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EMPOWERING OUR CLIENTS FOR OVER 25 YEARS

 

Experienced attorneys serving individuals. The legal system is complicated. At Klok Law, we break it down for you. Committed to providing you the representation you deserve.   You can trust Klok Law to stand by your side through conflicts or achieving your dreams.  Offering creative, effective strategies, we help you obtain results you need.

 

Our approach is focused on your individual situation, it is not one size fits all. We are here to help!  Call Klok Law now at 843.216.8860.

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WHAT WE DO 

 

Klok Law is a South Carolina law firm committed to promoting individual’s access to justice, with over 25 years of experience

TRUST 

Klok Law has advocated for individual rights for more than 25 years

 

ANALYTICAL 

Our foundation is based on significant legal experience so that we help you succeed

INTEGRITY 

We are committed to our community and clients giving them the respect they deserve

 

WHY WE ARE THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU

 

Klok law is committed to providing each client with their own individual and effective “battle-plan” needed to achieve goals. We are passionate about your rights and work to obtain a favorable outcome.

 

Once you become a Klok Law client, we will review the facts of your case and the circumstances concerning your legal matter.  After the review, we will let you know your rights and options.  With Klok Law, you can be confident we will be there to support you to achieve your legal goals.

CONFIDENTIAL INITIAL CONSULTATIONS 

25 plus years of legal experience

Counsel based on your individual circumstances

Free initial consultations.

Evening and weekend appointments available

OUR PHILOSOPHY: LARGE FIRM QUALITY. SMALL FIRM ATTITUDE. 

We are here to help you change your world by providing legal guidance to protect your rights and achieve your goals. Legal matters can be confusing and stressful. Klok Law is here to guide you through the process.

 

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Claims

What is the average time and acceptance rate of an SSDI application in South Carolina?

For an initial application, South Carolina has a 26.9% acceptance rate. On reconsideration, another 10.7% are accepted, and if you use an attorney through the appeals process another 58.7% of claims are accepted. The average wait time for a decision through the entire process is 340 days. 

What is “substantial gainful activity?”

SSDI considers substantial gainful activity to be earning more than a certain amount per month by working. The amount is determined by the nature of the disability, but for disabled people who are not blind the amount for 2015 is $1,090 per month.

Can I return to work and still receive benefits?

Yes, you can return to work in some capacity and still receive SSDI benefits. Known as a trial work period, you can get earnings from work and still receive SSDI payments. However, you are required to report this change to your local Social Security office or through a toll-free number.

Do SSDI benefits affect any Social Security retirement benefits?

Under the Social Security system, any disability benefits that you receive automatically convert to retirement benefits when you reach full retirement age. It does not allow for both types of benefits to be received at the same time.

Can I receive SSDI and still get other types of disability benefits?

Yes, if you meet the requirements for other disability benefit programs you may collect SSDI at the same time. However, it is important to check the requirements for each program, as many are not the same. For example, SSDI requires total disability, while veterans’ disability benefits allows for partial disability.

Veterans’ Disability Claims

Where can I find out more information regarding veterans’ disability benefits?

You can find out more information regarding veterans’ disability benefits by visiting our firm’s page, found here. You can also find your local regional benefit office through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website and visit in person, or you can find the information on the Veterans Administration page.

What types of claims can be made for veterans’ disability benefits?

There are a number of types of claims that apply to veterans’ disability compensation. These include pre-discharge claims, claims based on pre-service disabilities, claims based on in-service disabilities, claims based on post-service disabilities, and claims made on special circumstances.

What is the “Fast Track” option for veterans’ disability benefits?

Also known as the “fully developed claim” program, this option allows for a faster response in the processing of your claim by submitting all of your medical records with your initial application. You are also eligible for this option if you are only claiming one or two disabilities, even if you do not have your full medical records.

What if my claim for veterans’ disability benefits is denied?

If your claim is denied, an experienced attorney can work with you to file a Notice of Disagreement appeal with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

What makes you ineligible for veterans’ benefits?

In certain circumstances, a veteran cannot receive benefits for their disability claim. These situations include becoming disabled through misconduct, being dishonorably discharged, occurring while the veteran was avoiding duty (like going AWOL), or if the disability occurred while the veteran was in prison or detained due to a court martial or civil court felony.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Claims

How do income and resources affect my SSI benefits?

Income is considered money that you make from working, and resources are things that you use to pay for necessities like food and shelter. Resources include bank accounts, personal property, and real estate. Both income and resources are considered when determining whether you should be awarded SSI benefits.

Does getting married affect SSI benefits?

If you get married, your spouse’s income and resources may decrease the amount of your SSI benefits. If you get married and then apply for SSI, you and your spouse will receive the couple rate instead of the individual rates.

What are the SSI benefits for 2015?

The monthly maximum Federal amounts for 2015 are $733 for an eligible individual, $1,100 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $367 for an essential person. This makes the yearly amounts $8.804.43 for an individual, $13,205.18 for a couple, and $4,412.31 for an essential person.

Does South Carolina have an SSI Supplement?

Yes, South Carolina does have an SSI Supplement program that will make additional monthly payments to certain recipients of the system. It is run by the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

What is an SSI review?

Every once in a while, the Social Security Office will review your eligibility and need for SSI in addition to verify that you are not being overpaid for your need. You are asked about any income, resources, and life changes that may affect the amount that you receive.

Family Law

What are the grounds for divorce in South Carolina?

In South Carolina there are four grounds for divorce:

 

  1. Adultery
  2. Desertion for a period of one year
  3. Physical cruelty
  4. Habitual drunkenness (can also be caused by narcotic drug use)
  5. Living separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year

 

See SECTION 20-3-10. Grounds for divorce.

How long do I have to live in South Carolina to get a divorce here?

South Carolina family courts to have jurisdiction if one of the following is true:

 

  1. The plaintiff must have resided in South Carolina for at least one year prior to filing.
  2. If the Plaintiff is not a resident, then the Defendant must have resided in South Carolina for a least one year prior to filing.
  3. When both parties are residents of South Carolina when filing, the plaintiff must have resided in South Carolina for three months before filing.

 

See SECTION 20-3-30. Residence requirement.

In what county do I file?

For divorce or separate support and maintenance actions, you must file in

 

  1. the county where the defendant resides when you file,
  2. The county where the plaintiff resides if the defendant is a nonresident, or cannot be found after due diligence, or
  3. The county in which the parties last resided together as husband and wife, unless the plaintiff is a non-resident, then it must be filed in the county where the defendant resides.

 

See SECTION 20-3-60. Venue.

Who decides how we split our assets?

You and your spouse can decide and have the court approve the division, or if you cannot decide the court will decide for you us. The court will make a final “equitable apportionment” between the parties of the parties’ marital property. The following factors will be considered:

 

  1. Duration of the marriage together with ages of the parties at the time of marriage and at the time of divorce.
  2. Martial Misconduct or fault of either or both parties, whether or not used as a basis for divorce, if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage. However, the court will not look at marital misconduct if the conduct took place after the happening of the earliest of
    1. Entry of a temporary order in a divorce or separate maintenance action;
    2. The formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement; or
    3. Entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support, or of a permanent order approving property or marital settlement agreement between the parties.
  3. The value of the marital property and the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, depreciation, or appreciation in the value of the marital property, including the contribution of the spouse as homemaker, considering the quality of the contribution as well as its factual existence.
  4. The income of each spouse, the earning potential of each spouse, and opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets.
  5. The physical and mental health of each spouse.
  6. The need of each spouse or either spouse for additional training or education to achieve income potential.
  7. The nonmarital property of each spouse.
  8. The existence or non-existence of vested retirement benefits for each or either spouse.
  9. Whether separate maintenance or alimony has been awarded.
  10. The desirability of awarding the family home as part of equitable distribution or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of the children.
  11. The tax consequences to each or either party as a result of any particular form of equitable apportionment.
  12. The existence and extent of any support obligations, from a prior marriage or for any other reason or reasons, of either party.
  13. Liens on the marital property to be equitably divided, or separate property of either of the parties and any other existing debts incurred by the parties or either of them during the course of the marriage.
  14. Child custody arrangements and obligations at the time of the entry of the order; and
  15. Other relevant factors as the trial court shall state in its order.

 

See SECTION 20-3-620. Apportionment factors.

What is marital property?

Marital property means all real and personal property acquired by the parties during the marriage and which is owned as of the date of filing or commencement of marital litigation, except the following is considered nonmarital property:

 

  1. Property acquired by inheritance, devise, bequest, or gift from a party other than a spouse;
  2. Property acquired before the marriage and property acquired after the happening of the earliest of
    • Entry of a temporary order in a divorce or separate maintenance action,
    • The formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement, or
    • 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.
  3. Property acquired by either party in exchange for property described in (1) and (2) above.
  4. Property excluded by written contract of the parties, meaning any antenuptial agreement which must be fair and equitable so long as it was voluntarily executed by both parties separately represented by counsel and pursuant to full financial disclosure to each other as to income, debts, and assets.
  5. Any increase in the value of the nonmarital property, except to the extent that the increase resulted directly or indirectly from efforts of the other spouse during marriage.

 

Gifts of property from one spouse to the other, or indirectly by way of a third party, are marital property.

 

See SECTION 20-3-630. Marital property; nonmarital property.

How does the court determine who gets custody of the children?

The court determines custody by determining what is in the best interest of the child based on the evidence presented.

 

See SECTION 63-15-230. Final custody determination; considerations.

What is joint custody?

Joint custody means both parents have equal rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child, including the child’s education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities, and religious training. However, a judge may designate one parent to have the sole authority to make specific, identified decisions, while both parents retain equal rights and responsibilities for all other decisions.

 

See SECTION 63-15-210. Definitions.

What is sole custody?

Sole custody means a person, i.e., a parent, has temporary or permanent custody of a child and, unless otherwise provided by court order, the rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child, including the child’s education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities, and religious training.

 

See SECTION 63-15-210.Definitions. 

How is child support calculated in a divorce or child support case?

In South Carolina, child support is calculated based on the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines are based on the concept that the children should receive the same proportion of parental income that they would have received had the parents not divorced. Determination of child support takes into account the following:

 

  1. Gross Income
  2. Income from Self-Employment or Operation of a Business
  3. Potential Income
  4. Income Verification
  5. Monthly Alimony (this action)
  6. Other Monthly Alimony or Child Support Paid
  7. Other Children in the Home
  8. Basic Child Support Obligation
  9. Self-Support Reserve
  10. Health Insurance
  11. Child Care Costs

 

Certain custody arrangements may alter the child support calculation. For example, if the parents have shared physical custody and each over more than 109 overnights each year, then there will be an adjustment to the calculation. It is important to consult with an attorney for child support obligations before you have a court order.

What will happen if a parent does not pay court-ordered child support?

In South Carolina, if you fail to comply with a Family Court Order, it can result in up to one year in prison and/or a fine up to $1,500.00 and/or three hundred hours in community service.

Do grandparents have visitation rights to their grandchildren?

In South Carolina, there are some circumstances in which the family court will award a grandparent visitation. The court may order grandparent visitation if the child’s parents are unreasonably depriving the grandparent of the opportunity to visit with the child, including denying visitation for the minor child for a period exceeding 90 days and

 

  1. The court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child’s parents or guardians are unfit; or
  2. The court finds by clear and convincing evidence that there are compelling circumstances to overcome the presumption that the parental decision is in the child’s best interest.

 

See SECTION 63-3-530. Jurisdiction in domestic matters.

If I divorce, will I receive Social Security benefits?

The short answer is that it depends on the circumstances. Sorry, it is not a clear-cut answer. If you are divorced and your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, then you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record (even if your ex-spouse has remarried) as long as

 

  1. You are unmarried
  2. You are 62 or older
  3. Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits; and
  4. The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.

 

See Social Security Benefits Planner: Retirement.

Do I receive both my Social Security benefits and my spouse's Social Security benefits?

It depends.  If you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record and on your divorced spouse’s benefits, Social Security will pay the retirement benefit first. If the benefit on your ex-spouse’s record is higher, you will get an additional amount on your ex-spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount.

 

See Social Security Benefits Planner: Retirement.

When can I start to receive my spouse's Social Security benefits?

You can start to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s Social Security record when you are age 62 or older.

If I remarry can I still receive my spouse's Social Security benefits?

You may not receive Social Security benefits on your ex-spouse’s record if you remarry.

 

See Social Security Benefits Planner: Retirement.

How do I get an emergency custody order for my child?

The grounds for an emergency hearing for child custody issues generally require that the child is in substantial and imminent danger of abuse or neglect. For example, the father is doing crack with sex offenders while the child is present, or spouse buying plane tickets to take the children to Saudi Arabia and does not intend to return.

Estates & Probate

What happens if I die without a will?

If you are married with children, your spouse will receive ½ and your children will evenly split the other ½ of your estate.

If you are not married and have children, then your children will evenly split your estate. If one of your children predeceased you, then if they have children they will share their parent’s share.

If you have no children, then your estate will go to your parent or parents equally.

If your parents are not alive and you have a sibling through your parents, then your estate will go to that sibling.

If you have no siblings are your siblings had no children, then to goes back to grandparents, etc.

If you have no living relatives, then your estate would go to the State of South Carolina.

What happens if I become incapacitated?

If you become incapacitated, mentally or physically, the Court will appoint a guardian or conservator to handle your affairs. To avoid this situation, you should have a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters, as well as a Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney (along with HIPAA release) along with a Living Will, if applicable. The person you appoint will act on your behalf.  

What happens to my minor children if I die without nominating a guardian?

If your children’s father is not alive or has no parental rights, the Court will then appoint a guardian for your minor children. 

What is a Personal Representative?

The Personal Representative, also referred to as the Executor or Executrix, manages the estate. 

Where is an estate administered?

In South Carolina, the proper venue for the probate of an estate is in the county where the decedent was domiciled at the time of death. 

REAL ESTATE

HOW MUCH DO REALTORS CHARGE FOR A COMMISSION?

Generally the Listing Realtors charges a 6% commission to the seller of the home and splits this commission with Selling Agent, the agent representing the buyer. While you may be able to negotiate a lower commission percentage with a realtor to list your home, cheaper is not always better.  A good realtor is worth paying the 6% commission. Interview and assess your realtor and look at their track record.

AM I ABLE TO EXCLUDE MY CHANDELIER FROM THE SALE OF MY HOME?

Yes, but you have to disclose in the MLS (multiple listing service) description that the chandelier is not included.  It would be easier, and better, if you replaced the chandelier with one that fits in with the style of your home, and pack up and store the chandelier you want to keep.  That way, you will not be negotiating with a prospective buyer who wants a lower price because the chandelier will not be included.

 

DOES IT MATTER IF I HAVE A SMOKER IN MY HOME?

Yes it matters!  Sorry smokers, but people generally do not want to buy a home that smells like cigarette smoke.  You may be so used to the smell that you have “nose blindness” and do not smell what others will.  Stop smoking in the house and have it professionally deep cleaned to remove the cigarette smell before listing.  Sometimes you will have to replace carpets, drapery and paint after cleaning the walls in order to remove the odor.

 

IS CURB APPEAL IMPORTANT?

You only have one chance to make a first impression.  The first impression of your house is the view from the curb. So it stands to reason that curb appeal is very important in selling your home. There are simple ways to increase the curb appeal of your home such as updating the paint on your front door, update old hardware on the outside, i.e., change out the door knob, add a door wreath, add landscape lighting, create a container garden to brighten the front of the home, refresh your mailbox, update gutters and downspouts, clean and stain your driveway, and add window boxes, just to name a few.

 

SHOULD I BUY THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOUSE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD?

Don’t ever buy the most expensive house in the neighborhood.  If your home is the most expensive, it will have the slowest increase in value.  Most buyers look to buy the house in the mid-range of value in the neighborhood so you will have less lookers. It is better to buy a house in a better neighborhood than buying the most expensive house on the block.

 

DO I HAVE TO DISCLOSE IF SOMEONE DIED IN THE HOME I AM SELLING?

The short answer is that you do not have to disclose if someone has died in the house you are selling. The one exception is that if the person who died was infected with an infectious disease or virus that would be likely to be transmitted to the next occupant.  If it is highly unlikely that the disease or virus would be transmitted by living there, the seller does not have to disclose the death or its cause.  A seller does not have to disclose to a buyer if there was a natural death, suicide, or murder in the home or on the property.  However, if asked a direct question, the seller and their real estate agent may not lie. See S.C. Ann. Code §40-57-740.

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