Many factors play into the need to assign guardianship to a child in South Carolina. Divorce sometimes warrants guardianship to be placed on an individual or entity such as foster care or an orphanage. Parents may feel that, alone, neither one of them can properly care for a child. In other instances, the court finds parents unfit to care for a child for any number of reasons. It is important to understand how to get guardianship of a child in South Carolina to ensure the child's safety and well-being.
Seek the advice of an attorney. Although not everyone goes through an attorney to file for guardianship, it may be the best option since they have the most up-to-date knowledge of South Carolina law. Fees may be charged for a consultation, but you are under no obligation to hire the attorney to take your case to court.
File a petition with the state for guardianship of the child in question. This is the most important step and it begins the process of gaining guardianship. Without the petition, South Carolina will not legally recognize you as the child's guardian. The petition must contain pertinent information regarding yourself, your relationship to the child (if any), what makes you a fit guardian and personal information, such as your Social Security number.
Prove to the state court that the parent (or parents) is unfit to care for the child. Whether the child's parents are going through a divorce, are still together or there is only one parent is inconsequential. If the parent(s) is unfit and you are filing a petition for guardianship, that fact must be proven. Typically, the court will order supervision of the parent(s) with the child to witness the interaction and how it impacts the child. A background investigation may also be conducted to ensure the issues brought up by the petitioner are correct.
Prove to the court that you are a fit guardian for the child. Most guardianships are temporary, and the specific length of guardianship is established by the court. Sometimes courts may supervise temporary guardians to ensure the well-being of the child. This means that if you want to remain guardian of the child, you must prove to the court that you will do anything in your power to make sure the child is in good hands.
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