Family Court Mediation in South Carolina

What is mediation and why is it important? Mediation is required in family court in South Carolina. Attorney Rhett Burney describes to us what mediation is like in and why it’s a good alternative to a lengthy divorce or custody legal battle. Rhett has been a certified family court mediator for over 10 years and has mediated hundreds of cases for not only his clients but also for other attorney’s clients. Watch this video as Rhett talks about family court mediation in South Carolina.

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Do You Need A Power of Attorney?

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a document that allows one person to authorize another person or organization to act on that person’s behalf. For instance, a husband could sign a Power of Attorney which would allow his wife to take care of his financial affairs and other responsibilities in case he is unable or unwilling to take care of his affairs.

So, what happens if you do not have a Power of Attorney? If you do not have a Power of Attorney and you become physically or mentally disabled to the point that you cannot handle your affairs, then someone like your spouse will have to bring a lawsuit in Probate Court in order to have your spouse appointed as your conservator. Having to bring this type of legal action is lengthy and expensive. For instance, a proper Power of Attorney will only cost about $200 while a legal proceeding in Probate Court will cost thousands of dollars.

Do you need a Power of Attorney? Absolutely. We do not know what tomorrow will bring, but there is a good chance that at some point in our lives we will not be able to take care of ourselves. Unfortunately, we do not know when that time will come, but it will come. Good financial planning involves wise preparation. If you do not have a Power of Attorney, please call me (864) 228-1616) or email me (, and we can discuss in greater detail the benefits of having a Power of Attorney.

Rhett Burney
Attorney at Law

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

What happens if you die without a will?

If you die without a will in South Carolina, then the State of South Carolina will determine how your assets will be divided. If you die without a will you are considered to have died intestate rather than testate (with a will). If you are married then all of your estate will go to your spouse unless you have children. People who die leaving a spouse and children will have ½ of their estate go to their spouse while the remaining ½ will go to the surviving child/children. For those people who are not married and die without a will, their entire estate will go to their children. If someone dies without children or a spouse, then their estate will go to their parents. If there are no surviving parents, then the estate will be divided among siblings and possibly the siblings’ children.

Of course, the easiest and cheapest way to prevent the division of your estate being decided by the State of South Carolina is by having an attorney draft a will. What few people realize is that it is cheaper to die with a will than to die without. Adding one important sentence to a will can save your estate more than what it would cost to have paid an attorney to draft a will. Call me (864-228-1616) or email me ( today to find out more! Also, be sure to ask me how you can possibly avoid the entire probate process all together. I look forward to hearing from you.

Rhett Burney
Attorney at Law

How Long Does Alimony Last?

How Long Does Alimony Last?

The type of alimony that a spouse is awarded determines how long alimony will be received or paid.  If a judge awards lump sum alimony then the alimony will be paid until the lump sum amount is paid in full.  If alimony is rehabilitative alimony, it will be paid until the terms of the court order are met.  For instance, when a judge orders rehabilitative alimony it is usually for a certain period of time. Once the time period elapses then the alimony payments will stop.

Permanent and periodic alimony will be paid until either the paying spouse or the receiving spouse dies.  This type of alimony will also end if the receiving spouse remarries or lives with a romantic partner for a period in excess of 90 days.  Permanent and periodic alimony can also be revisited by the court if one of the parties can show a substantial change in circumstances, such as a decrease/increase in income, a job loss, or retirement.  Every case involving alimony is a little different, so contact me if you have a specific question about your alimony situation.

-Rhett D. Burney, attorney

When Someone Files Bankruptcy During a Divorce

Sometimes during a divorce or custody case, a party may file for divorce.  When this happens it is always wise to get a bankruptcy attorney involved as bankruptcy is a specialized area of the law.  More likely than not you will probably need the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney to help get the case resolved.  Generally, bankruptcy will delay a divorce case from being completed.  However, in some instances the case can continue provided one of the parties asks the bankruptcy court to lift the automatic stay that is put in place whenever bankruptcy is filed.  Nevertheless, bankruptcy will not stop someone’s child support or alimony obligation.  If you are involved in a divorce or custody case, and the other side files for bankruptcy, contact me as soon as possible, so I can advise you on the next steps to take in order to bring a resolution to your case.

-Rhett D. Burney