In The Court of Appeals

Les Springob,        Appellant,


Susan Williamson Springob,        Respondent.

Appeal From Richland County
Walter B. Brown, Jr., Family Court Judge

Unpublished Opinion No. 2003-UP-491
Submitted June 9, 2003 Ė Filed August 20, 2003†††


Frank S. Potts, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Kristi Curtis and Michael Self, both of Sumter, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:† Les Springob (Husband) appeals a family court order finding him in contempt for violating a provision of a temporary order restraining his contact with Susan Springob (Wife).† We affirm. [1]


The family court issued a temporary order approving an agreement between the parties regarding child custody, visitation and support.† The order also provided that:† ď[e]ach party shall be restrained and strictly enjoined from bothering, abusing, threatening abuse, harassing, or in any fashion interfering with the other party.Ē† A few months later, at Wifeís request, the court issued an Order and Rule to Show Cause requiring Husband to appear and show cause why he should not be held in civil contempt for violating the courtís restraining order.† The courtís temporary order was attached but the rule contained a typographical error, referencing the date of the temporary order as March 7, 2001, instead of the correct date, April 30, 2001.† Wifeís attorney later obtained a second Order and Rule to Show Cause correcting the typographical error.

Wife testified at the contempt hearing that after the temporary order, Husband began harassing her by telephone, sometimes calling as often as thirty times a day.† Wife also testified Husband assaulted her on a day they met to exchange the children for Husbandís visitation.

The court issued an order finding Husband in contempt for violating the restraining order provision of the temporary order.† The court ordered Husband to serve one year of incarceration or pay a $1,000 fine to the clerk of court.† Additionally, the court ordered Husband to pay Wifeís attorney fees associated with the contempt action.


I.                  Contempt Sanction

Husbandís first argument that the family court erroneously sanctioned him for criminal rather than civil contempt is not preserved for appellate review.†

During the contempt hearing, the court orally found Husband had violated the prior order and announced the sanction it later reduced to a written order.† Husband did not object to the sanction when orally announced by the court.† Furthermore, Husband never filed a written motion for reconsideration of the written order. [2] † By not asserting his current argument to the family court, Husband failed to preserve the issue for appellate review.† See Widman v. Widman, 348 S.C. 97, 119, 557 S.E.2d 693, 704-05 (Ct. App. 2001) (noting general rule that issue may not be raised for the first time on appeal, but must have been raised to and ruled on by the trial judge to be preserved for appellate review); Dodge v. Dodge, 332 S.C. 401, 418, 505 S.E.2d 344, 352-53 (Ct. App. 1998) (holding fatherís challenge to amount of guardian ad litemís fee was not preserved where father failed to raise the issue in his Rule 59(e), SCRCP motion).†

II.              Cross-examination

Husband next contends the family court erred in limiting his cross-examination of Wife during the contempt hearing.† We disagree.†

The scope of cross-examination lies within the trial courtís sound discretion.† State v. Aleksey, 343 S.C. 20, 33-34, 538 S.E.2d 248, 255 (2000).† ďAn appellate court will not disturb a trial courtís ruling concerning the scope of cross-examination of a witness to test his or her credibility, or to show possible bias or self-interest in testifying, absent a manifest abuse of discretion.Ē† Yoho v. Thompson, 345 S.C. 361, 365, 548 S.E.2d 584, 585 (2001).

During the hearing, Husband attempted to cross-examine Wife about Husbandís financial disclosure statement.† Husband contended that shortly before Wife filed the contempt action, she learned Husband had significantly more assets than he had previously reported, and that this discovery provided Wife a motive to make false accusations against Husband.† The family court did not allow Husband to cross-examine Wife regarding the financial disclosure, noting Husbandís financial situation was not relevant to whether he violated the temporary order.† The issue before the family court was whether Husband had violated the prior temporary order by placing harassing phone calls to Wife, and by assaulting her.† We find no abuse of discretion in the family courtís determination that questions regarding Husbandís financial disclosure were irrelevant to the contempt proceedings, and thus improper during his cross-examination of Wife.†

III.          Subject Matter Jurisdiction

††††††††† Husband argues the family court lacked jurisdiction to hear the contempt matter because the Order and Rule to Show Cause was not properly before the court.† Specifically, Husband asserts the first Order and Rule to Show Cause was not valid because it failed to reference the correct date of the temporary order.† Husband further asserts the second Order and Rule to Show Cause was insufficient to convey jurisdiction to the family court because the judge who signed that order had previously recused herself from the matter and because it was not properly served upon Husband.† We find no merit to these arguments.†

Even if the second order was not properly served upon Husband, the family court was within its authority to proceed with the contempt hearing based on the first Order and Rule to Show Cause.† Although that order contained a typographical error, it was properly served on Husband with a copy of the referenced temporary order attached.† Thus the typographical error was not fatal; Husband was provided adequate notice of the exact matters that were to be litigated at the contempt proceeding.

IV.           Motion for Continuance - Discovery

Lastly, Husband argues the family court erred in refusing his motion to continue the contempt proceeding to allow for complete discovery between the parties.† We find no abuse of discretion.†

Prior to the contempt hearing, Husband moved for a continuance arguing he had not been allowed to complete discovery prior to the contempt proceeding.† The family court denied this motion noting any discovery matters between the parties pertained to the merits of the underlying divorce proceedings and not to the contempt action.†

We find no abuse of discretion in the family courtís denial of Husbandís motion for a continuance.† See Townsend v. Townsend, 323 S.C. 309, 313, 474 S.E.2d 424, 427 (1996) (holding a judgeís ruling on a motion for continuance will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion that prejudices the moving party).† The record on appeal indicates that prior to the contempt hearing, Husband was allowed to depose Wife about the incidents giving rise to the contempt action as well as other matters regarding the underlying merits of the divorce proceedings.† Additionally, Husband was provided a full and fair opportunity to question Wife about her allegations in the contempt action and was in no way prejudiced by the courtís denial of his request for a continuance.


HEARN, C.J., CONNOR and STILWELL, JJ., concur.

[1] †††††† We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.

[2] ††††††† Husbandís attorney did, however, prepare an order staying the sanction pending the courtís reconsideration of the matter.† Husbandís counsel delivered the proposed order to the court along with a letter stating his intent to move for reconsideration in the event the court granted the stay.† The proposed order is included in the record on appeal, but it was never signed.