South Carolina's Family Courts were established in 1976 with the unified justice system. They are limited jurisdiction trial courts with exclusive jurisdiction over family matters and domestic relations cases. According to S.C. Code Ann. § 63-3-510, Family Courts also "shall have exclusive original jurisdiction and shall be the sole court for initiating action" concerning a child who "is alleged to have violated or attempted to violate any State or local law or municipal ordinance."
The types of cases handled by Family Courts are name changes, legal separations, divorces, termination of parental rights, adoptions, alimony, child support, child custody, visitation rights, the division of marital property and juvenile delinquency issues. If any case begins in Circuit or other Courts and it is discovered that the offender is younger than seventeen, the case and all evidence, documentation, testimony, etc. must be immediately transferred to Family Court to resolve.
Both Magistrate and Municipal Courts have concurrent jurisdiction with Family Courts when trying people under the age of seventeen who commit traffic violations, watercraft violations or fish and game offenses. The state has strict laws about the definitions of criminal acts committed by anyone under the age of seventeen and their rights to be tried as a juvenile.
Each judicial district has at least two Family Court judges. They are elected to term every other year for six-year terms. There are 58 total Family Court judges (including six at-large judges). They rotate between the judicial districts to prevent bias and promote fairness. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court assigns and reassigns them.
All Family Court judges are listed on the South Carolina Judicial Branch website in three different formats. They are listed by the circuit with a search by term, as an alphabetical list and as a roster.