Clerk of Court
Each of the Forty-Six counties in South Carolina has a popularly elected Clerk of Court who serves a four year term. The Clerk of Court serves both the Circuit Court and the Family Court. The Clerk of Court is charged with docket management, receipt of fees, fines and costs, maintenance of all court records, and submission of reports to a variety of state agencies. In Circuit Court, the Clerk of Court is responsible for both criminal and civil matters, and some of these duties include receipt of criminal warrants and transmission to the solicitor, receipt of bail, compilation of civil trial rosters, jury management and staffing the courtroom while the court is in session. Among the duties the Clerk of Court is responsible for in Family Court are the collection and disbursement of court-ordered child support payments, issuance of Rules to Show Cause in cases where court orders have not been followed, and filing of Orders of Protection and transmittal of these orders to the appropriate local law enforcement agencies.
The Circuit Court is the State of South Carolina's court of general jurisdiction. It is divided into two types of court: the Court of Common Pleas which deals with civil matters, and the Court of General Sessions, which is the criminal court. The Circuit Court also has limited appellate jurisdiction over cases from probate court, magistrate court and municipal court. Circuit court judges are elected by the General Assembly to six year terms.
The Family Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all matters involving domestic or family relationships. The Family Court is the sole forum for the hearing of all cases concerning marital disputes, divorce, legal separation, custody, visitation rights, termination of parental rights, adoption, support, alimony, division of marital property, and change of name. The court also generally has exclusive jurisdiction over minors under the age of seventeen alleged to have violated any state law or municipal ordinance. Family Court judges are elected by the General Assembly to six year terms.
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