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2011-UP-047 - Edwards v. Edwards

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Martha F. Edwards, Respondent,

   v.

Michael E. Edwards, Appellant.


Appeal From Sumter County
George E. McFaddin, Jr., Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-047
Submitted January 4, 2011 – Filed February 4, 2011   


AFFIRMED


Richard C. Jones and Richard T. Jones, both of Sumter, for Appellant.

G. Murrell Smith, Jr., of Sumter, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Michael E. Edwards (Husband) appeals the family court's denial of his Rule 60, SCRCP motion.  Husband argues the family court erred in denying his motion because: (1) a portion of the family court's final order dated October 26, 2006 was void for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; (2) his motion was timely; and (3) it is inequitable to require him to make monthly equitable distribution payments for the remainder of his life and after his death without the ability to modify the payments.  We affirm.[1]

1. As to whether a portion of the family court's final order dated October 26, 2006 was void for lack of subject matter jurisdiction:  Husband's case concerns issues of spousal support and the equitable division of marital property, and the family court exercises exclusive jurisdiction over both issues.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 63-3-530 (2010) ("The family court has exclusive jurisdiction . . . to hear and determine actions for divorce a vinculo matrimonii, separate support and maintenance, legal separation, and in other marital litigation between the parties, and for settlement of all legal and equitable rights of the parties in the actions in and to the real and personal property of the marriage."). 

2. As to whether Husband's Rule 60 motion was untimely: Husband did not make his motion in a reasonable amount of time after the family court's final order.  See Rule 60(b), SCRCP (stating a motion to void a judgment "shall be made within a reasonable amount of time . . . after the judgment, order, or proceeding was entered.").  Husband failed to file a motion to void the alimony terms until eighteen months after the final order despite (1) testifying at the hearing that he agreed with the terms of the settlement agreement; and (2) being aware of the finalized terms when the family court approved the settlement agreement on October 26, 2006.  Accordingly, the family court did not abuse its discretion in finding Husband's Rule 60 motion was untimely.  See McDaniel v. U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Co., 324 S.C. 639, 644, 478 S.E.2d 868, 871 (Ct. App. 1996) (holding whether a party makes a "Rule 60 motion within a reasonable time is a matter addressed to the trial judge's sound discretion, and an appellate court will not disturb that determination absent abuse of discretion.").[2]      

AFFIRMED.

THOMAS, PIEPER, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.


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

[2]  We decline to address Husband's remaining argument because resolution of Husband's arguments regarding subject matter jurisdiction and timeliness is dispositive.  See Whiteside v. Cherokee County Sch. Dist. No. One, 311 S.C. 335, 340, 428 S.E.2d 886, 889 (1993) (finding the appellate court need not address a remaining issue when the resolution of a prior issue is dispositive).