2013 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 63 - South Carolina Children's Code
SECTION 63-3-530. Jurisdiction in domestic matters.

SC Code § 63-3-530 (2013) What's This?

(A) The family court has exclusive jurisdiction:

(1) to hear and determine matters which come within the provisions of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act;

(2) to hear and determine actions for divorce a vinculo matrimonii, separate support and maintenance, legal separation, and in other marital litigation between the parties, and for settlement of all legal and equitable rights of the parties in the actions in and to the real and personal property of the marriage and attorney's fees, if requested by either party in the pleadings;

(3) to hear and determine actions for and related to the adoption of children and adults;

(4) to hear and determine actions for termination of parental rights, whether such action is in connection with an action for adoption or apart therefrom;

(5) (Reserved)

(6) to hear and determine actions for the annulment of marriage;

(7) (Reserved)

(8) to hear and determine actions for changing names, whether in connection with a divorce or a separate support and maintenance action or apart therefrom;

(9) to hear and determine actions for the correction of birth records;

(10) to consent to the enlistment of a minor in the military service or the employment of a minor, if a minor has no one standing in loco parentis to do so;

(11) to hear and determine proceedings within the county to compel the support of a spouse or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate;

(12) for the protection, guardianship and disposition of neglected or dependent minors in proceedings properly brought before it for the support of a spouse or child;

(13) in all cases or proceedings within the county against persons charged with failure to obey an order of the court made pursuant to authority conferred by law;

(14) to order support of a spouse or child, or both, irrespective of whether they are likely to become a public charge;

(15) to include in the requirements of an order for support the providing of necessary shelter, food, clothing, care, medical attention, expenses of confinement, both before and after the birth, the expense of educating his or her child and other proper and reasonable expenses;

(16) to require of persons legally chargeable with the support of a spouse or child, who are possessed of sufficient means or who are able to earn such means, the payment weekly, or at other fixed periods, of a fair and reasonable sum for such support, or as a contribution toward such support, according to the means of the persons so chargeable;

(17) To make all orders for support run until further order of the court, except that orders for child support run until the child turns eighteen years of age or until the child is married or becomes self-supporting, as determined by the court, whichever occurs first, or past the age of eighteen years if the child is enrolled and still attending high school, not to exceed high school graduation or the end of the school year after the child reaches nineteen years of age, whichever is later; or in accordance with a preexisting agreement or order to provide for child support past the age of eighteen years; or in the discretion of the court, to provide for child support past age eighteen when there are physical or mental disabilities of the child or other exceptional circumstances that warrant the continuation of child support beyond age eighteen for as long as the physical or mental disabilities or exceptional circumstances continue. When child support is terminated due to the child turning eighteen years of age, graduating from high school, or reaching the end of the school year when the child is nineteen, no arrearage may be incurred as to that child after the date of the child's eighteenth birthday, the date of the child's graduation from high school, or the last day of the school year when the child is nineteen, whichever date terminated the child support obligation.

(18) to make an order for support of a husband or wife and children by his or her spouse, even though he or she may have left the home, in cases where the spouse's conduct or condition or his or her cruel or inhuman behavior made it unsafe or improper for the deserting spouse to continue to live with him or her.

Such orders may require either spouse or any other party to the proceeding:

(a) to stay away from the home or from the other or either spouse or children;

(b) to permit either spouse to visit the children at stated periods;

(c) to abstain from offensive conduct against the other spouse or either of them, or against the children;

(d) to give proper attention to the care of the home;

(e) to refrain from acts of commission or omission that tend to make the home not a proper place for the other, or either spouse, or the children;

(19) in furtherance of the complete disposition of cases in the jurisdiction of the court, to bring in and make parties to any proceedings pending in the court any person or persons charged with or alleged to be interfering with the marital relationship between a husband and wife, in violation of the law or of the rights of either party to the marriage, or whose presence to the proceedings may be found necessary to a complete determination of the issues therein, or the relief to which the parties thereto, or any of them, may be entitled; and shall have the power to enjoin and restrain such interference and to punish for contempt of court violations of such injunctions or restraining orders;

(20) to award the custody of the children, during the term of any order of protection, to either spouse, or to any other proper person or institution;

(21) to determine the manner in which sums ordered paid for support shall be paid and applied, either to a person through the court, through the clerk of court, or through a centralized wage withholding system if required by federal statute or regulation;

(22) to require a person ordered to support another to give security by a written undertaking that he will pay the sums ordered by the court for such support and, upon the failure of any person to give such security by a written undertaking when required by order of the court, to punish such person for contempt and, when appropriate, to discharge such undertaking;

(23) in lieu of requiring an undertaking, to suspend sentence and place on probation a person who has failed to support another as required by law, and to determine the conditions of such probation and require them to be observed; to revoke such suspension of sentence and probation, where circumstances warrant it; and to discharge a respondent from probation;

(24) to release on probation prior to the expiration of the full term a person committed to jail for failure to obey an order of the court, where the court is satisfied that the best interest of the family and the community will be served thereby;

(25) to modify or vacate any order issued by the court;

(26) to order either before, during or after a hearing a mental, physical and psychiatric examination as circumstances warrant;

(27) to exclude the public from the courtroom in a proper case;

(28) to send processes or any other mandates in any matter in which it has jurisdiction into any county of the State for service or execution in like manner and with the same force and effect as similar processes or mandates of the circuit courts, as provided by law;

(29) to compel the attendance of witnesses;

(30) to make any order necessary to carry out and enforce the provisions of this title, and to hear and determine any questions of support, custody, separation, or any other matter over which the court has jurisdiction, without the intervention of a jury; however, the court may not issue an order which prohibits a custodial parent from moving his residence to a location within the State unless the court finds a compelling reason or unless the parties have agreed to such a prohibition;

(31) to require spouse to furnish support or to be liable for nonsupport, as provided above, if, at the time of the filing of the petition for supports:

(a) he is residing or domiciled in the county or when such area is the matrimonial domicile of the parties; or

(b) he is not residing or domiciled in the area referred to in subsection (A), but is found therein at such time, provided the petitioner is so residing or domiciled at such time; or

(c) he is neither residing or domiciled nor found in such area but, prior to such time and while so residing or domiciled, he shall have failed to furnish such support, or shall have abandoned his spouse or child and thereafter shall have failed to furnish such support, provided that the petitioner is so residing or domiciled at that time;

(32) the petitioner need not continue to reside or be domiciled in such area where the cause of action arose, as provided in subitems (a) and (b) of item (31) of this section, if the conduct of the respondent has been such as to make it unsafe or improper for her to so reside or be domiciled, and the petitioner may bring action in the court of the jurisdiction wherein she is residing or has become domiciled;

(33) to order visitation for the grandparent of a minor child where either or both parents of the minor child is or are deceased, or are divorced, or are living separate and apart in different habitats, if the court finds that:

(1) the child's parents or guardians are unreasonably depriving the grandparent of the opportunity to visit with the child, including denying visitation of the minor child to the grandparent for a period exceeding ninety days; and

(2) the grandparent maintained a relationship similar to a parent-child relationship with the minor child; and

(3) that awarding grandparent visitation would not interfere with the parent-child relationship; and:

(a) the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child's parents or guardians are unfit; or

(b) the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that there are compelling circumstances to overcome the presumption that the parental decision is in the child's best interest.

The judge presiding over this matter may award attorney's fees and costs to the prevailing party.

For purposes of this item, "grandparent" means the natural or adoptive parent of any parent to a minor child;

(34) to order custody with all rights of guardianship as described in Section 21-21-55;

(35) to hear and determine actions for protection from domestic abuse;

(36) to issue orders compelling public officials and officers to perform official acts under Title 63, the Children's Code, Protection from Domestic Abuse Act, and Chapter 35, Title 43, Omnibus Adult Protection Act;

(37) to appoint guardians ad litem in actions pertaining to custody or visitation pursuant to Section 63-3-810;

(38) to hear and determine an action where either party in his or her complaint, answer, counterclaim, or motion for pendente lite relief prays for the allowance of suit money pendente lite and permanently. In this action the court shall allow a reasonable sum for the claim if it appears well-founded. Suit money, including attorney's fees, may be assessed for or against a party to an action brought in or subject to the jurisdiction of the family court. An award of temporary attorney's fees or suit costs must not be stayed by an appeal of the award;

(39) to require the parties to engage in court-mandated mediation pursuant to Family Court Mediation Rules or to issue consent orders authorizing parties to engage in any form of alternate dispute resolution which does not violate the rules of the court or the laws of South Carolina; provided however, the parties in consensual mediation must designate any arbiter or mediator by unanimous consent subject to the approval of the court;

(40) to require the parent of a child brought before the court for adjudication of a delinquency matter and agencies providing services to the family to cooperate and participate in a plan adopted by the court to meet the needs and best interests of the child and to hold a parent or agency in contempt for failing to cooperate and participate in the plan adopted by the court. In imposing its contempt powers the Family Court must take into consideration mitigating circumstances including the parent's or legal custodian's participation in the treatment plan, the level of services being offered by the lead and participating agencies, and the level of cooperation by the lead and participating agencies as the court may deem appropriate;

(41) to order a person required to pay support under a court order being enforced under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act who is unemployed or underemployed and who is the parent of a child receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits to participate in an employment training program or public service employment pursuant to regulations promulgated by the department. The Division of Child Support Enforcement of the State Department of Social Services also has jurisdiction under this item in cases under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act brought pursuant to Article 5, Chapter 17, Title 63 of the 1976 Code;

(42) to order joint or divided custody where the court finds it is in the best interests of the child;

(43) to enforce an administrative subpoena or subpoena duces tecum issued by the Department of Social Services pursuant to Section 63-17-850 and to enforce fines assessed by the department pursuant to Sections 63-17-850, 63-17-2310(C), and 43-5-598(G);

(44) to order sibling visitation where the court finds it is in the best interest of the children;

(45) to hear and determine actions concerning control of the person of a minor, including guardianship of the minor;

(46) to order custody of a minor child to the de facto custodian under the circumstances specified in Section 63-15-60.

(B) Notwithstanding another provision of law, the family court and the probate court have concurrent jurisdiction to hear and determine matters relating to paternity, common-law marriage, and interpretation of marital agreements; except that the concurrent jurisdiction of the probate court extends only to matters dealing with the estate, trust, and guardianship and conservatorship actions before the probate court.

HISTORY: 2008 Act No. 361, Section 2; 2008 Act No. 332, Section 7; 2010 Act No. 267, Section 1, eff June 24, 2010; 2012 Act No. 273, Section 1, eff June 26, 2012.

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