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Is it conscionable for private attorneys to bring child support establishment actions in South Carolina?

Recognizing that the title of this blog is provocative, I still rarely represent mothers seeking to establish child support and actively discourage most mothers from retaining me to do so. Given the preferential treatment such mothers receive when bringing these actions through the Department of Social Services (DSS), it is rare that I can honestly […]

Court of Appeals requires DSS to offer mother more treatment

The August 3, 2015 Court of Appeals opinion in SCDSS v. Briggs reverses a family court determination that the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) did not have to offer Mother further services and creating a permanency plan of termination of parental rights (TPR) or relative placement. In Briggs, on August 2, 2013, Briggs’s […]

Obtaining reimbursement of uncovered medical bills

South Carolina’s child support guidelines include a provision for payment of unreimbursed medical expenses for the children. Per these guidelines: The guidelines are based on the assumption that the parent to whom support is owed will be responsible for up to $250.00 per year per child in uninsured medical expenses. The Schedule of Basic Child […]

A lot of work for $2.35 a month

On July 22, 2015, three and a half years after the Court of Appeals remanded the family court’s increase in an Ex-Wife’s alimony to $1,547.65 per month in the case of Roof v. Steele, 396 S.C. 373, 720 S.E.2d 910 (Ct. App. 2011), the Court of Appeals set the obligation at $1,550 per month. That’s […]

A child custody reversal that should have been published (and remanded rather than reversed)

Child custody determinations are among the hardest family court matters to get reversed on appeal. Because custody decisions are based upon the weight the trial judge places on sixteen listed factors and a seventeenth catch-all factor, and because so much of the weighing of these factors can be based on the judge’s credibility determinations, appellate […]

Misvaluing small personal services businesses

A recent unpublished opinion Court of Appeals opinion, Herring-Wilson v. Wilson, highlights a common fallacy in valuing small personal services businesses for purposes of equitable distribution: treating personal goodwill as marital property. The Court of Appeals reversed a finding that Wife’s business had a value of $603,000 and requiring her to pay Husband half that […]

How to avoid becoming (unwittingly) common-law married

I get frequent calls or emails inquiring how long one can live with a romantic companion before one is common-law married. Often these folks believe there is a set time period (typically seven or ten years) after which cohabitation is presumed to become a common-law marriage. These folks are mistaken. While cohabitation (living together) is […]

Now there’s a third way to become married in South Carolina

I would like to thank Professor Roy T. Stuckey for making me aware of the February 18, 2015 Court of Appeals opinion in Thomas v. 5 Star Transportation, 412 S.C. 1, 770 S.E.2d 183 (Ct. App. 2015). Evidently there is now a third way for folks to become married in South Carolina. Thomas was a […]

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