Family court hearings could soon start in one Upstate county

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ANDERSON, SC (WSPA)–Court in Anderson County could hear some cases as soon as next month.

Richard Shirley, the Clerk of Court for Anderson County, said family court could possibly start hearing cases sometime in June. However, for civil and criminal courts, that could take months.

Phones have been ringing off the hook at the Anderson County Courthouse.

“The hottest question is child support issues: I haven’t been paid, and when can I get my money,” Shirley said.

Shirley said family court issues are the most common concerns. Judges have only held certain emergency hearings since the start of the pandemic.

“In family court, we had some emergency hearings, where children might need to be taken away from dangerous environments. DSS worked with our family court judges to have those emergency hearings. We did allow those individuals into the Courthouse,” Shirley said.

They’ve also had some online and closed circuit television hearings for criminal and civil cases.
“And we got the population of the detention center cut way down because there were people who had served their time,” Shirley said.

For jury trials, the South Carolina State Supreme Court Chief Justice determined courthouses in the state still aren’t ready.

“We got an answer from him Tuesday evening, saying that it is obvious that South Carolina Courthouses are not prepared for social distancing, and we’re not to call jury pools in June or July,” Shirley said.

Shirley predicts they’ll likely hear their first jury trial at the end of the fall. However, things like divorce filings, child support, and custody hearings could have a slow return to normal.

“I believe the Chief Justice suspended all court through June 12. So, I’m seeing maybe June 15 we may have a docket in Family Court,” Shirley said.

If you’re concerned about your child support checks, Shirley said they have a remedy for that.

“The computer rules people in when they get a certain dollar amount behind. So the computer will start working on those cases as well,” Shirley said.

Shirley said anyone behind could possibly be called to court very soon.

“I think there’s light at the end of that tunnel,” Shirley said.

The Anderson County Clerk of Court also said they will work to fit in more cases around the holidays, if the schedule permits.

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