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

Building better restraining orders

A few weeks ago I blogged about what I considered ill-conceived child custody restraining orders. These restraints criminalized behavior that, while not ideal, are hardly incarceration worthy (e.g., no vulgarity around the children), criminalized behavior that is completely proper (one could not bring one’s boyfriend/girlfriend to a family reunion even if one slept in separate […]

Falling into the tiger pit of prior consistent statements

About a decade ago I represented a pre-teen girl in a DSS abuse and neglect case in which she alleged her stepfather had sexually abused her. DSS became involved after she reported the abuse to a school counselor. At a pre-trial hearing, in an attempt to get the matter dismissed, the stepfather’s attorney had noted […]

The myth of the ironclad prenuptial agreement

Intolerable Cruelty, a lesser Coen Brothers movie, follows the courtship of an over-slick, high-powered divorce lawyer and a man-eating gold-digger, as they take turns getting over on the other. The plot’s Macguffin is the “Massey Pre-Nup,” an allegedly ironclad agreement that has never been successfully challenged. It is, obviously, a work of fiction. Most folks seeking […]

South Carolina child custody restraining orders I really hate

By the same process that causes attorneys’ boilerplate to grow over time–they borrow “good” ideas from other attorneys but never weed out redundant or obsolete clauses–the list of restraining orders that family court judges impose on parents continues to grow. Since many local family court judges treat violations of these restraining orders as criminal contempt–and […]

Best methods for equalizing physical custody

There are some custody cases that will only settle if both parties get equal time with the child(ren). Thus a sizable subset of custody cases settle with both parties getting at least 180 overnights a year. There are numerous ways one could theoretically create such a custody schedule but many of them are, frankly, stupid. […]

What do we mean by custody?

Parents come to my office wanting to litigate custody. Often they are not sure what it means but they know they want it. Terms like “sole custody,” “shared custody,” “joint custody,” and “primary custody” get mentioned and folks want to know what these terms mean. I really can’t answer. One reason I can’t answer is […]

Court of Appeals (surprisingly) authorizes reversal of determination of paternity based on father’s fraud claim

Ever since DNA testing became sufficiently accurate to conclusively exclude paternity, there’s been a tension between the goals of establishing paternity with finality and with accuracy.  Previous South Carolina case law has indicated a possibility of overturning prior but inaccurate determinations of paternity.  The August 2, 2017 Court of Appeals opinion in Ashburn v. Rogers […]

Equal protection challenge to domestic abuse statute leaves law in chaos

The July 26, 2017 Supreme Court opinion in Doe v. State has left South Carolina’s Protection from Domestic Abuse [a civil, family court, statute] and Criminal Domestic Violence [a criminal statute] laws in chaos. Doe stems from an equal protection challenge brought a lesbian who sought protection from domestic abuse against her ex-fiancé. That statute, […]

 

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