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2011-UP-296 - Suttles v. Salam

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

Cynthia Suttles, Respondent,

v.

Brahim Salam, Appellant.


Appeal From Greenville County
Rochelle Y. Conits, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-296  
Submitted June 1, 2011 – Filed June 14, 2011


AFFIRMED


Brahim Salam, pro se, of Mauldin, for Appellant.

Cynthia Suttles, pro se, of Greenville, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Brahim Salam appeals the family court order requiring Salam to pay Cynthia Suttles $1,000 per month in permanent, periodic alimony and $5,315.13 in attorney's fees.  Salam argues the family court erred in (1) failing to consider Salam's two dependents, length of the marriage, the educational background of both parties, and the health of both parties in the determination of the proper amount of alimony; and (2) failing to consider Salam's own legal fees and his obligation to his dependents in awarding attorney's fees.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b)(1), SCACR, and the following authorities: 

1.  As to whether the family court erred in awarding alimony: Bodkin v. Bodkin, 388 S.C. 203, 215, 694 S.E.2d 230, 237 (Ct. App. 2010) ("The amount to be awarded for alimony, as well as a determination of whether a spouse is entitled to alimony, is within the sound discretion of the family court.  An abuse of discretion occurs when the decision is controlled by an error of law or is based on factual findings without evidentiary support.") (citations omitted); S.C. Code Ann. § 20‑3‑130(C) (Supp. 2010) ("In making an award of alimony or separate maintenance and support, the court must consider and give weight in such proportion as it finds appropriate to all of the following factors: (1) the duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce or separate maintenance action between the parties; (2) the physical and emotional condition of each spouse; (3) the educational background of each spouse, together with need of each spouse for additional training or education in order to achieve that spouse's income potential; (4) the employment history and earning potential of each spouse; (5) the standard of living established during the marriage; (6) the current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses; (7) the current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of both spouses; (8) the marital and nonmarital properties of the parties, including those apportioned to him or her in the divorce or separate maintenance action; (9) custody of the children, particularly where conditions or circumstances render it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home, or where the employment must be of a limited nature; (10) marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties, whether or not used as a basis for a divorce or separate maintenance decree if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage, except that no evidence of personal conduct which may otherwise be relevant and material for the purpose of this subsection may be considered with regard to this subsection if the conduct took place subsequent to the happening of the earliest of (a) the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement or (b) entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support or of a permanent order approving a property or marital settlement agreement between the parties; (11) the tax consequences to each party as a result of the particular form of support awarded; (12) the existence and extent of any support obligation from a prior marriage or for any other reason of either party; and (13) such other factors the court considers relevant.").  

2.  As to whether the family court erred in awarding attorney's fees: Bennett v. Rector, 389 S.C. 274, 284, 697 S.E.2d 715, 720 (Ct. App. 2010) ("The family court has discretion in deciding whether to award attorney's fees, and its decision will not be overturned absent an abuse of discretion.  An abuse of discretion occurs when the decision is controlled by an error of law or is based on factual findings lacking evidentiary support.") (citation omitted); E.D.M. v. T.A.M., 307 S.C. 471, 476-77, 415 S.E.2d 812, 816 (1992) ("In determining whether an attorney's fee should be awarded, the following factors should be considered: (1) the party's ability to pay his/her own attorney's fee; (2) beneficial results obtained by the attorney; (3) the parties' respective financial conditions; (4) effect of the attorney's fee on each party's standard of living.").

AFFIRMED.

SHORT, KONDUROS, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.


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