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SC Judicial Department
Abbeville County Development Board

Clerk of Court

Emily Y. McMahan

Post Office Box 99
102 Court Square, Room 103 - Courthouse
Abbeville, South Carolina 29620
Phone:  (864) 366-5312 Ext. 55
Fax:      (864) 366-9188
Hours: 8:30AM - 5:00PM Monday - Friday
 
 
You must come in person to request specific information about Child Support, General Session’s charges, or a Common Pleas case. When researching any recordings from the RMC department you must come into the office to obtain this information.
 
Our office does not provide legal advice. If such advice is needed, you should contact an attorney.
 
For different department contacts see listing below:
 
Clerk of Court
Emily Y. McMahan
(864) 366-5312 Ext. 2200
 
Deputy Clerk of Court/General Sessions
Shandal B. Boggs
(864) 366-5312 Ext. 2201
 
Common Pleas Clerk
Peggy Payne
(864) 366-5312 Ext. 2202
 
 
Real Estate (ROD)
Toni Gilmer
(864) 366-5312 Ext. 2203
 
Deputy Clerk Family Court
Carolyn Powell
(864) 366-5312 Ext. 2205
 
Family Court Clerk
Vicki Johnson
(864) 366-5312 Ext. 2204
Email: vjohnson@abbevillecountysc.com
 
 
Responsibilities
 
The Clerk of Court Office is responsible for all aspects of General Sessions, and Common Pleas. We accept filings and maintain all records pertaining to each of these courts. Our office also handles all ROD recordings. Copies of any record (except those sealed by the court) are public record and can be reviewed in person and copies obtained for a fee of $.25 per page. 
 
General Sessions Court also known as Criminal Court, is responsible for accepting and maintaining all warrants, bonds, indictments, etc. We also collect fines and restitution payments as well. For General Session dockets you must contact the Eighth Circuit Solicitor's Office at (864)942-8800.
 
Common Pleas Court also known as Civil Court, is responsible for maintaining all paperwork in civil cases. We prepare, and post online, rosters for the appropriate terms of court and schedule hearings 30 days before the term of court. Foreclosures are recorded and sold through Common Pleas as well. The Clerks Office also draws juries for General Session and Common Pleas of court for the county.
 
The Family Court Office is responsible for maintaining all records regarding Family Court. This includes all divorce and adoption papers, child support and custody papers, and juvenile records. We are responsible for collecting and disbursing child support payments, as well as scheduling hearings for past due child support payments.
 
The Register of Deeds (ROD) is responsible for maintaining all records including deeds, mortgages, plats, power of attorney, contracts, satisfaction, and any other documents affecting title to real property is recorded. Judgments, state, and federal tax liens are filed in this office. In addition, the Clerk maintains records of military discharges.
Our office cannot provide legal advice or give information out over the telephone. You must come in person to request specific information about Child Support, General Session charges, or a Common Pleas case. You must come into the office to research any recordings from the RMC department. This office cannot research records of any kind, but we can assist you in the index books. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. We are closed on major holidays.


Register of Deeds
On January 1, 1998, the name of the office changed from Register of Mesne Conveyances (RMC) to Register of Deeds (RoD). Current office holders, whether appointed or elected, were authorized to keep the name of RMC during their tenure in office, however, after their term, the name is to change to RoD.

The Code of Laws of South Carolina sets out the duties of the Register of Deeds. The proper recording of documents provides notice to subsequent purchasers or creditors of the interests of others in the property and establishes priority of claims against that property. Generally, all instruments conveying an interest in real property must be recorded in that county's Register of Deeds in order to be valid. Other documents of public interest may also be recorded by the Register of Deeds.

Our ROD department has index books for the research of records. Recording fee are as follows: A) Deeds, Leases, Contracts of Sale, Trust Indentures, Agreements, Right of Ways, Restrictions, Amendments, Bond for Title, Mortgages, Surety Bonds, Releases, Subordinations, Modifications, Easements -- $10.00 for the first 4 pages & $1.00 per page thereafter; B) Power of Attorneys, Revocation of Power of Attorneys, Bankruptcy -- $15.00 for the first 4 pages & $1.00 per page thereafter; C) Plats – Small $5.00, Large $10.00; D) Assignments -- $6.00 for the first 4 pages & $1.00 per page thereafter; E) Satisfactions, Notary Registrations -- $5.00; F) Separate Affidavits, Probates or Certificates (not attached to a document), State & Federal Tax Liens -- $10.00; G) Notice of Project Commencements -- $15.00.

Financing Statements or UCC Fees -- $8.00 up to 2 pages and up to 2 debtors. $10.00 for UCCs that are 3 pages with up to 2 Debtors. Additional pages (more than 3 pages) are $1.00 per page. Additional debtors (more than 2) are $2.00 per name.

Family Court
The Family Court is the sole forum for the hearing of all cases concerning marriage, divorce, legal separation, custody, visitation rights, termination of parental rights, adoption, support, alimony, division of marital property, and change of name. The court also generally has exclusive jurisdiction over minors under the age of seventeen alleged to have violated any state law or municipal ordinance.

The Family Court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases concerning domestic disputes. Among the many types of matters that the Family Court presides over are the granting of divorces, property disputes between husband and wife, and the granting of alimony. The Family Court is also charged with child custody matters, including child support orders, visitation schedules, the termination of parental rights, the finalization of adoptions, and legal name changes. Additionally, the Family Court hears paternity disputes and domestic violence incidents. The Court also hears most juvenile criminal cases where the juvenile is under the age of seventeen. Unlike the Circuit Court, the Family Court does not employ the use of juries. Appeals from Family Court cases are heard by the South Carolina Court of Appeals.

The Family Court is a formal court of record, and operates under the South Carolina Constitution, the code of Laws of South Carolina, and the Rules of Family Court. A majority people having cases in Family Court are represented by attorneys. These attorneys have spent at least three years in law school studying the various laws and procedures. Laws regarding fairness and impartiality prevent the judges and the Clerk’s staff from giving legal advice to anyone, including those trying to represent themselves. We recommend that you consult an attorney for all Family Court legal matters

Family Court filing fees:
Summons and Complaint $150.00
Summons, Complaint & Motion $175.00
Motion $ 25.00 (if filed individually)

Please note that Family Court forms can be found at www.sccourts.org
Child Support Office
The Child Support Office accepts payments in the form of cash, money order, and/or business check (no personal checks accepted).

Frequently Asked Questions
 
Q. Can a juror be transferred from one term to another?
A. The Clerk of Court has authority to handle transfer jury duty in most instances. Contact the Clerk’s office for verification.
 
Q. Can I be excused from jury duty?
A. You can be excused from jury service if you are over 65 years of age, if you have a statement from your doctor stating that you have an illness that prevents you from serving on jury duty, if you have a child under the age of 7 and do not work outside the home or if you served on jury duty within the last three calendar years. You must contact the Clerk of Court office and prior to the date you are to report and advise them of your desire to be excused. All other reasons that would exempt you from service will be addressed by the judge on the first day of court.
 
Q. How do I file for child support?
A. You may come to the office and receive an application for child support. There is a fee of $25.00 payable to SCDSS, Child Support Enforcement or obtain an attorney.
 
Q. If I pay child support, does that give me visitation rights?
A. Visitation rights are a separate issue from child support. To obtain visitation, contact an attorney of your choice.
 
Q. My tax refund was intercepted. What happens now?
A. The Clerk of Court will receive a report from Tax Intercept Division. We will credit your account accordingly. If there is a refund due to you, we will handle this matter promptly.
 
Q. How do I get a deed prepared?
A. Contact an attorney of your choice. We do not have deed forms and we cannot prepare legal documents for you.
 
Q. How do I check the records to make sure there are no liens on a parcel of land?
A. You should contact an attorney or paralegal to conduct your search. They have title insurance and can give you a certificate of clear title. We cannot perform searches because we are not insured.
 
Q. Where do I pay traffic tickets?
A. The Magistrate’s office collects fines for traffic court. Their office is located at the new Detention Center on 21 Old Calhoun Falls Road, Abbeville, SC. Their number is: (864)446-6500.

Circuit Courts
 The Circuit Court is the state’s court of general jurisdiction. It has a civil court, the Court of Common Pleas, and a criminal court, the Court of General Sessions. In addition to its general trial jurisdiction, the Circuit Court has limited appellate jurisdiction over appeals from the Probate Court, Magistrate’s Court, and Municipal Court, as well as appeals from the Administrative Law Judge Division, which hears matters relating to state administrative and regulatory agencies. The State is divided into sixteen judicial circuits. Each circuit has at least one resident circuit judge who maintains an office in the judge’s home county within the circuit.
Civil Court Filing Fees:
Summons and Complaint $150.00 (no additional charge for Motion if filed with Summons & Complaint)
Motion $ 25.00 (if filed individually)
Common Please (Civil) rosters are posted online 30 days before the term of Court.

To view the Court Roster online go to www.judicial.state.sc.us (click on “Trial Court”, then click on “Court Rosters”, choose “Abbeville” on the Map and select “Motion” for the Non-Jury Motion Roster.
Juror Information
Each year, the State Election Commission provides our county with a list of potential jurors. The names are collected from voter registration, driver’s license and state-issued identification cards. Jurors for each term are selected for each term by random computer selection. Notices are mailed out 30 days in advance of the term of court.

Jurors are paid $15.00 per day for each day they have to appear.   An excuse is attached to each check to take to the employer.
It is up to each employer whether they pay you while you are on jury duty. You will have to check with your employer to see what their policy is.
We have an automated machine available for jurors to call in to see when they are needed. The judge for your term will give you instructions as to when you will need to call. Usually jury duty lasts only one week.

To Jurors:
You may be excused from jury duty if:
1. You have served as a juror in the Court of Common Pleas or general sessions within the last three (3) years (Federal, Magistrate or Municipal courts do not apply).
2. You have legal custody of a child under the age of seven (7) and do not work outside the home.
3. You are medically unable to serve. You must provide a doctor’s statement. Your doctor may fax this to 864-366-9188. Until you are told by this office that we have your statement, you still must appear.
4. You are sixty-five (65) or older and do not wish to serve, you are excused. You do not need to call or appear!!! This office already has your age and will strike you if we do not hear from you.

You are disqualified if:
1. You are not a US citizen
2. You have been convicted of a crime and could have been sentenced to a year (1) or more. The judge for your term will be the one to excuse you.
3. You do not live in Abbeville County.

You may be transferred if:
1. You are a full time student, teacher, have a conflict due to vacation plans; you will only be transferred once!!
Jury service pays $15.00 per day of actual service. If you are excused or transferred when you appear, you are not paid for that day.
**Absolutely no phones, beepers, tank tops, shorts, purses, guns, weapons, mace or any sharp objects are allowed in the courtroom.
If you have any questions, please contact Shandal Boggs@ 366-5212 EXT 2201 or Emily McMahan @ 366-5312 EXT 2200
The automated juror information number is 864-366-6633.

Failure To Appear for Jury Duty
This section applies only to those jurors summoned by the Abbeville County Clerk of Court. Other courts have different rules and procedures.

Our society considers our court system so important to civilization that federal and state laws require that citizens perform jury service when summoned by the courts. If you receive a summons for jury duty from the Clerk of Court for Abbeville County, then you should promptly complete and return any forms included with the summons. If you feel you are disqualified or exempt from jury service. Please phone Shandal Boggs @ (864) 366-5312 Ext. 2201 or Emily McMahan @ (864) 366-5312 Ext. 2200.

According to the South Carolina Code of Laws, if an individual is summoned to attend jury duty, in any court, and fails to appear on the scheduled date without sufficient excuse, that person may be required to pay a fine or other penalties imposed by the judge. In addition, the judge may require the Sheriff’s Office to come to your home or place of business to escort you to the Courthouse.

Please, do not ignore or forget about a summons to jury service. The court system needs your help and appreciates your cooperation.

Court Reporters and Transcripts
Both the Circuit Court and the Family Court are courts of record in which a court reporter records all proceedings in the courtroom. Court reporters are state employees who are assigned to record the proceedings of an assigned judge. If you anticipate the need for a transcript of any court proceedings, you should obtain the business card of the court reporter assigned to your hearing or trial. Requests for court transcripts must be made in writing directly to the assigned court reporter. The court reporter will contact you with an estimated charge for the transcript.

Court reporters’ names and contact information may also be obtained from your attorney or by calling South Carolina Court Administration at (803) 734-1800. When making a request you must specify the respective case’s name and the date of the hearing or trial.

2007 Abbeville County