South Carolina Extends Grandparent Visitation Rights

Posted on

Grandparents have always had a major influence on the raising and spoiling of their grandchildren. Grandparents’ values are passed down in the parenting by their children. And, in many families, the grandparents are de facto parents to their grandchildren until the parents become mature enough to raise them.

Nevertheless, Grandparents have been routinely shut out from family court in South Carolina. Often, when their child separates from his or her spouse, grandparents are required to gain access to their grandchildren by championing the rights of their children. This leads to some troublesome scenarios when the grandparents are perfectly capable custodians but their child has issues that make him or her unacceptable. It can also lead to slightly disingenuous custody actions nominally brought by the parents where the real parties in interest are the grandparents.

In June, the general assembly addressed some of these issues by passing a law extending family court jurisdiction in South Carolina. Under specific circumstances, grandparents are now able to bring an action for visitation directly without being required to prove that they are the child’s psychological parent.  House Bill 4348, effective June 9, 2014, allows grandparents to bring an action to compel visitation if the parents of their grandchild are separated, divorced, or deceased and the child’s custodian has refused to allow visitation for 90 days. The grandparents must prove that visitation would not interfere with the parental relationship and overcome the assumption that the parent’s decision to deny visitation is in the child’s best interest.

Although limited, the change in the statue allows grandparents a way into court even where their own child may be flawed as a parent or choose not to pursue his or her rights. As such, grandparents now have a place at the table in South Carolina’s family court.

 

Grandparents have always had a major influence on the raising and spoiling of their grandchildren. Grandparents’ values are passed down in the parenting by their children. And, in many families, the grandparents are de facto parents to their grandchildren until the parents become mature enough to raise them.

 

Nevertheless, Grandparents have been routinely shut out from family court in South Carolina. Often, when their child separates from his or her spouse, grandparents are required to gain access to their grandchildren by championing the rights of their children. This leads to some troublesome scenarios when the grandparents are perfectly capable custodians but their child has issues that make him or her unacceptable. It can also lead to slightly disingenuous custody actions nominally brought by the parents where the real parties in interest are the grandparents.

 

In June, the general assembly addressed some of these issues by passing a law extending family court jurisdiction in South Carolina. Under specific circumstances, grandparents are now able to bring an action for visitation directly without being required to prove that they are the child’s psychological parent. House Bill 4348, effective June 9, 2014, allows grandparents to bring an action to compel visitation if the parents of their grandchild are separated, divorced, or deceased and the child’s custodian has refused to allow visitation for 90 days. The grandparents must prove that visitation would not interfere with the parental relationship and overcome the assumption that the parent’s decision to deny visitation is in the child’s best interest.

 

Although limited, the change in the statue allows grandparents a way into court even where their own child may be flawed as a parent or choose not to pursue his or her rights. As such, grandparents now have a place at the table in South Carolina’s family court.

By: Luke Burke

Why Choose Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey Law Firm?

With the experience to address complex family law, criminal defense, and real estate matters, our knowledgeable team of attorneys are here to advocate for you. We operate our law offices on three main principles:

Trust.

We strive to establish personal trust with each and every client.

Integrity

We operate with the utmost integrity when dealing with clients and the legal community.

Excellence

We commit to excellence in all aspects of the legal profession.

Get in touch with us today to evaluate your case. We’re only a call, click, or short drive away.