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Resources for Battered Women in Charleston, SC

Domestic ViolenceAs you are reading this post, you may be frightened for your life and the lives of your children. Whether you have been able to admit it to yourself, you know it is true in the back of your mind: you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence.

Domestic violence.

You have been afraid to breathe those words – domestic violence – for quite some time now. For whatever reason, you have refused to believe it could be true.

Maybe you have been silent out of self-preservation. Once the secret is out, will you be safe from your husband? Or, will you be in even more danger?

You may have refused to admit the truth because you are in denial. You may be thinking: “Surely he wouldn’t abuse me. After all, he loves me. He told me so. Maybe, I am to blame for the emotional and the physical abuse. Maybe, I deserve it.”

[Read more…]

Ken Peck Receives the Top Lawyer Rating for the 20th Year in a Row

2015 AV Rated Ken Peck AttorneyEvery year since 1995, Ken Peck has received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating. This is the highest possible rating that an attorney can achieve in both ethical standards and legal ability.

Martindale-Hubbell® is a platform for attorneys to peer review and rate one another, providing the public with a ranking system of the best in the legal industry. In order to attain this high honor, an attorney is reviewed by other attorneys in similar practice areas. The reviewers are all members of the bar and the judiciary; in other words, they are either lawyers or judges. Peers first review their colleague on adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics. If the colleague receives a “very high” rating, he or she is then rated on legal ability. This ability is judged based on five different areas: [Read more…]

The Status of Gay Marriage in South Carolina

Peck1Gay marriage.

The mere mention of that phrase stirs strong passions among advocates on both sides of the issue.

As a divorce attorney in Charleston, SC, I have followed the issue closely because it could dramatically affect family law in the Lowcountry – as it has done already in many states and the District of Columbia. Historically, marriage has been defined exclusively as the union between a man and a woman. However, many states now recognize gay marriage as a consequence of the passage of new laws or court decisions. [Read more…]

Enrich Yourself with Lowcountry Plantation History

South Carolina MansionWe are “living the dream” in the Lowcountry.

Historic sites, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities surround us in Mount Pleasant. The wonderful beaches of Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms are at our front door. And, just across the Ravenel Bridge are the many attractions of Charleston, James Island, Johns Island, Folly Beach, and Summerville.

A recent article in USA Today highlighted a special aspect of our cherished South Carolina history. Two of the “Ten Best Historic Southern Plantations” are located in Mount Pleasant and Charleston. The plantations bloomed as early as the 17th century, and many of the beautiful structures and gardens are still with us today in South Carolina.

Inspired by the article, I have chosen some of the top Charleston-area plantations to visit.
[Read more…]

Shrimp and Grits Cook-Off Benefits Charleston Animal Society

Peck1This Labor Day weekend, the Shrimp and Grits Cook-Off offers Charleston residents the opportunity to eat and drink for a great cause.

During the Shrimp and Grits Cook-Off, fifteen elite local chefs will showcase their take on the Lowcountry classic. Attendees will then sample each chef’s creation, voting on their favorite to determine which chef earns the coveted People’s Choice Award. Professional judging will also be done by celebrity judges.

Wine, spirits, and beer will also be available for everyone’s enjoyment. Finally, live music from local bands will complete the evening.

[Read more…]

Fighting Like Cats and Dogs…Over Cats and Dogs

Pet Custody during DivorcePets can be a source of excitement, happiness, and comfort. They are often seen as members of the family, which is why many people refer to them as their “furry children.” In fact, a pet often acts as a surrogate child for many younger married couples, who delay having children until they are financially ready.

Having a “child-like” pet with your spouse can be wonderful—until you get a divorce.

As reported in the Huffington Post, there has been a significant jump in “dog fights” between divorcing couples disputing custody of family pets. A recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 27 percent of divorce lawyers have seen a rise in the number of couples fighting over pets in the last five years.

The results of the survey showed that 22 percent of the divorce attorneys saw courts more often allow pet custody cases. Twenty percent felt that the courts have increasingly deemed the pet to be an asset.
[Read more…]

Patriots Point 4th of July Blast Returns

Charleston, SC Fireworks | The Peck FirmIt’s that time of year again: the Patriots Point 4th of July Blast returns, with a line-up of events sure to entertain the entire family!

The day and night of fun kicks off at the landside of the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, with children’s activities opening at 4 p.m.

Until the fireworks show starts, you and your family can enjoy the event’s live music, which starts at 5 p.m. Lots of food will be available for purchase, including hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, barbeque, pizza, snow cones, popcorn, and multiple beverage options. [Read more…]

Even Decades-Long Marriages Not Safe from Divorce

Older couple sitting on a benchA popular, old adage says that if your marriage lasts five years, you don’t have to worry about divorce.

Like many people, you may be surprised to hear that friends or family members are divorcing after decades of marriage.

Unfortunately, no marriage—regardless of how long it has lasted—is immune from the risk of divorce. Some problems, like the infidelity of a spouse, can arise at any time, threatening the relationship. Other problems occur precisely because a couple has been married for years.  [Read more…]

Can the IRS’s Innocent Spouse Relief Save You from Paying for Your Ex’s Mistakes?

Tax Return Paperwork When married, it is nearly always financially advantageous to file a joint tax return. However, what was once a benefit can become a disaster if you divorce and are later audited.

When you and your spouse file jointly, each of you becomes individually liable for the full amount of any taxes due, including interest and penalties.

Unfortunately, this means that you may be held responsible for the full amount of any unpaid taxes even if your spouse earned all of the income and claimed improper deductions or made other errors on your joint income tax return. According to the IRS, this is the case “even if a divorce decree states that a former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns.” [Read more…]

“In Sickness and in Health, ’Til Death Do Us Part” Isn’t Quite True

woman getting a check up by a doctorWhen you got married, you and your spouse promised to love and support each other for the rest of your lives, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, and in sickness and health.

Unfortunately, however, you might now be finding that your spouse isn’t holding true to his vows.

A recent article in WebMD reported, “The marital vows to stay true ‘in sickness and in health’ seem to apply more to wives than husbands when one of the spouses becomes seriously ill, according to novel new research.’”

The research found that the risk of divorce increases when the wife—but not the husband—experiences a health crisis, whether it is cancer, heart problems, lung disease, or stroke.

About 50 percent of the marriages in which the wives were seriously ill ended in divorce. [Read more…]