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Do you want your attorney to be honest or to tell you want you want to hear?

For the past few years I’ve been seeing an individual counselor who, despite being twenty years my junior, is much wiser than I. Recently we were discussing our roles as counselors–an attorney is not just a legal advocate but also a counselor-at-law. She mentioned learning from her mentor that, although one cannot be rude, one […]

It can be counterproductive to fight grounds in termination of parental rights cases

A party bringing a termination of parental rights (TPR) case must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, both a statutory ground under S.C. Code § 63-7-2570 to terminate parental rights and that such termination is in the best interests of the child. One can defend TPR cases by defending the ground(s), the best interests element, […]

Should one execute a formal agreement at the conclusion of mediation?

A frequent debate among my family law colleagues is whether one should have one’s client execute a formal agreement before concluding mediation if one has reached an agreement-in-principal during mediation. There’s no right answer to this issue–just pros and cons with each position. The benefit of having a formal executed agreement is that it mitigates […]

How mediators and attorneys can make mediation more productive

For attorneys and their clients there’s often much unproductive time during mediation. When the mediator is meeting with the opposing party, the attorney and client are often merely waiting to react to the next offer, and little productive work is being accomplished. Meanwhile, the client is being billed for the attorney’s time. However there are […]

Negotiating with a gun to one’s head

The family court won’t approve agreements that are obtained through coercion. However, “coercion” in this legal sense is quite different, and much more limited, than what coercion means to the general public. If one executed an agreement with a literal gun to one’s head one could repudiate that agreement before or at the hearing to […]

Getting the child’s items returned at the end of visitation

Recently I prosecuted a rule to show cause in which one of my client’s goal was to get her child’s items returned. The father’s visitation had been cut short and he failed to return the child’s clothes and electronics when the visitation ended. Since these were clothes and electronics that my client had purchased, and […]

File an answer at or before the temporary hearing

One of the odd procedural quirks of South Carolina family law is that one can have a hearing seeking temporary substantive relief as part of a family court lawsuit long before the time to file a response to that lawsuit has passed. That is because under Rule 21(a) of the Family Court Rules one can […]

Eating our seed corn

Two recent news stories, one local and one national, highlight just how badly our society is doing caring for the majority of our children, especially our neediest children. Locally, on January 12, 2015, national advocacy organization Children’s Rights, the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center and Matthew T. Richardson, partner at the South Carolina law […]

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