Archive for December, 2011

Sanders opinion highlights confused nature of transmutation

The December 21, 2011 Court of Appeals opinion in Sanders v. Sanders, 396 S.C. 410, 722 S.E.2d 15 (Ct. App. 2011), demonstrates the continuing confused jurisprudence regarding transmutation of non marital assets.  It also highlights the problems that result when the trial court is provided insufficient information from the parties to make a complete decision. Sanders involved a […]

Court of Appeals reverses permanency plan of termination of parental rights where Mother remedied conditions that led to removal

In the December 16, 2011 opinion in SCDSS v. Mother and Father, 396 S.C. 390, 720 S.E.2d 920 (Ct. App. 2011), the Court of Appeals reversed a family court permanency planning order requiring the Department of Social Services (DSS) to bring a termination of parental rights (TPR) action against Mother and instead ordered the matter remanded for […]

Roof demonstrates confused nature of South Carolina’s “substantial change of circumstances” jurisprudence

In South Carolina, child support, child custody and permanent periodic alimony can all be modified upon a showing of “substantial change of circumstances.”  However, there is an exception to this general principle: if the change of circumstances was anticipated at the time of the previous final order, then the change of circumstances is not a […]

Lewin affirms family court fee award in face of Father’s multiple challenges

In the December 14, 2011 opinion in Lewin v. Lewin, 396 S.C. 349, 721 S.E.2d 1 (Ct. App. 2011), (in which I represented the losing appellant, though I was not his trial counsel), the Court of Appeals affirmed multiple challenges Father brought to the lower court’s award of $18,955 in fees and costs to Mother.  Lewin represents an interesting […]

Fitzwater demonstrates willingness to allow greater deviation from equal division of marital property in shorter marriage

The first of the fifteen factors set forth in South Carolina Code Section 20-3-620 regarding the division of marital property is “the duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce or separate maintenance or other marital action between the […]

Hursey disciplinary opinion opens door to unwarranted oversight of attorneys’ social networking usage

Having read today’s Supreme Court opinion, In the Matter of Michael T. Hursey, Jr., 395 S.C. 527, 719 S.E.2d 670 (2011), I would like to kick Mr. Hursey’s behind for his failing to defend his 1st Amendment right to free expression in his disciplinary proceeding.  Prior to Hursey, I might have used a stronger term for what I’d like […]

The Citadel sexual abuse cover up(s)

I find myself in an awkward position in which my friend, Charleston Post & Courier reporter Glenn Smith, is investigating and writing about a colleague and former office mate, Citadel General Counsel, Mark C. Brandenburg.  Glenn’s an outstanding reporter, investigating and breaking numerous important local stories that are too small to interest the national media. […]

The custody witness few ever think to call

There are lots of obvious witnesses in a custody case: the child’s teachers; the child’s coaches; the child’s mental health professionals; the parents of the child’s friends; the parent’s adult child(ren).  But the best witness can often be someone that few ever think to call: the parent’s ex-spouse. The nature of family court is that […]