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Grandparents Rights Association of South Carolina
News about any new happenings or events related to Grandparents raising their grandchildren will be placed here as soon as we are informed and confirm the event.
March 25, 2013 Grandparent WINS Visitation Case
In June of 2010, Gov. Sanford signed a grandparent visitation law into effect. It allows grandparents to sue a parent for visitation privileges, but only under certain conditions. On Monday, March 25th, in Horry County Family Court, Conway, South Carolina, a grandmother did just that. She not only sued, she won in a big way.
She has been denied contact with her granddaughter for almost a year, but apparently, mostly for spite. When the case went to family court, the judge heard the presentation of both sides, and ruled in the grandmother’s favor. She was awarded visitation for 3 hours that same day, and then every other weekend from Friday evening till Sunday evening beginning Easter weekend. To my knowledge, this is the first time this much visitation has been ordered for a grandparent. The ruling shows South Carolina to be a leader in the area of Grandparent’s Rights, and we are getting better! We are talking about Section 63‑3‑530(A)(33) of the 1976 Code. (Grandparent Visitation)
Probably the most impressive part is the fact that this grandmother completely smashed the myth that Family Court requires a lawyer! She did this completely on her own. She was what is called “Pro Se”, meaning she did NOT have an attorney! Several lawyers told her “it can’t be done”, “that law is worthless”, “you don’t stand a chance”. Others said it would cost upwards of $30,000 and there would still be only a very slim chance. Even after the ruling in her favor, one attorney maintains this same stance. This determined Grandmother, who is a Born Again Christian, wants everyone to know, “You CAN do it. It’s not easy, but with God’s guidance, you CAN do it!” After all, the Bible says; “You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you”. She gives God all the glory.
The day of this hearing, the Grandparents Rights Association of South Carolina held a rally in support of the grandmother, and to promote new legislation currently in the General Assembly. About a dozen people braved the near record low temperature, and high wind at the courthouse in Conway, SC, to support House bill H-3464 and Senate bill S-371. Participants included grandparents, one of which was Rep. Alan Clemmons, (Cosponsor of H-3464) and also several grandCHILDREN. Everyone who passed by, indicated a “thumbs up” or other positive response. These bills, when passed, then signed into law, will grant grandparents standing in Family Court, which is something they do not have now. The bills have almost 30 sponsors in the House, and 9 in the Senate, and are currently waiting for hearings to be scheduled in both chambers. My current effort is to encourage the chairmen of both the House and Senate judiciary committees to get these hearing scheduled.
TO AMEND SECTION 63-7-730, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO EXPEDITED RELATIVE PLACEMENTS OF CHILDREN AT THE PROBABLE CAUSE HEARING, SO AS TO ENCOURAGE PLACEMENT OF THE CHILD WITH A GRANDPARENT OR OTHER RELATIVE OF THE FIRST OR SECOND DEGREE UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; TO SET FORTH CRITERIA FOR THE COURT TO CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING WHETHER TO PLACE A CHILD WITH A GRANDPARENT OR OTHER RELATIVE OF THE FIRST OR SECOND DEGREE AT THE PROBABLE CAUSE HEARING; AND TO PROVIDE THAT IF THE COURT PLACES A CHILD WITH A GRANDPARENT OR OTHER RELATIVE OF THE FIRST OR SECOND DEGREE AT THE PROBABLE CAUSE HEARING, THE INDIVIDUAL MUST BE ADDED AS A PARTY TO THE ACTION FOR THE DURATION OF THE CASE OR UNTIL FURTHER ORDER OF THE COURT.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of
the State of
SECTION 1. Section 63-7-730 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
63-7-730. (A) If
orders the child to remain in the legal
custody of the department at the probable cause hearing
finds at the probable cause hearing that the department made
reasonable efforts to prevent removal of the child and that
continuation of the child in the home would be contrary to the
welfare of the child, the family court may
order expedited placement of the child with a grandparent or
other relative of the first or second degree. In making
this expedited placement decision, the court shall consider the
totality of the circumstances including, but not limited to, the
individual's suitability, fitness, and willingness to serve as a
placement for the child. The court shall require the
department to check the names of all adults in the home against
the Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect, other relevant
records of the department, county sex abuse registers, and
records for the preceding five years of law enforcement agencies
in the jurisdiction in which the person resides and, to the
extent reasonably possible, jurisdictions in which the person
has resided during that period. The court may hold open the
record of the probable cause hearing for up to
twenty-four hours to receive the these
reports and based on these reports and other information
introduced at the probable cause hearing, the court may order
expedited placement of the child in the home of the relative.
Nothing in this section precludes the department from requesting
or the court from ordering pursuant to the department's request
either a full study of the individual's home before placement or
the licensing or approval of the individual's home before
(B) If the court orders expedited placement of the child with a grandparent or other relative of the first or second degree, the individual must be added as a party to the action for the duration of the case or until further order of the court."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
We have had numerous requests for
signs to advertise this new bill. In response, here is a
link to a file you can download and print:
Passed by the General Assembly on June 15, 2010
6/24/2010 Signed By Governor
(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;”
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Ratified the 21st day of June, 2010.
Approved the 24th day of June, 2010.