A bill prefiled in the South Carolina legislature would give grandparents and other immediate family members a higher priority in child custody cases.
Rep. Rita Allison (R-Spartanburg) has sponsored a bill that would change how family courts determine the fate of children who no longer have a parent to take care of them. The legislation would require the courts to give priority to grandparents and other family members in an adoption case.
In South Carolina, the only priorities in child custody cases right now is the child’s preference and if the person or agency has a similar religious background. Theoretically, if a child’s parents die or are jailed, family members would be considered equals in family court with any other qualified candidate who wanted the child.
Allison says she’s heard from several grandparents concerned about the current laws for family court.
Let’s just say there was somebody else who wanted to adopt the children, grandparents wouldn’t have any more priority than… a stranger to the child.
Family members would still have to meet the same requirements to qualify. Allison did not say if she knew of any instance where a qualified family member was not able to get custody of the child under current law, however.
Allison said she thinks the bill will have no trouble making it to a vote.
Usually, in any type of legislation, you will have some kickback with it. So far, we haven’t. I do expect it to move rather quickly through the system.
The bill heads to the House of Representative’s judiciary committee.