Emery v. Smith, 361 S.C. 207, 603 S.E.2d 598 (Ct.App.2004), is a published September 2004 opinion from the South Carolina Court of Appeals.  I was retained to defend an appeal of a family court order requiring Mr. Smith to reimburse his ex-wife (my client) for her 25% share of his military retirement benefits that he had failed to pay her over an approximate ten-year period.  At trial in the family court, Mr. Smith had argued that laches barred Ms. Emery’s claim but the family court rejected this defense.  Mr. Smith raised the same defense on appeal.

The Court of Appeals again rejected Mr. Smith’s laches defense and held in Ms. Emery’s favor.  It found that his failure to notice his ex-wife of his retirement, as required under the parties’ order, barred his laches claim.  Because Ms. Emery would not know of her entitlement to retirement benefits until she was informed by Mr. Smith of his retirement, the Court of Appeals found that any delay in enforcing her rights to this retirement was Mr. Smith’s doing, and thus the delay was not unreasonable on her part.

This appeal was part of my inspiration for the lecture The Laches Defense in Family Court.

Put Mr. Forman’s experience, knowledge, and dedication to your service for any of your South Carolina family law needs.

Recent Blog Posts

Before she was the Notorious RBG

I try to keep my politics out of my legal blog and, in the week since United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader

[ + ] Read More

Court of Appeals rejects father’s numerous challenges to custody and support modification decision

The August 26, 2020 Court of Appeals case of Whitesell v. Whitesell finds the Appellant making numerous legal arguments, a few of them

[ + ] Read More

Court of Appeals reopens equitable distribution due to “fraud upon the court”

The August 26, 2020, Court of Appeals opinion in Sanders v. Smith presents an unusual resolution of a Rule 60 motion. Husband filed

[ + ] Read More