FAMILY COURT FAQ
1. How long does a divorce take in South Carolina?
Divorce proceedings in recent years are moving a lot more quickly than in past years, even with COVID. Generally, all marital litigation must be completed within one year of the date of filing. Because we now have mandatory mediation of almost all Family Court cases, and because mediation is 80-90% in settling cases, most Family Court litigation is resolved within the first 6 to 9 months.
2. How do South Carolina Courts split up property in a divorce?
Generally, the Court starts with a 50/50 presumption, and then depending upon superior contributions of time, money and assets, or exceptional waste and incurrence of debt, the scale might tip one way or the other.
3. How do Courts determine who gets custody of children in a divorce in South Carolina?
The most important consideration is which parent has been the primary caretaker up until the time the parties separated. Usually, this is the Mother. However, in recent years the Family Court Judges have also recognized how important the Father is in a child’s life and equal, joint custody arrangements are becoming more and more frequent. Fathers are stepping up to the plate and the Family Court system is supportive of this.
4. Who determines how much visitation is reasonable and fair?
Whenever there is any dispute about the terms of custody and visitation, South Carolina Law requires appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem. This Guardian interviews both parents, their respective witnesses, and does home visits and school visits. Generally the Guardian can help the parties reach an agreement upon a visitation schedule, but if the parties can’t agree, the Guardian reports to the Court and the parties his or her findings and the Judge makes that decision.
PERSONAL INJURY FAQ
1. Can I settle my own case with the adjuster, if somebody has rear ended me in a wreck?
Yes, you certainly can but that adjuster is not your friend and hiring a lawyer to help you will more than justify the contingency fee of 33% of the settlement. A lawyer can put a settlement package together in the most favorable light for the client, and, let’s face it, an adjuster will pay more attention to a lawyer.
2. I keep telling the doctor that my shoulder hurts, and he will not authorize an MRI. What can I do?
I have often found that significant injuries are overlooked in the weeks or even months after a wreck, and it is only sometimes 6 to 9 months after a wreck, when the nagging pain won’t go away, that it finally is addressed by medical professionals. A lawyer, as an advocate for you, the client and patient, can urge your doctor to use more extensive (and expensive) diagnostic procedures sooner, getting to the root of the problem and getting you medical help sooner, and quicker relief from the pain.
3. What is the best way to quantify the pain and suffering in settling a wreck case claim or even trying it to the jury?
I advise clients to keep a daily log of how and where they hurt, and the things that the pain and limitation in motion is stopping them from doing in their everyday activities. You think when you’re going through this recovery time, especially immediately after the wreck, that you will never forget it, but you do. If you write it down, in vivid detail, it makes an impact with the adjuster, or the jury.
4. I slipped and fell on a wet floor in the grocery store. Do I have a case?
Probably. It depends on a lot of factors. Was the floor wet from mopping by a store employee, or had a customer spilt water from his bottler? Act quickly after a slip and fall injury to get the facts established. Hire a lawyer promptly.