Joint Physical Custody in South Carolina

Joint Physical Custody in South Carolina  

Many parents are interested in dividing the responsibility and time equally with a child.  This is often referred to as shared custody, shared placement or joint physical custody.  In a shared custody arrangement, the child spends an equal amount of time at each parent’s home.

How likely am I to get shared placement?

The most likely scenario that results in a shared placement is one where the child is not yet of school age. Each situation is different, but in my experience, custom and availability are the two most important factors considered by the Court.  In other words, if the parents equally split time with the child prior to coming to Court, the Judge is likely to continue that arrangement for the sake of consistency. Furthermore, if sharing placement equally allows the parents to care for the child without daycare or other childcare arrangements, it is often regarded as the most favorable arrangement.

Once a child enters school, many Judges believe that the stability of one primary residence during the school week is ideal.  This would be considered a standard arrangement where the child resides with one parent and visits the other parent on some sort of lesser, predetermined schedule.

Joint Physical Custody vs. Joint Legal Custody

The terms “joint physical custody” and “joint legal custody” are often used interchangeably, but there is an important distinction.  Joint legal custody refers to the right to make decisions regarding the child’s major life issues (education, religion, medical care, and extra-curricular activities, etc.), whereas joint physical custody refers only to the division of time. In other words, parents can share equally in the decision making for the child via joint legal custody even in placement arrangements where time is not split evenly between the households.

Please remember that each case is unique and the information discussed above can often affected by a number of factors. Therefore, it is important to consult with an attorney to discuss your unique set of circumstances.

If you have any questions about joint physical custody in South Carolina, child custody, or family law in general, we urge you to contact us. In order to be flexible and convenient, we have open office hours for client appointments. Contact us today and schedule your confidential consultation.

Our law office serves people across the Upstate, South Carolina, including: Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, Laurens, and Oconee counties.