Archive for the ‘South Carolina Specific’ Category

Why family law in South Carolina is so underdeveloped

South Carolina family law attorneys frequently complain about the random nature of family court. A large part of the reason for this “randomness” is that South Carolina family law invests so much discretion in family court judges. The one area of family law in which judges have little discretion–setting child support–is the most predicable aspect […]

Common law marriage is still marriage

I am amazed at the number of folks contacting my office who have inadvertently gotten themselves married via common law marriage. I am also amazed at the folks who ask how they can get common law married because they don’t want to go through the trouble or expense of a ceremonial marriage. Such questions or […]

Stopping case dismissal under the 365 day rule when the other party won’t mediate

Within the past few years the South Carolina Supreme Court has promulgated one rule in which family court cases are dismissed if no final hearing is requested within 365 days of the date the action is filed and another rule in which cases need to be mediated in most counties (including all three local countries: […]

Court of Appeals reverses termination of parental rights because child not eligible for adoption

The May 12, 2015 Court of Appeals opinion in SCDSS v. Williams reverses the family court’s decision to terminate Mother’s parental rights to her daughter because Child was not eligible for adoption and therefore the termination was not in Child’s best interests. In Williams, Child came into emergency protective custody in September 2010 after she […]

South Carolina Supreme Court promulgates new rule for appointing mediators in family court

An August 27, 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court order requires dismissal of family court actions if they are not resolved or set for trial within 365 days of filing. A March 14, 2013 Supreme Court order made most local counties subject to mandatory mediation before family court cases will be set for a contested trial. Together, […]

What aspects of family law require personal jurisdiction over the Defendant?

Two areas of family law do not require personal jurisdiction over the Defendant but only require in rem jurisdiction. Those areas are divorce [S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-30] and child custody [S.C. Code Ann. § 63-15-330]. For these matters, a Plaintiff can file the action in South Carolina even if there is no personal jurisdiction […]

How does retirement affect alimony?

In 2012 South Carolina amended the alimony modification statute, S.C. Code § 20-3-170(B), to include specific factors for the family court to consider on whether to modify or terminate alimony when a supporting spouse retires. Those factors are: (1) whether retirement was contemplated when alimony was awarded; (2) the age of the supporting spouse; (3) […]

What ever happened to comity?

I am beginning to pity the South Carolina Court of Appeals. For the third time in less than two months the South Carolina Supreme Court has directed the Court of Appeals to depublish one of its opinions–this time on April 9, 2015 in the case of State v. Starks, 410 S.C. 580, 765 S.E.2d 148 (Ct. […]