Archive for the ‘Audience:’ Category

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

In the October 10, 2016 opinion in SCDSS v. Ngoc Tran, 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 Appeals was correct–even stating the same to […]

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 […]

WTF is irreconcilable differences?

A friend and colleague of mine suggested I blog about Angelina Jolie’s recent filing for divorce from Brad Pitt on the ground of “irreconcilable differences,” noting that South Carolina does not allow divorce on that ground. Instead, South Carolina allows a “no fault” divorce after one year’s continuous separation along with three fault grounds for […]

Are Sully’s views of masculine emotional intimacy outdated?

Clint Eastwood’s just-released Sully clearly admires its titular character, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, played by Tom Hanks. It presents Sully as an icon of competence, integrity, and calm under pressure. Like most such movies lionizing competent men, it relegates the wife, here played by the thrice-Oscar-nominated, Laura Linney to a background role. Yet, wittingly or not, […]

Five years of litigation, all for naught

Pity poor Lori Stoney, a fellow member of the Charleston County family court bar, and the appellant in the July 27, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in Stoney v. Stoney. After waiting over 20 months from oral argument to the decision, the Court of Appeals simply ordered a new trial on the issues she appealed: […]

Court of Appeals partially reduces Husband’s alimony reduction in case Husband probably wishes he never filed

One of my harder tasks practicing family law in South Carolina is advising ex-spouses with alimony obligations whether and how much their obligation might change based on reduced income. The July 27, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in Woods v. Woods does not provide additional clarity on this topic. In Woods, Husband agreed to pay […]

Obtaining electronically stored information in electronically stored format

A common idea among litigators is that an excellent way to hide damaging information is to produce it with a whole bunch of innocuous information. There’s even an informal term for it: data dumping. Producing thousands of pages of financial or cell phone records in a paper format requires the requesting party to laboriously search […]