2018 Published Family Court opinions summary

My annual table of the previous year’s published South Carolina family court opinions are below. There were sixteen published opinions in 2018, two of which were slight revisions of opinions first published in 2017. This is much fewer than the number when I started this blog a decade ago but much more than have been published the past few years.

The Supreme Court opinion in Stoney v. Stoney (the fourth published opinion in this case so far–with petitions for certiorari and a possible remand for a new trial creating opportunities for additional published opinions) is the most consequential family court opinion of the past few years. If Lewis v. Lewis did not get the Court of Appeals’ attention on the standard of review, Stoney has. Decisions from family court appeals routinely cite it. The questions one receives in oral argument largely replace concerns over “abuse of discretion” with concerns over “error.” Stoney makes it substantially easier to overturn family court decisions. Family court attorneys familiar with the appellate process are greatly advantaged by Stoney. Family court attorneys who fear appeal may find it harder to sustain their trial victories.

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