Filing your South Carolina stepparent adoption doesn’t have to be difficult.


Prior to filing your Petition for adoption, you must have been a bona fide resident of this state for six months prior to the filing of the petition, which must be stated in the complaint and proved at the final hearing (Drivers License, etc.). If both parties currently reside in the state, then there is no time period required.


If you have minor children living with your spouse in another state for over six months then you should consider filing in that state as that court has jurisdiction over the children. You spouse can waive that jurisdiction in writing.


You should file the adoption in the county in which your spouse lives, or in the county that you both lived in when you separated, or in your county if your spouse lives out of state. You or your spouse must have a South Carolina address in the county of filing. South Carolina civilian residents living overseas may file in South Carolina if they have maintained their residency in South Carolina.


The grounds which typically justify the termination of parental rights in a stepparent adoption involve abandonment, failure to support the child, imprisonment, certain abuse, and other grounds. The grounds for the termination of parental rights is different for each state, but all states accept the grounds of abandonment and lack of support, and some states include other grounds.


In South Carolina, the absent parent has given implied consent to adoption or relinquishment pursuant to Section 26-10A-9 as outlined below:


  1. The absent parent has abandoned the adoptee, failing to offer financial and/or emotional support for a period over 6 months from the filing of this petition.
  2. The absent parent has knowingly left the adoptee with the other parent without provisions for support and without communication, or otherwise maintaining a significant parental relationship with the adoptee for a period of over 6 months from the filing of this petition.
  3. The natural father failed to comply with Section 26-10C-1, which deals with the putative father.


Most states do not have any provisions for the visitation rights of the parent losing parental rights, or the grandparents associated with that parent. There are some states which will recognize agreements for visitation by the parenting losing their parental rights, but this is typically up to the discretion of the adopting parents.


Our documents are for the entire State of South Carolina .


You must file the adoption documents in the Family Court in the county in wich you are filing. Some court addresses for larger counties are as follows:


Richland County Family Court: PO Box 2766, 1701 Main Street, Rm 205, Columbia, SC 29202 Phone: (803) 576-1999 Fax: (803) 748-5039


Lexington County Family Court: 205 East Main Street, Suite 146, Lexington, SC 29072-3599 Phone: (803) 785-8212 Fax: (803) 785-8314


Charleston County Family Court: 100 Broad Street Suite 106, Charleston, SC 29401-2258 Phone: (843) 958-4400 Fax: (843) 958-4434


Beaufort County Family Court: PO Box 1128, 102 Ribaut Road, Rm. 208, Beaufort, SC 29901-1128 Phone: (843) 470-5218 Fax: (843) 470-5248


Dorchester County Family Court: 101 Ridge Street, St. George, SC 29477 Phone: (843) 563-0121 Fax: (843) 563-0178


York County Family Court: PO Box 649, 1675 -1G York Highway, York, SC 29745 Phone: (803) 628-3036 Fax: (803) 628-3133


Greenville County Family Court: 305 E. North Street, Greenville, SC 29601-2120 Phone: (864) 467-8551 Fax: (864) 467-8540 Email:


Florence County Family Court:180 N. Irby St., Florence, SC 29501-3456 Phone: (843) 665-3031 Fax: (843) 665-3097


Horry County Family Court: PO Box 677, 1301 2nd Avenue, Conway, SC 29528 Phone: (843) 915-5080 Fax: (843) 915-6081


Georgetown County Family Court: 129 Screven Street, Suite 221, Georgetown, SC 29442 Phone: (843) 545-3046 Fax: (843) 545-3294


The court filing fees for a adoption in South Carolina is $0.00 (No Fee). The publication fee is approximately $65.


There may also be a home study fee that is paid later in the adoption process. Check with your local court for the fee, if any, that may be associated with the home study.


You may call the Clerk of the Court in your county to determine the exact fees in your county.


In many stepparent adoption, the absent parent may be willing to sign a consent form which consents to the termination of their parental rights and consents to the adoption. If the absent parent is willing to sign a consent this will make the process a little easier because the court will know from the beginning that all parties agree to the stepparent adoption. Many of our adoption customers don’t know the whereabouts of the other parent, or the other parent has such a disinterest that he/she just won’t sign any documents. In this situation, you will file the adoption documents and then serve the absent parent in the following manner:


1. Whereabouts of the other parent is UNKNOWN:
If you are unable to locate the absent parent after a diligent search then you can serve the parent by publication. This means that a notice is published in a local legal publication. Typically the notice is published once a week for 4 weeks. The publication fee for the newspaper averages around $85, but varies depending on where you live. Upon the filing of the Affidavit the clerk shall direct that service of notice be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the complaint is filed. We provide all the required documents for service by publication.


2.The parent just won’t sign, but grounds exist for the adoption: If you know the whereabouts of the other parent, but that parent won’t sign due to disinterest, you can have that parent served by the Sheriff’s department or a private process server. This can be done even if the other parent is incarcerated in jail or a federal prison.


Go to our questionnaire and get started today.


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