Archive for October, 2016

Is it really better to beg forgiveness than ask permission?

Early in my career one of my most trusted mentors would counsel me when I asked her about filing a motion or complaint in the family court before having my client take an action that I thought might upset the opposing party: “it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission”. Google that phrase and […]

Should custody be dealt with in a separate order?

I recently completed a divorce case in which all issues other than child custody settled in the middle of trial. With the court’s permission, I drafted a separate final order addressing the ground for divorce, property division, and spousal support. When the judge issued her final ruling, I drafted a separate final order addressing custody. […]

Once trial starts the attorney is the director and the litigant is merely an actor

I was recently preparing for a trial with a litigant who was filled with good ideas but wanted to be the medium to express all those ideas. We had jointly developed a strategy we hoped might achieve the client’s goals. We had jointly prepared testimony outlines for all the witnesses, including his own testimony and […]

Court of Appeals vacates removal and TPR orders due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction

In the October 10, 2016 opinion in SCDSS v. Tran, 418 S.C. 308, 792 S.E.2d 254 (Ct.App. 2016), the South Carolina Court of Appeals vacated the family court’s removal order and termination of parental rights order, finding that DSS had failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. Initially I thought the Court of […]

The more things change…. (ode to the Fish House Punch)

1732 Philadelphia: A gentlemen’s boating club on the Schuylkill River is planning its annual Christmas party. For the first time in its history ladies will be welcome. Colonial America is a drinking culture and cocktails are a mid-19th century invention. Punch will be served. To commemorate the occasion these gentlemen decide to invent a new […]

“Can I do something” is rarely the right question to ask

A common question I, and I suspect many attorneys, get asked are variations of “can I….?” A common variation of that question, almost always asked in a mock-shocked tone, is “can the opposing party/attorney…?,” “can the guardian…?,” or “can the judge…?” That variant often accompanies a story in which the possibility being considered has already […]

 

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