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Where’s the public good in “Pro bono publico”?

At some point the Latin phrase for the concept that lawyers should provide volunteer services was shortened from “pro bono publico” to simply “pro bono.” I have no idea when or why it happened, but in the context of family law (at least how it’s practiced in South Carolina) losing the public good aspect of […]

Better to be underemployed than overemployed

There was a recent (April 18, 2017) opinion piece by David Leonhardt in the New York Times titled, “You’re Too Busy. You Need a ‘Shultz Hour.’” In it Leonhardt discusses the work of psychologist Amos Tversky on the importance of setting aside time each day to do strategic thinking about one’s job. He quotes Tversky, […]

Don’t expect the other side to pay your attorney’s fees

Folks going through marital litigation–and, less often, folks going through custody disputes– often contact me regarding representation with the expectation that the other side will be required to pay my fee and the concurrent hope that I will work without an initial retainer (or for a low retainer) based upon that expectation. These litigants assume […]

South Carolina Court of Appeals opinion highlights the importance of accurate financial declarations

My clients get sick of me harping on refining and corroborating their financial declarations before we file them. In the future I will direct them to the April 5, 2017 Court of Appeals opinion in Sweeney v. Sweeney and remind them how both parties were harmed by financial declarations that were inaccurate or uncorroborated. Husband […]

The best time to defeat a relocation case is before it’s filed

In my 20+ years of family law practice, I’ve yet to see a relocation case in which the requested relocation was solely for the child’s benefit and at the inconvenience of the custodial parent. I’m not sure how a family court judge would react to a non-custodial parent who opposed a relocation that was based […]

The smartest client I ever had

I went to a top tier liberal arts college to obtain my undergraduate degree. Many of my classes there involved reading and discussion on the concepts of truth, beauty and honor. It was assumed that the study of liberal arts was training us for a life of public service and intellectual pursuit. Very little focus […]

The price of relocation

When custodial parents relocate, the non-custodial parent almost always suffers. Typically they lose the frequent contact with the minor child that helps sustain most parent-child relationships. The ability of the non-custodial parent to observe or participate in the child’s school and extracurricular activities greatly diminishes. When a child lives hundreds of miles away, midweek visitation […]

The danger of rushing into custody agreements with the seriously mentally ill or substance abusing

Folks hire family law attorneys not only expecting to have their domestic disputes resolved, but expecting them to be resolved quickly and inexpensively. The method to accomplish this is to reach agreements. Thus most litigants want their attorneys to be thinking settlement early in the process. For most domestic disputes this is a reasonable expectation. […]

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