If the parents of the child were not married at the time of the child’s birth, the child is effectively born without a legal father. Unmarried parents of a child must establish parentage by either: 1) A court order or; 2) by signing a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP). Unmarried Parent Custody Rights Parentage Action in Sonoma County General consideration in custody proceeding of parent's military service (S.C. Code Ann. § 63-15-512) Custody actions can be filed independently or as part of a divorce action in South Carolina. The standard applied in all custody actions is "the best interests of the child." Child Custody in South Carolina. Either parent can file a custody case with the family court in South Carolina if both parents live in the state. If a parent has recently moved to South Carolina, the child in question must have lived in South Carolina for six months before a custody case regarding that child can be filed there. This act was updated by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act in 1997, which South Carolina also adopted. Joint Custody: South Carolina does permit joint custody, where both parents share in the custody and care of the child. The joint custody law was enacted in 2012, so is still relatively new to the state.