Charleston Family Court Judge Jocelyn Cate was assigned Friday to preside over the hearing ending the marriage of Gov. Mark Sanford and his wife Jenny -- the first time a sitting South Carolina governor has divorced.
A court roster published Friday shows Cate, who has served on the family court bench for eight years, will preside over the final divorce hearing set for Friday.
Mark Sanford disappeared for five days last summer, telling his staff he was walking along the Appalachian Trail. He returned to admit he was in Argentina where he was having an affair.
Jenny Sanford, who said she found out about the affair in January of last year, later moved out of the Governor's Mansion in Columbia and is living with the couple's four sons at their beachside home on Sullivan's Island.
She filed for divorce in December on the grounds of adultery.
In a reply to the filing last month, the governor, representing himself without an attorney, admitted the affair and asked the court to approve his wife's request to end their 20-year marriage.
No South Carolina governor has divorced in office, according to University of South Carolina historian Walter Edgar. He said the state, in 1949, became the last in the nation to allow divorce.
Cate, 49, was born in the Philippines and raised in Goose Creek.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law, she was elected to the family court bench by the General Assembly in 2002.
Before that she worked in the Charleston-area solicitor's office, as a law clerk to Circuit Judge Larry Richter, and in private practice.
Jenny Sanford published her memoir, "Staying True," earlier this month.