December 7, 2015.
From Greenville County. W. Marsh Robertson, Family Court
Judge. Appellate Case No. 2014-000570.
Stegmaier, of Collins & Lacy, P.C., of Columbia, for
Wyche Bannister and Luke Anthony Burke, both of Bannister,
Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC, of Greenville, for Respondent.
J. GEATHERS and MCDONALD, JJ., concur.
Lawrence Schulze (Husband) appeals the family court's
divorce decree, arguing the court erred in (1) its
identification, valuation, and apportionment of the marital
estate and (2) ordering Malia Ann Fredrickson (Wife) and
Husband to be responsible for his and her own attorney's
fees. We affirm.
and Wife were married in 2005. Husband and Wife relocated to
Greenville, South Carolina, and Husband began working as an
independent insurance agent. Husband also managed properties
titled in Wife's name and the couple's limited
liability company, JFS, LLC (JFS), named after the
parties' son's initials. Husband's highest level
of education is a high school General Education Development
(GED) diploma with some college classes. Wife is a dentist
and a partner in two dental practices. Wife earned
eighty-four percent of the parties' income during the
marriage. The couple has one son.
filed for divorce on the ground of habitual drunkenness.
Prior to trial, Wife amended her complaint to include
adultery. Husband countersued for divorce on the ground of
was held on November 12 and 13, 2013. The family court
entered its final order and decree on January 10, 2014. The
court granted a divorce, ordered equitable apportionment of
the estate, ordered Husband to pay monthly child support to
Wife, and denied both parties' requests for
attorney's fees. The court also found Husband in contempt
of a prior order regarding communication between the two
parties during the pendency of the proceedings. Husband filed
a motion pursuant to Rules 52 and 59, SCRCP, seeking
alteration and/or amendment of the final order. Wife also
filed a motion to reconsider. On February 11, 2014, the court
issued an order addressing the cross-motions and modifying
certain valuations of the marital properties. These
modifications increased Husband's share of the marital
estate by $5,200 and Wife's share of the marital estate
by $5,407. Husband appeals both orders.
In appeals from the family court, this [c]ourt reviews
factual and legal issues de novo." Simmons v.
Simmons, 392 S.C. 412, 414, 709 S.E.2d 666, 667 (2011).
" [T]he appellate court has jurisdiction to find facts
in accordance with its view of the preponderance of the
evidence. However, this broad scope of review does not
require this [c]ourt to disregard the findings of the family
court." Lewis v. Lewis, 392 S.C. 381, 384, 709
S.E.2d 650, 651 (2011) (quoting Eason v. Eason, 384
S.C. 473, 479, 682 S.E.2d 804, 807 (2009)). This court will
affirm the decision of the family court unless the decision
is controlled by an error of law or the appellant satisfies
the burden of showing the preponderance of the evidence
supports contrary factual findings. DiMarco v.
DiMarco, 399 S.C. 295, 299, 731 S.E.2d 617, 619 (Ct.App.
argues the family court erred in its identification,
valuation, and apportionment of the marital estate. We
Section 20-3-620(B) of the South Carolina Code (2014)
provides fifteen factors for the family court to consider in
apportioning marital property and affords the family court
the discretion to give weight to each of these factors as it
(1) the duration of the marriage together with the ages of
the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of
the divorce or separate maintenance or other marital action
between the parties;
(2) marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties,
whether or not used as a basis for a divorce as such, if the
misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances
of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the
marriage; provided, that no evidence of personal conduct
which would otherwise be relevant and material for purposes
of this subsection shall be considered with regard to this
subsection if such conduct shall have taken place subsequent
to the happening of the earliest of:
(a) entry of a pendente lite order in a divorce or separate
(b) formal signing of a written property or marital
settlement agreement; or
(c) entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and
support or of a permanent order approving a property or
marital settlement agreement between the parties;
(3) the value of the marital property, whether the property
be within or without the State. The contribution of each
spouse to the acquisition, preservation, depreciation, or
appreciation in value of the marital property, including the
contribution of the spouse as homemaker; provided, that the
court shall consider the quality of the contribution as well
as its factual existence;
(4) the income of each spouse, the earning potential of each
spouse, and the opportunity for future acquisition of capital
(5) the health, both physical and emotional, of each spouse;
(6) the need of each spouse or either spouse for additional
training or education in order to achieve that ...