our Columbia child custody lawyer at Carrie Warner, Attorney at Law.

Ready to discuss your case? Contact us at (803) 994-8171 or through our online form today.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please enter your address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter your answer.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy
  • ABA
  • SC Leadership in Law
  • SC Bar
  • DC Bar
  • Top 100
  • AAML