Stone v. ThompsonAnnotate this Case
This case initially came to the South Carolina Supreme Court for consideration of whether an order from a bifurcated hearing determining the existence of a common-law marriage was immediately appealable. The Court held it was, and retained jurisdiction to consider the merits. Now, the Court considered whether the family court was correct in finding Susan Thompson and Marion Stone were common-law married in 1989, as well as whether Stone was entitled to an award of attorney's fees. In taking stock of common law in South Carolina, the Supreme Court concluded the institution's foundations have eroded with the passage of time, “and the outcomes it produces are unpredictable and often convoluted” and “the time has come to join the overwhelming national trend and abolish it.” The Court held that as of the date of this opinion, parties could no longer enter into a valid marriage in South Carolina without a license. Specific to this case, the Court did not believe Stone demonstrated the mutual assent required to prove a common-law marriage, and as a result, the Court held the parties were not married and reversed the family court on the merits and as to the issue of attorney's fees.