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2004-UP-363 - SCDSS v. Hamlin

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

South Carolina Department of Social Services,        Respondent,

v.

Carlos L. Hamlin,        Appellant.


Appeal From Colleton County
Robert S. Armstrong, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2004-UP-363
Submitted March 19, 2004 – Filed June 7, 2004


AFFIRMED


Carlos L. Hamlin, Pro Se, for Appellant.

Harry O. Shaw, III, of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, Child Support Enforcement Division, Charleston, S.C., for Respondents.


PER CURIAM:  The family court ordered $6,330 held by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Department as proceeds from the collection of a civil judgment in favor of Carlos L. Hamlin to be applied to Hamlin’s four overdue child support obligations, three of which had been reduced to child support judgments.  Hamlin appeals.

FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Hamlin fathered five children raised in four separate custodial families. Each time, the custodial parent received assistance from SCDSS and assigned child support rights to SCDSS.  SCDSS brought actions for support and Hamlin was ordered to pay support for each child by the family court.

Subsequently, one custodial parent terminated subsistence through SCDSS, and an order was entered by the family court on February 9, 1999, determining the amount still owed in support for that child up to that time. Thereafter, Hamlin began receiving Supplemental Social Security, and Hamlin and SCDSS entered into a consent order on August 8, 2001, terminating the support obligations as to the remaining custodial households.  In this consent order, the court determined the amount of unpaid support for each case due and owing by Hamlin, reducing those amounts to judgments. No appeal was taken from either order.

On October 7, 2002, SCDSS learned from the sheriff’s department that Hamlin would be receiving $6,330 in payment of a civil judgment on October 10, 2002. SCDSS applied to the family court and obtained an order requiring the funds to be paid to the clerk of the family court pending any objection by Hamlin. The order recited the amount of each unpaid child support obligation, and gave Hamlin ten days in which to file any objection he had to applying the funds to those overdue obligations.

Hamlin received a copy of the order from the Sheriff’s Office and thereafter objected. A hearing was held before Judge Armstrong pursuant to notice. At the hearing, Hamlin appeared and argued he had not received notice prior to the issuance of the initial order. He further argued one of the overdue obligations had not been reduced to a judgment.

Concluding Hamlin failed to give any reasons why the funds should not be paid to the custodial families in partial satisfaction of the debts, the court ordered payment to the custodial families on a pro-rata basis.

DISCUSSION

I.      Notice

Hamlin first argues he did not receive notice as required under S.C. Code Ann. section 20-7-1295 (2003).  We disagree. 

The initial notice requirements of section 20-7-1295 deal with notice to the child support obligor of past due child support. See S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-1295 (B) (“When the division determines that child support is unpaid in an amount equal to or greater than one thousand dollars, it shall send written notice to the obligor by first-class mail to the obligor's last known address, as filed with the tribunal pursuant to Section 20-7-854.”).  However, this notice is not necessary here because the child support as to three of the obligations was already reduced to a judgment by consent order on August 8, 2001.  As to the fourth obligation, it was reduced to a sum certain by previous final order. Therefore, Hamlin had actual notice of the amounts equal to or exceeding one thousand dollars claimed in unpaid child support.

Hamlin also argues notice was required in accordance with section 20-7-1295 (C).   He specifically argues this was necessary to perfect a lien against real property.  However, there is nothing in the record to suggest a lien was obtained against real property owned by Hamlin.  Furthermore, this issue was not raised to or ruled on by the family court. Bakala v. Bakala, 352 S.C. 612, 576 S.E.2d 156 (2003)(ruling an issue not raised and ruled upon by the family court will not be addressed on appeal).       

In any event, subsection (C) deals with the manner of perfecting liens by filing the requisite notice in the correct office responsible for recording and maintaining liens in respect to the type of property involved.  It does not add a notice requirement to the obligor.

The other pertinent notice provision in § 20-7-1295 states:         

(H) The division shall send timely written notice to the obligor by first-class mail of any action taken to perfect a lien, execute a levy, or seize any property.  The notice shall specify the amount due, the steps to be followed to release the property so placed under lien, levied, or seized, and the time period within which to respond to the notice and shall include the name of the court or administrative agency of competent jurisdiction which entered the child support order.

Clearly this provision is designed to give the obligor notice of “any action taken” to perfect a lien or execute a levy, and to provide an opportunity to be heard.  Here, the court provided that notice and Hamlin was afforded an opportunity to be heard. Therefore, this argument is without merit.

Finally, Hamlin argues the lack of proper notice constituted a Due Process violation.  However, Hamlin provided no analysis or authority for this argument.  Issues are deemed abandoned and thus not presented for appellate review where they are argued using only short, conclusory statements, without supporting authority.  Glasscock, Inc. v. United States Fid. & Guar. Co., 348 S.C. 76, 81, 557 S.E.2d 689, 691 (Ct. App. 2001); see also First Sav. Bank v. McLean, 314 S.C. 361, 363, 444 S.E.2d 513, 514 (1994) (holding appellant was deemed to have abandoned issues on appeal, where he failed to provide any argument or supporting authority); R & G Constr., Inc. v. Lowcountry Reg’l Transp. Auth., 343 S.C. 424, 437, 540 S.E.2d 113, 120 (Ct. App. 2000) (holding where no authority is cited and argument is brief and conclusory, issue is deemed abandoned).  Therefore, we deem this issued abandoned.

II.     Notice Under Family Court Rule 17(a)

Hamlin next argues SCDSS failed to comply with Rule 17, SCRFC.  However, this rule is clearly inapplicable, as it deals with notice to a non-answering defendant of the time and date of the hearing on the merits.  In any event, as stated previously, Hamlin received notice and attended the hearing.  Therefore, this issue is manifestly without merit.

III.     Jurisdiction

Hamlin couches his last argument as jurisdictional, claiming the family court did not have jurisdiction to “supercede” a prior court order directing a judgment “without due process.”  However, his argument does not pertain to the stated exception.  Instead, Hamlin alludes to the fact that the applicant was SCDSS as opposed to the individual obliges.  He then repeats his assertion that no timely notices were afforded him, thereby violating Due Process.  Lastly, he argues the initial order seizing the funds “got the cart before the horse” because no determination had been made that he was the obligor and that the money seized was his.

We conclude Hamlin presents no discernable argument and no authority for his position.  Issues are deemed abandoned and thus not presented for appellate review where they are argued using only short, conclusory statements, without supporting authority.  Glasscock, Inc. v. United States Fid. & Guar. Co., 348 S.C. 76, 81, 557 S.E.2d 689, 691 (Ct. App. 2001); see also First Sav. Bank v. McLean, 314 S.C. 361, 363, 444 S.E.2d 513, 514 (1994) (holding appellant was deemed to have abandoned issues on appeal, where he failed to provide any argument or supporting authority); R & G Constr., Inc. v. Lowcountry Reg’l Transp. Auth., 343 S.C. 424, 437, 540 S.E.2d 113, 120 (Ct. App. 2000) (holding where no authority is cited and argument is brief and conclusory, issue is deemed abandoned).  Therefore, these issues are deemed abandoned on appeal. 

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, the order of the family court is

AFFIRMED. [1]

GOOLSBY, HOWARD, and BEATTY, JJ., concurring.


[1] Because oral argument would not aid the Court in resolving any issue on appeal, we decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215 and 220(b)(2), SCACR.