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TO AMEND SECTION 63-3-530, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE FAMILY COURT, INCLUDING JURISDICTION TO ORDER VISITATION FOR GRANDPARENTS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE COURT MAY ORDER GRANDPARENT VISITATION IF THE COURT FINDS THAT THE CHILD'S PARENTS ARE DEPRIVING THE GRANDPARENT VISITATION WITH THE CHILD AND THAT THE PARENTS ARE UNFIT OR THAT THERE ARE COMPELLING CIRCUMSTANCES TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION THAT THE PARENTAL DECISION IS IN THE CHILD'S BEST INTEREST.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 63-3-530(A)(33) of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 361 of 2008, is amended to read:
to order periods of visitation for the grandparents 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 regardless of the existence of a court order or agreement, and upon a written finding that the visitation rights would be in the best interests of the child and would not interfere with the parent/child relationship. In determining whether to order visitation for the grandparents, the court shall consider the nature of the relationship between the child and his grandparents prior to the filing of the petition or complaint to order visitation for the grandparent of a minor child if the court finds that the child's parents or guardians are depriving the grandparent of the opportunity to visit with the child 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.
However, this item does not apply to a family in which the parents and child or children reside in the same household.
The judge presiding over this matter shall 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;"
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
This web page was last updated on December 9, 2009 at 3:32 PM