Archive for August, 2013

Demanding UCCJEA submissions before filing motions to dismiss child custody cases

Multi-state child custody actions often get filed where it is unclear if, and how, the state where the action is filed has subject matter jurisdiction to determine child custody.  In defending such actions the reflexive response is to file a motion to dismiss due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), SCRCP. […]

South Carolina Supreme Court refuses to adopt the “putative spouse” doctrine

In the August 28, 2013 opinion of Hill v. Bell, 405 S.C. 423, 747 S.E.2d 791 (2013), the South Carolina Supreme Court refused to adopt the “putative spouse” doctrine, which allows a party who innocently enters a bigamous marriage to claim the benefits of marriage. Hill came to the Supreme Court as a certified questions from the […]

Who does the guardian ad litem work for?

Frequently guardians ad litem take direction regarding their investigation from the parents or attorneys for the parents without exercising their own independent judgment.  Sometimes litigants or attorneys will inform the guardian the case is [some variation of] “close to settled” and ask the guardian to forgo their investigation to hold down fees.  Other times these […]

When seeking to modify child support, it’s imperative to file and serve a complaint

In most areas of family law practice negotiating before filing a contested action can reduce the stress and expense of litigation.  However, when one is trying to modify child support, it is imperative to file and serve the action as soon as possible. The reason is S.C. Code § 63-17-310, which reads: The family court […]

Two unusual, and quite useful, family law supplemental interrogatories

Though South Carolina family law attorneys are limited to fifty supplemental interrogatories, the boilerplate supplemental interrogatories I encounter are often ill designed to capture useful information.  However I have begun issuing two supplemental interrogatories that routinely provide responses that greatly impact trial preparation.  Those supplemental interrogatories are: Is there anything in the affidavit that the […]

South Carolina appellate courts finally approve an alimony termination based on continued cohabitation

As noted in a blog earlier this year, I have despaired that our South Carolina appellate courts would ever find the requisite “ninety or more consecutive days” of  “continued cohabitation” to terminate alimony pursuant to S.C. Code § 20-3-130(B) and § 20-3-150.  In seven previous reported decisions alimony obligors had always failed in their attempts […]

Obtaining funding for an ongoing family court case

Unless one filed a specific request for advance suit costs, at most motions for temporary relief the family court will only award fees (if it awards fees) that cover work done through the motion for temporary relief.  However in contested family court cases (and if one needs a contested motion for temporary relief the case […]

Three reasons not to file a motion for temporary relief if the status quo is fine

I still often see other attorneys filing motions for temporary relief with their initial complaint even if the status quo is acceptable to their client.  Obviously if one expects the status quo to change shortly (for example, the other spouse is threatening to stop providing financial support or the other parent is threatening to remove […]