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Family Court Cases in South Carolina to be Disposed of Within One Year

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | May 16, 2006 | 0 Comments

Pursuant to an Administrative Order issued on May 9, 2006, by Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal of the South Carolina Supreme Court, all domestic relations and juvenile cases in South Carolina (with the exception of DSS Abuse and Neglect cases) shall be disposed of within 365 days of their filing. The Order further provides that the Chief Administrative Judge for the Family Court in each county shall direct and oversee the monitoring of all cases which are older than 365 days and for which no final hearing has been requested.

As discussed in a previous post on my blog, the old rule was that cases were required to be removed from the active docket if a final hearing had not been scheduled or requested within 270 days of the date the case was filed. However, as discussed in my prior post, the old rule was rescinded by another Administrative Order issued on February 27, 2006, by Chief Justice Toal.

I would point out that there appears to be a difference between the old and new rules beyond extending the deadline from 270 to 365 days. Specifically, the language in the new Order requires that cases now be “disposed of,” whereas the old rule only “removed cases from the active docket.” The interpretation, importance (if any), and implication of this distinction has yet to be determined. Chief Justice Toal's new Administrative Order is effectively immediately and may be read here.

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