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Legal Information: South Carolina

Restraining Orders

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December 8, 2020

What protections can I get in an order of protection?

A temporary order of protection can:

  • order the abuser not to abuse you or threaten to abuse you;
  • order the abuser not to communicate with you or try to communicate with you; and
  • order the abuser to stay away from any place you request including your school, home, child’s day care, or workplace.1

A final order of protection can:

  • order all of the relief stated above; and
  • order the following additional terms:
    • award temporary custody and visitation rights of your children;
    • order your abuser to pay temporary financial support for you and/or your child if you are married or s/he is the legal parent of the child;
    • grant temporary possession of your shared residence even if the respondent owns the home or is the only one on the lease – however, this can only be ordered if the respondent has a legal duty to support you or your children, for example, as your spouse or your child’s other parent;
    • forbid the abuser from selling or getting rid of income, homes, or property you share;
    • order who will get temporary possession of the personal property of the parties, including pets;
    • order the abuser not to harm or harass any pet owned or kept by you, any family member named in the order, or the abuser;
    • order law enforcement to help you remove personal property from the home if the respondent will be staying in the home and you will be leaving it;
    • order the abuser to pay for court costs and your attorney’s fees; and
    • order anything else you ask for that the judge thinks is necessary to keep you safe.2

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

Note: Although the order of protection laws do not specifically say that a judge can prohibit firearm possession as part of your order of protection, South Carolina’s gun laws say that for firearm possession to be illegal, the family court judge must order that the respondent is “prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition.”.3 There are also additional “findings” that the judge must make, as explained on our South Carolina State Gun Laws page. Be sure to specifically ask the judge to include this language in your order if the abuser has a firearm.

1 S.C. Code § 20-4-60(A)
2 S.C. Code § 20-4-60(C)
3 S.C. Code § 16-25-30(A)(4)