Tuesday, May 2, 2017

South Carolina Family Court Discovery Rule Change

One area of law in which I practice quite a bit is family court litigation. That includes divorces, custody issues, child support, alimony, property division, and all the ancillary matters that go along with these issues.

The jurisdiction for these family law issues takes place in family court, which is separate from common pleas, where almost all other civil litigation takes place. There are lots of differences in how family court operates from common pleas, and most of those differences reflect the different nature of the cases.

One difference which has long been an odd one, is that in family court, you have to get the court to authorize discovery before it can take place. However, discovery is always granted. In fact, I've never had a case where discovery wasn't granted, much less even contested. Nevertheless, it was one of those things you had to specifically ask for, or get the other side to stipulate to.

On the contrary, in common pleas discovery just exists. You do it. You don't have to ask for the ability to engage in it. Accordingly, it sort of was this annoyance that in family court you had to ask for the power to engage in discovery since it was granted as a matter of routine.

Today, the Supreme Court of South Carolina has fixed this issue and moved the family court to where common pleas is. I applaud the decision, and I am glad that this has taken place.

No comments:

Post a Comment