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2005-UP-019 - Currow v. Glaze

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

Marion Ann Currow, Personal Representative For The Estate Of James Marion Glaze, Appellant,

v.

Evelyn M. Glaze, Respondent.


Appeal From Charleston County
 Frances  P. Segars-Andrews, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2005-UP-019
Submitted January 1, 2005 – Filed January 13, 2005


AFFIRMED


Cynthia Barrier Castengera, of Newland and David Dusty Rhoades, of Charleston, for Appellant.

Evelyn M. Glaze, of Charleston, Pro Se Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Marion Ann Currow, as Personal Representative for the Estate of James Marion Glaze (Husband), appeals the decision of the family court reaffirming its order that Husband maintain life insurance on his ex-wife, Evelyn M. Glaze (Wife), as security for alimony.  We affirm. [1]  

FACTS

This domestic relations action was originally heard before the family court in 2001.  The family court’s 2001 order, among other things, granted the parties a divorce, awarded alimony to the Wife, and  required Husband to maintain a life insurance policy naming Wife as the beneficiary.   Husband appealed, and this Court, in Unpublished Opinion No. 2003-UP-258 (filed April 8, 2003), remanded the case to the family court.  We held the court failed to indicate the basis for its requirement that husband maintain a life insurance policy naming Wife as the beneficiary.  Further, the family court had failed to consider the statutory factors for ordering life insurance as security for alimony.

Accordingly, in September of 2003, the family court issued an order from the hearing on remand, addressing the statutory factors.  The court reaffirmed its 2001 order establishing security for alimony in the form of life insurance.  Subsequently, in October of 2003, Wooten v. Wooten, 356 S.C. 473, 589 S.E.2d 769 (Ct. App. 2003) cert. granted June 24, 2004, was published.  Wooten established that “a compelling reason must exist to warrant the maintenance of life insurance by the supporting spouse.”  356 S.C. at 476, 589 S.E.2d at 770-71 (internal quotation marks omitted).  The Wooten court further ruled the sole fact that a former spouse would benefit financially from life insurance in the event of the payor’s death did not  establish a compelling reason for requiring life insurance as security for alimony.  Id. at 478, 589 S.E.2d at 771-72.  Based on the intervening release of Wooten, Husband filed a Rule 59(e) motion, which was denied.  He now appeals, contending the family court on remand erred in its analysis and application of the statutory factors set forth in S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-130(D) (Supp 2003).

LAW/ANALYSIS

I.       Analysis of § 20-3-130(D)

S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-130(D) (Supp. 2003) provides:

In making an award of alimony or separate maintenance and support, the court may make provision for security for the payment of the support including, but not limited to, requiring the posting of money, property, and bonds and may require a spouse, with due consideration of [1] the cost of premiums, [2] insurance plans carried by the parties during marriage, [3] insurability of the payor spouse, [4] the probable economic condition of the supported spouse upon the death of the payor spouse, and [5] any other factors the court may deem relevant, to carry and maintain life insurance so as to assure support of a spouse beyond the death of the payor spouse.

(Alterations added). 

On remand, the family court examined each of these factors.  The first factor is the cost of premiums.  The court found that Husband, who by that time was deceased, had carried the policy in question for years.  The court opined that the premiums up until his death “were not considerable nor were they a new expense related to the issuance of this court’s order.” 

The second factor looks to insurance plans carried by the parties during marriage.  The court noted that the Husband carried the policy in question during the marriage, and therefore, it was not a new burden. 

The third factor, that of insurability of the payor spouse, “was questionable as both the [Husband] and the [Wife] were in demonstrably poor health.”  However, because the policy was already in place, the insurability of the payor spouse was not an issue. 

The fourth factor is the probable economic condition of the supported spouse upon the death of the payor spouse.  The record reveals that both Husband and Wife were in poor economic condition.  Unfortunately, Husband died; it was found that the economic condition of the Wife upon Husband’s death was poor. 

Finally, the statute provides that the court consider any other factors which the court deems may be relevant.  Here, the family court found that the alimony awarded to Wife would have been a nullity without the insurance policy as appropriate security. 

As instructed, the family court examined the factors established by our legislature and codified in § 20-3-130(D).  We find no abuse of discretion. 

II.      Compelling Reason Standard/Wooten

Husband contends that Wooten requires reversal of the family court.  We disagree.  In its November 2003 order denying Husband’s Rule 59(e) motion, the court acknowledged that it had “specifically considered the case of Wooten v. Wooten.”  The citation of Wooten v. Wooten in the Rule 59(e) order clearly reveals that the family court judge undertook an analysis of Wooten concerning the compelling reasons test.  Based on the economic considerations and the age of the parties as discussed by the family court in connection with its analysis of § 20-3-130(D), we conclude there was a sufficiently compelling reason to require security for alimony in this case. 

CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, the order of the family court is

AFFIRMED.

ANDERSON, STILWELL, and SHORT, JJ., concur.


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.