The Financial Strain of Divorce

I recently came across an article in the New York Post titled “How to Handle the Financial Pitfalls of Divorce”. Naturally, I was intrigued as this is one of the main areas of concern for anyone going through a divorce or thinking about separating from their spouse. As the article summarizes, it is nearly impossible to go through a divorce without financial frustration. Dividing assets is a cumbersome and often lengthy process. One way to potentially ease the pain of the process is by becoming familiar with both your and your spouse’s assets and debts and gathering as much information regarding the assets and debts as you can. Once parties separate, gathering information is one of the biggest and most expensive parts of the divorce process. Beginning the separation or divorce process with as much knowledge of your assets and debts is one way to handle the financial frustration that often accompanies divorce.

Posted on March 13, 2017 and filed under Divorce.

Who claims the children on taxes during a Family Law case?

During the beginning of each new year, our clients often have questions regarding how their family law case will impact their taxes. One of the issues that parents going through a divorce or child custody case must resolve is which parent will claim the children on their tax return. The dependent exemption can result in big tax savings to the spouse or parent who is able to claim the children on their tax return.

The dependent exemption reduces the party’s taxable income. For the 2016 tax year, the dependent exemption is $4,050 for each child which is a substantial decrease in taxable income, especially if there are multiple children.

The IRS has clearly defined guidelines that answer the question of who will claim the children on their tax return. It is the “custodial parent” who will be able to claim the children on their tax return.

A custodial parent is defined by the IRS as:

“The custodial parent is generally the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights during the year. The noncustodial parent is the other parent. If the child was with each parent for an equal number of nights, the custodial parent is the parent with the higher adjusted gross income”

During a divorce or child custody case, the custodial parent may release their claim to the dependent exemption. The custodial parent may desire to do this for various reasons. For instance, the custodial parent’s taxable income may be too high and thus the exemption is phased out or the parties may have agreed to alternate the exemption each year. If the custodial parent is releasing their claim to the exemption, then the custodial parent must fill out IRS Form 8332. This form allows the custodial parent to release their claim for one individual year, certain specific years (i.e. even or odd years), or for all future years. The noncustodial parent must attach Form 8332 to their return each year that they are claiming the children on their taxes. 

The issue of dependency exemptions in a divorce or child custody case is a complex issue. Family law cases can last over a year before there is a final resolution. Both parents may feel entitled to claim the children while their case is pending but absent a written agreement and a signed Form 8332, the custodial parent as defined by the IRS will be the parent who claims the children on their tax return.

It is best to discuss this issue with both an attorney and an accountant. If you would like to set up a consult with Christophillis & Gallivan, please call our office at (864)233-4445.


We're hiring!

We have had some very exciting changes at Christophillis & Gallivan including moving to our new office space located at 420 E. Park Avenue, Suite 301, Greenville, South Carolina 29601.

Now that we are in our new space, we are expanding our staff and have two current job openings. If you, or someone you know, is interested in applying for either of these positions, please contact us at

Positions Currently Open:

Experienced Certified Paralegal

Paralegals will work under the direct supervision of an attorney. The job duties include:

  • Client communication & correspondence including letters, emails, and phone calls

  • Drafting of Pleadings and other legal documents

  • Order Preparation

  • Preparation of Temporary Hearing and Guardian ad Litem packets

  • Scheduling Hearings, Meditations, Client meetings

  • Correspondence with opposing counsel and the Court

  • Managing court dates and timely correspondence with clients regarding hearings and mediation

  • Drafting correspondence to Judges, Opposing Counsel, Opposing Parties, and clients

  • Organizing client work and being proactive regarding progress in client cases

  • Drafting subpoenas and other discovery

*Bilingual (English/Spanish) is a plus.

Front Desk Receptionist

The job duties/skills include:

  • Receives and directs calls to destinations using excellent phone etiquette and verbal communication skills. Must have good command of the English language, verbal and written.  Determines nature of the call and directs caller to appropriate party.

  • Greets visitors in a professional and courteous manner. Announces and directs visitors to appropriate locations.

  • Sorts and distributes incoming mail and courier services daily.  Receives all outgoing mail and gets to post office box.

  • Maintains reception and conference room areas.

  • Must have high level of interpersonal skills to handle sensitive and confidential situations and to communicate within all levels of the organization.

  • Responsible for upholding the principles of confidentiality and security as they relate to this position.

  • Must have high degree of professionalism, including appearance and telephone manner.

  • Must always represent the firm in a credible and positive manner.

Posted on April 5, 2016 .

2015 Behind the Counter: 100 Local Companies

We are excited to share our article in Greenville Journal's 2015 Behind the Counter magazine. This year, the magazine focuses on 100 Local Companies. We are honored to be included in this list with some of the most innovative and respected companies in the community. Be sure to pick up your copy today!

For access to the full magazine, please use this link:

Potty Equality

Ashton Kutcher’s recent facebook post is putting a spotlight on the issue of parenting equality between moms and dads. He posted: “There are NEVER diaper changing stations in mens public restrooms. The first public men's room that I go into that has one gets a free shout out on my FB page! #‎BeTheChange

As moms and dads are now more equal in child care responsibilities and child custody arrangements in our society, trends in gender stereotyping are being called to catch up.

Read more at:

Does Fault in Divorce Effect Child Custody?

In South Carolina, the best interest of the child is the controlling factor in child custody determinations. Our family courts are routinely working with families in an effort to create child custody and visitation schedules that benefit both the parents and the child. Child custody should not be granted to reward or punish parents, but the fitness/unfitness of a parent or a parent’s ability to care for a child certainly play a role.

Typically, adultery does not have an impact on child custody determinations in South Carolina (other than in circumstances where the adultery directly effects the children).

Other fault-based grounds for divorce (i.e. Physical Cruelty, Habitual Drunkenness or Drug Abuse, and Desertion), however, can definitely impact a child custody determination. These fault-based factors often speak to characteristics of a parent that could be detrimental to a child’s welbeing. Sometimes, a parent exhibiting behaviors that would put a child at risk may be given an opportunity for rehabilitation in order to have a chance to regain custody or visitation rights. Courts can also place restraining orders on parental conduct to limit parent behavior and protect the best interest of the child. A parent who has previously been denied custody rights or has had their custody or visitation rights limited, may petition the court for a modification of child custody if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.

If you have questions about divorce, child custody, or visitation call our office to set up a free consultation.

Best Interest of Your Child

At Christophillis and Gallivan, we strive to help families develop custom child custody arrangements that fit your specific needs. Whether you are seeking an original custody order or a modification of your current custody situation, our attorneys work within the bounds of sole custody or shared custody arrangements to reach your goals.


South Carolina law, §63-15-240(B), requires the court to consider the best interest of the child in issuing an order for custody. The best interest of the child includes consideration of factors such as:

(1) the temperament and developmental needs of the child;
(2) the capacity and the disposition of the parents to understand and meet the needs of the child;
(3) the preferences of each child;
(4) the wishes of the parents as to custody;
(5) the past and current interaction and relationship of the child with each parent, the child's siblings, and any other person, including a grandparent, who may significantly affect the best interest of the child;
(6) the actions of each parent to encourage the continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, as is appropriate, including compliance with court orders;
(7) the manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parents' dispute;
(8) any effort by one parent to disparage the other parent in front of the child;
(9) the ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child;
(10) the child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community environments;
(11) the stability of the child's existing and proposed residences;
(12) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability of a proposed custodial parent or other party, in and of itself, must not be determinative of custody unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interest of the child;
(13) the child's cultural and spiritual background;
(14) whether the child or a sibling of the child has been abused or neglected;
(15) whether one parent has perpetrated domestic violence or child abuse or the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser if any domestic violence has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual or between the parent and the child;
(16) whether one parent has relocated more than one hundred miles from the child's primary residence in the past year, unless the parent relocated for safety reasons; and
(17) other factors as the court considers necessary.


If you have questions about child custody or visitation, contact us to set up your free consultation.

Posted on March 11, 2015 and filed under Child Custody.


Judge Brown's Standard Visitation Schedule is a child custody and visitation schedule that is commonly used in Greenville, South Carolina and surrounding areas. All family law attorneys in the Upstate should be familiar with Judge Brown's Standard Visitation Schedule as most attorneys use this as a basis to begin a discussion with their clients about child custody and visitation. At Christophillis & Gallivan, we like to work with our clients to customize visitation schedules to fit each family's specific needs. We will walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of using Judge Brown's Standard Visitation Schedule and restraining orders to see if this schedule is the right fit for your family.


Judge Brown's Standard Visitation Schedule


If you have any questions about child custody, please contact us for a free initial consultation.

The Cost of Divorce

One of the first questions we are asked in our initial consultations is "How much is a divorce going to cost me?" Our answer is and always will be the depends on the specific facts. Each family is different and thus each divorce is different. So much will depend on the grounds for filing for divorce, whether children are involved, and the complexity of dividing the marital assets and debts.

Recently, we read an article written by Susan Caminiti on CNBC's Today show blog that echoed the same messages we often tell our clients.


The more willing the parties are to compromise and fully disclose their information, the less expensive the divorce process can be.

The Today show article lists four major mistakes people make that can create more expensive legal fees, which include:

1) Fighting about minor parenting issues;

2) Not being flexible;

3) Treating your lawyers like a therapist; and

4) Not being financially prepared

At Christophillis & Gallivan, we work closely with our clients to ensure that each client's goals are fully heard and are kept as the focus of the case. Divorce is difficult and there is no easy road when it comes to your most personal issues. However, we expect the best from our clients and implore each and every client to stay focused on the big picture. We walk each client through the issues that commonly arise with divorce, child custody, child support, and division of assets. We firmly believe that the best resolutions are the ones that can be reached by compromise between the two parties

We want our clients to know that there is not a "one-size fits all" approach to the divorce process.  At the end of the day, our job is to help you through the divorce process and create a new "normal" that allows you to look towards the future with hope.

2014: A Year in Review's hard to believe that 2015 is in full swing already! Our team at Christophillis & Gallivan is working hard to make 2015 our best year yet. In doing so, we are also looking back at 2014 and the milestones we accomplished.

Undoubtedly, our biggest success in 2014 was the addition of our office manager, Barbara Rheney, and our certified paralegal, Stephanie Pauling. Both Stephanie and Barbara have enhanced our firm in countless ways and we are happy to welcome them both on board. One of the cornerstones of our business is our personal approach to each and every client and Barbara and Stephanie are always available to answer client questions.

Additionally, we welcomed our paralegal intern, Katie Tucker, to our firm this year. Katie is currently enrolled in the paralegal program at Greenville Technical College. Katie has been such an asset to our firm and we are thrilled she chose Christophillis & Gallivan for her internship.

We are proud that our firm was able to participate in several community charities and events this year. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of giving back to our Greenville community. Greenville has done so much for our firm, as well as so many other small businesses, and we hope to continue to give back to our amazing community each year.

Looking forward to 2015, our goal is to continue to focus on our core areas of practice: family law, will preparation, criminal law, and personal injury. Our attorneys are committed to providing quality service and attention to each of our clients. Stay tuned.....we are just getting started!

Going to Jail... For a good cause!

Believe it or not, I am going to jail and I need your help. While it's not a real jail, it's even more important as I'm raising bail to help children and adults with muscle disease in our community who are supported by the vital work of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). I might not be able to rely on good behavior to get out so that's why I need your help - I need you to donate to my bail!

MDA is dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and other neuromuscular diseases. At the same time, the Association provides health care and support services for people living with these diseases — right here in our community.

Please consider supporting my fundraising efforts with a tax-deductible donation. It’s easy — just click on the secure link below.

Thanks in advance for joining the fight against muscle disease. Remember, every breakout means more breakthroughs for MDA.

SC Bar Association YLD BackPack Drive

SC Bar Association BackPack Drive is underway. Please watch this short video about how you can donate and help kids in our State receive much needed school supplies.

Posted on August 14, 2013 .

YLD Backpack Drive

The South Carolina Young Lawyers Division is kicking off their annual Backpack Drive , and they are asking for your donations. As this is the first year of the South Carolina Young Lawyers Division Backpack Drive in Greenville , YLD Greenville is hoping to make a big impact in our community!

Please consider donating the following items: new backpacks, spiral bound notebooks, loose leaf paper, composition notebooks, binders, pocket folders, scissors, rulers, compass, protractors, dividers, mechanical pencils, colored pencils, #2 pencils, highlighters, dry erase markers, crayons, 3x5 index cards, post-it notes, book covers, dictionaries and large boxes of Kleenex

Donations must be received by Friday, August 16th at either of the following drop-off locations:

Christophillis & Gallivan, PA

300 N. Main St., Ste. 200, Greenville 29601

Turner Padget Graham and Laney, PA

200 E. Broad St., Ste. 250, Greenville 29601

Monetary donations will be accepted. Checks should be made payable to the S.C. Bar Young Lawyers Division Foundation and mailed to:

S.C. Bar, Attn: Morgan Crouch/YLD

P.O. Box 608

Columbia, SC 29202.

Please contact: Anna Hamilton, 13th Circuit Representative, at with any questions or to request a pick-up of your donations.

Posted on August 6, 2013 .

Child Custody Arrangements for the Modern Family

According to the U.S. 2010 Census, 13.1% of children in the state of South Carolina live in the households of grandparents or other relatives, and this number continues to rise. Of these roughly 57,000 children, approximately 24,000 have no parents present in the home ( SouthCarolina). Raising a grandchild can be rewarding and challenging all at the same time. Grandparents can provide emotional support, stability, and a nurturing environment for a child, but sometimes they too need help. Our state and many others have programs and organizations specifically designed to assist family members in these situations. (See for information about your state.)

It is also very important for grandparents and/or other family members to know their legal rights and responsibilities when caring for a grandchild. Legally, there are different custody arrangements that offer varying degrees of legal rights to grandparent caregivers. In South Carolina, Power of Attorney, Guardianship, Legal Custody, and Adoption all constitute different arrangements for custody of a relative or grandchild. Keep in mind that South Carolina does not recognize grandparent rights when one or both parents involved in the child’s life are deemed to be “fit”. Whether or not a parent is fit or unfit is a legal determination that will be made by the courts.

Below is a brief overview of different types of legal custody relationships in South Carolina.

Power of Attorney: Is a short-term arrangement that can be established without the involvement of the court system. A Power of Attorney is a written statement from the parent giving the grandparent or other family member authority regarding specific types of care and custody of the child. The parent may specify powers over such things as medical and educational decisions. The Power of Attorney needs to be signed before a notary public or an attorney and can be revoked (or taken back) by the parent at any time.

Guardianship: Is a formal legal relationship that is achieved through the Probate Court. As legal guardian you can have practically all of the legal rights and responsibilities as the child’s parent. Legal guardianship suspends the rights of the birth parents, but it does not terminate them. Parents can petition the Probate Court at any time to regain custody of the child.

Legal Custody: Is also a formal legal relationship that is ordered through a court process. Legal custody is different from guardianship because it is granted by a different court and thus different rules that apply. Legal custody may be ordered to relatives in DSS Abuse and Neglect cases, in petitions by family members in an action for custody of the child, or in other case specific circumstances. You should seek the advice of an attorney if you are pursing legal custody.

Adoption: Is a permanent arrangement making you the child’s legal parent with all the same rights and responsibilities. Adoption terminates the rights of the biological parents. This can be done voluntarily by the birth parents, through a relinquishment, or ordered by a judge in court. Once a parent’s rights are terminated, a family member can petition the court for adoption. You should seek the advice of an attorney if you are interested in an adoption.

** As each situation is unique, you should consult with an attorney regarding your circumstances and any questions you may have about your legal rights to custody.

Welcome our new summer intern, Jayde Barton

We are excited to welcome our new intern, Jayde Barton! Jayde is a Spartanburg, SC native. She attends Furman University where she is a rising junior majoring in Political Science. She is a Dean’s List recipient as well as a Furman Honors Scholar. She is involved with many organizations on her school’s campus including the Pre-Law Society, Debate Society, and the taskforce on Civil Discourse. She hopes to have a career in law and politics after college.

Jayde’s internship is an eight-week summer program offered to college students. She will have the opportunity to learn about family law legal proceedings and hearings as well as being involved in a new business in its first year. Some of Jayde’s duties will include assisting with cases by organizing documents, creating files, and establishing contact with clients. She will also help create documents and processes to track and organize work through various stages of client matters.

Be sure to look out for Jayde at the front desk this summer. We’re glad to have her on the team!

Welcome Jayde! 

Welcome Jayde! 

Attorneys to participate in InnoVision Forum about Growing a Business

Jessica Christophillis and Amanda Gallivan are teaming up with InnoVision to participate in a forum with other business leaders about growing a business.

Since starting Christophillis & Gallivan, both attorneys have taken an organic approach to growing their business and will share insight on how to effectively grow a business while simultaneously maintaining a healthy bottom line.

The forum will be held on May 16th from 3pm to 5pm with a networking reception held immediately afterward. The event will take place at McNair Law Firm in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.

Details about the event, including how to RSVP, can be found at:

Christophillis & Gallivan, P.A. Opens Doors in Downtown Greenville

GREENVILLE, S.C. – March 21, 2013 –Two familiar names in the Greenville law community have joined forces to open a new law firm in downtown Greenville, SC. Christophillis & Gallivan, P.A. opened the doors of their office located at 300 North Main St. Suite 200 and celebrated the event with a ribbon cutting and open house.

Jessica Christophillis and Amanda Gallivan are partners in the new venture and are accepting new clients. The practice will offer a variety of legal services but will focus primarily on family law, estate planning, criminal defense, and litigation.

Jessica Christophillis, a graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business, the University of South Carolina School of Law, and the L.L.M program at Northwestern University School of Law, began her career as an associate at Tucker Wells Medical, where she aided in planning strategies important to the small business owner. From there, Christophillis worked as an Experienced Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP with a focus on legal issues and tax compliance for individuals, LLCs, partnerships, and corporations.

Christophillis has expanded her practice to focus on estate planning, probate litigation, and family law which includes the area of divorce. These areas of law often involve monetary ramifications that directly affect an individual's future, which is where Christophillis’ financial background becomes an asset for clients.

Amanda Gallivan, a graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business and the University of South Carolina School of Law, began her legal career as a judicial law clerk for The Honorable Roger L. Couch in the Seventh Circuit. She then worked as an Assistant Solicitor in the Seventh Circuit, prosecuting a wide range of criminal offenses. Gallivan tried numerous trials to verdict during her time as an Assistant Solicitor, and she worked alongside local law enforcement as a member of the Upstate Gang Task Force.

In private practice, Gallivan draws from her significant courtroom experience to advocate for clients on a variety of civil and domestic matters, including civil claims and defense, divorce, and custody issues. Gallivan also uses her strong background in criminal law to defend clients accused of DUI, property, and drug offenses.

About Christophillis & Gallivan, P.A

Christophillis & Gallivan, P.A. is a Greenville, South Carolina-based boutique law firm focused on serving clients throughout the Upstate in the areas of family law, estate planning, criminal defense, and litigation. The firm was founded in 2013 by Jessica Christophillis and Amanda Gallivan, attorneys with a diverse legal and business background. Christophillis & Gallivan, P.A. provides individuals and small businesses with personalized service tailored to their specific legal need and believes in aggressive advocacy without sacrificing efficiency or compassion for their clients. For more information about the firm, see

All photographs courtesy of Emilie Carol Photography

Christophillis & Gallivan, P.A.

Christophillis & Gallivan, P.A.

Our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce

Our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce

Jessica Christophillis and Amanda Gallivan

Jessica Christophillis and Amanda Gallivan

Money Smart for Teens: Greenville County Library

We are excited that our attorney, Jessica Christophillis, is teaming up with the Greenville County Library to present the inaugural class of Money Smart for Teens. Jessica is leading the class in discussions about financial issues that affect teenagers such as: personal spending plans, creating budgets, opening your first checking account, and much more.

We had a great turnout at the first session where participants learned the difference between income and expenses and were able to create their own budget based on their personal spending habits. Teens were also introduced to the concept of compound interest and the advantages of starting to save their money now for the greatest advantage in the future.

There are currently three more Money Smart for Teen classes scheduled and we invite any interested teen in Greenville and the surrounding area to attend!

We promise to throw some humor in with it....although the Bob Barker reference last night was lost on our audience!

Please visit the link below to view the Greenville County Library's Schedule of Events and to sign up for the remaining three classes.

The remaining class dates are March 14th, April 11th, and April 25th and all start at 6:30 pm at the Main Branch of the Greenville County Library.

We look forward to seeing you there!