Miles v. Miles
South Carolina Supreme Court
711 S.E.2d 880 (2011)
When James Miles (plaintiff) and Theodora Miles (defendant) divorced, they reached a settlement agreement that the court incorporated into its final divorce order. The agreement required James to keep Theodora on the health and dental insurance provided by his employer until she remarried or got a job with insurance benefits. Otherwise, the agreement waived any spousal support. It did not contain any language limiting whether the parties could later seek modifications. Over the next six years, James had seven surgeries due to colon cancer, a shoulder injury, and a triple bypass, which left him totally disabled. His disability income of $1,830 monthly was less than half his previous wages as a police officer. The insurance premiums he paid for Theodora cost $370 per month, and the premiums he paid as part of his child support also increased. Meanwhile, Theodora’s annual income increased from $28,000 to $45,000. James filed a petition to modify the divorce order to terminate his obligation to pay Theodora’s premiums. The family court found the provision similar to a division of property, and therefore not modifiable, because the agreement waived alimony. The appellate court affirmed, and James appealed to the state supreme court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hearn, J.)
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