Archive for March, 2012

Tips for drafting a response to your first grievance

An attorney I am informally mentoring just received her first letter from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (OCD).  As everyone in family law knows, grievances are an expected but unwelcome part of the practice.  This colleague is looking for advice on her response.  I figure this advice would be useful for other attorneys as well, […]

Gotta walk before you can run

Quite often in my practice I will meet with a parent, typically a mother, who has been under an order of supervised visitation for a substantial period of time but is seeking an immediate return of custody.  They are bound to be disappointed. In almost twenty years of practicing family law not only have I […]

Taking 30(b)(6) depositions for family court cases

Since few family court cases involve corporate or government agencies as witnesses or parties, family law attorneys rarely consider the benefits of noticing a deposition pursuant to Rule 30(b)(6), SCRCP.  Under this provision, rather than naming an individual witness to be deposed:  A party may in his notice and in a subpoena name as the […]

Well you married ‘em

Though it might be legally relevant, I try to avoid having my clients focus on the bad behavior of their spouses that pre-date the marriage (or the bad behavior of my custody clients’ co-parents that pre-dates the child’s conception).  Even if that behavior is relevant, focusing on it highlights the client’s bad judgment, along with […]

Mischief potential in restraints against disposing of marital property

Many family court attorneys routinely seek a restraining order at the beginning of a marital dissolution case against “disposing of, hiding, encumbering, or in any way dissipating the value of marital assets.”  The problem with such restraints is that the harm they are designed to prevent is often less serious then the mischief they can […]

Court of Appeals holds that multi-state child custody jurisdiction statutes are applicable to termination of parental rights/adoption cases

In the March 16, 2012 opinion in Anthony H. v. Matthew G.,397 S.C. 447, 725 S.E.2d 132 (Ct. App. 2012) the Court of Appeals held that the state and federal statutes for determining child custody jurisdiction in multi-state disputes are applicable to adoption cases that require a termination of parental rights (TPR).  Because the South […]

South Carolina appellate courts finally apply the sibling visitation statute (and of course it’s unpublished)

I have a long-held intellectual fascination with South Carolina’s sibling visitation statute, S.C. Code § 63-3-530(A)(44), so much so that I wrote a blog with the partial intent of trolling for potential sibling visitation clients.  And now, a decade after this code section was enacted, our appellate courts finally discuss its application…in an unpublished opinion, […]

When you are your own attorney

A quote I often hear ascribed to the incomparable Gedney M. Howe, III (though I have never actually heard him say it) is: When you tell me something, I am your attorney; when you don’t tell me something, you are your own attorney. That bit of wisdom demonstrates the insights of an experienced attorney.  Clients–for […]