Risinger v. Risinger, 20926

Decision Date03 April 1979
Docket NumberNo. 20926,20926
Citation273 S.C. 36,253 S.E.2d 652
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court
PartiesThelma Louellen Frazier RISINGER, Respondent, v. Harvey Maxey RISINGER, Appellant.

William P. Walker, Jr., of Walker, Hendrix & Williams, Lexington, for appellant.

Dallas D. Ball, Columbia, for respondent.


In Thelma Risinger's action for divorce against her husband Harvey, she was granted divorce, alimony, child support, and a share of his property. The husband has appealed, alleging that the amounts of alimony, support, and property granted to the wife were excessive, and alleging that the family court had no power to order a husband to support an adult child, one over 18, while the child was attending school.

We affirm the family court's ruling as to alimony and property division under Rule 23 of the Rules of Practice of this court, since a full written opinion on those points would be without precedential value. There was ample evidence from which the judge could have concluded that the wife needed, and that the husband could afford to pay, the amount of alimony ordered. There was ample evidence from which the judge could have concluded that the property division was equitable under the rule in Wilson v. Wilson, 210 S.C. 216, 241 S.E.2d 566 (1978).

We turn to the trial court's award for the benefit of the child, Lisa, who was 19 at the time of the final divorce hearing. She is a dean's list student in college, and plans to teach handicapped children. In order to minimize her expenses, she has worked part-time, borrowed money, lived at home and gone to every summer school session. Her mother provides her food, clothing, and shelter; but there was evidence that despite all efforts by her mother, Lisa could not stay in school without some monetary help from her father. He had, by consent, contributed to her education in the past. In his final order, the judge required her father to pay $100.00 a month so long as Lisa maintained passing grades and did not marry, to carry her on his medical insurance policy, and to pay some of her dental bills. We affirm that order.

The Family Court Act allows that court to make orders running past a child's majority "where there are physical or mental disabilities of the child or other exceptional circumstances that warrant it, . . . " § 14-21-810(b)(4), Code of Laws of South Carolina (1976). Physical and mental disabilities are specifically mentioned in the act as exceptions to the general rule. The need for education is the most likely additional "exceptional circumstance" which might justify continued financial support. Children over 18 with a physical or mental disability, and children over 18 in need of further education, have much in common. In each case, the child's ability to earn is either diminished or entirely lacking. In each case, most parents feel an obligation to help, and do help the child.

Other courts have construed kindred statutes in a similar fashion. A Michigan statute permitted its family court to order support for a child between ages 18 and 21, but only in "exceptional circumstances." The Michigan court has held that a child's desire and ability to go to college and his father's ability to pay for his education constituted such an exceptional circumstance. Johnson v....

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38 cases
  • McLeod v. Starnes
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • March 7, 2012
    ...parent to pay college expenses violates equal protection, thus overruling thirty years of precedent flowing from Risinger v. Risinger, 273 S.C. 36, 253 S.E.2d 652 (1979). We granted permission in this case to argue against precedent pursuant to Rule 217, SCACR, so that we could revisit our ......
  • Nicholson v. Nicholson, 4404.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • June 6, 2008
    ...fees directly to Plaintiff's attorney in the amount of $2000.... Kyle Nicholson is not entitled to assistance under Risinger v. Risinger, 273 S.C. 36, 253 S.E.2d 652 (1979). STANDARD OF REVIEW On appeal from the family court, this court has jurisdiction to find facts in accordance with its ......
  • Lacke v. Lacke
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • January 10, 2005
    ...of UIFSA statutes and requirements). Furthermore, this case is governed by the parties' agreement. Consequently, Risinger v. Risinger, 273 S.C. 36, 253 S.E.2d 652 (1979), is inapplicable. Pursuant to Risinger, the family court may order a parent to pay for a child's college education where ......
  • Webb v. Sowell
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • April 19, 2010
    ...to contribute to college expenses for his son, respondent Timothy Loren Webb, Jr. (Son). Because we find that Risinger v. Risinger, 273 S.C. 36, 253 S.E.2d 652 (1979) was wrongly decided and that S.C.Code Ann. § 63-3-530(A)(17) 1, as interpreted, is unconstitutional, we FACTS Father and res......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Clear Agreements as the Best Prevention
    • United States
    • South Carolina Bar South Carolina Lawyer No. 34-1, July 2022
    • Invalid date
    ...App. 2020). [30] S.C. Code Ann. § 63-3-530(17). [31] McKinney v. McKinney, 282 S.C. 96, 316 S.E.2d 728 (1984). [32] Risinger v. Risinger, 273 S.C. 36, 253 S.E.2d 652 (1979). [33] Lacke v. Lacke, 362 S.C. 302, 608 S.E.2d 147 (Ct. App. 2005) (quoting Risinger v. Risinger, 273 S.C. 36, 39, 253......

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