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

 Family Support Attorney West Ashley, SC
Family Law Attorney West Ashley, 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 West Ashley, 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 West Ashley, 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 West Ashley, SC

Fondue lounge serving house-made sodas brings more nonalcoholic options to Charleston

WEST ASHLEY — Brent Sweatman has played a role in restaurant openings in various capacities during his long Charleston food and beverage career. From running the bar at The Rarebit to helping craft the drink menu at all-vegan ...

WEST ASHLEY — Brent Sweatman has played a role in restaurant openings in various capacities during his long Charleston food and beverage career. From running the bar at The Rarebit to helping craft the drink menu at all-vegan Neon Tiger, Sweatman has had an impact on several Charleston establishments, particularly those that have served his house-made sodas.

Now, fans of Sweatman’s ginger beer and tonic can get those, plus a handful of new creations, at Sweatman’s Garden, now open at 90 Folly Road in the Earth Fare supermarket-anchored South Windermere Shopping Center.

Owned by Sweatman and his wife Danielle, Sweatman’s Garden is housed in the former site of Florence’s Lowcountry Kitchen, which closed in September 2022.

The space is darker and moodier than in its previous Southern-themed iteration, with live plants covering an entire wall to the right. Behind the bar, employees are serving Sweatman’s root beer, habanero fresco, natural cola and more. For $5, patrons can add a house or cannabis spirit to their drink.

When served straight, the sodas are meant to be a healthier, all-natural alternative to a cocktail or sugary commercial pop.

“I get pretty geeky when it comes to herbs and spices,” Brent Sweatman said. “We always try to do things that are a little bit unique or take sodas that you know and love and show them to you the right way.”

The small food menu features charcuterie boards, garlic hummus, cheese and fondue, served sweet and savory. Pots of cheese and chocolate fondues come with chips, bread, vegetables and other items for dipping.

A food festival with a storied history that started in Aspen, Colo., 40 years ago is coming to Charleston.

Led by Food & Wine, Southern Living and Travel + Leisure magazines, the inaugural Food & Wine Classic in Charleston is set to take place next year. Presented by Explore Charleston, the three-day event will be held Sept. 27-29.

The weekend festival will feature nationally known chefs and local talent, with chef demonstrations, seminars and dining experiences at local restaurants on the schedule. A Grand Tasting Pavilion with bites and beverages will be joined by Explore Charleston’s Gather Charleston Pavilion, a tasting area that will highlight local chefs.

It joins the city’s prominent existing food festival, Charleston Wine + Food, which was founded in 2005. The annual festival moved its signature Culinary Village to North Charleston in 2022 when it returned after a 2-year COVID-19 shutdown with more than 100 events.

The 2024 Charleston Wine + Food Festival will take place March 6-10.

The Food & Wine Classic in Charleston will be headquartered in “the heart of downtown,” Hunter Lewis, editor in chief of Food & Wine magazine, said without revealing specific locations. The goal is to attract both visitors and Charleston residents, he said.

“We’re going to be very, very focused on what makes sense for the people of Charleston as we do this,” Lewis said.

West Ashley couple’s new sodary capitalizes on mocktail trend

Danielle and Brent Sweatman understand the complicated relationship between sobriety and the food and beverage space. The couple, who have worked in the industry for years, are two years sober.“We knew how it feels to be uncomfortable with limited options and wanted to change that,” said Danielle, who with her husband Brent, opened Sweatman’s Garden — a sodary and fondue Lounge at 90 Folly Road Boulevard in the South Windermere Shopping Center.Brent said they chose the location for a few reasons.&...

Danielle and Brent Sweatman understand the complicated relationship between sobriety and the food and beverage space. The couple, who have worked in the industry for years, are two years sober.

“We knew how it feels to be uncomfortable with limited options and wanted to change that,” said Danielle, who with her husband Brent, opened Sweatman’s Garden — a sodary and fondue Lounge at 90 Folly Road Boulevard in the South Windermere Shopping Center.

Brent said they chose the location for a few reasons.

“We live in West Ashley and have been living in Byrnes Down for about five years. Because we love our community, we wanted to provide a cool hangout spot close to home for both drinkers and non-drinkers.”

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According to Brent, he and his wife were happy to fill a much-needed niche in the community.

“There are so many young people in the area that are becoming part of the sober curious movement and it was important to us to provide an inclusive space for the people that would want to take advantage of it,” he said.

And with the rise of mocktail culture, their timing couldn’t be better. According to research conducted by NielsenIQ, the non-alcoholic beverage sector is expanding rapidly as alcohol consumption declines, with popularity soaring over the past five years — a trend driven by Gen Z and millennials.

An Instagram-worthy experience

When the couple moved into what was Florence’s Lowcountry Kitchen, they were presented with a tabula rasa, enabling Danielle, as she says, “to go wild.”

She transformed plain, white walls into ones with a dark green hue and festooned them with dozens of thriving plants. Quirky and colorful seating areas are Instagram-worthy, like the attractive curved yellow couch which faces tufted lilac chairs and is separated by a ‘70s-era coffee table.

“We set them up to appear like little living rooms,” said Danielle, adding that she loves maximalism and color. “I was inspired by an art-deco, 70s funky vibe,” she said.

The offerings

Brent is no stranger to libation creation, having helped open the King Street Diner known as the Rarebit featuring homemade ginger beer, tonic, sodas and bitters.

“We’re doing 12 different taps, featuring our tonic and ginger beer and additional playful, fun stuff when it comes to our sodas, like plum rose citrus and a delicious habanero fresca sweetened with monk fruit, which is currently getting a lot of love, along with our root beer,” said Danielle.

For an additional $5, customers can add their choice of alcohol, or a cannabis-based infusion to their sodas. Sometimes customers opt for both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages in the same evening.

“I’ve seen some of them take a non-alcohol root beer break from drinking,” said Danielle

The couple also decided to offer a limited menu featuring fondue.

“We’re serving savory fondue, like Mediterranean and beer cheese and also offering sweet options like white chocolate and milk chocolate,” said Danielle, explaining that she loves cheese and chocolate, but that they also wanted to make the menu a fun, interactive experience that doesn’t take staff too much time to create. For now, the business employs a total of seven staff members.

As for the future, Danielle said they are working on finding their bearings at the moment. “We were intentionally a little mysterious about being open to see what worked and what didn’t, but we may consider live entertainment in the future, if all goes well,” she said.

Stefanie Kalina-Metzger is a contributing writer for SC Biz News.

Revamped Charleston retail center to see 8 new shops; 2 new Moncks Corner restaurants open

The site of a former grocery store in Charleston soon will house several new tenants.The former location of Doscher’s IGA, which was demolished earlier this year next to Whole Foods Market in West Ashley Station Shopping Center, is being redeveloped into six ...

The site of a former grocery store in Charleston soon will house several new tenants.

The former location of Doscher’s IGA, which was demolished earlier this year next to Whole Foods Market in West Ashley Station Shopping Center, is being redeveloped into six new shop spaces for retailers and a restaurant.

Coming to the 16,200 square feet of new construction are Another Broken Egg Cafe with a patio on the south end as well as Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, clothing store House of Sage, hair salon Nikita and beverage shop Sunshine Liquors, according the to commercial real estate firm Carolina Retail Experts.

Pet supply shop Hollywood Feed also will relocate to a larger space in the new multitenant building from an outparcel site beside Chase Bank. Pet care operator GoodVets plans to occupy the current site of Hollywood Feed.

Two new outparcel buildings under construction, each with two merchant spaces, have lined up one tenant each.

In the structure near Savannah Highway, Pacific Dental Services will occupy half of the roughly 5,400-square-foot building. In the 5,000-square-foot structure behind it, workout site MADabolic has leased about 60 percent of the building.

All of the new structures are under construction. Opening dates have not been announced.

Now open

Two new restaurant venues recently opened in southern Moncks Corner.

Dog & Duck is now serving at 2826 U.S. 52 in the Publix-anchored Moncks Corner Marketplace Shopping Center at Cypress Gardens Road.

It’s the fifth Lowcountry location for the pub. Two are in Mount Pleasant in Belle Hall and Park West, another is in Charleston on Clements Ferry Road in the Cainhoy area and one more is on Trolley Road in Summerville.

Also, fast-food restaurant Wendy’s opened nearby in October on U.S. Highway 52 near Foxbank Plantation and Cypress Gardens Road.

What’s cooking?

A new sandwich restaurant soon will open on Johns Island.

Jersey Mike’s Subs is coming to Maybank Commons at 1800 Produce Lane on Johns Island. The 1,361-square-foot eatery is expected to open before year’s end.

The strip retail center also has two nearly 3,000-square-foot spaces and a 1,361-square-foot slot. The new restaurant is eyeing a December opening, according to the contractor.

Gassing up

A Savannah-based convenience store and gas station chain continues to throttle ahead with new locations in the Charleston area.

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Parker’s Kitchen recently secured a ground lease for the property owned by Gregorie Land Co. LLC at 4315 Savannah Highway, where Circle K convenience store and gas station operates at S.C. Highway 162 near Rantowles Creek.

Retail

The five-year lease took effect Oct. 19 and can be extended four more times over the next 25 years, according to Charleston County land records.

The convenience store chain also is adding two more stores in the Charleston area.

Parker’s recently applied for a state license to sell beer and wine at 343 College Park Road in Ladson.

When it was first announced in 2020, plans included a truck stop, but nearby residents, environmentalists and county officials opposed the truck addition because they feared the disturbance of wetlands in Ancrum Swamp next to the 17-acre site.

Real Estate

Savannah-based Parker’s paid $950,000 for the property in 2020, according to Berkeley County land records.

Another Parker’s Kitchen is under development in Ingleside Plantation at the juncture of Palmetto Commerce Parkway and Weber Boulevard. The company has several other locations in the Lowcountry.

Parker’s also recently donated $135,000 to Lowcountry Food Bank through a round-up campaign from customers and a 25 percent match by the company.

New leases

A new nail salon and wellness spa are coming to Summerville.

Nail Garden LLC leased 2,800 square feet at 143 Berkeley Circle and Energy Enhancement Centers USA leased 3,080 square feet at the same address.

Real Estate

Brent Case and Hannah Kamba of Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic represented the landlord, Azalea 888 Zhou Tang LLC, in both transactions. Jenna Philipp of Palmetto Commercial Properties represented the spa tenant.

The retail site is near Azalea Square Shopping Center off North Main Street.

Now open

Hurricane Coffee will celebrate its grand opening Nov. 3-4 at 650 College Park Road, Unit H, in the Food Lion-anchored shopping center near Stratford High School on the edge of Goose Creek.

The shop will have offer giveaways, raffles and products from several vendors during its grand opening event 5:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

A portion of all sales from both days will be donated to Omar Shriners Pirate Unit.

The shop also will offer free coffee, including its special white espresso, to all first responders all the time as well as a 10 percent discount on other items on the menu for all first responders, nurses, teachers and all active and veteran military members. The shop also collects goods for victims of human trafficking and domestic abuse.

The shop previously operated from a food truck in a couple of nearby temporary locations.

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Debate continues regarding development of former West Ashley Piggly Wiggly site

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston Community Development Commission discussed the development of the old Piggly Wiggly lot on Sumar Street Thursday night for the first time since last month after a city council meeting deferred discussions due to a split vote.The meeting lasted for three hours as commissioners argued back and forth, with some advocating for green space to be the f...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston Community Development Commission discussed the development of the old Piggly Wiggly lot on Sumar Street Thursday night for the first time since last month after a city council meeting deferred discussions due to a split vote.

The meeting lasted for three hours as commissioners argued back and forth, with some advocating for green space to be the focus, and others wanting the project to focus on revitalization.

City officials and the public were asked for their input on three different proposals last month, with the first option including underground parking, outdoor areas and a civic building.

Option one was the most popular with 72% of the community in favor of the design, yet approval failed in a split decision vote by the city council.

“I just want to say I’m a little surprised and disappointed that it seems like the politicians are just not listening to the residents of West Ashley,” community member Sharon Gardner says.

Thursday’s meeting was set with plans of potential action for the project, but after hours of heated discussion, the only decision made was to develop another proposal with a design only including civic building and green space.

“I think we need to develop another option,” Charleston City Councilmember, William Dudley Gregorie, says. “We need to develop another option that is green space, and municipal space, and let the people of West Ashley take a look at that.”

The motion was made even after dozens of members of the public continued to push for option one.

“Having something in our community to allow us to gather is very important,” West Ashley resident William Tinkler says. “I’ve talked with many people in the last couple of months, and I can tell that people in West Ashley, they want action; they want something done now.”

Although the meeting was held by the Charleston Community Development Commission, almost every member of the Charleston City Council joined, saying no project in the city’s history has had this large of a public response.

“Approach this effort in this project through the lens of West Ashley revitalization,” councilmember Ross Appel says. “We need to find a way to jumpstart the economy of West Ashley; because let’s face it, West Ashley does lag behind other parts of the city and other parts of the region.”

Unless one voting member changes their mind, at this rate the decision will simply remain split.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg himself is on the side of economic growth.

“If we approve it, we would be able to move forward and get something going, that includes the multi-uses that respectfully many hundreds of our citizens weigh in upon over the last few years,” Tecklenburg says. “It’s a good option; it will revitalize the West Ashley, it’s a good way to go”

A community member who has been involved in the process says this is the nineteenth meeting on the development in the last six years.

Robert Mitchell, Perry Waring, William Dudley Gregorie and Caroline Parker were in favor of Thursday’s motion to develop another proposal with design only including civic building and green space. Mayor John Tecklenburg, Ross Appel and Jason Sakran were opposed.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Commentary: Charleston, West Ashley in particular, needs progress, not promises

My wife and I are raising our two boys in West Ashley. They play baseball and soccer at West Ashley and Ackerman Parks, First Tee at Shawdowmoss Golf & Country Club, and basketball at the Bees Landing Recreation Center. We ride our bikes and go for walks in our neighborhood of Carolina Bay. It’s where we shop, go out to eat and meet with friends. West Ashley is also where the current mayor has failed to lead time and time again over nearly eight years.The reality is that planned and consistent improvements, shared-use paths,...

My wife and I are raising our two boys in West Ashley. They play baseball and soccer at West Ashley and Ackerman Parks, First Tee at Shawdowmoss Golf & Country Club, and basketball at the Bees Landing Recreation Center. We ride our bikes and go for walks in our neighborhood of Carolina Bay. It’s where we shop, go out to eat and meet with friends. West Ashley is also where the current mayor has failed to lead time and time again over nearly eight years.

The reality is that planned and consistent improvements, shared-use paths, beautification, and integration of service and amenities in West Ashley has been slow, nonexistent in some areas and outright ignored in others. Put simply, the city has not consistently invested in improving the quality of life and capturing the vibrant spirit of the largest part of our beloved city.

This long overdue work is not right, fair nor equitable.

The Sumar Street redevelopment is a prime example. For that development, only one developer responded to the city’s request for a proposal. Going with one developer is not a good practice when dealing with public dollars for such a project.

That developer is seeking $100 for a 99-year lease and millions of dollars for the development’s parking needs, but putting $23 million toward an underground garage does not make that area prime for private sector investment.

Rather than complement the next door Ashley Landing redevelopment, the city chose to compete with it. The limited vision, planning and implementations continue because the mayor created a tie rather than vote in the majority in order to take meaningful action at the July City Council meeting.

The incumbent has moved too slowly to implement any of the recommendations from the Plan West Ashley document that the city spent $500,000 to produce. The West Ashley Project Coordinator has no budget, staff and authority to provide the needed services, engagement, and progress the largest part of our city has lacked.

A plan without the right level of personnel and budget to implement its findings creates illusions, false hope and frustrations. We can change this. The largest part of the city can’t be without the staff and resources to service residents and businesses.

Imagine what we can do for West Ashley and other parts of our city that have been left behind if we apply for more of the millions of available federal funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. We have an opportunity to secure such funds, and I will make it a top priority to pursue this funding and bring such resources to our city.

My experience and current work at the local, state, and federal levels of government uniquely puts us in the best position to accomplish this.

We can stop imagining better gateways to West Ashley, better drainage, better roads and streets, sidewalks, safe bike lanes, connectivity, façade improvements, gathering spots and so much more — and start living it. We need a workhorse to get this done.

If you are happy with the level of leadership and service you have received over the past eight years, I’m not your person. However, if you want more and expect more from your mayor and city, I have something tangible to offer.

Clay Middleton is a native Charlestonian who is running for mayor. A Citadel graduate, he serves as a lieutenant colonel in the S.C. Army National Guard. He previously served as director of Business Services for the city of Charleston, where he led the Business & Neighborhood Services division. He also has served in the Obama administration and as a longtime aide to U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn.

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