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

Using opposing parties’ evasive discovery responses against them

Often opposing parties will respond to discovery with evasion: giving answers that respond to some, slightly different allegation; providing lengthy responses to “yes/no” questions without really stating “yes” or “no”; citing a lack of knowledge to answer a question that, given their litigation posture, they really should be able to answer. The Rules of Civil […]

Acknowledging the obvious

In responding to discovery or pleadings, some of the responses, if accurate, will bolster the other party’s case.  Clients, even (especially) sophisticated clients, often balk at issuing a formal response that, although accurate, bolsters the other party’s case. Sometimes these clients will want to issue an evasive response. Occasionally they will want to issue an […]

Fighting for the last few percent of 50/50 custody

I’ve had a few custody cases the past few years in which my client has had a goal of equal time with his or her child only to be offered very close to, but not quite, equal time. Sometimes, when I don’t think my client has a strong position on custody, I might encourage that […]

Respecting the ongoing duty to supplement written discovery responses

South Carolina case law recognizes the fundamental importance of discovery to preparing a lawsuit for trial: The primary objective of discovery is to ensure that lawsuits are decided by what the facts reveal, not by what facts are concealed. The entire thrust of our discovery rules involves full and fair disclosure, to prevent a trial […]

That ship has sailed (or implicitly condoning past child abuse or neglect)

A decent subset of my custody and visitation cases have one parent raising abuse or neglect allegations that predate an agreement (whether a temporary consent order or an agreement incorporated into a final order). While not trying to be heartless, the best advice I can typically give these clients is “that ship has sailed.” There […]

The problems in splitting children’s expenses based upon undefined “pro rata income shares”

I have recently encountered a number of court-approved child support agreements in which child-related expenses are divided upon undefined “pro rata [Latin for “in proportion”] income shares.” Often these agreements were negotiated or drafted by experienced family law attorneys. While the intent is well meaning, the language causes serious problems. Without knowing how “pro rata” […]

The difficulties relocating with children merely because the stepparent is moving

Custodial parents rarely consider whether their spouses are prone to work related relocations when they decide to (re)marry. They simply assume that if their spouse moves they and the children will move. Rarely do they consider the difficulties they might encounter with the other parent if they wish to relocate merely because their own spouse […]

Desperation to settle makes favorable settlement more difficult

I am often confronted by clients wanting me to reach out, yet again, to a recalcitrant opposing counsel or party about settling their cases. Typically, when I send out a settlement proposal that isn’t responded to in a timely manner, I will ask–once–when I can expect a response. However, I prefer not to begin reducing my […]