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What Are the Extended Family’s Rights after Their Relative Divorces?

On Behalf of | | Family Law

If you’re facing a divorce, you and your divorcing spouse are going through an especially difficult time, but the consequences of your divorce can reverberate throughout your extended family. While children can take the matter of divorce especially hard, it doesn’t stop there. Your parents – your children’s grandparents on both sides – and other relatives are also likely to have close, loving relationships with your children, and – in some situations – they have limited legal rights regarding visitation. If you have questions or concerns about child custody rights in the wake of a divorce, an experienced Charleston family law attorney is standing by to help.

Your Children’s Best Interests

When it comes to child custody and visitation concerns, South Carolina courts always focus on the best interests of the children involved. They also begin with the guiding belief that it is in the best interest of children to maintain a meaningful relationship with each parent. As a result, the court generally awards generous visitation to both – barring a significant reason for ruling otherwise.

Extended Family Members

It’s not unusual for children to have close relationships with many of the members of their extended families, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, and beyond, and it’s also not unusual for parents to be unenthused about their children spending a lot of time with certain members of their ex’s family after a divorce. Simply not liking your ex’s family, however, doesn’t mean you can stop them from seeing your children when they’re with their other parent. The court considers having a large, loving support system in the best interest of your children, and as such, the court supports these relationships.

When There Is a Legitimate Reason for Blocking Visitation

If there are one or more members of your ex’s family who represent legitimate concerns in relation to your children’s well-being, the court will address the matter. Examples include all the following:

  • A history of violence
  • A history of sexual abuse
  • A history of child abuse
  • A history of child negligence
  • A criminal record

Grandparents’ Rights

In the State of South Carolina, the rights of grandparents are derivative of the parents. This means that grandparents have the right to see their grandchildren only when their own child is the parent with visitation at the time – as long as that parent is in agreement. Ultimately, the decisions made by fit parents are considered to be in their children’s best interests, which means that the court has no reason to become involved.

Only when there are compelling circumstances that could interfere with the children’s best interests will a South Carolina court consider granting visitation to a third party, such as a grandparent or another adult.

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Charleston Family Law Attorney Today

The compassionate family law attorneys at Query Sautter & Associates – proudly serving Charleston and all of South Carolina – dedicate their impressive practice to helping clients like you resolve challenging child custody concerns favorably, and we’re here for you, too. For more information about how we can help, please don’t wait to contact us online or call 843-795-9500 today.