South Carolina state court system

Understanding how the system of South Carolina state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.

South Carolina Courts Overview

To make your work easier, start searching for court records in South Carolina by simply going to courts by county.

The trial court system of South Carolina State consists of Municipal Courts, Magistrate Courts, Probate Courts, Family Courts, and Circuit Courts.

Circuit Courts

South Carolina Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction to handle all types of cases, but usually handle only those cases that other courts have no jurisdiction over. These are divided into the Court of General Sessions division that handle criminal case and the Court of Common Pleas divisions that handle civil cases.

Typical criminal cases that the General Sessions division handles include some misdemeanors and felonies. They may also handle first offense charges connected to domestic violence.

Typical civil cases that Circuit Courts handle include many general civil claims with more than $7,500. Circuit Courts may have Business Court divisions for handling certain complex commercial or business cases. These courts also handle some cases related to domestic violence, including divorce, annulments, and related child support, child custody and alimony cases.

Family Courts

These courts have jurisdiction to handle some mental health cases, most juvenile cases, most protection orders of domestic violence, and most domestic relations. Cases generally handled by these courts include name damages, adoption, guardianship of a minor, termination of parental rights, foster care, domestic abuse protection orders, division of marital property, alimony, child support, child visitation, child custody, annulment, legal separation, and divorce.

Family Courts have limited jurisdiction over child abandonment, child neglect, most cases that involve juvenile suspected to have violated municipal, local or state law, and children beyond the control of their custodian or parent.

Probate Courts

These courts generally handle involuntary commitments, conservatorships, guardianships, and probate matters including trusts and estate. Probate Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over many types of cases, including cases requesting the approval of settlements of claim with less than $10,000 against or in favor of an incapacitated person or a minor, and cases involving the power of attorney.

Probate Courts also share jurisdiction with Family Courts over some types of cases, including some marital agreements, common-law marriage, and paternity.

Magistrates Courts

These courts have jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. General criminal cases that these courts handle include preliminary hearings for criminal cases punishable by short terms of incarceration or limited fines and most criminal cases. Typical cases heard by these courts include shoplifting, fraudulent checks, domestic violence, theft involving less than $1000, some cases involving battery, assault or breach of peace, false pretenses, traffic law violations and fish and game law violations.

Civil cases typically handled by these courts include many general civil claims with less than $75000, including damages to personal or real property, contract claims, and forfeitures of fines or penalties.

Municipal Courts

South Carolina Municipal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. In some towns and cities, Magistrate Courts handle municipal ordinances.

Criminal cases generally heard by these courts include certain criminal offenses, traffic violations and other municipal violations. The Municipal Court in the City of Orangeburg has limited jurisdiction to handle first-offense domestic violence cases.

Municipal Courts cannot handle civil cases. Family Courts share jurisdiction with Municipal Courts to handle watercraft ordinances, and traffic or juvenile violations.

The Official Website of South Carolina County

Columbia :: Welcome to the City of Columbia ::
Charleston Charleston, SC – Official Website The Official Website For The City of Charleston, South Carolina
North Charleston City of North Charleston, SC
Mount Pleasant Mount Pleasant, SC – Official Website
Rock Hill Rock Hill, SC
Greenville Greenville, SC – Official Website Official homepage for the city of Greenville, South Carolina
Summerville Summerville, SC | Official Website
Sumter City of Sumter, SC Official website for the City of Sumter, South Carolina.
Hilton Head Island Town of Hilton Head Island Municipal Government Website The Town of Hilton Head Island Municipal Government Website
Spartanburg City of Spartanburg, South Carolina
Florence City of Florence
Goose Creek Goose Creek
Aiken City of Aiken, SC Government | The official site for the City of Aiken, SC Government
Myrtle Beach Welcome to Myrtle Beach, SC
Anderson City of Anderson SC – Welcome to the City of Anderson!
Greenville County County of Greenville, SC
Richland County Richland County
Charleston County Charleston County Government Welcome to the official website for Charleston County Government. Our Mission is to promote and protect the quality of life in Charleston County by delivering services of value to the community.
Spartanburg County Spartanburg County, SC | Official Website
Horry County Horry County Government
Lexington County County of Lexington
York County York, SC | Official Website
Anderson County Anderson County, S.C.
Berkeley County Berkeley County Government
Aiken County Aiken County Government The Aiken County Government provides many essential and beneficial services to its citizens.
Florence County County of Florence Public website for the County of Florence, South Carolina.
Dorchester County Dorchester County, SC website
Pickens County Pickens County
Sumter County Welcome to Sumter County, SC
Orangeburg County Welcome to Orangeburg County, South Carolina Welcome to Orangeburg County, South Carolina: tax, magistrate, court, police, probate, treasurer, voter registration, public services
Lancaster County Lancaster County, South Carolina Official Website of Lancaster County, South Carolina
Oconee County Oconee County
Greenwood County Greenwood County, SC
Darlington County Welcome to Darlington County, South Carolina
Laurens County Laurens County, South Carolina
Kershaw County Kershaw County, SC Official Kershaw County, South Carolina Government site; includes county officials, government services, community links, and a guide to the community.
Georgetown County Georgetown County South Carolina Government
Chesterfield County Chesterfield County
Colleton County Colleton County, South Carolina
Newberry County Newberry County
Clarendon County Clarendon County Government
Williamsburg County Williamsburg County, SC
Chester County Chester County South Carolina Whether your dream is starting your own business, living in a beautiful rural setting or purchasing an historic home in a town where neighbors still stop and visit as they stroll past, Chester County is the place you have been looking for.
Marion County :: Marion County, SC ::
Dillon County Dillon County
Marlboro County Marlboro County
Edgefield County Edgefield County
Abbeville County Abbeville County, South Carolina
Jasper County Jasper County, SC
Fairfield County Fairfield County, SC