The Supreme Court of South Carolina
Re: Expediting Appeals in Matters Involving Child Custody and Visitation
Appellate Case No. 2022-001278
In 2011, this Court issued an administrative order mandating that appeals involving child custody in termination of parental rights proceedings, adoption proceedings, and any Department of Social Services actions involving the custody of a minor child be expedited. RE: Expediting Appeals from Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings, Adoption Proceedings, and/or Department of Social Services Actions Involving Custody of a Minor Child, S.C. Sup. Ct. Order dated October 20, 2011.
For the same compelling reasons that appeals in those cases should be expedited— in recognition of the need for stability in children's lives—this order expands the scope of the 2011 order to include domestic relations actions involving child custody and visitation. These appeals shall be expedited by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals as provided below.
To facilitate expediency, there will be a presumption against granting motions for extensions of time to file petitions, returns, briefs, records, and other documents. A motion for an extension of time will only be granted in the most extraordinary of circumstances and for the most compelling reasons in the interest of justice.
As to appeals to the Court of Appeals, the Court of Appeals shall expedite consideration of appeals as follows. Once the case is fully briefed, the case will be scheduled for the next practicable term of court. Notice of oral argument must be sent at least fifteen days prior to any scheduled argument. A written opinion from the court shall be filed within thirty days of being assigned to a panel or hearing oral argument, whichever is later. However, if the case warrants additional consideration, the time for filing an opinion may be extended.
As to matters before this Court, a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals in child custody or visitation cases must be given priority and will be considered by the Court as expeditiously as possible. Where certiorari is granted or where the matter is pending before the Supreme Court on direct appeal, oral argument shall be held, if at all, at the next practicable term of Court after the briefs are filed. Notice of oral argument must be sent at least fifteen days prior to any scheduled argument. The Court shall file a written opinion within thirty days after the case being submitted for consideration or within thirty days after hearing oral argument. However, if the case warrants additional consideration, the time for filing an opinion may be extended.
s/Donald W. Beatty C.J.
s/John W. Kittredge J.
s/Kaye G. Hearn J.
s/John Cannon Few J.
s/George C. James, Jr. J.
Columbia, South Carolina
November 17, 2022