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

Locking the barn doors after the horse has escaped

There are a half dozen critical moments in each family court case when having an experienced attorney is critical: motions for temporary relief; contempt actions; mediation; when trial is scheduled; trial; and when post-trial motions are due. A motion for temporary relief is often outcome determinative. The party obtaining favorable results can likely keep those […]

Betting on an estranged spouse’s untimely demise

In the first twenty years of my practice it was rare that a party died in the middle of divorce litigation or within a few years of the divorce. The few times this happened there were obvious warning signs: either a history of serious mental illness including suicidal ideations, or addiction to dangerous narcotics–typically opiates. […]

(Unwittingly) Coaching the children

To most people “coaching” children in the context of custody and visitation cases is telling a child to lie to the judge (or the guardian, or a mental health professional/forensic evaluator) about that party’s or the other parent’s behavior. Two classic (but overstated) examples are telling kids to lie about sexual or physical abuse in […]

Disciplinary opinion clarifies rules on records subpoenas in family court

#79 on my November 14, 2011 list of “One hundred things I don’t know about South Carolina family law,” reads, “Can one issue subpoenas duces tecum without an order of discovery?” The November 16, 2016 Supreme Court disciplinary opinion in In the Matter of Margaret D. Fabri answers that question in the negative. In Fabri, […]

Not all cases need to settle

A few weeks ago one of my cases was mediated by a retired family court judge. It began with the her talking privately to me and the other attorney. In the previous months opposing counsel and I had tried two cases to verdict. I mentioned that to our mediator, who replied that she thought, “more […]

Wife’s lack of corroborating evidence mostly dooms her appeal

In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story “Adventure of the Silver Blaze,” Sherlock Holmes deduces the identity of the thief, in part, by noting that a dog did not bark, indicating the thief was no stranger. Holmes understood that the absence of evidence can be as telling as evidence itself. This is often true in […]

Where should one enforce a support order when the obligor resides elsewhere?

A common dilemna in family law is enforcing a support order when the obligor no longer resides in the issuing state. There are two reasonable ways of resolving the matter. One option is to enforce the order in the issuing state and, if necessary, register the resulting enforcement order in the obligor’s state of residence. […]

Is it really better to beg forgiveness than ask permission?

Early in my career one of my most trusted mentors would counsel me when I asked her about filing a motion or complaint in the family court before having my client take an action that I thought might upset the opposing party: “it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission”. Google that phrase and […]