Can the judge overrule what we have agreed to?

Attorney Brad CunninghamQuestion:

I currently reside in a different county then where my divorce case is taking place. My divorce has been dragged on for two years (continuances, postponements, judge’s illness, etc.).

Can I change jurisdictions to the county I now live in and see if that will speed things up? Also, the judge is not using the agreements we came up with but instead is using his own interpretations. He is invoking some laws of the county over the laws of the state. Can county laws overrule state laws?

Answer:

First let me preface my answer by stating that I am licensed to practice law in Oklahoma and Texas and not in South Carolina, so I am unable to give you any specific advice regarding your question because I am not familiar with South Carolina statues and rules.  I would strongly encourage you to speak with an experienced family law attorney in your jurisdiction who is familiar with South Carolina laws.

Both of the questions you asked are specifically related to state laws that are not uniform across the country so I am not able to provide very specific answers.  Generally, a case cannot be transferred after the filing of the original petition if jurisdiction was proper at the time of filing.

Additionally, requests to transfer usually have to be made at the very beginning of the case and not in the middle – or in your case – towards the conclusion.  Most likely you will not be able to transfer your case to your present county.  I would urge you to consult an attorney familiar with your state’s laws to address the questions more specifically.

I am somewhat confused by your second question.  You mention you and your wife have reached some agreements, but that the Court is using his own agreement.  The Court would not be using his own “agreement” as you and your wife would not have agreed.  I suspect you may mean that he made some rulings in your case that are contrary to your agreements.  Without having the benefit of reviewing your file I am unsure.

The Court may also have some general guidelines that he prefers to use in cases regarding visitation and/or child custody.  This is somewhat common and can be best countered by employing an experienced family law attorney in your area.  The Courts have broad discretion when deciding children issues and what orders are in the children’s best interest.

 

Bradley K. Cunningham is a Senior Attorney in the Tulsa, Oklahoma office of Cordell & Cordell where his primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Mr. Cunningham is licensed in the states of Oklahoma and Texas. 

After growing up in Tulsa, Mr. Cunningham moved to Arkansas where he received his undergraduate degree in Accounting from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. He then returned to Oklahoma and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma.

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