Franklin Law Firm, LLC

Franklin Law Firm, LLC
208 Silver Bluff Rd
Aiken, SC 29803


Tel:  (803) 642-2170
Fax: (803) 642-2173
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Frequently Asked Questions

Social Security Disability

  • What is the difference between Social Security Disability (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
Both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration. Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) is a program financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, self-employed persons. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a welfare type program financed through general tax revenues.
  • What is the earliest age that a person can receive Social Security Disability benefits?
There is no minimum age. However, to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security.
  • Who qualifies?
To receive benefits under the Social Security Disability program, you must have a physical or mental health problem (or a combination of problems) severe enough to keep you from working in any regular job for at least one year or result in death.
  • What happens if I qualify for Social Security Benefits?
If you are found eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you will receive retroactive benefits beginning five (5) full months after you become disabled, but only for a maximum of twelve (12) months before you applied for benefits.
  • How much money will I receive if I qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?
A disabled claimant will receive the same monthly benefit that he or she would receive had he or she retired at full retirement age. The sum of money received will depend on one’s previous work record. Currently the most an individual can receive is $2,053.00 per month.
  • How long will I be able to receive Social Security benefits?
You will receive Social Security Disability benefits as long as you remain disabled and unable to work. Your benefits will not run out because you did not contribute enough into the Social Security system. Your Disability benefits will convert to retirement age Social Security benefits at age 65.

Family Law

  • What are the grounds for divorce in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, there are five grounds of legal reasons for a divorce. They are:
  1. Separation of spouses for at least one (1) year (“no fault” divorce)
  2. Adultery
  3. Physical cruelty
  4. Habitual drunkenness (includes habitual use of narcotic drugs)
  5. Desertion for a period of one (1) year.
  • What factors does the court look for in determining custody?
  1. The temperment and developmental needs of the child;
  2. The capacity and disposition of the parents to understand and meet the needs of the child;
  3. The preferences of each child;
  4. The wishes of the parents as to custody;
  5. The past and current interaction and relationship of the child with each parent, the child's siblings, and any other person, including a grandparent, who may significantly affect the best interest of the child;
  6. The actions of each parent to encourage the continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, as is appropriate, including compliance with court orders;
  7. The manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parent's dispute;
  8. Any effort by one parent to disparage the other parent in front of the child;
  9. The ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child;
  10. The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community environments;
  11. The stability of the child's existing and proposed residences;
  12. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except the disability of a proposed custodial parent ot orther party, in and of itself, ,ust not be determinative of custody unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interest of the child;
  13. The child's cultural and spiritual background;
  14. Whether the sibling of the child has been abused or neglected;
  15. Whether one parent has perpetrated domestic violence or child abuse or the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser if any domestic violence has occured between the parents or between a parent and another individual or between the parent and the child;
  16. Whether one parent has relocated more than 100 miles from the child's preliminary residence in the past year, unless the parent relocated for safety reasons; and
  17. Other factors the court considers as necessary.
  • What types of custody arrangements exist?

Custody typically refers to two specific components.

Joint custody means both parents have equal rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child, including education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities, and religious traning; however, a judge may designate one parent to have sole authority to make specific, identified decisions while both parents retain equal rights and responsibilities for all other decisions.

Sole Custody means a person, including, but not limited to, a parent who has temporary or permanent custody of a child and, unless otherwise provided for by a court order, the rights and responsibilites for major decisions concerning the child, including the child's education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activites, and religious training.

  • How is child support calculated?
South Carolina has guidelines by which Courts determine support. The guidelines contain tables that consider the gross incomes of both parents up to $10,000. The guidelines provide that a parent is given credit for the cost of certain expenses such as work-related child care and medical insurance. The Court has the power to deviate from the guidelines under certain circumstances, but this rarely occurs. You may visit the South Carolina Department of Social Services website and access the child support calculator to estimate your child support.
  • What types of alimony exist?
There are six types of spousal support (alimony) that may be awarded by the Family Court: (1) permanent periodic alimony; (2) lump sum alimony; (3) rehabilitative alimony; (4) reimbursement alimony; (5) separate maintenance and support; and (6) such other form of spousal support as the Court may consider just and appropriate.
  • Permanent Periodic Alimony is the most commonly awarded form of alimony. It is intended to restore the dependant spouse to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
  • Lump Sum Alimony is a total sum to be paid in one installation or periodically over a period of time. It is usually awarded only in exceptional circumstances and compelling reasons.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony is a specific sum to be paid in one installment or periodically for a short period of time.
  • Separate Maintenance and Support is simply what spousal support is called when it is awarded in a separate maintenance action, rather than a divorce action.
  • Other forms of spousal support may be awarded by the Family Court. By definition this includes provisions for housing, transportation, and the like.
  • What factors are used in determining alimony?
The type and amount of spousal support to be awarded by the Family Court are largely in the discretion of the Family Court. However, the law requires that the Family Court consider the following factors when making those determinations:
  1. The duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of divorce or separate maintenance action between the parties
  2. The physical and emotional conditions of each spouse
  3. The educational background of each spouse, together with the need of each for additional training or education in order to achieve that spouse’s income potential
  4. The employment history and earning potential of each spouse
  5. The standard of living established during the marriage
  6. The current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses
  7. The current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of both spouses
  8. The marital and non-marital properties of the parties, including those apportioned to him or her in the divorce or separate maintenance action
  9. Custody of the children, particularly where conditions or circumstances rendered appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home, or where employment must be of a limited nature
  10. Marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties (with exceptions)
  11. The tax consequences to each party such as a form of the particular support awarded
  12. The existence and extent of any support obligation from a prior marriage or any other reason by either party
  13. Such other factors the Court considers relevant.
  • How is property and debt divided in a divorce?
South Carolina is an “equitable apportionment” state. This means that South Carolina divides marital property and marital debt based upon a number of factors, rather than an automatic percentage. While South Carolina Family Courts more often than not divide marital property and marital debts on a 50/50 basis, that percentage division is not automatic or required.
  • What factors are used to determine property and debt division?
In making an equitable apportionment of marital property and debts, the Family Court must consider the following factors:
  1. The duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce or separate maintenance or other marital action between the parties
  2. Marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties, whether or not used as a basis for a divorce as such, if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage (with exceptions)
  3. The value of marital property, whether the property be within or without the State. The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, depreciation, or appreciation in value of the marital property, including the contribution of the spouse as a homemaker provided that the Court shall consider the quality of the contribution as well as it’s factual existence
  4. The income of each spouse, the earning potential of each spouse, and the opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets
  5. The health, both physical and emotional, of each spouse
  6. The need of either spouse for additional training or education in order to achieve that spouse’s income potential
  7. The non-marital property of each spouse
  8. The existence or nonexistence of vested retirement benefits for either spouse
  9. Whether separate maintenance or alimony has been awarded
  10. The desirability of awarding the family home as part of equitable distribution or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of any children
  11. The tax consequences to either party as a result of any particular form of equitable apportionment
  12. The existence and extent of any support obligations from a prior marriage
  13. Liens and any other encumbrances upon the marital property, which themselves must be equitably divided, or upon the separate property of either of the parties, and any other existing debt incurred by the parties or either of them during the course of the marriage
  14. Child custody arrangements and obligations at the time of the entry of the order
  15. Such other relevant factors as the trial Court shall expressly enumerate in its order.
  • What steps are taken to file for divorce in South Carolina?

We begin work on your case once we are retained. The case itself is initiated by filing a Summons and Complaint. The Summons is the document that gives your spouse notice that he or she will have thirty (30) days to send a response, such as an Answer and Counterclaim. The Complaint sets forth the factual and legal basis for your claims. You will be asked to verify these pleadings under oath.

Your spouse will be served with the Summons and Complaint personally. Service is typically performed by a private process server, the sheriff or by your spouse accepting service personally or through his or her attorney. Once your spouse is served, he or she will have thirty (30) days to respond. Generally your spouse will file an Answer and Counterclaim that sets forth the facts and law that your spouse will rely in defending against your law suit.

Sometimes a temporary hearing is held to determine immediate needs such as custody, visitation, child support, and possession of the marital residence. Mediation is also required in any contested case before the court will schedule a final hearing. We will discuss these options with you.

MEDIATION

  • What is mediation?
Mediation is a confidential decision making process in which a neutral facilitator assists parties in reaching an informed settlement arising from separation, divorce, or other family conflicts.
  • Who participates?
The parties and their respective attorneys attend the conference.
  • What is the mediator's role?
The mediator facilitates dicussion of issues but does not make decisions or recommendations. With the mediator, the parties discuss various options in regards to their children, support, division of property, and future family needs.
  • What is the benefit of mediation?
Mediation is private and gives clients control over the expenses and the timing of their negotiations. Mediated agreements help to preserve relationships between parties and have somewhat better "staying power" than court ordered structures or tradtional settlements.

ESTATE PLANNING

  • What is estate planning?
Estate planning is the process of arranging your affairs to achieve the goals you have set for your loved ones in the event of your death or disabiliy.
  • What does estate planning include?
It includes an adequate will, durable power of attornet, health care power of attorney, and a living will.
  • When should an estate plan be reviewed?
You should review your plan every couple of years and/or with the occurrance of a major life event such as a birth, marriage, death or death, etc.

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The content of this website has been prepared by Franklin Law Firm, LLC for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The material posted on this website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship, and readers should not act upon it without seeking professional counsel.