Can Someone Other Than a Parent Get Custody or Visitation of a Child Who Is Not Theirs?

Yes. Under certain circumstances, someone other than a natural parent of the child may be awarded custody or visitation. However, the burden of proof is very difficult. The court often requires that the parents of the child be shown to be unfit before awarding custody to someone other than a parent. In fact, SECTION 63-15-60 of the South Carolina Code of Laws says “The family court may grant visitation or custody of a child to the de facto custodian if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child’s natural parents are unfit or that other compelling circumstances exist.” Of course, every case has different facts which will affect how a judge will decide a case. The best course to take is to schedule an appointment with an attorney to discuss all of your facts, so you will have a better understanding of what to expect in court.

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