Archive for April, 2017

Keeping smart people from doing stupid stuff

When I attended law school no one informed me that I would spend a substantial part of most days talking smart people out of doing stupid stuff. Lessons in best practices doing this could have been one of my more valuable practimum experiences had anyone thought to teach this. It seems to be the lot of most […]

When to file and when to continue negotiating without filing

I had a recent consult with a woman who was gung ho to file for divorce. In discussing her situation, I could not understand her urgency to file before giving negotiations a chance. Like many spouses who come to my office seeking a divorce, she didn’t realize that she would need to resolve issues of […]

Giving it away

When I mentor newly licensed attorneys, one of the more important lessons I try to impart is that they should be clear about when and why they are doing unpaid work and insure they get paid for their remaining work. This isn’t intended to denigrate doing uncompensated work for the public good: for both ethical […]

Where’s the public good in “Pro bono publico”?

At some point the Latin phrase for the concept that lawyers should provide volunteer services was shortened from “pro bono publico” to simply “pro bono.” I have no idea when or why it happened, but in the context of family law (at least how it’s practiced in South Carolina) losing the public good aspect of […]

Better to be underemployed than overemployed

There was a recent (April 18, 2017) opinion piece by David Leonhardt in the New York Times titled, “You’re Too Busy. You Need a ‘Shultz Hour.’” In it Leonhardt discusses the work of psychologist Amos Tversky on the importance of setting aside time each day to do strategic thinking about one’s job. He quotes Tversky, […]

Don’t expect the other side to pay your attorney’s fees

Folks going through marital litigation–and, less often, folks going through custody disputes– often contact me regarding representation with the expectation that the other side will be required to pay my fee and the concurrent hope that I will work without an initial retainer (or for a low retainer) based upon that expectation. These litigants assume […]

South Carolina Court of Appeals opinion highlights the importance of accurate financial declarations

My clients get sick of me harping on refining and corroborating their financial declarations before we file them. In the future I will direct them to the April 5, 2017 Court of Appeals opinion in Sweeney v. Sweeney and remind them how both parties were harmed by financial declarations that were inaccurate or uncorroborated. Husband […]

The best time to defeat a relocation case is before it’s filed

In my 20+ years of family law practice, I’ve yet to see a relocation case in which the requested relocation was solely for the child’s benefit and at the inconvenience of the custodial parent. I’m not sure how a family court judge would react to a non-custodial parent who opposed a relocation that was based […]

 

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