Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina Court of Appeals’

Patterns in 2016 Published South Carolina Family Court opinions

For the past six years I’ve done an annual recap of the prior year’s South Carolina published family court appeals. It’s an opportunity for me to observe patterns that I may not have observed in reviewing each published opinion discretely and shortly after its release. After a slow start (two published opinions in the first […]

Insufficient guardian investigation causes Court of Appeals to reverse termination of parental rights

The December 30, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in SCDSS v. Nelson reversed the termination of Mother’s parental rights primarily because the guardian ad litem had conducted an insufficient investigation. In Nelson, DSS removed Mother’s three children in September 2013 because she was living with her sister in a roach-infested home without running water, lights, […]

Court of Appeals holds order from bifurcated trial finding common law marriage is not immediately appealable

The issue of what family court orders are immediately appealable can be confusing.  Sometimes final orders need to be appealed immediately, even if that order does not end the case. For example, orders from contempt actions need to be appealed immediately even if the case is ongoing. Arnal v. Arnal, 363 S.C. 268, 609 S.E.2d 821, […]

Wife’s lack of corroborating evidence mostly dooms her appeal

In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story “Adventure of the Silver Blaze,” Sherlock Holmes deduces the identity of the thief, in part, by noting that a dog did not bark, indicating the thief was no stranger. Holmes understood that the absence of evidence can be as telling as evidence itself. This is often true in […]

Court of Appeals vacates removal and TPR orders due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction

In the October 10, 2016 opinion in SCDSS v. Tran, 792 S.E.2d 254 (S.C.App. 2016), the South Carolina Court of Appeals vacated the family court’s removal order and termination of parental rights order, finding that DSS had failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. Initially I thought the Court of Appeals was correct–even […]

Five years of litigation, all for naught

Pity poor Lori Stoney, a fellow member of the Charleston County family court bar, and the appellant in the July 27, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in Stoney v. Stoney, 417 S.C. 345, 790 S.E.2d 31 (Ct. App. 2016).  After waiting over 20 months from oral argument to the decision, the Court of Appeals simply […]

Court of Appeals partially reduces Husband’s alimony reduction in case Husband probably wishes he never filed

One of my harder tasks practicing family law in South Carolina is advising ex-spouses with alimony obligations whether and how much their obligation might change based on reduced income. The July 27, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in Woods v. Woods, 790 S.E.2d 906 (S.C. App. 2016) does not provide additional clarity on this topic. […]

On the same day two separate Court of Appeals panels reverse transmutation findings

On July 13, 2016, the Court of Appeals published two opinions in which the primary issue on appeal was transmutation–the almost alchemical process by which non-marital property turns into marital property: Taylor-Cracraft v. Cracraft, 417 S.C. 570, 790 S.E.2d 423  (Ct. App. 2016), and McMillan v. McMillan, 417 S.C. 583 790 S.E.2d 216 (Ct. App. 2016). In both […]