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How Does the South Carolina Family Court Work?

The South Carolina Family Court was established in 1976. The court is responsible for overseeing all matters involving domestic or family relationships. Generally, Family Court rulings are either based on negotiation (when the parties reach an agreement) or litigation (both parties go to trial and have the court decide). In either case, the decision must be approved during a court hearing.

Generally, the functions of the South Carolina family court include the following:

  • Enforcement of child support and periodic alimony
  • Enforcement of temporary relief
  • Enforcement of visitation
  • Different types of hearing, including detention hearing, waiver hearing, adjudicatory hearing, and dispositional hearing
  • Enforcement of agreement or settlement in litigation
  • Divorce settlement

The South Carolina Family Court has exclusive jurisdiction over child abandonment, child neglect, and children beyond their parents’ or custodians’ control. Therefore, the court has the sole authority to hear all cases involving but not limited to:

  • Legal separation
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Visitation rights
  • Adoption
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Division of marital property and change of name

The Family Court also has exclusive jurisdiction over cases of minors below the age of 17 alleged to have violated any local or state law or municipal ordinance. Such juvenile delinquency cases may also be handled by the Magistrates Courts or Municipal Courts, depending on the offense. A summary court may try juvenile traffic cases, fish and game, and watercraft violations. Note, certain criminal cases are transferred to the South Carolina Circuit Court for the prosecution of a juvenile as an adult.

Family courts also hold trials for juvenile traffic offenders. It has jurisdiction over the treatment and commitment of children with serious mental health issues. However, this jurisdiction is limited to the extent that it conflicts with the South Carolina Probate Court jurisdiction over mental health cases.

According to § 2–19–80 of South Carolina Code of Laws Unannotated, family court judges are elected by a joint public vote of the houses of the General Assembly. Additionally, the Judicial Merit Selection Commission screens the Family Court candidates before the General Assembly election. The required number of South Carolina family court judges in each of the sixteen circuits differs. § 63–3–40 outlines the number for each judicial circuit. Altogether, there are about 69 family court judges in South Carolina.

By the South Carolina Code of Laws, family court judges are elected for a six-year term until a successor is elected. The term of all family court judges expires on the thirtieth day of June in the final year. The judges are rotated from county to county within a single circuit. Sometimes, the Supreme Court Chief Justice may assign family court judges to other circuits when there is a caseload requirement.

When a judge’s position becomes vacant, it is filled by an election of the General Assembly. However, if the vacancy occurs when the General Assembly is not in session, the Governor of South Carolina appoints a family court judge to serve until the General Assembly convenes. The General Assembly then elects a replacement for the temporary family court judge within thirty days after convening.

South Carolina Family Courts are divided into the same Judicial districts as the Circuit Courts. Each judicial circuit has several counties, ranging from two to four. These are the family courts and their locations:

Abbeville County

Abbeville County Family Court

Abbeville County Courthouse

102 Court Square, Room 103

PO Box 99, Abbeville, SC 29620

Phone: 864–366–5312 ext. 2204

Fax: 864–366–9188

Aiken County

Aiken County Family Court

Judicial Center

109 Park Avenue SE

PO Box 3047, Aiken, SC 29802

Phone: 803–642–1715

Fax: 803–642–1718

Allendale County

Allendale County Family Court

Allendale County Courthouse

292 Barnwell Highway

PO Box 126, Allendale, SC 29810

Phone: 803–584–2737

Fax: 803–584–7046

Anderson County

Anderson County Family Court

100 S Main Street

PO Box 8002, Anderson, SC 29622

Phone: 864–260–4053

Fax: 864–260–4715

Bamberg County

Bamberg County Family Court

2959 Main Highway

PO Box 150, Bamberg, SC 29003

Phone: 803–245–3025

Fax: 803–245–3088

Barnwell County

Barnwell County Family Court

Barnwell County Courthouse

141 Main Street

PO Box 723, Barnwell, SC 29812

Phone: 803–541–1114

Fax: 803–259–7496

Beaufort County

Beaufort County Family Court

102 Ribaut Road, Room 119

PO Box 1124, Beaufort, SC 29901

Phone: 843–255–5660

Fax: 843–255–9421

Berkeley County

Berkeley County Family Court

300-B California Avenue

PO Box 219, Moncks Corner, SC 29461

Phone: 843–719–4500

Fax: 843–719–4509

Calhoun County

Calhoun County Family Court

Calhoun County Courthouse

902 F. R. Huff Drive

PO Box 709, St. Matthews, SC 29135

Phone: 803–874–3524

Fax: 803–874–1942

Charleston County

Charleston County Family Court

Judicial Center

100 Broad Street, Suite 143, Charleston, SC 29401

Phone: 843–958–4400

Fax: 843–958–4434

Cherokee County

Cherokee County Family Court

125 East Floyd Baker Blvd

PO Box 2289, Gaffney, SC 29342

Phone: 864–487–2571

Fax: 864–487–2754

Chester County

Chester County Family Court

126 Wylie Street

PO Box 580, Chester, SC 29706

Phone: 803–377–7156

Fax: 855–932–2202

Chesterfield County

Chesterfield County Family Court

Chesterfield County Courthouse

200 West Main Street

PO Box 529, Chesterfield, SC 29709

Phone: 843–623–6301

Fax: 843–623–6944

Clarendon County

Clarendon County Family Court

102 South Mill Street

PO Box 490, Manning, SC 29102

Phone: 803–435–4210

Fax: 803–433–8008

Colleton County

Colleton County Family Court

101 Hampton Street

PO Box 620, Walterboro, SC 29488

Phone: 843–549–2870

Fax: 843–549–7740

Darlington County

Darlington County Family Court

1 Public Square

Room B–4, Darlington, SC 29532

Phone: 843–398–4333

Fax: 843–393–6871

Dillon County

Dillon County Family Court

301 West Main Street

PO Drawer 1220, Dillon, SC 29536

Phone: 843–774–1425

Fax: 843–774–3706

Dorchester County

Dorchester County Family Court

Troy Knight Judicial Complex

212 Deming Way

PO Box 1885, Summerville, SC 29484

Phone: 843–563–0360

Fax: 843–832–0359

Edgefield County

Edgefield County Family Court

129 Courthouse Square

PO Box 34, Edgefield, SC 29824

Phone: 803–637–4081

Fax: 803–637–4056

Fairfield County

Fairfield County Family Court

Fairfield County Courthouse

101 South Congress Street

PO Drawer 299, Winnsboro, SC 29180

Phone: 803–712–6528

Fax: 803–712–1478

Florence County

Florence County Family Court

City-County Complex

180 North Irby Street, Florence, SC 29501

Phone: 843–665–3096

Fax: 843–662–6165

Georgetown County

Georgetown County Family Court

401 Cleland Street, Room 115

PO Box 479, Georgetown, SC 29442

Phone: 843–545–3046

Fax: 843–545–3294

Greenville County

Greenville County Family Court

301 University Ridge

PO Box 757, Greenville, SC 29602

Phone: 864–467–5800

Fax: 864–467–5856

Greenwood County

Greenwood County Family Court

Greenwood County Courthouse

528 Monument Street

Room 114, Greenwood, SC 29646

Phone: 864–942–8611

Fax: 864–942–8693

Hampton County

Hampton County Family Court

Hampton County Courthouse

1 Courthouse Square

PO Box 7, Hampton, SC 29924

Phone: 803–914–2250

Fax: 803–914–2258

Horry County

Horry County Family Court

Government & Justice Center

1301 2nd Avenue

PO Box 677, Conway, SC 29528

Phone: 843–915–5080

Fax: 843–915–6081

Jasper County

Jasper County Family Court

265 Russell Street

PO Box 248, Ridgeland, SC 29936

Phone: 843–726–7710

Fax: 843–726–7782

Kershaw County

Kershaw County Family Court

Kershaw County Courthouse

1121 Broad Street, Room 213

PO Box 1557, Camden, SC 29021

Phone: 803–425–7225

Fax: 803–425–1527

Lancaster County

Lancaster County Family Court

Lancaster County Courthouse

104 North Main Street, Lancaster, SC 29720

Phone: 803–285–6961

Laurens County

Laurens County Family Court

100 Hillcrest Square, Suite B

PO Box 287, Laurens, SC 29360

Phone: 984–353–8

Fax: 864–984–7023

Lee County

Lee County Family Court

123 South Main Street

PO Box 387, Bishopville, SC 29010

Phone: 803–484–5341

Fax: 803–484–1632

Lexington County

Lexington County Family Court

205 East Main Street, Lexington, SC 29072

Phone: 803–785–8212

Fax: 803–785–2215

Marion County

Marion County Family Court

100 West Court Street

PO Box 295, Marion, SC 29571

Phone: 843–423–8240

Fax: 843–423–8242

Marlboro County

Marlboro County Family Court

Marlboro County Courthouse

105 Main Street

PO Drawer 996, Bennettsville, SC 29512

Phone: 843–479–5613

Fax: 843–479–5640

McCormick County

McCormick County Family Court

133 South Mine Street

Room 102, McCormick, SC 29835

Phone: 864–852–2195

Fax: 864–852–0071

Newberry County

Newberry County Family Court

Newberry County Courthouse

1226 College Street

PO Drawer 10, Newberry, SC 29108

Phone: 803–321–2110

Fax: 803–321–2111

Oconee County

Oconee County Family Court

205 West Main Street

PO Box 678, Walhalla, SC 29691

Phone: 864–638–4280

Fax: 864–638–4282

Orangeburg County

Orangeburg County Family Court

151 Docket Street

PO Box 9000, Orangeburg, SC 29116

Phone: 803–533–6260

Fax: 803–534–3848

Pickens County

Pickens County Family Court

214 East Main Street

PO Box 215, Pickens, SC 29671

Phone: 864–898–5598

Fax: 864–898–5863

Richland County

Richland County Family Court

Richland County Judicial Center

1701 Main Street, Room 205

PO Box 2766, Columbia, SC 29202

Phone: 803–576–1950

Fax: 803–576–1785

Saluda County

Saluda County Family Court

Saluda County Courthouse

100 East Church Street

Suite 6, Saluda, SC 29138

Phone: 864–445–4500

Fax: 864–445–3772

Spartanburg County

Spartanburg County Family Court

Spartanburg County Courthouse

180 Magnolia Street, Suite 500

PO Box 5666, Spartanburg, SC 29304

Phone: 864–596–2591

Fax: 864–596–2128

Sumter County

Sumter County Family Court

Sumter County Judicial Center

215 North Harvin Street, Sumter, SC 29150

Phone: 803–436–2366

Fax: 803–774–2814

Union County

Union County Family Court

Union County Courthouse

210 West Main Street, Union, SC 29379

Phone: 864–429–1630

Williamsburg County

Williamsburg County Family Court

147 West Main Street, Kingstree, SC 29556

Phone: 843–355–9321 (Ext.6100)

Fax: 843–355–1586

York County

York County Circuit Court - General Sessions (Criminal)

Moss Justice Center

1675 York Highway, Suite 1G

PO Box 649, York, SC 29745

Phone: 803–628–3036

Fax: 803–628–3133

Interested persons may obtain family court records from the South Carolina State Document Depository. The depository provides a list of the cases in domestic relations courts and juvenile courts in South Carolina for the various circuits and counties. The repository also provides family court reports containing information about the age of cases, number of cases added and disposed of, and the benchmark progress.

Alternatively, interested persons may request for South Carolina family court records from the South Carolina State Document Depository by sending a mail containing personal information and the details of the relevant record to:

South Carolina State Library,

1500, Senate Street,


South Carolina 29201

For online requests, visit the South Carolina State Library website. All information on the website is certified by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History (SCDAH). The South Carolina State Library provides links for each of the family court records in the depository. The links provide access to downloadable family court documents.

Walk-in requests may be made at the office of the family court clerk for South Carolina family court records. To find the location of a South Carolina Family Court, visit the relevant county’s family court website. The sites also provide contact information for the courts. Most clerks receive requests made in-person, online, by fax, or telephone.

For instance, Charleston County allows visitation to the family court clerks’ office on Mondays to Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For online requests, visit Charleston County’s website. To access information on the site, provide some or all of the following;

  • Year in question
  • Court location
  • Case number
  • Full or partial part name
  • Case type
  • Filling date
  • Satisfaction date

Note, most Family Court records are considered confidential and are not available for public inspection. Examples of such documents include juvenile delinquency records, documents about the termination of parental rights, adoption, abuse and neglect, and any other sealed records. The SCDAH regulates available information, and requirements for accessing that information may vary depending on the county involved. South Carolina family court cases may last years in the court, depending on the circumstances.

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