Two of my frequent complaints are that South Carolina family law attorneys don’t appeal enough of the decisions they believe are unjust and that the South Carolina appellate courts don’t publish enough of their family court decisions. As a result of these two factors the development of family law in South Carolina fails to keep pace with the changing cultural conditions and legal issues that make family law such a fluid practice. Every year more critical family law issues emerge than the appellate courts answer, and thus each year this “backlog” increases, inspiring this recent blog.
2011 provides further evidence of this dearth of published family law opinions. There were 35 published family law opinions last year: 9 in the Supreme Court and 26 in the Court of Appeals. This was actually a 59% increase from 2010’s total of 22. There were scores of unpublished family law opinions in 2011, two of which I blogged about (one was from my own appeal) and one of which the Honorable Barry W. Knobelblogged about. A family law attorney or judge wanting to keep abreast of family law appellate decisions would have had to read an average of three opinions a month. We need more appeals and more published family court decisions.
The complete list of published 2011 family law opinions can be viewed in this adobe file: