Last updated: September 27, 2013
Nestled into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville combines traditional southern charm with stunning natural beauty and unexpected contemporary cool. While home to only about 60,000 people, Greenville is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. And with unparalleled access to outdoor adventures and cultural landmarks like the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Falls Park and the Greenville County Museum of Art, it is not difficult to see what makes Greenville such an attractive place to live.
The South Carolina judicial system consists of interconnected levels of courthouses that handle different aspects of the legal system or areas of the law. "Circuit Court" is the primary trial level court for criminal and civil matters, but South Carolina also boasts specialized family and probate courts, plus many varied municipal courts that handle traffic violations, small claims and some misdemeanors. Knowing which court is appropriate for your particular issue is critical to your success, so here is a useful guide to some of the key courthouses in the Greenville metropolitan area.
Good to know: The Greenville Court Courthouse is home to the 13th Judicial Circuit of South Carolina. The 13th Judicial Circuit has trial-level jurisdiction over civil matters (called the Court of Common Pleas) and criminal matters (called the Court of General Sessions). You can also find Magistrate Court for traffic and small claims court (civil lawsuits worth $7,500 or less). The easiest place to park is at the Church Street Parking Garage on the corner of Elford and Church Street, next to the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Good to know: If your case deals with the distribution of a deceased individual's property or civil commitment, you will likely find yourself in Probate Court. Probate Court has jurisdiction over marriage licenses, estates of deceased persons, guardianships of incompetents, conservatorships of estates of minors and incompetents and involuntary commitments to institutions for mentally ill and chemically dependent individuals.
Good to know: Family Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all matters involving domestic or family relationships, such as marriage, divorce, legal separation, custody, visitation rights, termination of parental rights, adoption, support, alimony, division of marital property and change of name.
Good to know: The Greenville Municipal Court handles traffic and criminal misdemeanor violations and violations of city ordinances or environmental codes. If you need to pay a fine, try paying online instead of travelling to the courthouse.
Good to know: This Circuit Court has general trial jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters arising from Pickens County. This court serves the same function as the Greenville County Courthouse, but for a different county.
Good to know: This court serves the same function as the Greenville and Pickens County Courthouse, but for a different county. Additionally, this courthouse houses the Magistrate Court, which handles traffic cases, criminal misdemeanors and small civil claims, and the Office of Probate Court, which has jurisdiction over wills and estates of deceased people, marriage licenses, involuntary commitment of the mentally ill and managing guardians and conservators.
Good to know: The historic Clement F. Haynsworth Federal Building is home to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, which has jurisdiction over all federal trial level matters arising in South Carolina. The District of South Carolina sits in the 4th Federal Circuit, and appeals are handled in Richmond, Virginia. You will never need to go to this court unless your case is a federal matter.
Good to know: Another location that handles federal matters arising within the District of South Carolina.