Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Senators striving to revamp Family Court- South Carolina

Anderson Independent Mail


For three of those senators, top goals for the bill include: • Making mediation mandatory for all family court cases. • Reducing marriage-license fees for couples who complete pre-martial counseling. • Updating the formula used to decide how much a parent should pay in child support. • Giving the Family Court system more power to have contempt-of-court charges issued to someone if they fail to pay child support. • Assigning hearing officers to handle minor family court cases, leaving judges to handle the more serious cases.

After listening to concern after concern, Sen. Bryant said he wants to see an incentive given to couples for enrolling in pre-martial counseling. This idea, he said, would hopefully lighten the caseload that family court judges must handle.

But he also wants to see a statewide requirement for pre-trial mediations in family court cases.

"Right now, the families are going directly into court and there it is a battle," Sen. Bryant said.

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