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

Should one execute a formal agreement at the conclusion of mediation?

A frequent debate among my family law colleagues is whether one should have one’s client execute a formal agreement before concluding mediation if one has reached an agreement-in-principal during mediation. There’s no right answer to this issue–just pros and cons with each position. The benefit of having a formal executed agreement is that it mitigates […]

How mediators and attorneys can make mediation more productive

For attorneys and their clients there’s often much unproductive time during mediation. When the mediator is meeting with the opposing party, the attorney and client are often merely waiting to react to the next offer, and little productive work is being accomplished. Meanwhile, the client is being billed for the attorney’s time. However there are […]

Negotiating with a gun to one’s head

The family court won’t approve agreements that are obtained through coercion. However, “coercion” in this legal sense is quite different, and much more limited, than what coercion means to the general public. If one executed an agreement with a literal gun to one’s head one could repudiate that agreement before or at the hearing to […]

Getting the child’s items returned at the end of visitation

Recently I prosecuted a rule to show cause in which one of my client’s goal was to get her child’s items returned. The father’s visitation had been cut short and he failed to return the child’s clothes and electronics when the visitation ended. Since these were clothes and electronics that my client had purchased, and […]

File an answer at or before the temporary hearing

One of the odd procedural quirks of South Carolina family law is that one can have a hearing seeking temporary substantive relief as part of a family court lawsuit long before the time to file a response to that lawsuit has passed. That is because under Rule 21(a) of the Family Court Rules one can […]

2014 again finds few published family law opinions

While gender roles and marital expectations have rapidly changed during the past 50 years, family law has lagged in its response. Custody, child support, alimony and, to some extent, property division all tend to reflect traditional gender roles and expectations, creating a widening gap between what the average citizen considers just and what a family […]

Court of Appeals continues recent trend of rejecting a family court’s credibility determinations

The December 23, 2014 Court of Appeals opinion in Srivastava v. Srivastava has an interesting analysis on the ability to pay as a factor in an award of attorney’s fees in family court actions and (at least to me) an indecipherable analysis on the doctrine of condonation. It continues a recent trend of the Court […]

The joy of supersedeas

A much younger family law colleague of mine texted me earlier this week, informing me that she was successful in her first attempt at supersedeas. After a testimonial hearing on a placement plan for a child in DSS custody, the family court judge ordered that the child her foster-parent clients had been raising almost since […]