When does the Family Court not follow the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines?

A family court judge can deviate from the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines; however, if the judge decides the application of the guidelines is inappropriate, the court must make specific written findings as to why it didn’t follow the guidelines.

The court can deviate from the guidelines when:

-The combined monthly gross income of both parents is less than $750 per month  In this case the court will usually not order less than $100 per month in child support, but the court should attempt not to put the paying parent into a position of not being able to live at a minimum level of subsistence.

-The combined monthly gross income of the parties is $360,000 a year or $30,000 a month.

*Remember that a deviation from the South Child Support Guidelines is an exception and not the rule.

-Source The South Carolina Child Support Guidelines

Rhett Burney
Attorney at Law

How is Child Support Determined?

Generally, the court looks at both parties’ gross income and plugs the amuonts into the South Carolina Child Support Calculator (click here for calculator or go to http://www.state.sc.us/dss/csed/calculator.htm) along with the cost of health insurance for the child(ren), daycare costs, alimony (if any), the number of nights the child(ren) is/are with each parent, and any extraordinary medical expenses for the child(ren).  Judges usually use the amount that the calculator determines; however, a judge can take other factors into consideration when determining support as well.  These other factors are listed in the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines.  I’ll discuss these factors in upcoming posts.

Rhett Burney
Attorney at Law

I am beginning a multi-part post about how child support is determined in South Carolina

I am beginning a multi-part post about how child support is determined in South Carolina.  Most people are familiar with the calculator the court uses to determine child support.  However, lawyers and judges sometimes ignore the actual written guidelines (the law) which give a much greater direction in how the court is supposed to figure child support.  Please join me as I go through the current South Carolina Child Support Guidelines 2014 and explain how child support is actually supposed to be calculated by the court.

Rhett Burney
Attorney at Law

Can I sue my spouse’s boyfriend or girlfriend?

How To Get Even With The Person Your Spouse Is Having an Affair With

Unfortunately, spouses sometimes cheat on each other. When this happens, the cheated upon spouse comes to see me. Not only do they want to know if they can get a divorce on the ground of adultery, but they also want to know if they can sue the person with whom their spouse cheated. In other words, can they get money from the person who broke up their marriage? This type of lawsuit is called an alienation of affection suit, but in South Carolina such suits are not allowed.

However, what most people (including lawyers and judges) are not aware of is a state law that allows the family court to put some pressure on the boyfriend or girlfriend (a “paramour”). Under S.C. Code Sec. 63-3-530(19), a family court judge can make a paramour part of the marital litigation and can issue an order preventing that person from continuing to see the cheating spouse until the case is over. Although, such an order may not be as satisfying as getting money from the paramour, it at least keeps the cheating spouse and the paramour apart for awhile. If they do not stay apart, then the court hold them in contempt and put them in jail, fine them, and/or make them serve community service.

Rhett Burney
Attorney at Law

Who Has to Pay if My Neighbor’s Tree Falls on My House?

Trees are great to have in your yard. They can add value to your home. They provide shade, and they are nice to look at, but what happens when a tree falls and causes damage to your home or to your neighbor’s home?

If your neighbor’s tree falls on your house, he may or may not be responsible for the damage. If the tree was known to be diseased or dead and it falls on your house, then your neighbor is probably liable. If the tree falls during a storm, then he would probably not be liable because this is considered an Act of Nature. However, if the tree fell over in a storm and the tree was diseased or dead then your neighbor would most likely be liable if it can be proved he knew or should have known about the poor condition of the tree.

In order to protect yourself in all of these situations, inspect your trees and make sure you have adequate homeowner’s insurance to pay for the damage in case a tree falls on your house.

Rhett Burney
Attorney at Law
864-228-1616
www.rdburney@turnerandburney.com
www.rhettburney.com

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.

Click HERE for Video!

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 (rdburney@turnerandburney.com), and we can discuss in greater detail the benefits of having a Power of Attorney.

Rhett Burney
Attorney at Law
www.turnerandburney.com
www.rhettburney.com

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 (rdburney@turnerandburney.com) 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

www.turnerandburney.com
www.rhettburney.com

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
www.turnerandburney.com
www.rhettburney.com
rdburney@turnerandburney.com
864-228-1616