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Our Mission:  We will promote and protect the quality of life in Charleston
County by delivering services of value to the community.




Clerk of Court

Contact Information, Office Hours
Functions, Office Responsibilities
FAQ's, Common Terms, History,
Current Elected Official Biographical Information
Court Records

Functions
Court of Common Pleas
Court of General Sessions
Family Court

The Clerk of Court's Office provides administrative support for the 9th Judicial Circuit Court and Family Court. This office maintains dockets of the courts; receives and disburses child support fees, fines and costs; maintains court records; and handles reporting requirements. The Clerk of Court is elected countywide and serves a four-year term.

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This Office Does

dot  Process legal actions of a civil nature in which the demand or value of property involved exceeds $7,500 (Claims less than $7,500, see Magistrate Courts)
dot  Maintain the records of cases heard in the Court of Common Pleas, which involve civil disputes between two or more parties
dot  Keep records of criminal cases heard in the Court of General Sessions
dot  Maintain the records of Family Court which includes juvenile, domestic relations, child support, interstate custody, abuse and neglect, domestic abuse, adoption and Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act cases
dot  Schedule Civil Jury and Non-Jury trials
dot  Keep records of judgments for the Court of Common Pleas
dot  Record military discharges when filed by the service member
dot  Prepare and schedule hearing dockets for Family Court judges
dot  Collect and disburse court-ordered monies
dot  Maintain records of bond issues
dot  Keep records of the articles of association and limited partnership
dot  Provide copies of divorce decrees and maintain the records of divorce proceedings

This Office Does Not

dot  Give legal advice (For attorney information, call the S.C. Lawyers Referral Service at (800) 868-2284 or the Legal Service Agency (843) 720-7044.
dot  Schedule criminal cases for trial (see Solicitor's Office)
dot  File general partnership forms (See RMC)
dot  Issue marriage licenses or maintain marriage records (See Probate Court)
dot  Record land transactions (See RMC)
dot  Issue restraining orders (See Magistrate Courts)
dot Accept payment for traffic tickets

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How is a juror selected?
A: Each year, the State Election Commission provides every county with a list of potential jurors. These names are collected from voter registration, driver's license and state identification card information. Jurors are chosen through random computer selection.
Q: How do I get a copy of my court records?
A: The Clerk of Court's Office maintains indices for civil and criminal case files. All civil cases are indexed by plaintiff (person bringing suit) and defendant (person sued). All criminal cases are indexed by the defendant (the accused). Unlike the Circuit Court, where most records are available for public inspection, many Family Court records are considered confidential and may only be inspected with special permission. Juvenile delinquency, adoptions, terminated parental rights, abuse and neglect, and any other sealed records are all confidential
Q: May I pay my child support with a personal check or credit card?
A: No. The only accepted means of payment are cash, money order, certified check or wage garnishment
Q: Must I go to Family Court to make child support payments?
A: You may make your payment in person at the Family Court office or at any Service Center, or mail the payment. A payment stub must accompany any payment.

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Common Terms

Grand Jury-- A special jury charged with hearing evidence of felonies to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to return an indictment against the defendant and cause him or her to stand trial on the charges.

Indictment-- A formal document issued by a grand jury accusing a defendant of a crime.

Nolo Contendre-- A plea by the defendant in a criminal prosecution that, without admitting guilt, subjects him or her to conviction.

URESA (Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act)-- A federal act governing cases wherein one parent lives in one state (e.g., South Carolina) and the other does not.

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History

The Circuit Court of South Carolina is divided into a civil court (Court of Common Pleas) and a criminal court (Court of General Sessions). Together, Charleston and Berkeley Counties form the 9th Judicial Circuit of the state's 16 circuits. Forty-three circuit judges rotate among the 16 circuits. The judges are elected by the General Assembly for six-year terms, and their salaries are paid by the state government.

Funds to operate these courts and the offices for three Charleston County resident judges are provided by County Council as required by state law. Administrative support is provided by the Clerk of Court's Office.

The uniform statewide Family Court System was established by statute in 1976 and follows the territorial boundaries of the 16 judicial circuits. The 49 Family Court judges rotate within this circuit. Family Court judges are elected to four-year terms by the General Assembly, and their salaries are paid by the state government. Funds to operate Family Court are provided by County Council with administrative support provided by the Clerk of Court.

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Contact Information

Clerk of Court
Court of Common Pleas and
Court of General Sessions

Judicial Center
100 Broad Street, Suite 106
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 958-5000
(843) 958-5020 (Fax)

Family Court
Judicial Center
100 Broad Street, Suite 143
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 958-4400
(843) 958-4434 (Fax)

Office Hours

Monday-Friday
8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

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