Joint custody is now the statutory norm in South Carolina. This does not mean a 50/50 sharing of custodial time and the allocation of custodial time between the primary residential custodian and secondary residential custodian varies with the situation. Absent significant misconduct which affects the children, the court is most likely to award primary custody of the children to the party who has been the primary caretaker of the children. The other party usually receives secondary custody.
Whenever child custody is at issue, the family court will take such action as it deems in the best interest of the children. A guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent and protect the best interests of the children. The guardian ad litem is usually an attorney who is either agreed upon by both parties, or selected by the family court judge. The guardian ad litem’s duties include, but are not limited to speaking with the children, interviewing the parties and other witnesses, conducting home visits and reviewing relevant records pertaining to the child. The parties may also be required to undergo a psychological evaluation and interview by a psychologist appointed by the court.