One of the most common hearings in South Carolina Family Court is a hearing on a Motion for Temporary Relief. These motions (and related hearings) are intended to establish how things will be while the case is open but before a final conclusion is reached. Many lawyers automatically file these motions at the same time that the Summons and Complaint (which begin the case) are filed.
Generally, written motions and notice of such hearing dates must be served on the opposing party no later than 10 days before the hearing, according to South Carolina Rule of Civil Procedure 6(d). Motions for Temporary Relief in Family Court are excepted from this Rule, however, in favor of Family Court Rule 21.
Rule 21(a), SCFCR requires that the written motion for temporary relief and notice of the hearing on the motion must be served at least five days before the hearing.
I have had many potential clients tell me that they were served late in the week for a temporary hearing being held the following Monday. This is not sufficient notice of the hearing.
But why? If the rule requires 5 days notice, how is service on Wednesday not sufficient for a hearing on the following Monday?
Because of Rule 6(a), SCRCP, which says: "When the period of time prescribed or allowed is less than seven days, intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays shall be excluded in the computation."
So, to use the previous example, if a person is served with notice of the hearing on Wednesday, he or she has less than 5 days notice of the Monday hearing -- because Saturday and Sunday do not count. Really, to give proper notice of the hearing in accordance with SCRCP 6(a), it is necessary to give notice a full 7 calendar days before the hearing.
Do you need help preparing for a temporary hearing in South Carolina Family Court?
If so, call (843) 488-2110 or send a message through our Contact Form.