Dawkins v. Dawkins, No. 26756.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPer Curiam
Citation687 S.E.2d 52,386 S.C. 169
PartiesAlice DAWKINS, Petitioner, v. Steve DAWKINS, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 26756.
Decision Date04 January 2010
687 S.E.2d 52
Alice DAWKINS, Petitioner,
v.
Steve DAWKINS, Respondent.
No. 26756.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard October 6, 2009.
Decided January 4, 2010.
Rehearing Denied January 21, 2010.

[687 S.E.2d 53]

Usha Jefferies Bridges, of Gaffney, and William G. Rhoden, of Winter & Rhoden, of Gaffney, for Petitioner.

Richard H. Rhodes, of Burts, Turner, Rhodes & Thompson, of Spartanburg, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM.


We granted a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals opinion in Dawkins v. Dawkins, Op. No.2007-UP-460 (S.C. Ct. App. filed Oct. 11, 2007). We reverse and reinstate the judgment of the family court.

The family court ordered an equitable division of the marital estate 60% to Alice Dawkins (Wife) and 40% to Steve Dawkins (Husband), although the actual division was 56%-44% due to a mathematical calculation error. On appeal, the court of appeals reversed and held an equal division of the marital estate to be "appropriate." In addition, the court of appeals awarded Husband $25,000 as a "special equity" in the marital residence. We have carefully reviewed the record and applicable law and reverse the court of appeals pursuant to Rule 220, SCACR. See Craig v. Craig, 365 S.C. 285, 290, 617 S.E.2d 359, 361 (2005) (division of marital property is within family court's discretion and will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion).

I.

We address two matters for the benefit of the bench and bar: the apparent trend at the appellate level to find an abuse of discretion when an equitable division award in a long-term marriage deviates from an equal division, and our view that the manner of accounting for a spouse's "special equity" in marital property should follow the approach approved in Toler v. Toler, 292 S.C. 374, 356 S.E.2d 429 (Ct.App.1987).

A.

Husband and Wife were married for twenty-two years. As noted, the family court attempted to divide the marital property 60% to wife and 40% to husband, although the actual division was 56%-44%. The court of appeals found the division to be an abuse of discretion. According to the court of appeals, "[w]hile there is no bright line rule, this Court suggests an equal 50%-50% split of marital assets as an appropriate beginning point for dividing the estate of a long-term marriage." Dawkins v. Dawkins, Op. No. 2007-UP-460 (S.C. Ct. App. filed October 11, 2007). The court of appeals held a 50%-50% division was "appropriate" due in part to "the trend in case law for an equal apportionment of [marital] property." Id.

We take no issue with the proposition that an equal division of marital property will often be "appropriate." We further agree that a 50%-50% division would be appropriate here. But that does not make the attempted 60%-40% division inappropriate or an abuse of discretion. The purpose behind case law's imprimatur of a 50%-50%...

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22 practice notes
  • Lewis v. Lewis, No. 26973.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • May 9, 2011
    ...family court's award should [392 S.C. 385] be reversed only when the appellant demonstrates an abuse of discretion.” Dawkins v. Dawkins, 386 S.C. 169, 172–73, 687 S.E.2d 52, 54 (2010). We take this opportunity to give historical context to the appellate court standard of review of family co......
  • Bojilov v. Bojilov, Appellate Case No. 2015-000991
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 19, 2018
    ...marital property, contributed $100,000 of the $115,000 down payment for the acquisition of the marital residence. See Dawkins v. Dawkins , 386 S.C. 169, 173, 687 S.E.2d 52, 54 (2010) (per curiam) ("[A] transmutation of inherited nonmarital property into marital property [does] not exti......
  • Bodkin v. Bodkin, No. 4689.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 27, 2010
    ...approach an equitable division award with a presumption that the family court acted within its broad discretion.” Dawkins v. Dawkins, 386 S.C. 169, 172, 687 S.E.2d 52, 54 (2010). The division of marital property is within the family court's discretion and will not be disturbed on appeal abs......
  • Stoney v. Stoney, Appellate Case No. 2011–203410
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • July 27, 2016
    ...only when the appellant demonstrates an abuse of discretion.” Lewis , 392 S.C. at 384–85, 709 S.E.2d at 651 (quoting Dawkins v. Dawkins , 386 S.C. 169, 172–73, 687 S.E.2d 52, 54 (2010) ).417 S.C. 373 The equitable apportionment statute, section 20–3–620(B) of the South Carolina Code (2014),......
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22 cases
  • Lewis v. Lewis, No. 26973.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • May 9, 2011
    ...family court's award should [392 S.C. 385] be reversed only when the appellant demonstrates an abuse of discretion.” Dawkins v. Dawkins, 386 S.C. 169, 172–73, 687 S.E.2d 52, 54 (2010). We take this opportunity to give historical context to the appellate court standard of review of family co......
  • Bojilov v. Bojilov, Appellate Case No. 2015-000991
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 19, 2018
    ...marital property, contributed $100,000 of the $115,000 down payment for the acquisition of the marital residence. See Dawkins v. Dawkins , 386 S.C. 169, 173, 687 S.E.2d 52, 54 (2010) (per curiam) ("[A] transmutation of inherited nonmarital property into marital property [does] not exti......
  • Bodkin v. Bodkin, No. 4689.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 27, 2010
    ...approach an equitable division award with a presumption that the family court acted within its broad discretion.” Dawkins v. Dawkins, 386 S.C. 169, 172, 687 S.E.2d 52, 54 (2010). The division of marital property is within the family court's discretion and will not be disturbed on appeal abs......
  • Stoney v. Stoney, Appellate Case No. 2011–203410
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • July 27, 2016
    ...only when the appellant demonstrates an abuse of discretion.” Lewis , 392 S.C. at 384–85, 709 S.E.2d at 651 (quoting Dawkins v. Dawkins , 386 S.C. 169, 172–73, 687 S.E.2d 52, 54 (2010) ).417 S.C. 373 The equitable apportionment statute, section 20–3–620(B) of the South Carolina Code (2014),......
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