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Getting the family law client to behave

A large but unsung part of a good family law attorney’s role is to get clients to behave well towards the opposing party. Not only is this role unsung, it often makes the attorney extremely unpopular with the client–especially in the early part of the representation. However being cognizant of this role is often vital […]

Court of Appeals reverses termination of parental rights because child not eligible for adoption

The May 12, 2015 Court of Appeals opinion in SCDSS v. Williams reverses the family court’s decision to terminate Mother’s parental rights to her daughter because Child was not eligible for adoption and therefore the termination was not in Child’s best interests. In Williams, Child came into emergency protective custody in September 2010 after she […]

South Carolina Supreme Court promulgates new rule for appointing mediators in family court

An August 27, 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court order requires dismissal of family court actions if they are not resolved or set for trial within 365 days of filing. A March 14, 2013 Supreme Court order made most local counties subject to mandatory mediation before family court cases will be set for a contested trial. Together, […]

Updated checklist of questions whose answers can derail a custody or visitation case

Last August I posted a word document containing a checklist of questions that can derail a custody or visitation case.  Being informed recently by a colleague of a case in which a client’s interest in incest porn derailed that client’s visitation case, I have added another question (#24) to the list.  Who knew?

Every Social Security Statement tells a story

The Social Security Statement, mailed annually or available for order online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ssa-7050.pdf, is often the most valuable piece of financial information for alimony and child support cases. Don’t go to trial without the client’s and opposing party’s statements.  A sample statement follows: For any American citizen or legal resident whose primary source of income […]

Dividing visitation transportation responsibility

One phone call family law attorneys dread (at least those attorneys who provide clients their cell phone number) is the Friday or Sunday evening call when the other parent has failed to get the child to the visitation exchange at the required time and is now not answering his or her phone or responding to […]

What aspects of family law require personal jurisdiction over the Defendant?

Two areas of family law do not require personal jurisdiction over the Defendant but only require in rem jurisdiction. Those areas are divorce [S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-30] and child custody [S.C. Code Ann. § 63-15-330]. For these matters, a Plaintiff can file the action in South Carolina even if there is no personal jurisdiction […]

Using the court’s contempt powers to stop visitation interference

There are some custodial parents who are unreasonably resistant to the other parent’s relationship with their child(ren). Often such parents will manipulate and maneuver to prevent the other parent from exercising his or her (because custody typically goes to mothers, primary his) visitation. However, proper application of the family court’s contempt powers can stop such […]

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