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Probate Judge

Probate Judge

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Darlington County Probate Court

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The Probate Court handles various legal issues, mostly marriage licenses, estates of the deceased, conservatorships for minors and incapacitated adults, guardianships for incapacitated adults, and involuntary commitments for those with mental and alcohol or drug problems.
PROBATE COURT FORMS MAY BE FOUND AT sccourts.org.

Marriage Licenses: 

The Marriage License office is located at Room 208, 2nd Floor, Darlington County Court House, Darlington, SC.

1.  Marriage License fee is $50.  We accept only cash or Money Order. 
2.  Marriage license applications are accepted Monday -Friday from 9 am until 4:30 pm, excluding Holidays.  Applications cannot be taken by mail or telephone.  
3. There is a 24 hour waiting period after the application is filed before the license can be picked up and the parties can be married.  
4. 21 and older: Bring picture ID and social security card. Both parties must be present to apply.  

    Under 21 but over 18: Bring birth certificate and above documents.
    16 to 18: MUST have parental consent and both parties must be age 16 to apply.
5.  A blood test is not required.
6.  The ceremony may only be performed by members of the Gospel or by officers authorized to administer oaths  in South Carolina which include Jewish Rabbis and SC Notary Publics.  
7.  The ceremony must take place in South Carolina, but not necessarily within the county where the license was    issued.
8.  Witnesses are not required.
9.  Marriage Licenses do not expire in Darlington County.
10. We do not issue marriage licenses to inmates. 

To obtain a copy of a Marriage License:

1.  Copy of Marriage License fee is $5.  Requests are accepted in person or by mail at the Probate Court and  require the following information: Year of marriage and names of both parties.  We accept only cash or Money Order.  
2.  Please note:  We only have marriage licenses that were applied for at the Darlington County Probate Court. If  you received your license in another county you must contact that county.  

Estate Administration:

If there is a will, this must be filed with the Court within thirty (30) days from the date of death.  The majority of estates will come under the informal procedures.  There are no Notices or Hearings required unless demanded by an interested party pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws, 62-3-2014 (1976, as amended).

Formal proceedings are contested matters such as objections to appointments of personal representatives, will contests, lost or destroyed will and declaratory judgments on intestacy.  Formal proceedings require Notices to all interested parties and a Hearing.  Formal proceedings must be commenced within the later of eight months from informal probate or one year from the decedent's death.  

A Small Estate Administration occurs when the decedent's estate less liens and encumbrances does not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars.  This cannot take place until thirty (30) days after death.  The death certificate and a copy of the funeral bill must be furnished to the Court.  

Below are  questions to determine what type, if any, estate administration is needed:
1.  Was the decedent permanently living in County of Darlington at the time of death?  If not, please contact the   Probate Court of the appropriate County or State.  
2.  Did the decedent die within the last ten (10) years?
3.  Did the decedent own personal property valued more than $25,000 or any real estate?

If you answered YES to all of these questions, please call Probate Court to schedule an appointment.  

Please note you must file original documents.  Faxed documents cannot be accepted. 

Commitment Procedures:

Emergency Involuntary Commitment Procedures:
If you have personal knowledge of a person who suffers from mental illness or chemical dependence (alcohol or drug addiction) who is an immediate danger to him/herself or others and is unwilling to get help, the person may need involuntary commitment at a facility for treatment.  If the need arises for an emergency commitment for an individual located in Darlington County, please go directly to Pee Dee Mental Health Center located at 900 S. 4th Street, Hartsville, SC.  Please do not come to Probate Court first.  You must go to Pee Dee Mental Health Center first before coming to Probate Court.  We can only assist after the Mental Health Center has done an initial screening.  

If the Mental Health Center determines that emergency treatment is necessary, you will bring the documents issued to you by Mental Health to the Probate Court for an Order of Detention.  This Order allows law enforcement officers to pick up the person and transport him/her to Carolina Pines, Hartsville, emergency room to be examined.  The hospital staff will determine the appropriate treatment. 

Non-Emergency Commitment Procedures-Judicial Orders: 
If the Mental Health Center determines that judicial commitment proceedings are needed, they will issue a judicial petition for you to bring to the Probate Court.  The Probate Court will schedule an examination for the person with alleged mental illness or chemical dependency.  You will receive notice from the Court of the place, date and time of the scheduled examination.  As the petitioner, you A
RE required to attend the examination to provide information that will be considered by the examiners.  The individual will also receive notice of the examination by both mail and personal service by the Sheriff.  The Court will appoint an attorney for the patient.  

After the examination, if the person is found to be mentally ill or chemically dependent, a hearing will be held by a Probate Judge.  Notice of the hearing will be provided to both the petitioner and the patient.  

The Probate Office is located at 1 Public Square, 2nd Floor, Room 208, Darlington, South Carolina  29532.
Phone: 843-398-4310 or 843-398-4311.  Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (except holidays).

Staff Members:
  • Marvin I. Lawson - Judge Of Probate
  • Sharon L. Osborne - Administrative Assistant
  • Heather Butler - Administrative Assistant
  • Corrie Mae L. Williams - Clerk
  • Vickie Josey - Commitment Division
Thank you for visiting Probate Court; please contact our office if we can be of any service to you and your family.
CONTACT
INFORMATION

FOR THIS DEPARTMENT

Darlington County Probate Court
1 Public Square, 2nd Floor, Room 208
Darlington, South Carolina  29532
Phone: 843-398-4310 or 843-398-4311
Fax: 843-398-4076
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Marvin I. Lawson
Judge Of Probate

Sharon Osborne
Administrative Assistant


Heather Butler
Administrative Assistant

Corrie Mae L. Williams
Clerk

Vickie Josey
Commitment Division


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