State Laws and Legislation

South Carolina Custody and Visitation Law

South Carolina courts typically will not consider a parent’s sexual orientation in custody and visitation determinations unless it is shown to adversely affect or harm the child(ren).

South Carolina law states: “In any action for divorce from the bonds of matrimony, the court may at any stage of the cause, or from time to time after final judgment, make such orders touching the care, custody and maintenance of the children of the marriage and what, if any, security shall be given for the same as from the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case and the best spiritual as well as other interests of the children may be fit, equitable and just.”

In a 1987 case, Stroman v. Williams, the appeals court upheld a custody award to a lesbian mother, stating that although a parent’s morality is a proper factor for consideration, it can only be considered to the extent that it is relevant, either directly or indirectly, to the welfare of the child. The court went on to note that custody is not to be used to penalize or reward a parent for his or her conduct.

Custody and Visitation for Transgender Parents
There are no published cases dealing with transgender parents. State law, however, does not seem to permit the consideration of factors that do not affect the best interests of the child to be used in custody and visitation determinations.

Custody and Visitation for Same-Sex Co-Parents
There are no reported or published opinions dealing with same-sex co-parents.

Citations: S.C. CODE ANN. § 20-3-160; Stroman v. Williams, 353 S.E.2d 704 (S.C. Ct. App. 1987).

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Last Updated: 10/13/2004  

Updated: Tue, October 12, 2004 - 11:00:58