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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 Isle of Palms, 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.

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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 Isle of Palms, SC, can answer those questions and make alimony easier to understand and approach.

 Family Support Attorney Isle Of Palms, SC
Family Law Attorney Isle Of Palms, 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 Isle Of Palms, 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 Isle of Palms, 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 Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms approves new emergency beach access for first responders

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - Isle of Palms County Park at the 14th Avenue beach access is expected to have a new emergency vehicle path by the summer of next year.Isle of Palms City Council approved the designs and is now sending the plans for Charleston County Council approval. The city is paying for the construction and the county park is providing the land.Fire Chief Craig Oliverius says there are a few already built in, but as more and more people are visiting the beaches each year, the safety needs to increase with the num...

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - Isle of Palms County Park at the 14th Avenue beach access is expected to have a new emergency vehicle path by the summer of next year.

Isle of Palms City Council approved the designs and is now sending the plans for Charleston County Council approval. The city is paying for the construction and the county park is providing the land.

Fire Chief Craig Oliverius says there are a few already built in, but as more and more people are visiting the beaches each year, the safety needs to increase with the numbers. He explains that the location at 14th Street is an essential location.

“We have a very active dune system at our access on 9th Avenue,” Oliverius says. “That’s also an ADA-approved access, so we have a dune structure there that’s constantly moving and that access is not always reliable for emergency vehicles. And so the next closest access would be 25th Avenue or 5th and so this access at 14th is very important because most of our visitors tend to congregate between 10th and 28th and so this is right in the middle and a lot of people utilize Charleston County Parks.”

Isle of Palms County Park Manager, Bailey Pfeiffer, says now with city approval they are hoping to make quick work of this project. Ideally for her staff, it will be complete in the spring of 2024 ahead of the busiest beach season summer months.

“We hope this project will go out for bid in November and once that gets selected we are hoping to start the project in January and wrap up in April,” Pfeiffer says.

She says this will benefit everyone on the beaches by providing another clear path to the area, so responders can travel the smooth roads longer and pinpoint the location on the beach better by entering a little closer to any calls.

“This will provide quicker response times for the island. It will allow fire and out Isle of Palms county park lifeguards to respond quicker to medical emergencies so it’ll be a great benefit to the residents here,” Pfieffer says.

Oliverius thanked the collaboration so far between the county and city to agree to the use of the land at the 14th Avenue county park beach access. He says the design is simple, yet effective.

“We intend to have a sliding gate that our emergency responders can access from the intersection of 14th and Ocean,” Oliverius says. “We’ll be able to operate that via our radio through Charleston County dispatch with one click we’ll be able to enter the gate. It’ll open automatically and then we will travel down the distance from here to the beach access onto the beach through pavers, and have a nice clean easy pathway unobstructed to the beach where we can access the beach or anyone who needs assistance.”

The project will go to bid in the next few months and that will determine the construction costs. Isle of Palm leaders agree this is a needed addition to their beach safety standards.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Editorial: Isle of Palms voters should cap short-term rentals

Like residents on Folly Beach just a few islands down the coast, Isle of Palms residents seem to want assurances that their coastal city will strike a balance between full-time residents and homes used as short-term rentals.Earlier this year, many Folly residents believed their City Council wasn’t tak...

Like residents on Folly Beach just a few islands down the coast, Isle of Palms residents seem to want assurances that their coastal city will strike a balance between full-time residents and homes used as short-term rentals.

Earlier this year, many Folly residents believed their City Council wasn’t taking their concerns seriously and petitioned for a referendum to limit the number of short-term rentals. That effort was successful, and now Isle of Palms residents have succeeded in their own petition drive.

As a result, island voters will go to the polls Nov. 7 to decide not only four City Council races and a utility commission seat but also this question: “Shall the City of Isle of Palms limit the investment short term rental business licenses to a maximum of 1,600?” They should vote yes.

It’s important to understand what the ordinance will and won’t do. Those residents who currently live in their home (and qualify for the 4% property tax assessment rate on owner-occupied homes) still may rent out their home for up to 72 days a year, and they would not be subject to the new cap.

The cap would apply only to so-called investor-owned properties and second homes (which have 6% assessment rates). Currently, the island has about 1,600 of these types of properties with short-term rental licenses, so the cap was designed to maintain the status quo — and to ensure the number of short-term rentals doesn’t rise much more.

But no current property owner should face an immediate hardship if the referendum question is approved, and that’s important to note. All owners of rental properties who have a current license by Nov. 7 will be grandfathered in, and those who had one as of April 30, 2023 will have 60 days — through January 2024 — to apply for and receive a short-term rental license, even if the number of applications surpasses 1,600. Also, these licenses will be transferrable to family members. These responsible, equitable provisions should minimize hardships if the question were to pass.

“We have a growing number of short-term rental licenses in residential communities,” former City Councilman Randy Bell told reporter David Slade. Mr. Bell has worked with the pro-referendum group Preserve Isle of Palms Now. “We are trying to maintain the one-third, one-third, one-third split between full-time residents, second homes and rental properties.”

It might strike some as odd that the cap issue is emerging even as the island has seen a recent slowdown in short-term rentals. Visitors and residents always have made up a large part of the Isle of Palms’ identity, but the Nov. 7 referendum is yet another example of South Carolina communities, particularly those popular with tourists, seeking a better balance between the economic vitality of short-term rentals and the relative stability and quietude of neighborhoods with mostly full-time, year-round residents. State legislators should not pass any laws that would hinder the work of cities and counties on this issue.

As with Folly, even if voters approve the cap, we don’t expect the referendum to be the last word on the subject. City Council would have to implement it but could make modifications as it sees fit. As City Attorney Mac McQuillin explained, “If the ordinance is approved by voters ... council can amend or repeal following the election just like any other ordinance.” If the referendum is approved, City Council should amend it if there’s a consensus that it is not working as planned or officials find a better way to ensure the resident-visitor balance.

If voters say yes — as they should — it’s certainly fair for Isle of Palms council members to consider whether 1,600 really is the best number in the long run or whether that number should be changed to reflect the distinctly different areas of the island, such as the front beach and Wild Dunes. That’s a fair debate, but one that would take place with council members knowing full well that island residents — also known as city voters — remain concerned about the scale tipping too far away from them.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This editorial has been updated to clarify that only investor-owned properties that have a short-term rental license by Nov. 7 or ones that had such a license as of April 30, 2023 and reapply within a 60-day period after Nov. 7 would not be subject to the 1,600 cap.

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Beach advocacy group calls for expanded parking on Isle of Palms, cites short-term rentals

ISLE OF PALMS — Along most streets of this barrier island, daytime parking is limited to residents and short-term rental guests. But a beachgoers advocacy group has asked the state to make that parking available to all.The Charleston Beach Foundation argues that with so many short-term rentals on Isle of Palms, vacationers renting on the island are parking on state-owned land that day-trip visitors are unfairly forbidden to use.“The voters have spoken on the Isle of Palms, and there is no cap on short-term rentals,&...

ISLE OF PALMS — Along most streets of this barrier island, daytime parking is limited to residents and short-term rental guests. But a beachgoers advocacy group has asked the state to make that parking available to all.

The Charleston Beach Foundation argues that with so many short-term rentals on Isle of Palms, vacationers renting on the island are parking on state-owned land that day-trip visitors are unfairly forbidden to use.

“The voters have spoken on the Isle of Palms, and there is no cap on short-term rentals,” said Beach Foundation co-director Myra Jones, citing a November ballot question that was voted down.

“Our theory, basically, is that a short-term rental is a business, there are businesses island-wide, and the businesses are benefiting from the residential-only parking,” she said.

In a Nov. 27 letter sent to S.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall, Isle of Palms Mayor Phillip Pounds and others, the Beach Foundation claims “IOP no longer has legitimate ‘residential’ areas and the general public is being denied their constitutional guaranty of equality and privilege to access state roadways and rights-of-way.”

That argument echoes some comments made by Hall in a 2021 letter to the small coastal city during a wide-ranging debate about public parking on the island.

“I am of the opinion that the 2015 (Isle of Palms parking) plan has improperly designated a significant number of state-owned highway rights of way as ‘resident only parking’ potentially denying non-residents their constitutional guaranty of equality and privilege,” Hall wrote.

She added, “Accordingly, at a minimum, the state-owned roads intersecting SC 703 (Palm Boulevard) should be re-evaluated for the restoration of public parking along the first block.”

No changes were subsequently made on the roads connecting to Palm Boulevard. Instead, the state quashed an Isle of Palms’ plan to eliminate most free public parking on the island and installed angled parking along Palm Boulevard and added parking at Breach Inlet.

Both changes increased the amount of free parking for beach visitors, while resident-only parking areas remained as they were.

“I think where we left it, after we made those changes to Palm (Boulevard) and Breach Inlet, was that we would see how things would operate,” Hall said Nov. 28.

She said DOT would review the Charleston Beach Foundation’s request.

Pounds said the island is comfortable with the current parking regulations and said it’s absurd for the Beach Foundation to suggest Isle of Palms has no residential neighborhoods.

“I would love for that crowd to come out here and talk to the 4,000 residents who live on the island and tell them the entire island is commercial,” he said. “It’s not like our residential areas went away as a result of the referendum.”

In the Nov. 7 referendum, Isle of Palms voters were asked if they would support a 1,600-license cap for short-term rentals of commercially taxed homes. The measure failed with more than 54 percent voters in opposition.

Pounds said that while the referendum vote quashed one specific plan, discussions about limits on short-term rentals are ongoing.

As of the end of October, according to a city analysis, Isle of Palms had 4,610 residential properties, and 1,850 of them — 40 percent — had a short-term rental license.

Each of those short-term rental properties can have four permits allowing guests to park in resident-only areas.

“The Residential Parking Only Zones are being misused and abused by the STR businesses as their customers are allowed to park on the state-owned rights of way while excluding the general public,” the Charleston Beach Foundation said in its letter.

Under the city’s rules, the state’s right of way along most streets — strips of land adjacent to the roads — is available for parking to residents, their guests with permits and short-term rental guests with permits.

A short-term rental property owner can buy four permits yearly for $15, for tenants to use in residential-only areas where parking would otherwise be prohibited from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during beach season.

High liquor liability policy hurting some Isle of Palms bars

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD)- The post commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post on Isle of Palms is calling for the governor to rethink requirements for a liquor liability policy.On Saturday, the post had to a temporarily close its doors, the owner saying he wasn’t sure when they would be able to reopen.The VFW Post 3137 has been around for over 50 years, serving as a place for vets to come hang out.“We call it comradery,” Post commander Bo Stallings said.It’s one of the top veterans&rs...

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD)- The post commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post on Isle of Palms is calling for the governor to rethink requirements for a liquor liability policy.

On Saturday, the post had to a temporarily close its doors, the owner saying he wasn’t sure when they would be able to reopen.

The VFW Post 3137 has been around for over 50 years, serving as a place for vets to come hang out.

“We call it comradery,” Post commander Bo Stallings said.

It’s one of the top veterans’ posts in the country, with a wall of awards to prove it.

Stallings said, “The All-American award here that you see, the All-American post is very hard to get.”

For the first time since it opened, the post had to temporarily shut down for three days.

“We had to close the doors Saturday at midnight,” Stallings said.

The uncertainty of if and when it would reopen raised concern among the more than 1,200 members.

“My phone and email have been blowing up,” Stallings said.

Stallings says the closure was because they couldn’t afford their liquor liability insurance.

“As of this morning, I was told 66 VFWs across the state have had to close because of this insurance policy,” Stallings said.

In South Carolina., bars must maintain at least $1 million of liquor liability insurance.

It’s a bill that passed in 2017.

Stallings says this law is killing bars, and his neighbor at the Windjammer agrees.

“There’s plenty of local establishments and bars that are feeling the blunt of this and don’t have the money to pay this insurance,” Owner of Windjammer, Bobby Ross said.

Stallings says its time to rewrite the law, to make it less stressful for bar owners to have insurance, and he’s calling on the governor to make the change.

“It’s just out of hand with this insurance. I don’t know what the remedy would be other than the governor taking his pen and saying hey let’s make it go away,” Stallings said.

Stallings says they were able to secure a new policy they can afford, so they’ve opened their doors back up for service.

Safety officials address beachside preparations ahead of Tropical Storm Idalia

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - Public safety officials are addressing safety preparations for beachside communities ahead of Tropical Storm Idalia, which is set to hit the Lowcountry late Wednesday.Representatives with the Isle of Palms and Folly Beach say high winds, heavy rainfall and high tides could mean bigger concerns for safety along local beaches.“Being out here on the edge, we are very susceptible to flooding issues and storm surge,” Folly Beach Director of Public Safety Andrew Gilreath said. “We have t...

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - Public safety officials are addressing safety preparations for beachside communities ahead of Tropical Storm Idalia, which is set to hit the Lowcountry late Wednesday.

Representatives with the Isle of Palms and Folly Beach say high winds, heavy rainfall and high tides could mean bigger concerns for safety along local beaches.

“Being out here on the edge, we are very susceptible to flooding issues and storm surge,” Folly Beach Director of Public Safety Andrew Gilreath said. “We have to be extra cautious to make sure we communicate with our citizens and visitors.”

Live 5 News meteorologists are tracking the storm and say we can expect 4-8 inches of rain, along with eight-foot tides.

They say the abnormally high tide is due to a combination of the effects from Idalia and the potential for a King Tide.

King Tides happen during a full moon and can heavily influence the strength of tides, rip currents and waves.

“We’re approaching a full moon as we get to the end of August here,” National Weather Service Charleston Representative Steven Taylor said. “Influences on the tides are at its greatest. Unfortunately, even without wind, without heavy rain, our tides would have already been causing problems.”

Beach officials warn residents and visitors to avoid entering any flood waters during the storm.

“90% of the island is on septic so the water is not something you want to play in or be in just by the nature. That’s something we try to keep people up to speed on,” Gilreath said.

They also strongly urge people to avoid the ocean during this time due to strong rip currents and high tide.

“With rip currents projected and the marine environment looking extreme. Please stay out of the ocean,” Gilreath said. “In certain situations, I will not put my employees at risk just to save someone out there to have fun.”

Gilreath says Folly Beach is already in the early stages of prep, which includes sandbagging operations, securing beach access areas, and monitoring bridge spaces for high winds.

The Isle of Palms released the following statement earlier today:

City of Isle of Palms officials are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Idalia and its impact on the island. According to the National Weather Service, heavy rainfall and tropical storm-force winds are expected to reach the South Carolina coast on Wednesday, August 30, 2023. Other risks along the coast include rip currents, high surf and the potential for beach erosion. The city is resuming normal operations until further notice.

City leadership encourages its residents and visitors to prepare for the storm now. Residents should remove or secure any items around the home that could cause damage due to the potential for strong wind gusts. It is recommended that citizens assemble an emergency supply kit that includes at least a three-day supply of water, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, prescription medications, batteries and other essentials. More information on emergency kits and overall storm preparation is available on the city’s website: iop.net.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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