Archive for December, 2010

Court of Appeals refuses to answer $64,000 question regarding husband’s income

The December 22, 2010 Court of Appeals opinion in Sanderson v. Sanderson, 391 S.C. 249, 705 S.E.2d 65 (Ct. App. 2010), reversed the family court in its decision to impute $64,000 annual income to an unemployed husband for the purpose of setting his child support and alimony obligations.  While the Court of Appeals was probably correct in determining that […]

Ethics Opinions Every South Carolina Attorney Should Know: Part XVIII, Don’t Cut Corners on the Notary Rules

It’s pretty hard to be a litigator in South Carolina without also being a notary.  There’s affidavits and other documents that are required to be witnessed and executed before a notary.  There’s interrogatories and (sometimes) pleadings to verify.  If one practices family law, financial declarations need to be verified.  I probably notarize ten or more […]

A Mediation Primer 101: From the “practical” to the “psychological” – 10 guaranteed ways to reduce your client’s mediation fees and greatly increase the opportunity for a successful mediation

From Guest Blogger, the Honorable Barry W. Knobel 1. If your clients or you have any questions regarding the mediator’s fees and the mediator’s billing/invoicing practices, communicate those questions/concerns with the mediator immediately and before you engage the services of the mediator.  It is important for you to realize that the Ethics Advisory Committee of the […]

What planet do these judges live on?

Recently, while working on a blog on grandparent visitation and doing research for an upcoming lecture on the concept of “psychological parent,” I had the opportunity to reread the case of Marquez v. Caudill, 376 S.C. 229, 656 S.E.2d 737 (2008).  Marquez involved a custody and visitation dispute between stepfather and maternal grandmother in which […]

What is the burden of proof for adultery divorce in South Carolina?

Has anyone else noticed that our South Carolina appellate courts have made a hash out of the burden of proof necessary to obtain a divorce on the grounds of adultery? Three reported South Carolina cases state adultery must be proven by “clear and convincing evidence.” Doe v. Doe, 324 S.C. 492, 478 S.E.2d 854, 856 […]

The unintended and ironic consequences of South Carolina’s new grandparent visitation statute

On June 9, 2014, this statute was changed, making it easier for grandparents to pursue court ordered visitation. I was never a big proponent of the grandparent visitation statutes that proliferated throughout the United States in the 1980’s and 90’s.  Such statutes typically allowed family courts to award autonomous visitation to grandparents over the parents’ […]

Doesn’t a family court motion for temporary relief need to state the grounds therefor?

Rule 21 of the South Carolina Rules of Family Court creates specialized rules for Family Court motions for temporary relief.  For example, such motions may be heard on five business days notice.  Rule 21(a), SCRFC.  Supporting affidavits do not need to be served with such motions. Rule 21(c), SCRFC.  However, SCRFC 2(a) notes that the South […]

A “shot across the bow”: issuing discovery as a method of encouraging settlement

Quite often in my family law cases I will issue written discovery along with a settlement proposal. This is a strategy I see few other attorneys employ and the combination typically confuses my clients. “Why are we issuing discovery,” they will ask, “if our goal is settlement?” A reasonable question deserves a response, so here’s […]