Vance v. Vance, 0628

Citation340 S.E.2d 554,287 S.C. 615
Decision Date16 December 1985
Docket NumberNo. 0628,0628
PartiesDavid Julian VANCE, Respondent, v. Norma Stewart VANCE, Appellant. . Heard
CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina

Jan L. Warner, of Sumter, and C. Dixon Lee, III, of Draine, McLaren & Lee, Columbia, for appellant.

Thomas E. Shealy, of Rogers & Riggs, Manning, for respondent.

GARDNER, Judge:

This is an appeal from an order of the Family Court reducing the wife's alimony and refusing to award the wife attorney's fees.

David Julian Vance and Norma Stewart Vance were married in 1965 and subsequently granted a divorce by a Georgia decree in 1974. Alimony was originally set at $235 every two weeks, continuing until the wife remarries or dies.

The couple had no children. After the divorce the husband remarried in 1979; the wife moved to South Carolina to take up residence with Michael Brooks. The wife and Mr. Brooks have moved twice to accommodate each other's career decisions. They presently reside in Paxville splitting their living expenses while sharing the same bed.

The family court, upon petition by Mr. Vance to terminate the wife's alimony, reduced alimony to $100 per month because of changed circumstances; he refused to award the wife attorney fees.

The wife appealed this order on these three grounds: first, the husband's amended petition does not encompass the issue of changed financial condition; second, the preponderance of the evidence does not support a finding of changed circumstances; and third, the court abused its discretion in not awarding the wife attorney fees.

I.

Family Court Rule 12 provides that the petition and all other family court pleadings shall be liberally construed. The husband alleged that the conduct of living with Mr. Brooks is a change in condition for the wife that warrants termination of alimony. We find that the husband's amended petition sufficiently notified the wife of the issues upon which the husband based his claims. We therefore reject this contention.

II.

In a case on appeal from an order of the family court, this court may find facts in accordance with its own view of the evidence. Bannen v. Bannen, 286 S.C. 24, 331 S.E.2d 379 (Ct.App.1985); however, the Court is not required to disregard findings of the trial judge who saw and heard the witnesses and was in a better position to evaluate testimony. Mann v. Walker, 285 S.C. 194, 328 S.E.2d 659 (Ct.App.1985).

The wife's second contention cannot be sustained in light of the facts enumerated above; therefore, we concur with the trial judge. Living with another, whether it is with a live-in lover, a relative, or a platonic housemate, changes the wife's circumstances and alters her required financial support. Moreover, we adopt former Chief Justice, then Associate Justice, Littlejohn's reasoning in his concurring opinion in Jeanes v. Jeanes, 255 S.C. 161, 177 S.E.2d 537 (1970). 1

III.

The awarding of attorney fees is within the sound discretion of the family court judge. Barth v. Barth, 285 S.C. 316, 329 S.E.2d...

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14 cases
  • Joye v. Yon, 3335.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • 23 d1 Abril d1 2001
    ...new relationship changes her financial situation, supporting spouse's alimony obligation may be terminated); Vance v. Vance, 287 S.C. 615, 618, 340 S.E.2d 554, 555 (Ct.App.1986) (holding that living with another, whether it is with a live-in lover, relative, or platonic housemate, changes t......
  • Weston v. Weston, 18844
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 25 d4 Agosto d4 1994
    ...same effect are Bisig v. Bisig, 124 N.H. 372, 469 A.2d 1348 (1983); Mertens v. Mertens, 285 N.W.2d 490 (Minn.1979); Vance v. Vance, 287 S.C. 615, 340 S.E.2d 554 (App.1986); DePoorter v. DePoorter, 509 So.2d 1141 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1987); and Horr v. Horr, 445 N.W.2d 26 The view that cohabitat......
  • Miles v. Miles
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • 16 d1 Junho d1 2003
    ...platonic housemate," changes the supported exspouse's circumstances and alters the need for financial support. Vance v. Vance, 287 S.C. 615, 618, 340 S.E.2d 554, 555 (Ct.App.1986). Although Wife's open and notorious illicit relationship with Shepard may be viewed as immoral or at least cont......
  • Love v. Love
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • 23 d1 Janeiro d1 2006
    ...a platonic housemate, changes [a person's] circumstances and alters [his or] her required financial support." Vance v. Vance, 287 S.C. 615, 618, 340 S.E.2d 554, 555 (Ct.App.1986). Because the State has "a compelling interest in promoting marriage and discouraging meretricious relationships,......
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