Archive for August, 2011

Maximizing the benefit of clearing your client’s name

I sometime envision opposing counsel in highly contentious domestic litigation as a bullying gunslinger, shooting bullets at my client’s feet and demanding that my client dance. This feeling typically occurs when opposing counsel makes some horrific allegation about my client–he’s a pedophile; she’s a crackhead–and expects my client to dance to dodge (disprove) these bullets (claims). […]

Blowback, specks and planks

Only inexperienced or unthinking family law attorneys take aggressive action against an opposing party without expecting blowback against their client.  It’s animal nature to strike back when attacked and being served with a pleading or motion that challenges one’s behavior feels like a personal attack.  Typically whatever good will the opposing party had towards one’s […]

What part of don’t don’t you understand

Friend and colleague Mary Jane (M.J.) Goodwin suggested I blog on the propriety of citing unpublished appellate opinions as legal authority in other cases.  Are attorneys really doing that?  M.J. indicates they are, for example, citing State v. Hercheck to get DUI charges tossed.  She’d love to cite SCDSS v. Rene in prosecuting a termination […]

Should parents ever agree to court-ordered college support in South Carolina?

Even before Webb v. Sowell, 387 S.C. 328, 692 S.E.2d 543 (2010), overruled Risinger v. Risinger, 273 S.C. 36, 253 S.E.2d 652 (1979), and held that it was unconstitutional to require unmarried parents to provide college support for their adult children when there was no similar obligation for married parents, I uniformly discouraged my clients […]

Court of Appeals’ opinion applies Latimer factors to initial custody determination

Today’s South Carolina Court of Appeals opinion in McComb v. Conard, 394 S.C. 416, 715 S.E.2d 662 (Ct. App. 2011), approved the family court’s use of the relocation factors first set forth in Latimer v. Farmer, 360 S.C. 375, 602 S.E.2d 32 (2004) in a case involving an initial custody determination. McComb began when mother attempted to […]

South Carolina Supreme Court modifies Rules of Professional Conduct on lawyer advertising and client “testimonials”

I have previously criticized how the Office of Disciplinary Counsel was interpreting the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct as it relates to attorney advertising, especially as it regards “testimonials” left by clients on third-party web sites noting their opinion of their attorneys. Today, the South Carolina Supreme Court modified Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1, 7.2 and […]

Turn the other cheek!

As a Jew I don’t believe in Christ’s divinity; however, I certainly believe in his wisdom. Perhaps the wisest of Christ’s counsel: Turn the Other Cheek.  Matthew 5:39.  It’s a lesson many family law litigants, most of whom proclaim themselves to be Christians, would be wise to keep in mind. In my years of family […]

Should separation be required for a separate maintenance action?

In April 2011, the South Carolina Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Eileen Frances Theresa Busto Theisen v. Clifford Richard Theisen.  According to the Supreme Court’s roster of cases, the issue in this appeal is “whether physical separation is a pre-requisite for a party to receive separate maintenance and support.”  Since Supreme […]