Archive for the ‘Of Interest to General Public’ Category

Red lines and teenagers

Non-custodial parents of teenagers often complain when the custodial parent doesn’t stop their child from engaging in typical risky teen behavior. One hears stories of parents losing custody merely because their teen engages in alcohol use, mild drug use, or has sex while under their care. Not having seen this actually happen myself, I am […]

Don’t end a long-term marriage unless you’re ready to amputate

I spend a bit of time talking folks in long-term marriages out of separating from a spouse with whom they are unhappy. It’s amazing how many people come to me expecting that ending their long-term marriage will be relatively painless. Instead I liken it to an amputation: expect serious, permanent loss as part of a […]

Maybe the judge is wrong

Earlier this week I spent two days presenting and attending a legal education seminar, “Family Law From Start to Finish.” As with most such seminars, I heard a number of war stories in the guise of questions where a lawyer would tell me about a case in which a family court judge had issued a ruling […]

In defense of the concept of romantic comedies

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice Thus begins the greatest romantic comedy in the history of romantic comedies. With Valentine’s Day approaching, movie studios release a number of mostly banal, mostly Saccharin, mostly […]

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 […]

How soon can one get a divorce after filing?

Folks who have filed for divorce often wonder why it takes so long for them to get divorced. S.C. Code § 20-3-80 sets “Required delays before reference and final decree.” It requires that hearings on a divorce based on physical cruelty, adultery or habitual intoxication not take place until two months after the date the […]

How to avoid becoming (unwittingly) common-law married

I get frequent calls or emails inquiring how long one can live with a romantic companion before one is common-law married. Often these folks believe there is a set time period (typically seven or ten years) after which cohabitation is presumed to become a common-law marriage. These folks are mistaken. While cohabitation (living together) is […]