Three Things to Know About Grandparents’ Rights in South Carolina
While parents are most often afforded the most protection for their guardianship liberties over their children, grandparents do still have important rights they should know. If you’re concerned about how a parent is caring for your grandchildren, or you’re fighting for custody in extenuating circumstances and you want to understand your rights, it’s important to consult a family lawyer who can help break down the facts.
Sarah Henry, an experienced family lawyer at Sarah Henry Law, knows how to navigate complex family litigation, help clients protect their loved ones, and fight for the rights they need to do so. Read on to hear what key factors I think grandparents should know about their rights based on South Carolina law.
Parental Rights Have the Most Protection
In most cases, South Carolina courts grant care, custody, and control of children to their parents, so long as they are deemed fit. The parent’s protected liberties mean that unless the child is deemed to be in unsafe conditions, parents can choose to restrict the grandparents’ visitation or cut the children off from contact entirely.
Even if the grandparents disagree with the way a child is being cared for or what decisions the parents are making, unless they can prove the child’s care is inadequate, they cannot legally fight it. Parental rights are protected above grandparents’ rights in South Carolina, so long as the parent is deemed fit to care for their children.
The Child’s Best Interest Is Priority
Grandparents do have the right to challenge the parents if they feel the child in question isn’t being cared for appropriately or if the child’s best interests are not being served.
For example, a parent may be alienating the child from all family members and limiting the child’s access to socialization or education. In this situation, grandparents may make the case that the parenting choices will cause the child’s social development to suffer.
If a grandparent grows concerned about whether the child is receiving proper nutrition, hygiene care, and attention, they should consult with a trusted family lawyer about their next steps. Courts prioritize the well-being of children and will ensure that the care and custody are granted to whoever is best fit to deliver proper care and ensure all needs are met.
Grandparents May Be Granted Custody
If your grandchild is left without a parent to care for them because of an injury, death, or other circumstances, the custody of the child is often granted to the grandparents. This may be so as long as the grandparents are deemed capable of proper caregiving.
Courts will evaluate close relatives to see who would be the best fit for guardianship, and you can strengthen your case with the help of a skilled family lawyer.
Even if the parent is still living and capable of providing care, you may plead your case for why the child’s interests would be better served under your complete custody. A skilled family lawyer will have the experience and skills necessary to fight this case for you and help compel the judge to see your side.
Talk to a Lawyer about Grandparents’ Rights in Your Case
As a grandparent, South Carolina courts have deemed that you have the right to visitation in some circumstances. If you have concerns or reasonable suspicion that your grandchild’s needs are being ignored or neglected, it’s within your rights to fight their guardianship. Do so with the help of a qualified family lawyer who cares about your needs and knows your rights.
With years of experience successfully advocating for clients to get visitation rights or custody of their grandchildren, Sarah Henry at Sarah Henry Law knows what it takes to fight for your rights in the courtroom. To learn more about your best next steps, call 864-478-8324 or fill out the following online contact form today.
Frequently asked questions
Will there be a jury? No. Cases heard by the Greenville County Family Court are presided over by a judge. The judge assigned to your case will make a final decision on the outcome of your case.
Can I represent myself? Yes, but it isn’t recommended by legal practitioners or even by the court itself. Divorce, property disputes between spouses, alimony decisions, custody agreements and other family court matters are often complicated cases, and those without specific knowledge and experience with the family court rules, statutes, and caselaw are at a distinct disadvantage when navigating the family court system.
Can I appeal my case? Appeals filed for Family Court cases are heard by the South Carolina Court of Appeals. It’s important to talk with your attorney about the appeals process as it relates to your individual case.