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South Carolina Divorce 101

Divorce is a difficult decision for anyone, whether it's you or your partner who initiates it. It's a painful experience that can leave you feeling shattered and alone in the dark. When you made your wedding vows, you did so with the intention of being together for life. You invested a lot of time and money into your wedding, inviting friends and family from all over South Carolina to share in your joy.

Now, you're faced with the harsh reality that you and your former spouse are no longer together. As your family law attorney in Beaufort, SC, we understand how overwhelming this can be. We've assisted many clients through the divorce process and had the knowledge and tools to help them work through it and move on to greener pastures.

The CDH Law Firm Approach to Child Custody in South Carolina

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau states that 25% of children younger than 21 live with just one parent while the other parent resides elsewhere in the country? In such circumstances, many families must navigate the complicated and legally complex process of child custody. As seasoned family law attorneys, we have represented clients in all aspects and legal stages of child custody and support.

We focus in providing services for a range of issues, including but not limited to:

  • Drafting Reasonable Proposed Parenting Plans
  • Preparing Child Support Calculations
  • Communication with a Guardian ad Litem (if applicable)
  • Securing De Facto Custodian / Psychological Parent Rights
  • Negotiating Agreements Relating to Child Custody
  • Prosecuting Claims Related to Domestic Violence
  • Prosecuting and Defending Claims for
  • Adoption,
  • Termination of Parental Rights
  • Custody, and
  • Visitation
  • Defending Claims Alleging Abuse / Neglect by the Department of Social Services

Every family has its own distinct characteristics, and as such, child-related agreements must also be customized to fit each unique situation. In South Carolina, our team of skilled family law attorneys takes the time to understand our clients' individual goals and needs and tailor our services accordingly.

 Law Firm Beaufort, SC

South Carolina Alimony 101

When you get married, you go into the partnership believing that you'll be together forever. It makes sense, then, that most divorcing couples don't know very much about alimony in South Carolina (also referred to as spousal support). They ask questions such as:

  • Who gets alimony?
  • What is a reasonable amount of alimony?

Fortunately, working with a family law lawyer in Beaufort, SC, can answer those questions and make alimony easier to understand and approach.

 Family Support Attorney Beaufort, SC
Family Law Attorney Beaufort, SC

What is Alimony in South Carolina?

Many individuals often mistake alimony for child support, but they are, in fact, two distinct forms of financial obligation and not mutually exclusive. Alimony was established to safeguard a supported spouse in the event of a divorce or separation. For example, a spouse who did not work during the course of the marriage would generally have a stronger alimony claim than a spouse who worked throughout the marriage. Likewise, a spouse who worked throughout the marriage but made less than the other spouse would have a stronger alimony claim than a spouse who worked and earned equivalent income to the supporting spouse.

In many cases, a spouse may choose to stay at home to tend to the children and manage the household. Oftentimes, the spouse who remains at home has sacrificed their career or education to care for the family. In such instances, a divorce could leave the financially weaker spouse in a state of financial turmoil. Without that support system, they will have to start over from scratch. These are some factors the Court will consider in evaluating an appropriate alimony case. Throughout your marriage, you have structured your quality of life based on a budget determined by your finances. While all expenses are shared by both partners, what happens if you have been financially dependent on your spouse and need to support yourself?

At Cobb, Dill, & Hammett, LLC, we aim to assist you in securing the alimony you need to support both yourself and your children. At the same time, we want to ensure that you are not overpaying your spouse, if you are the one required to pay. You may be required to pay an amount that could leave you in a difficult financial situation. Regardless, it's crucial to have the right legal representation to guide you through the alimony process in South Carolina.

The CDH Law Firm Approach to Alimonyin South Carolina

Some people may assume financial responsibilities to a former partner are end with the filing of a divorce decree. However, if the court has mandated alimony payments, then the financial obligations survive. Failure to meet those obligations can lead to serious legal and financial consequences. Family law attorneys at CHSA Law, LLC have years of experience representing clients throughout the divorce process, including alimony determinations.

Our legal services cover many aspects of alimony law, such as:

  • Negotiating Temporary and Final Alimony Payments
  • Modifying Alimony
  • Providing Advice on Reasonable Alimony
  • Filing to Collect Unpaid Alimony

Though our family law attorneys are fearless negotiators and litigators, we always strive to keep your legal proceedings as seamless and straightforward as possible. Our goal is to help reach an agreement on alimony that is reasonable for both you and your spouse. However, compromises aren't always possible. If needed, our lawyers will fight aggressively on your behalf to help ensure your financial rights are protected.

 Law Firm Beaufort, SC

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Trust the Cobb, Dill, & Hammett Difference

Dealing with family law cases can be incredibly trying, particularly when it comes to matters of separation or divorce. As your family law attorney in Beaufort, SC, we recognize the challenges you're facing. With that in mind, know that we're committed to offering empathetic legal counsel on your behalf, no matter how contentious or confusing your situation may become. Contact our law offices today for your initial family law consultation.

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Latest News in Beaufort, SC

You’re never far from history when you’re in Beaufort, SC

If you’re looking for history, then Beaufort, SC is the right place. Being over 500 years old, you’re never too far from history in Beaufort SC. The Beaufort area is home to several museums that house a great deal of local history.From America’s beginning to the pre and post-Civil War eras, to the formation of the United States Marine Corps, you can see and learn so much about the past by visiting each one of them.The Beau...

If you’re looking for history, then Beaufort, SC is the right place. Being over 500 years old, you’re never too far from history in Beaufort SC. The Beaufort area is home to several museums that house a great deal of local history.

From America’s beginning to the pre and post-Civil War eras, to the formation of the United States Marine Corps, you can see and learn so much about the past by visiting each one of them.

The Beaufort History Museum promotes the appreciation for the history of Beaufort, SC and the surrounding area through its amazing exhibits and through its many events.

The museum sits inside the historic Beaufort Arsenal (c. 1798) on Craven Street in downtown Beaufort. It covers the discovery of Beaufort over 500 years ago, guides you through the early years and up to the Civil War where the seeds were first planted for secession in Beaufort, then through the Reconstruction Era. Address: 713 Craven Street, Beaufort

At the Parris Island Museum, you can explore the long legacy of the United States Marine Corps and also the history of the Port Royal, SC area.

The museum houses thousands of artifacts, images and other things that illustrate the stories within the exhibit galleries from the area’s early Native American population to today’s modern Marines.

The 10,000-square-foot facility is located at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. On display at the museum are many artifacts covering Port Royal’s important military roles from the American Revolution through the Civil War, with a focus on the development of the island into a Marine Corps installation after the Spanish-American War, and takes you to the present. Address: 111 Panama Street, Paris Island MCRD

Downtown Beaufort’s historic John Mark Verdier House Museum lets you step back in time inside the impressive Federal-style mansion built around 1804 by John Mark Verdier, a successful merchant and planter in Beaufort.

The house on Bay Street was a stately statement of his wealth and status as a member of Beaufort’s planter class. As the only historic planter’s house in the city open to the public, the 1804 structure paints an accurate portrait of how Beaufort’s wealthiest citizens lived during the height of the pre-Civil War Antebellum period when cotton was king and wealth was everything.

An important location throughout history, the Marquis de Lafayette stopped at the Verdier House and enjoyed a lavish ceremony and party here in 1825 on his farewell tour of America before he departed for France.

The mansion was also used as the Federal Headquarters by Union troops during the occupation of Beaufort during the Civil War, and was even home to the first telephone ever installed in Beaufort, SC. Address: 801 Bay Street, Beaufort

The York W. Bailey Museum at historic Penn Center on St. Helena Island offers a look into the stories of the people whose lives were changed by this important American institution.

Penn Center was the very first school opened to educate former slaves as America’s Reconstruction Era started after the Civil War.

View many photographs of Penn Center’s students at work, some of which were taken as far back as the 1860s. Videos offer historic and personal recollections of Penn Center’s past and local artists fill the gift shop with handmade sweetgrass baskets and colorful, original cultural artwork. Address: 16 Penn Center Circle West, St. Helena Island

The Historic Port Royal Foundation Museum offers a glimpse into the history of Port Royal, which was always an important location because it’s the deepest natural port along the Atlantic Ocean, south of New York.

The museum also tells the story of old Port Royal, the creation and eventual demise of the Port Royal Railroad, and lots more. Address: 1634 Paris Ave., Port Royal

Beaufort County makes SC history, gives $1M to conserve Lowcountry land beyond its borders

BEAUFORT — When Beaufort County Council considered a motion to spend $1 million on a conservation easement for a property in neighboring Jasper County, the enthusiasm among council members was palpable.The motion, which was approved unanimously March 25, was likely the first time in the history of South Carolina that a county invested to conserve property beyond its borders. It was a historic moment, the gravity of which was not lost on council."Truly, this is Beaufort County making the impossible possible," sai...

BEAUFORT — When Beaufort County Council considered a motion to spend $1 million on a conservation easement for a property in neighboring Jasper County, the enthusiasm among council members was palpable.

The motion, which was approved unanimously March 25, was likely the first time in the history of South Carolina that a county invested to conserve property beyond its borders. It was a historic moment, the gravity of which was not lost on council.

"Truly, this is Beaufort County making the impossible possible," said Council Chair Joseph Passiment.

The funding came from the county's Green Space Program, a 1 percent sales tax that will raise $100 million for land preservation over two years. The program features an innovation that allows council to spend tax dollars outside the county.

The land at the center of this discussion was the 4,409-acre Gregorie Neck property. Located in the heart of the Port Royal Sound watershed, where the Broad River is formed by the confluence of the Coosawhatchie and Tulifiny rivers, it's notable for its 13 miles of shoreline, a diversity of wildlife and a well-managed landscape.

It's also notable because 1.7 miles of Interstate 95 bisects the northern edge of the property, a fact that could have easily resulted in the property being developed for residential, commercial or industrial uses, said Kate Schaefer of the Beaufort-based Open Land Trust.

Councilman York Glover noted that while the money was going into Jasper County, the conservation benefits will flow down the Broad River into Beaufort County.

"The opportunity to protect what we value as a community — water quality, military readiness and wildlife habitat — by contributing local dollars to match state and federal funding opportunities is only possible because the Green Space Program included the opportunity to look outside the county lines," Schaefer said.

Beaufort County

The program is, she said, a game changer for conservation.

When the Gregorie Neck property went on the market in 2023, it was the first time it was changing hands in 30 years. Its future was quite literally hanging in the balance.

A history of firsts

The Green Space Program is evidence of a commitment to conservation by county voters and is the latest in a series of programs oriented toward that goal.

"The people of South Carolina are getting smarter about conservation," observed David Bishop, coastal and midlands conservation director for The Nature Conservancy. "Beaufort County residents have led the way for a long time by willingly taxing themselves to protect land and water."

Conservation funding in the county started with The Rural and Critical Lands Preservation Program, the first dedicated land conservation program in the state. Voters approved a $40 million bond to fund that program in 2002. Four subsequent bond initiatives were approved over the following 17 years, resulting in the protection of approximately 30,000 acres in the county.

Despite the success of the Rural and Critical program, Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, saw a growing problem that required a different solution.

Davis noted that if all homes already permitted for development were built, the number of rooftops in the region would double. That scenario would be, he said, unsustainable. Roads would be overwhelmed and the region's fragile watershed would be degraded.

BEAUFORT — A former employee of a local charitable organization has filed a lawsuit alleging she was fired weeks after she reported misused funds.

Dedriene Green, a former accountant with the Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity Commission, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit March 12 alleging the commission fired her after she made a report to the group’s board of directors and to the state’s Inspector General’s Office.

The Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity Commission’s mission includes the administration of new programs designed to improve the health, education, welfare, housing or employment of residents in Beaufort and Jasper counties.

Green’s complaint alleges that money given to the commission by the United Way was used to cover up other misappropriated funds from the nonprofit’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and Community Service Block Grant, which are meant to assist low-income families with home energy bills and other services.

Beaufort County

The complaint did not specify how the money was allegedly misappropriated.

Inspector General Brian Lamkin confirmed that a report had been made to his office. The issue was investigated and referred on to the FBI, he said.

Kevin Wheeler, a public affairs officer with the FBI, declined to confirm or deny if an investigation into the nonprofit is ongoing.

United Way of the Lowcountry is aware of the lawsuit and the allegations, said Wendy Jones, a United Way spokeswoman.

“As this is a legal matter, we are unable to comment at this time,” Jones said. “However, we want to assure you that we take all accusations seriously and will cooperate fully with any investigations.”

Jones also clarified that the funds mentioned in the lawsuit were allocated by the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority and distributed regionally through various local United Way affiliates throughout the state.

Green’s complaint and summons present a timeline of events that began Dec. 5, 2022 when Green’s boss, Executive Director James Williams, allegedly accused Green of “disclosing confidential information and reprimanded (her) for telling employees that they would receive a $5,000 bonus from the United Way funds.”

BEAUFORT — A "culture of laxity" within Beaufort County government led to flagrant violations of its spending guidelines, an investigation that spanned months concluded, though the limited report released publicly stopped short of quantifying how much taxpayer money may have been spent inappropriately.

The report referenced only one person by name — Eric Greenway, the vanquished former county administrator. Investigators did not identify any other county staff or elected official suspected of violating county policy.

The findings were discussed before County Council on March 25.

"Several of Beaufort County's staff and elected officials failed to adhere to the county's Procurement Code, P-Card manual and other related guidelines. Some of those failures were egregious and more likely than not were willful," said Boyd Nicholson Jr., managing director of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, the law firm hired by the county to conduct the investigation.

Major procurement code violations identified in the report included three that have been well-documented over the last year, including by The Post and Courier. The county employees principally associated with those three violations were either terminated or resigned.

In his preface to the report, Council Chair Joseph Passiment set expectations for what was about to be heard.

"Council has been briefed on the findings," he said. "They are not good. We did not expect them to be good."

Thousands of documents were reviewed and interviews were conducted with both former and current county employees. County officials, Nicholson said, were fully cooperative and made no effort to "unduly rush our work."

The findings

The county hired Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd in early September. The ensuing investigation required hundreds of hours of work, Passiment said. The findings were compressed into a 2½-page synopsis.

The investigation looked specifically at purchases made through the county's procurement system and those made through its P-Card system, which is generally used for smaller purchases.

Letter raises concerns about contaminated drinking water in parts of Beaufort County

Some Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority customers in parts of Beaufort County received a letter about water quality that left them startled and questioning why it took so long for the utility to notify them.For two quarters during 2023, water South of the Broad River violated a standard for safe drinking, but customers weren’t notified until this month.The letter said tests showed a higher than acceptable level of haloacetic...

Some Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority customers in parts of Beaufort County received a letter about water quality that left them startled and questioning why it took so long for the utility to notify them.

For two quarters during 2023, water South of the Broad River violated a standard for safe drinking, but customers weren’t notified until this month.

The letter said tests showed a higher than acceptable level of haloacetic acid, also known as HAA5.

It says, “Some people who drink water containing haloacetic acids in excess of the [maximum contamination levels] over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.”

Haley Hughes, public education and engagement planner for BJWSA, gave The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette context for the term “many years.”

“We have searched and searched and searched to find a concrete definition of ‘many years,’” Hughes said. “And no one entity has accurately pinpointed what many years means. But in general, we believe we’re talking about 70 years.”

“One exposure, one week, one month of exposure is not what what regulators are concerned about,” said Jeff La Rue, spokesperson for BJWSA.

Posts about BJWSA’s letter drew hundreds of comments on Facebook, with people’s concerns mostly surrounding the cancer risk, the time it took them to be notified and, in some cases, wondering if the water was safe for their pets. No one The Island Packet reached out to was willing to comment on the record by publication time.

“We completely understand that not only are people concerned about themselves ingesting the water, but their pets too,” Hughes said.

HAA5s are five compounds that form when disinfectants react with natural organic material, such as tree branches, leaves or algae, in the water, BJWSA said in the letter.

The maximum contamination level for HAA5 is 0.060 mg per liter, as set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. During the third quarter of 2023, the average level of HAA5 in southern Beaufort County was recorded as 0.061; during the fourth quarter, it was 0.069.

The quarterly tests are averaged together and build upon each other throughout the year in a way similar to how schools average students’ grades over the course of a school year. Because the fourth quarter average was much higher than in previous quarters, BJWSA experts believe something that happened between October and December is the likely cause.

For context, the yearly average of HAA5s for 2023 was 0.044, and it was 0.059 in 2022.

La Rue, the BJWSA spokesperson, pointed to two factors for the increase at the end of 2023: an increased amount of chlorine to fight water discoloration, as detailed in the letter, and a chlorine generator malfunction.

The malfunction meant that BJWSA had to have chlorine trucked in and chlorine concentration levels were likely to fluctuate, La Rue said.

In early December, DHEC collected water samples for the fourth quarter.

After DHEC notified BJWSA that the levels exceeded the maximum contamination level, the utility had 30 days to inform their customers. The timeline and process for notification, including using the mail, was mandated by DHEC, La Rue said.

The letter sent to customers was dated and mailed on Dec. 29 and posted to the BJWSA website on Jan. 11, Hughes said.

“I really want to stress this,” La Rue said. “This is not an emergency. The the public notice is because customers have the right to know that this average went above the threshold of 0.060. Had it been an emergency, we would have notified people customers right away.”

He added: “One milligram per liter is equal to one penny in $10,000. It’s one word out of five Harry Potter books.”

BJWSA has since reduced the amount of chlorine added to the water and replaced the malfunctioning generator. HAA5 levels in the water are below 0.060, La Rue said.

This story was originally published January 24, 2024, 11:53 AM.

Culver’s Restaurant location coming to Beaufort in 2024

The vacant Applebee’s Restaurant along Boundary Street in Beaufort will soon have a new tenant. Culver’s Restaurant will be going into the spot sometime in 2024.A call to Culver’s corporate offices on Tuesday verified that a franchise agreement has been signed for the location at 2338 Boundary Street.Culver’s has been around since its inception in 1984. The first location opened in Sauk City, Wisconsin, under the name “Culver’s Frozen Custard and ButterBurgers.”Fast forward to to...

The vacant Applebee’s Restaurant along Boundary Street in Beaufort will soon have a new tenant. Culver’s Restaurant will be going into the spot sometime in 2024.

A call to Culver’s corporate offices on Tuesday verified that a franchise agreement has been signed for the location at 2338 Boundary Street.

Culver’s has been around since its inception in 1984. The first location opened in Sauk City, Wisconsin, under the name “Culver’s Frozen Custard and ButterBurgers.”

Fast forward to today, and it operates primarily in the Midwestern United States, and has a total of 930 restaurants in 26 states as of October 2023, including 9 locations currently in South Carolina. Among these are Summerville, North Charleston and Ladson. Also, close to Beaufort, there are Culver’s Restaurant locations in Pooler and Savannah, Georgia.

Referring to itself as a “fast-casual restaurant”, Culver’s menu offers a variety of lunch and dinner items including its signature ButterBurgers, chicken sandwiches, seafood, salads and more.

It also offers sides incuding fries, onion rings, chili and its popular Wisconsin cheese curds that are provided exclusively to Culver’s by a dairy in Stanley, Wisconsin.

Its dessert menu is where it’s at, with shakes, sundaes, floats and malts offered using its own line of frozen custard.

According to a Culver’s corporate representative, there is no timeline for the location opening. The existing building must first be converted to corporate specs and we were told that “it could take some time for that,” but we can expect it to be completed and opened sometime in 2024.

After opening in 1994, the Beaufort Applebee’s location closed in 2017 during the Boundary Street construction project, with its owner citing a loss of revenue due to the project.

Since then, it was the very short-lived home of Los Gallos Mexican Restaurant, and still bears the Los Gallos signage today.

The news of Culver’s Restaurant in Beaufort comes on the heels of a new Cook Out restaurant also opening on Boundary Street, and also a new Asian Chicken & Boba spot going into Beaufort Town Center, which are both slated for early 2024 openings, as well as the enormous Beaufort Station shopping center project that is also expected to open in late 2024.

Several of the “Best Islands in South Carolina” are found in Beaufort, SC

Southern Living magazine fired off its readers’ poll list of Best Island in South Carolina this month, and, unsurprisingly, four of the ten spots on it are taken by islands here in Beaufort County. Two in the northern end of the county, and two in the southern end.“With 34 barrier and tidal islands peppering its shoreline (more than any other state except for Florida), South Carolina spills over with natural wonders, beautiful beaches, and unique destinations to explore,” SL said. “In our 2024 South’s Bes...

Southern Living magazine fired off its readers’ poll list of Best Island in South Carolina this month, and, unsurprisingly, four of the ten spots on it are taken by islands here in Beaufort County. Two in the northern end of the county, and two in the southern end.

“With 34 barrier and tidal islands peppering its shoreline (more than any other state except for Florida), South Carolina spills over with natural wonders, beautiful beaches, and unique destinations to explore,” SL said. “In our 2024 South’s Best awards, readers voted on some of the very best of them. Here are the best islands in South Carolina, according to our readers.”

Hilton Head came in at #1 on the list, and it’s no big mystery that folks from all over love it there. #7 on the list was our amazing Hunting Island, and we’re quite surprised that it listed as low as #7, but we’re very proud of our local slice of exotic paradise nonetheless.

Daufuskie Island came in at #8, beating out Fripp Island that appeared at #9 on the list.

What Southern Living said:

“With 12 miles of public beaches, more than 24 championship golf courses, and around 250 restaurants, Hilton Head‘s numerical stats alone prove why it’s one of the state’s most beloved islands. But the real magic, of course, belongs to its community—a mix of transplants and born-and-breds who are sure to make you feel right at home, whether you’re sampling local oysters at Hudson’s on the Docks or watching the boats come in at Shelter Cove Marina.”

“Just a 25-minute drive from downtown Beaufort, explore the seaside charmer’s wilder side at Hunting Island State Park (South Carolina’s most popular state park). Here, five miles of unspoiled beaches unfurl along the Atlantic and sandy trails wind through dense maritime forest.”

“As the crow flies, the southernmost of South Carolina’s barrier islands is just miles from Savannah and Hilton Head, but it might as well be worlds away. Daufuskie is accessible only by boat, which is likely one of the reasons its 500 or so residents have been able to so carefully preserve its natural environment and its rich Gullah history. And while the island remains untouched in many ways, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see or do here: Tour the island with sixth-generation Daufuskie native Sallie Ann Robinson for an education in Gullah culture; go for a horseback ride on the beach; shop indigo-dyed goods at Daufuskie Blues; and cap off the day with a plate of deviled crab at Old Daufuskie Crab Company.”

“About 20 miles from Beaufort, Fripp Island is a 3,000-acre designated wildlife sanctuary, home to more than 175 species of birds, plus endangered loggerhead turtles who use its beach as a nesting ground. The private island is accessible only to homeowners and those staying in vacation rentals, but once you’re here, there’s plenty to do, from guided kayak eco-tours to pickleball and golf.”

The full list?

Having four of ten spots here in the Beaufort area is a pretty big deal. Look at it this way, out of all the islands that dot the Palmetto State’s coastline, 40% of Southern Living’s readers polled picked a spot right here in Beaufort County.

That’s definitely a big deal. The islands here in Beaufort are pretty amazing.

See what Southern Living said about them all here.

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