Whose signatures are needed for family court consent orders?

Posted Thursday, November 3rd, 2022 by Gregory Forman
Filed under Family Court Procedure, Of Interest to Family Court Litigants, Of Interest to Family Law Attorneys, South Carolina Specific

In the pre-COVID days, one could typically get temporary orders approved with just the attorneys’ signatures and could almost always get procedural orders approved with just the attorneys’ signatures.  The apparently final rule issued by the South Carolina Supreme Court on the operation of trial courts during the COVID era changed these rules and creates some ambiguity.

That January 28, 2022 order has separate subsections addressing temporary orders and procedural orders.  I know some of my colleagues are unaware of these provisions of the order and even I find it confusing on whose consent is needed.

Subsection i(2) reads, “Approval of Agreements and Consent Orders Regarding Temporary Relief Without a Hearing.  Based on the consent of the parties, temporary orders, including but not limited to those relating to child custody, child support, visitation, and alimony, may, in the discretion of the family court judge, be issued without a hearing.  Any proposed order or agreement must be signed by the parties, counsel for the parties, and the guardian ad litem, if one has been appointed, and may be submitted and issued without the necessity of filing supporting affidavits, financial declarations or written testimony.

Subsection i(4) reads, “Consent Orders Regarding Procedural Matters.  With the consent of the parties, a consent order relating to discovery, the appointment of counsel or a guardian ad litem (including the fees for, or the relief of, a counsel or a guardian ad litem) or any other procedural matter may, in the discretion of the family court judge, be issued without requiring a hearing.”

Clearly, the parties’ signatures are needed for approval of temporary orders or agreements resolving rules to show cause.  I don’t read subsection i(4) as requiring parties’ signatures for consent orders on procedural matters but at least some judges are requiring it.  Also unclear is whether a guardian’s consent is needed on procedural orders that don’t involve the guardian.

2 thoughts on Whose signatures are needed for family court consent orders?

  1. Guy Vitetta says:

    Clearly written by government scribes who have never had to run a law practice.

    1. Sally Watts says:

      Agreed. I am a paralegal now having to chase down signatures from 4-6 parties for a Consent Order to Substitute Counsel, and all it seems to do is create a week of unnecessary limbo and delay for the new client and the attorneys.

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