February 12, 2014
by Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director, National Parents Organization

In a bold move, National Parents Organization of South Carolina introduces National Parents Organization shared parenting model legislation. South Carolina is the latest state to join National Parents Organization. It is also the first state to take our recently developed model shared parenting legislation and work with a legislator to introduce some of the language and ideas. While it stops short of a presumption of shared parenting, it does introduce shared parenting to South Carolina family law and provide it as an additional option.

Senator Katrina Frye Shealy (R-23), the only woman in the South Carolina senate, is the lead sponsor for S. 905, Child Custody Orders. She is joined by Senators Ross Turner (R-8), Shane R. Martin (R-13), and Lee Bright (R-12). The bill is now in the Judiciary Committee.

If you are a South Carolina member, now is the time to join our South Carolina Affiliate and Chair Joe Carter. Please contact him to learn how you can educate your legislator about why your children and every child in South Carolina needs shared parenting.

In addition to adding that the court must consider a child’s preference in determining custody orders and that the court shall provide mediation services, at no additional costs to the parents, the dramatic addition is the shared parenting definition. Current South Carolina law already states that, “the court shall state its determination as to custody and shall state its reasoning for that decision.”

SECTION  7.  Section 63-15-230 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

"Section 63-15-230.  (A)  The court shall make the final custody determination in the best interest of the child based upon the evidence presented.

(B)  The court may award joint custody or shared custody to both parents or sole custody to either parent.

(C)  If custody is contested or if either parent seeks an award of joint custody or shared custody, the court shall consider all custody options, including, but not limited to, joint custody or shared custody, and, in its final order, the court shall state its determination as to custody and shall state its reasoning for that decision.

(D)  Notwithstanding the custody determination, the court may allocate parenting time in the best interest of the child."

In addition, S 905 succeeds in defining shared parenting by adding to Section 63-15-210:

(3) ‘Shared custody’ means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities and share, in the manner set forth in the shared parenting plan approved by the court, the major decisions concerning the child and all or part of the physical and legal care of a child. A child must spend an equal amount of parenting time or not less than thirty‑five percent of custody time with each parent.

National Parents Organization Model Legislation Committee headed by Curtis Vandermolen, member, Executive Committee, National Parents Organization of California, have written model legislation for shared parenting, temporary custody orders, child support guidelines, military custody, move-aways, parenting time enforcement, and paternity fraud. It continues to work on alimony and other issues.

To explain these issues to legislators the Model Legislation committee is working on talking points on all model legislation. Here are two of the talking points they developed, and all of us may use. One is on National Parents Organization and the other on Shared Parenting.

#Sharedparenting, #SenatorKatrinaFryeShealy, #SenatorRossTurner, #SenatorShaneMartin, #SenatorLeeBright, #SouthCarolina, #Mediation

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