Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
26666 - McCrosson v. Tanenbaum

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court


John J. McCrosson, Respondent,

v.

Kimberly Paige Tanenbaum, Petitioner.


ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS


Appeal from Charleston County
 Jack Alan Landis, Family Court Judge


Opinion No. 26666
Heard May 12, 2009 - Filed June 15, 2009  


AFFIRMED IN PART AND VACATED IN PART


John S. Nichols, of Bluestein, Nichols, Thompson & Delgado, of Columbia, and Marie-Louise  Ramsdale, of Mt. Pleasant, and Susan T. Kinard and W. Robert Kinard, both of Kinard and Kinard, of Mt. Pleasant, for Petitioner.

Donald B. Clark, of Charleston, and Mark O. Andrews, of Andrews & Shull, of Mt. Pleasant, for Respondent.


PER CURIAM: We granted a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals’ decision in McCrosson v. Tanenbaum, 375 S.C. 225, 652 S.E.2d 73 (Ct. App. 2007).  We affirm the court of appeals decision.  However, we vacate the following sentence from the court of appeals’ opinion:

While the family court is generally in the better position to determine a party’s credibility, where there are numerous confirmed instances of a party’s dishonesty, as there are here, we believe a reviewing court may have the advantage because it can consider the facts of a case without being distracted by an emotionally charged trial.

McCrosson, 375 S.C. at 242, 652 S.E.2d at 82.  Although we affirm the court of appeals’ decision on the merits, we vacate the sentence above because it improperly implies that the family court was “distracted by an emotionally charged trial” and could be read to alter the well-established standard of review applicable to an appellate court’s review of a family court’s child custody determination.[1] 

TOAL, C.J., WALLER, PLEICONES, KITTREDGE, JJ., and Acting Justice James E. Moore, concur.


[1] When reviewing a decision of the family court, an appellate court may find the facts in accordance with its own view of the preponderance of the evidence.  Ex parte Morris, 367 S.C. 56, 61, 624 S.E.2d 649, 652 (2006).  The standard of review applicable to an appellate court’s review of a family court order does not require that court to completely disregard the findings of the family court.  Wooten v. Wooten, 364 S.C. 532, 540, 615 S.E.2d 98, 102 (2005).  However, although the standard of review in such cases is broad, an appellate court should be reluctant to substitute its own judgment for that of the family court.  Woodall v. Woodall, 322 S.C. 7, 10, 471 S.E.2d 154, 157 (1996).