Practice Area: Family
Outcome: Won appeal; opposing party found in contempt
Description: Abate v. Abate is a published March 2008 opinion from the South Carolina Court of Appeals. The primary issue on appeal was whether my client, Mr. Abate (the father of a child diagnosed with ADHD) was in contempt of court for failing to give his son ADHD medications during his summer 2005 visitation. The Court of Appeals reversed the family court’s finding of contempt, finding his “acts demonstrate a good-faith effort to comply with the Decree’s requirement to follow Child’s ‘pediatrician’s and/or psychiatrist’s orders regarding medication.’” The Court of Appeals additionally held that “Father’s temporary, physician-sanctioned drug holiday for Child indicates an effort to comply with the Decree by exploring ‘drug-free methods of raising child outside Child’s school year to avoid compromising Child’s performance in school.’” In addition, the Court of Appeals found that there was an ambiguity in the parties’ agreement regarding summer day care costs, allowing Mr. Abate to go back to court to resolve whether he was entitled to credit for these expenses in future years. The Court of Appeals also remanded the family court’s denial of Mr. Abate’s request for attorney’s fees from the lower court hearing back the family court.