Supreme Court Seal
Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Department
2011-UP-548 - Mason v. Mason


In The Court of Appeals

Fannie Mason, Respondent,


Jerry Mason, Appellant.

Appeal From Marion County
Timothy H. Pogue, Family Court Judge

Unpublished Opinion No.  2011-UP-548
Submitted December 1, 2011 – Filed December 6, 2011


Thurmond  Brooker, of Florence, for Appellant.

Nancy H. Bailey, of Florence, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Jerry Mason (Husband) appeals the family court's order awarding Fannie Mason (Wife) seventy-five percent of her state retirement account and $1,319.27 in attorney's fees.  On appeal, Husband argues the family court abused its discretion in: (1) awarding him only twenty-five percent of Wife's state retirement account; (2) declining to award him alimony; (3) awarding Wife $1,319.27 in attorney's fees; and (4) finding the 2005 Cadillac and the 2000 Denali were not marital property.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b)(1), SCACR, and the following authorities: 

1.  As to whether the family court abused its discretion in awarding Husband only twenty-five percent of Wife's monthly retirement pension: Doe v. Doe, 370 S.C. 206, 213, 634 S.E.2d 51, 55 (Ct. App. 2006) ("The division of marital property is in the family court's discretion and will not be disturbed absent an abuse of that discretion."); Deidun v. Deidun,  362 S.C. 47, 58, 606 S.E.2d 489, 495 (Ct. App. 2004) ("On appeal, this court looks to the overall fairness of the apportionment."); Morris v. Morris,  335 S.C. 525, 531, 517 S.E.2d 720, 723 (Ct. App. 1999) ("The doctrine of equitable distribution is based on a recognition that marriage is, among other things, an economic partnership . . . Upon dissolution of the marriage, marital property should be divided and distributed in a manner which fairly reflects each spouse's contribution to its acquisition, regardless of who holds legal title." (citation and quotation marks omitted)); Marsh v. Marsh,  313 S.C. 42, 45, 437 S.E.2d 34, 36 (1993) (finding the family court "is not required to divide all marital property between the spouses based on the same percentage of division"); S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-620 (Supp. 2010) (identifying fifteen factors for the court to consider in equitably apportioning a marital estate).  

2.  As to whether the family court abused its discretion in not awarding Husband alimony: Browder v. Browder, 382 S.C. 512, 518-19, 675 S.E.2d 820, 823 (Ct. App. 2009) ("An award of alimony rests within the sound discretion of the family court and will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion. . . . An abuse of discretion occurs if the court's ruling is controlled by an error of law or if the ruling is based upon findings of fact that are without evidentiary support."); id. at 519, 675 S.E.2d at 823 ("The objective of alimony should be to insure that the parties separate on as equal a basis as possible. . . . Thus, [i]t is the duty of the family court to make an alimony award that is fit, equitable, and just if the claim is well founded." (internal quotation marks and citation omitted) (alteration by court)); S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-130(C) (Supp. 2010) (providing the thirteen factors for consideration in awarding alimony).

3.  As to whether the family court abused its discretion in awarding Wife attorney's fees: Davis v. Davis, 372 S.C. 64, 88, 641 S.E.2d 446, 458 (Ct. App. 2006) ("An award of attorney's fees lies within the sound discretion of the family court and will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion."); 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; and (4) effect of the attorney's fee on each party's standard of living."); Glasscock v. Glasscock, 304 S.C. 158, 161, 403 S.E.2d 313, 315 (1991) ("[T]he six factors . . . in determining a reasonable attorney's fee:  (1) the nature, extent, and difficulty of the case; (2) the time necessarily devoted to the case; (3) professional standing of counsel; (4) contingency of compensation; (5) beneficial results obtained; [and] (6) customary legal fees for similar services."). 

4.  As to whether the family court abused its discretion in determining the Cadillac and Denali were not marital property: S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-630(A) (Supp. 2010) (defining marital property as "all real and personal property which has been acquired by the parties during the marriage and which is owned as of the date of filing or commencement of marital litigation as provided in Section 20-3-620 regardless of how legal title is held"); Pruitt v. Pruitt, 389 S.C. 250, 261, 697 S.E.2d 702, 708 (Ct. App. 2010) ("The spouse claiming an equitable interest in property upon dissolution of the marriage has the burden of proving the property is part of the marital estate."  (citation and quotation marks omitted)); Brown v. Brown, 379 S.C. 271, 283-84, 665 S.E.2d 174, 181 (Ct. App. 2008) (finding the family court erred in finding Husband's guns were marital property because Wife failed to present sufficient evidence that they were marital property). 


FEW, C.J., THOMAS and KONDUROS, JJ. concur.

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