Standard Visitation Child Custody
In most custody disputes, the court will award one parent what is typically referred to as "standard visitation". The schedule below is typical of how you could expect a South Carolina family court judge to rule in a contested case. This varies somewhat from judge to judge and we are starting to see a "week to week" summer visitation schedule more frequently. Your attorney can provide you with what is usually ordered in your county. Currently shared custody where both parents have approximately equal time is ordered only where there are exceptional circumstances. However, it the parties agree to a shared child custody arrangement, the judge will normally approve their agreement.
The family court expects both parents to be reasonable in allowing visitation with the other parent regardless of what the actual court order requires.
A. Weekend/Midweek Standard Visitation: The visiting parent shall have alternating weekends from Friday at six o'clock (6;00) p.m. until Sunday at six o'clock (6:00) p.m. Each Thursday evening prior to the weekend not having the child/children, the visiting parent shall have the child/children from five-thirty (5:30) pm. until nine (9:00) pm. Regular weekends are superseded by the other specific visitation set forth herein; the party not having the specific visitation yet forth in B (1) (2) (3) (5) (6) and C shall have the following weekend and the alternate weekend cycle shall recommence.
B. Holiday Standard Visitation for Child Custody:
1. Spring School Break/Easter Weekend: The visiting parent shall have spring school break (Easter weekend) on even-numbered years starting at six o'clock (6:00) p.m. the last clay of school and ending at six o'clock (6:00) p.m. the evening prior to the child/children returning to school. The custodial parent shall have spring school break (Easter weekend) on odd-numbered years starting at six o'clock (6:00) p.m. the last clay of school and ending at six o'clock (0:00) p.m. the evening prior to the child/children returning to school.
2. Thanksgiving Standard Visitation: The visiting parent shall have Thanksgiving vacation on odd-numbered years, and the custodial parent shall have Thanksgiving vacation on even-numbered years. Thanksgiving shall commence at. six o'clock (6:00) pm, on the last day the child/children are in school or would, be in school if they were unending school., and shall end at six o'clock (6:00) p.m. on the following Sunday.
3. Christmas Standard Visitation: The custodial parent, shall have the child/children during the first half of Christmas break on odd-numbered years starting at six o'clock (6:00) pm. the day school lets out and ending two o’clock (2:00) pm. Christmas Day and shall have the second half of the Christmas break on even-numbered years starting at two o'clock (2:00) p.m. Christmas Day and ending at six o'clock (6:00) p.m. the evening prior to school starting hack. The visiting parent shall have the same Christmas holiday with the children except it shall be on the alternating years.
4. Mother's Day/Father's Day Standard Visitation: The child/children shall be with the mother on Mother' s Day and with the father on Father' s Day from nine o'clock (y;00) a.m. until nine (9:00) p.m. (Regardless of whose weekend upon which it may fall.)
5. Monday/Friday Holidays Standard Visitation: As to any other holiday which is celebrated on a Monday or a Friday and which is recognized by the state or the county in which the child/children reside(s) and the school in which the child/children is/are enrolled, while school is in session, the parent having the child/children for that weekend as a normal part of their alternating weekends or selected summer visitations shall have the child/children on the Monday the holiday is celebrated until six o'clock (6:00) p.m. or starting at six o'clock (6:00) p.m. the Thursday night before the Friday the holiday is celebrated.
6. Standard Visitation Religious Holidays: If the child/children is/are being raised in a particular faith which has a major religious holiday not otherwise included in the above time frames, the parties shall alternate possession of the child/children from six o'clock (6:00) p.m. the day prior to the event until six o'clock (6:00) p.m. the day after the event or from two (2) hours after the child/children is/are released from school the last day of required school attendance until after (he religious holiday at six o'clock (6:00) pm, (the day prior to required school attendance. However, if the child is required to travel and (the holiday starts for example at sundown the child may be picked up as soon as school is out as might be reasonably necessary to allow for the child to arrive at the visiting parents home prior to the required commencement time for the holiday.
C. Summer* Standard Visitation: The visiting parent shall have one (1) two (2) week period and two (2) one week periods (with at least one (1) week in between each visitation period) of visitation during the summer. He/She shall pick the weeks in writing on or before May 1st of each odd-numbered year and on or before May 15th of each even-numbered year. The custodial parent shall have two (2) oil weeks during the summer. He/She shall pick the weeks in writing on or before May 1st of each even-numbered year and on or before May 1st of each odd-numbered year. The weeks shall stat on a Friday at six (6:00 p.m,) and end on a Friday at six (6:00) p.m.
D. Birthday Standard Visitation: On each parent’s birthday, the child/children shall be with that parent from eight o'clock (8:00) a.,m. until nine o'clock (9:00) p.m, except for school days when the child shall be with that. parent from five-thirty (5:30) p.m, until eight-thirty (8;30) p.m, (This does not allow for the child to be taken out of school; neither does this require the parent to take time off from work.) The party not having the child on that child's birthday shall have three (3) hours on a non-school day and two (2) hours on a school day, independent of any activity of the party with whom the child is placed on that day, This visitation shall be at a. reasonable time but not to conflict with any activity the primary party having the child, on that day may be having for the child. All the children shall be together on any of their brother' s/sister' s birthdays.
* Summer is defined as the period of time the school district, in which the child lives is closed for summer vacation.
11. OTHER PARENTAL GUIDELINES, RIGHTS & INSTRUCTIONS:
A. Telephone/E-mail Contact: Both parents shall have reasonable and at all times private telephone and e-mail contact with the child/children and the child/children shall be allowed to have reasonable private telephone/e-mail contact with either parent, (E-mail is limited to age appropriate use and ability to use a computer and the having of a computer but does not require the purchase of a computer,)
B. Important Events: Both parties shall (as soon as is reasonably possible after learning of the event) timely notify the other party of any reasonably important event occurring while the child is in their care, such as, but not limited to baptisms, bar mitzvahs, sporting events, dance recitals, school plays, etc. Both parents may attend. When there is any doubt as to what's important, the other parent shall be notified.
C. Access to Records: Both parents shall have full and complete access to all medical providers* school records, school personnel, coaches, counselors and other professionals involved the child' a/children' s lives and shall be allowed to discuss their child' s/children' s circumstances and needs with these people. Each party shall inform the other party of the identity of such people and if not otherwise reasonably available, and how to contact such people, if required or requested by the provider school personnel etc, (he parent needing to do so shall sign any required form.)
D. Medical Emergencies: In a medical emergency, the visiting parent may make appropriate decisions and is hereby granted authority to and shall sign appropriate documents to protect the health and welfare of the visiting child. This is not to undermine the custodian's legal authority to make appropriate decisions. The visiting parent shall make reasonable efforts to contact the custodian but shall have the authority to act and shall not delay in protecting the child from imminent danger. Each person shall provide and. sign such information and forms as required, and not otherwise reasonably available to the other parent to allow [he fulfillment of this Order. This includes but is not limited to such items as: insurance cards., school schedules, flight schedules, medical appointments, work schedules, prescription medications, releases of information, etc.
E. FAILURE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT/DENIAL OF STANDARD VISITATION: The failure to pay child support does not alter one's right to this visitation and the denial of this visitation does not alter one's duty to pay child support. (Remedies such as contempt may apply.)
F. STANDARD VISITATION PICK UP AND RETURN OF CHILDREN: Unless otherwise specified, the visiting parent shall pick up and return the child/children to and from the custodian's residence for all periods of visitation. The custodian may not thwart/deny visitation by moving away and if the custodian moves greater than fifteen (15) miles from the location where the children lived and were being picked up, the custodian shall have the children at the old location until a court order or written agreement is obtained altering this location, (This is not a ruling as to the right or prohibition of one's right, to move or relocate.)
G- ALTERING STANDARD VISITATION. The parents may by agreement alter visitation. However, absent a written agreement to deviate a rebuttable presumption exists that the deviation was not with the agreement, of the other party.
111. STANDARD VISITATION RESTRAINING ORDERS:
A. All parties arc restrained against having any form of physical or verbal confrontation or allowing another to do so in front of the child/children.
B. All parties are restrained against excessively consuming or being under the influence of alcohol (defined the same as might apply to driving under the influence), the consumption of any illegal drug or the abuse of any prescription drug or allowing another to do so while the child/children are under his/her care,
C. All parties arc restrained against the use of profanity or making any derogatory comments about or toward the other party or allowing anyone else to do so in front, of the child/children or in any manner whereby the child/children might lean of the same.
D. During pending litigation about the children the parties shall not discuss any details about the litigation beyond acknowledging the existence of the same. Further if the litigation is between the parties and children. In no case shall the parties unnecessarily involve the children in the litigation. Once an Order is issued the details of it shall not be discussed with the children except to acknowledge it exists and must be complied with. The only exception to this restraining order is when the child/children is/are in counseling or under psychological/psychiatric care and the child/children's provider believes it is in the child's therapeutic best interest to discuss the same but this may be done only in that limited context absent a written order to the contrary.
E. All parties are restrained from having the child/children on an overnight basis in the presence of an adult party of the opposite sex (*or the same sex if the party or guest is bi-sexual or homosexual) to whom the parties arc not related by blood, or marriage, or any lover/paramour. Neither party shall expose the child/children to conditions which imply a relationship such as a boyfriend or girlfriend, paramour/lover or some type of improper relations hip while the party is still married to another person. While the parties are still engaged in marital litigation, the restriction shall be against the mere presence of any alleged paramour or one who under the circumstances may reasonably be construed as a paramour and not merely against overnight visitation.
F. All parties are required to keep the child/children in a moral and safe environment at all times.
G. All parties are required to see that the child/children in their care properly attend school and are not out of school in violation of any educational requirement of this State.
H. All parties are required to see that the child/children in their care receive proper medical attention and appropriately take prescribed medications or reasonably necessary medical treatments and to that end shall ensure that the child/children in their care attend any scheduled medical appointments and shall exchange medications which are to be taken, all as might be reasonable and appropriate and in compliance with their religious beliefs, a specific court order or the law,
I. Ail parties are restrained against conduct detrimental to the child/children of any particular nature relating to the particular needs of a given child /children such as not smoking around a child who is asthmatic.
J. One party shall not schedule nor allow others to schedule elective matters to do with the child/children on or during the other party's time,
K. At all times the child/children shall be properly supervised and not left with babysitters who arc not appropriate in any manner by way of age, conduct, past history or otherwise of which a parent or custodian or visiting patty has knowledge, should have knowledge or may with reasonable efforts have gained knowledge.
L. All parties are restrained against allowing the child/children to see or be exposed to age-inappropriate movies, computer access or websites, games or other such material or forms of entertainment and shall take all reasonable precautions against the same. In no ease shall the children be exposed to any X-rated or pornographic material or R-rated movies. The parents may use discretion as to children sixteen (16) and over as to R-rated movies but if either parent objects, the child shall not be exposed to the R-rated movie.
NOTE!! This Standard Visitation and Restraining Order applies to custodians and visiting parents alike. A violation of any of this Order could subject the violating party to contempt sanctions which include up to one (1) year in jail to coerce compliance or six (6) months in jail to punish, up to a One Thousand Five Hundred ($1,500.00) Dollar line and up to three hundred (300) hours community service. One may also be required to pay the attorney's fees and costs of the party who brings the action to enforce this Order.
The above is just one Standard Visitation Order for Child Custody in South Carolina. Standard visitation and child custody is subject to modification based on a substantial change in circumstances.
For a child custody lawyer in Greenville, Laurens, Anderson, Spartanburg or Pickens County call
L. Wayne Patterson, Attorney at Law
10 Century Dr. Suite B
Greenville, SC 29607
Wayne is a Greenville family law attorney including probate, elder law, trusts, child custody, special needs trusts and South Carolina divorce.
NOTICE !!! ONLY AN ATTORNEY LICENSED IN YOUR STATE CAN PROVIDE YOU WITH LEGAL ADVICE
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