Judge Melissa J. Buckhannon was born in Darlington, South Carolina. Her parents are Reverend Ellis Johnson, deceased, and Mrs. Betty Johnson. She is married to Thomas E. Buckhannon, IV. She has two children, Jennifer and Grayson, a step-daughter, Abigail, and two grandchildren, Brooklyn and Nathan.
Judge Buckhannon graduated from Dillon High School in 1987. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Francis Marion University in 1991. While attending Francis Marion, she was inducted into the Pi Gamma Mu and the Pi Sigma Alpha honor societies. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1994.
Upon graduation from law school, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable James E. Lockemy for one year. Thereafter, she moved to Horry County to practice law. She practiced in Horry County from 1995 until her election to the Family Court Bench by the South Carolina General Assembly in February 2014, with her primary area of practice being Family Court. She served extensively as a mediator and a private Guardian ad Litem in Family Court.
Judge Buckhannon is a member of the Horry County Bar Association as well as the South Carolina Bar Association. She was a member of the South Carolina Bar Association’s Family Law Council from 2003 until her election to the bench, serving as Chair of the Council in 2010. She has served as a member of the South Carolina Attorney Fee Dispute Board as well as the South Carolina Council for Conflict Resolution. She is a member of the South Carolina Women’s Law Association as well as the Coastal Women’s Law Association. She served as a member of the Horry County Family Court Executive Committee and well as the Chair for the annual Horry County Family Court Seminar.
Judge Buckhannon served on the Board of Trustees for Francis Marion University from 1998 until 2013. She attends Christ United Methodist Church in Myrtle Beach.