Supreme Court “clarifies” standard of review for family court appeals

The December 20, 2017 Supreme Court opinion in Stoney v. Stoney grants both parties’ petitions for a writ of certiorari, dispenses with further briefing, reverses the Court of Appeals opinion in Stoney v. Stoney, 417 S.C. 345, 790 S.E.2d 31 (Ct. App. 2016) (an opinion that took the Court of Appeals twenty months after oral argument to issue), and remands the matter back to the Court of Appeals for reconsideration. I can envision Ms. Stoney going “urrgh” in frustration as I write this. Evidently the Supreme Court believes the Court of Appeals applied the wrong standard of review in its opinion. Noting that Lewis v. Lewis, 392 S.C. 381, 709 S.E.2d 650 (2011) articulated de novo review as the appropriate standard, the Supreme Court believed the Court of Appeals applied an abuse of discretion standard (a higher burden on the appealing party). Per the Supreme Court: The court of appeals repeatedly referenced an “abuse of discretion” standard throughout…

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