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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 Bluffton, 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 Bluffton, 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 Bluffton, SC, can answer those questions and make alimony easier to understand and approach.

 Family Support Attorney Bluffton, SC
Family Law Attorney Bluffton, 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 Bluffton, 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 Bluffton, 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 Bluffton, SC

Neighbors concerned over contaminated tap water in Bluffton area

BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) — Imagine getting a notice from your utility company saying your drinking water may be contaminated. This recently happened to people who live in several Bluffton neighborhoods.“You expect your water to be safe and drinkable. So it’s very disappointing,” said Joshua Hower, who moved to Okatie in 2021 with his wife. He said since moving to the Lowcountry, his skin has gotten significantly dryer.People who live south of Broad River in Beaufort County most likely got a letter from the ...

BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) — Imagine getting a notice from your utility company saying your drinking water may be contaminated. This recently happened to people who live in several Bluffton neighborhoods.

“You expect your water to be safe and drinkable. So it’s very disappointing,” said Joshua Hower, who moved to Okatie in 2021 with his wife. He said since moving to the Lowcountry, his skin has gotten significantly dryer.

People who live south of Broad River in Beaufort County most likely got a letter from the Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewage Authority.

It reads that during four quarterly water quality tests last year, the amount of disinfection byproducts violated a standard for safe drinking water.

“It’s definitely a little alarming, a little scary to think that I’ve been drinking this water for a year and a half, use it to wash my hands, take a shower, brush my teeth, and there could be long-term impacts to that.”

BJWSA said customers shouldn’t be worried. The letter reads that for it to cause cancer you’d have to drink this water over years. However, it doesn’t say exactly how long that would take.

“It’s only an issue if you’re exposed for X amount of time or you didn’t tell us what the total suspended solids were with the parts per million were you’re really just guesstimating how much I’ve been exposed to, how much tap water I drink based on the average amount of tap water,” Hower said. “Most people I think you’d find if you did a survey, most people say they don’t drink tap water, but they do. They just don’t realize they drink as much as they do. So your average is probably skewed. So the actual consumption rate, it’s probably much higher than you think. So your impact is much higher than you’re projecting, which is why these issues tend to snowball.”

The company said the reason the water was contaminated was because they used chlorine to change the color. Many people who live in the Bluffton area complain about brown or yellow-colored water.

“The water doesn’t need to look perfect. It needs to be safe,” Hower said. “And that should be the primary concern of providing water to the area.”

The company told WSAV that the water is safe to drink now.

“We mailed a public notice to customers located south of the Broad River, about quarterly testing results that indicated levels of haloacetic acids (HAA5) were higher than average regulatory limits,” a BJWSA spokesperson told WSAV in a statement. “This is not an emergency, we notified customers because they have the right to know details about the water they drink. Follow-up, supplemental tests show that HAA5 levels are back to normal with results between .052 and .031 mg/L, since October.”

The company also forwarded customers to a Q&A webpage.

They say the levels are back to normal and that the letter was not meant to alarm customers. However, even if it’s safe to drink people who live in the area are upset they didn’t get told earlier.

“It’s irresponsible to not give out this information as soon as you have it,” Hower said. “I know there’s a fine line between inciting panic in the local populace, and I really do understand that. I’m not trying to bind somebody up and say that I want to know the minute that you know that something’s not right. But within 30 days, we should have a notification.”

Kenny B’s Cajun restaurant getting ready for Mardi Gras in new Bluffton location

With Mardi Gras season officially under way in Louisiana, Kenny B’s French Quarter Cafe is gearing up for the holiday in its new Bluffton location.The restaurant that serves Cajun and Creole specialties for breakfast, lunch and dinner first opened on Hilton Head’s south end in 1999 and, last year, made the decision to move to a larger space just across the bridges.Its new home is in Bridge Center, along U.S...

With Mardi Gras season officially under way in Louisiana, Kenny B’s French Quarter Cafe is gearing up for the holiday in its new Bluffton location.

The restaurant that serves Cajun and Creole specialties for breakfast, lunch and dinner first opened on Hilton Head’s south end in 1999 and, last year, made the decision to move to a larger space just across the bridges.

Its new home is in Bridge Center, along U.S. 278 across from Moss Creek, and it quietly opened its doors to customers starting Dec. 27.

“I’ll be honest,” said chef and owner Ken Ballard, “it rejuvenated me doing this again. I had good memories from when we first started because that was a dream come true, you know, to finally get your own place.”

The building, once home to Thai Smile Cuisine, was extensively renovated over nearly a year to create a large waiting area for take-out orders and a spacious dining area with a combination of tables and booths and plenty of natural light.

There are reminders of the original location, with framed mementos and posters lining the walls. Ballard even had large canvases printed with photos of the iconic French Quarter mural that went from floor to ceiling at the Hilton Head restaurant.

The larger space also allowed for the creation of a vivid red “Dawghouse” room for fans of the University of Georgia bulldogs. Ballard’s own bulldog Beignet Bouchet (“BAYN-yay BOO-shay”), named for the Louisiana-style pastry fried and dusted with powdered sugar, is well represented among the photos.

All of Ballard’s employees moved to the new location, and he has also added additional staff.

While the space is new, customers can be reassured that the menu hasn’t changed.

Previously, all ordering was done on paper and customers were rung up on an old cash register. The new space now has a modern point-of-sale accounting system that allows pick-up orders to be placed online.

“I’ve had a good mix of my old customers from Hilton Head, a lot of them tourists that were here for the new year holidays came in. That that was the best sign of anything, that I know I will still get my summer people, as I call them,” Ballard said, “and then I’ve gotten a lot more people that live out here that would have never went down to Hilton Head.”

The lunch shift in particular has been busy with locals on their midday breaks from work.

Mardi Gras on Tuesday, Feb. 13, will be a customer appreciation day. Ballard hopes to have his license to serve beer and wine by then, but regardless, he plans lunch specials on po-boys, jambalaya, gumbo and muffalettas. Of course, there will be king cake; at Kenny B’s, those who find a plastic baby in their cake will get a prize.

On a recent day, two separate customers stopped to talk to compliment Ballard on the food and the space over the course of about 15 minutes.

“This is the best food ever,” said one woman who identified herself as from Ohio. “We have nothing like this.”

This story was originally published January 16, 2024, 9:12 AM.

New Italian restaurant coming to Old Town Bluffton. Here’s a look inside before it opens

One-year-old Joelle DeLeo sat in a stroller rattling a small plastic toy on a recent Thursday morning as activity buzzed around her. She was sitting in the middle of a soon-to-open restaurant that will bear her name in Bluffton.Joelle, the restaurant, is located at 132 Bluffton Road, Suite 100, in a newly constructed building that also is home to a salon, an architecture firm and other businesses. It’s the result of years of planning and work by two ge...

One-year-old Joelle DeLeo sat in a stroller rattling a small plastic toy on a recent Thursday morning as activity buzzed around her. She was sitting in the middle of a soon-to-open restaurant that will bear her name in Bluffton.

Joelle, the restaurant, is located at 132 Bluffton Road, Suite 100, in a newly constructed building that also is home to a salon, an architecture firm and other businesses. It’s the result of years of planning and work by two generations of the family, and, if all goes well with a liquor license and town permits, they will be serving patrons from a “modern Italian” menu later this spring.

Robert and Breana DeLeo, the toddler’s parents and the restaurant’s owner, met while working in the hospitality industry in Charleston, later moved to New York, and now live in Bluffton. Robert’s family owns Island Restaurant Equipment on Hilton Head. His father also is one of the partners in the development of the center where the restaurant is located, making it a true family business.

The DeLeos’ vision for the restaurant is light and airy but still cozy. Breana described it as “modern, but not too modern.”

“We’re trying to go very Italian coastal, very neutral tones,” she said.

That Italian coastal theme echoes in the food served there.

Chef Brandon Torre has worked at The Ritz-Carlton, The Omni Hotel, The Westin Hotel and, most recently, Colleton River Club in Bluffton. He is planning a menu that offers wood-fired pizza and Italian fare including fresh, house-made pasta.

The food will be “from-scratch fresh,” Torre said. “You can usually make it better yourself.”

The goal is not to duplicate traditional Italian-American fare but offer more modern, refreshing and lighter takes.

“We want very unique, very chef-forward dishes with the Italian cuisine as the focal point,” Robert DeLeo said.

To the right of the entrance, Joelle’s bar area will seat 18 between at the bar and at three tables there.

The inside dining area will seat around 44 people at tables and booths, while the outside dining area will seat around 50 people. Between them are large sliding doors that can be left open on nicer days.

The restaurant will be open six days a week for lunch and dinner. It will be closed on Tuesdays.

Why Tuesdays? Many restaurants in Bluffton reduce their hours or close altogether on Sundays and Mondays.

“Coming from New York and coming from an Italian family, we always used to go out for Italian dinner on Sundays,” Robert DeLeo explained. “That’s kind of the day to go out for that cuisine. ... Why not try and compete on those two days when not many places are open?”

This story was originally published March 11, 2024, 11:14 AM.

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Bluffton daffodil farm blooming and ready for visitors. Here’s when it will be open

A colder than usual winter has delayed the expected opening of the U Pick Daffodil farm, but the Bluffton-area attraction’s owners say they are now ready to welcome visitors.A trip to the farm has become a spring rite for families, flower-lovers and photographers, and co-owners Chuck and Diane Merrick expect to be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. The farm may close early if the Merricks begin to run out of blooms.“Cold weather doesn’t hurt the flowers; it just slows them down,” said Chuck Me...

A colder than usual winter has delayed the expected opening of the U Pick Daffodil farm, but the Bluffton-area attraction’s owners say they are now ready to welcome visitors.

A trip to the farm has become a spring rite for families, flower-lovers and photographers, and co-owners Chuck and Diane Merrick expect to be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. The farm may close early if the Merricks begin to run out of blooms.

“Cold weather doesn’t hurt the flowers; it just slows them down,” said Chuck Merrick, who estimated the blooming fields are about two weeks behind where they would be in a typical year.

The weather forecast for Saturday in Bluffton is sunny and windy with a high of 67, according to the National Weather Service in Charleston. Sunday will be sunny with a high near 60.

The fields are located at 48 Calhoun Plantation Road, just off Pinckney Colony Road.

Each stem picked is 50 cents. Cash and card payments will be accepted.

This year, the Merricks likely will open the fields only on weekends because that’s when their family is available to help them. Weather and the lack or abundance of blooms will affect what days the farm is open.

For information about days the farm will be open, watch its Facebook page or go to its website at upickdaffodils.com. Those who’d like to check on the status of the flowers before making a longer commute can also text Chuck Merrick at 843-368-1998.

The U Pick Daffodil tradition started more than 50 years ago, and each year the farm has expanded to meet a growing demand.

Chuck Merrick uses a planting machine purchased from Holland — it is pulled behind a tractor — to plant tens of thousands of daffodil bulbs with varying blooming times so the farm has a longer picking season.

Daffodils don’t grow easily in the Lowcountry climate, he previously told The Island Packet, and every year the farm loses about half of the ones they had planted in earlier years.

Bluffton Chef honored by being named 2024 South Carolina Chef Ambassador

BLUFFTON, S.C. —A Bluffton chef is being recognized in a big way.In this week's Lowcountry Living, we're sharing how she hopes to use her new title to bring positive change to the entire state of South Carolina.Leslie Rohland is head chef and owner of The Cottage, The Juice Hive, May River Coffee Roasters, and the Bluffton Pasta Shoppe.And she says her successful restaurant endeavors are thanks, in part, to her childhood.“Really do the stuff that I remember as a child loving to ...

BLUFFTON, S.C. —

A Bluffton chef is being recognized in a big way.

In this week's Lowcountry Living, we're sharing how she hopes to use her new title to bring positive change to the entire state of South Carolina.

Leslie Rohland is head chef and owner of The Cottage, The Juice Hive, May River Coffee Roasters, and the Bluffton Pasta Shoppe.

And she says her successful restaurant endeavors are thanks, in part, to her childhood.

“Really do the stuff that I remember as a child loving to see. My grandmothers, my grandfathers, my mother and my father do because everyone seemed to be a great cook back then. And just really taking the stuff I love to cook and then being able to serve it and put it on the table," said Rohland.

Rohland’s passion for cooking was just recognized by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster as she was named just one of three 2024 South Carolina Chef Ambassadors.

She’ll serve in this role for a year, and during that time, one of her main goals is to support local farmers.

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“It’s really nice to know where our food is coming from. It’s nice to be able to see the footprint of where the lettuce is from or the shrimp," Rohland said.

And she hopes her impact will last well beyond her time serving as Chef Ambassador.

“This is some information that really needs to be passed onto our kids. Kind of like the old days, you know, when you were creating recipes basically with what was in your backyard, said Rohland.

Roland says supporting local does more than just stimulate the economy; it also has health benefits for patrons.

“There’s nothing better, I think, than knowing what you’re eating, and knowing where it comes from. You know, we’ve all seen the labels on certain foods that are like, I can’t even pronounce that item. And this is just kind of like, ok, this came from up the road, and it’s strictly just eggplant," Roland said.

Rohland adds it was extra special to be selected as a South Carolina Chef Ambassador now as the program is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

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