Merry Christmas and Thank You from UpstateFamilyLawBlog.com

2009 has been a great year and it couldn’t have happened without you! I’m so thankful for my friends, clients, and those I have connected with online this year so I just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know. 2010 is shaping up to be a great year and I’m really looking forward to connecting with you in 2010. If I can do anything for you, please don’t hesitate to let me know and connect with me through this site or on Twitter or Facebook.

I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

What Do You Do When You are Served Divorce Papers in South Carolina

So you have been served with divorce papers by your spouse?  First, let’s define what “being served” really means.  When you are served, your spouse has had someone deliver the papers to you.  South Carolina laws prevent your spouse or his/her attorney from being the people that actually serve you and Rule 4 of the Rules of Civil Procedure govern and determine what proper service is and how service can be made on a defendant.

So, now that you have been delivered your divorce papers, you don’t know what to do.  Well, the first thing you should do is make a note of when you were served the papers.  The date and time will be very important in your divorce case because of strict time lines that apply to both you and your spouse.

The next thing you should do is read the paperwork that is served on you.  Many times in a divorce case the plaintiff’s attorney will request a hearing at the very beginning of the case called a temporary hearing where they will request some specific relief such as child custody, child support an alimony.  The rules only require you to get five days notice of this hearing so you may need to act quickly to schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer in order to have them represent you at the temporary hearing.

The next time line that applies is 30 days.  You have thirty days from the date you are served to file an answer to your spouse’s complaint.  If you are later than 30 days you may be in default and can forfeit some of your rights provided by the law.  Therefore, it is extremely important that you formally respond to the allegations in your spouse’s complaint by filing an “Answer” with the family court and serving that on your spouse and his/her attorney.

I do not recommend that you go it alone in your divorce case.  As soon as your are served with divorce papers, I recommend that you immediately consult with an attorney to learn your rights and to get a game plan.  You may not like the attorney you meet with initially and may want to consult with several attorneys.  If you wait too long and do not leave yourself and your future attorney any time to respond you will lose the opportunity to shop and find the right attorney for you.

How to Calculate Child Support in South Carolina

In theory, the calculation of child support should be very simple.  South Carolina has worked out a calculation found in the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines that calculates child support based on several factors – mainly the parent’s gross income, whether they are under a previous order to pay child support for another child, if there are other children in the home that will not be covered by this support order, health insurance premiums for the children, work related childcare expenses, and extraordinary medical expenses for the children. In theory, you just plug these numbers in and out pops the parent’s monthly support obligation.

The video shows you the South Carolina Department of Social Services web child support calculator located at:

http://www.state.sc.us/dss/csed/calculator.htm

In practice, what happens is people quit jobs and take lower paying jobs so their child support obligation will be lower.  They claim that the bad economy should allow them to pay less each month.  Perhaps the mother has been a stay-at-home mom during the marriage, but the father believes that she is capable of working and since they are going through the divorce she should go get a job and he is asking that the court impute wages to her.  Many times, one of the parents has worked for cash and he/she does not report all of his/her income so it may be hard to determine upon first glance what his/her income truly is.  To impute wages means that the court will calculate child support as if that parent was earning the amount of income the court believes they are capable of earning.

If you are going through a divorce or child support is an issue in your life, I would encourage you to consult with an attorney.  There are so many intricacies and nuances where people will try to take advantage of a trusting spouse when it comes to child support and having to pay out money every month.  Even if you plan on moving forward without an attorney, I would recommend that you at least consult with an attorney to get an idea of what child support should be if you believe your spouse is capable of earning more than they currently do or if you believe they are going to try to take advantage of you.

Can You Guarantee Me a Fast Divorce?

I’m asked a lot by prospective clients if I can guarantee them a fast divorce.  The truth is that there are way too many factors that go into determining how long your case is going to be to that I just can’t guarantee that it will be done within a certain amount of time.  However, based on my exerience handling similar cases in the past, I should be able to give you a good approximation of how long it will take your case to be resolved.

Some of the factors that determine how long it will take to resolve your divorce case in South Carolina are:

  1. The contested issues in your case.  How many there are and what type of issues are they?  Are we fighting only about child support or are custody, visitation, and alimony also at issue?  Perhaps you and your spouse have already reached a complete agreement about how things will be resolved between you.
  2. What county are you filing in?  Some counties are pretty fast about moving cases through, others are not.  This is a factor of the backlog of cases and the number of family court judges in each particular county.  Some cases can be done is about 60 days in one county and over 6 months in another so venue is extremely important.
  3. Who the parties are?  Are you and your spouse both stubborn.  Do you definitely feel like you won’t agree unless it is totally, 100% on your terms?  Your and your spouse’s willingness to cooperate and compromise are factors in the length of time it takes to get divorced in South Carolina.

If you would like to discuss your particular case, I would love to meet with you at no obligation or cost to you to discuss your South Carolina divorce matter.  Our meeting is confidential and free.  You may contact me through the “Connect with Us” page or by calling my office directly.

New Video Posts Coming to UpstateFamilyLawBlog.com


One of the ways I am wanting to use UpstateFamilyLawBlog.com to educate people is by using video to really explain certain topics that just can’t be written about very easily.  My goal is to give you at least one video post every week discussing a topic related to South Carolina Divorce and Family Law.

I hope you enjoy them.  If you would like to have a specifc question answered, please comment on this post or send me an e-mail directly through the “connect with us” page on this site.