Archive for the ‘Of Interest to Family Court Litigants’ Category

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 […]

The price of relocation

When custodial parents relocate, the non-custodial parent almost always suffers. Typically they lose the frequent contact with the minor child that helps sustain most parent-child relationships. The ability of the non-custodial parent to observe or participate in the child’s school and extracurricular activities greatly diminishes. When a child lives hundreds of miles away, midweek visitation […]

The danger of rushing into custody agreements with the seriously mentally ill or substance abusing

Folks hire family law attorneys not only expecting to have their domestic disputes resolved, but expecting them to be resolved quickly and inexpensively. The method to accomplish this is to reach agreements. Thus most litigants want their attorneys to be thinking settlement early in the process. For most domestic disputes this is a reasonable expectation. […]

Lessons from my first contested termination of parental rights prosecution trial

Last week I represented a mother and step-father in a contested termination of parental rights(TPR)/step-parent adoption case. I have been a licensed attorney for over twenty-five years–the last twenty of which I have primarily focused on family law. I have successfully defended a couple of TPR cases brought by DSS. I have filed contested TPR […]

You don’t have to pretend to be perfect

A lot of family court litigants harm their cases because they don’t want to admit anything that makes them look bad. Confronted with such behavior they naturally feel shame or guilt. The natural reaction to feelings of shame or guilt is to shy away from it. In the context of being questioned about such behavior, […]

What’s so primo about primacy?

Folks will often contact my office with a desire to file a divorce or custody case immediately, “before the other side does.” Sometimes there is a need for speed: conditions within the marriage have made continued cohabitation unsafe; the other parent is acting dangerously around the child. More often this urgency is nothing more than […]