Archive for the ‘Of Interest to General Public’ Category

Changing family formation and the practice of family law

The past twenty years have seen rapid demographic changes in family court clientele.  I am seeing fewer divorces among the professional/managerial classes and seeing more out-of-wedlock custody, visitation and child support cases (and fewer married couples) among the working class.  However practitioners, such as myself, cannot be certain whether their anecdotal experience is an accurate […]

Grasping at straws

Many family law attorneys I know have mixed feelings about the outcome of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.  State and federal laws make it more difficult than necessary for fathers of children born out of wedlock to assert their parental rights: the balance between the right to claim paternity and the imposition of child support […]

In 3-2 decision, South Carolina Supreme Court orders immediate adoption in Indian Adoption case

In a 3-2 decision today [July 17, 2013] in the case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 404 S.C. 483, 746 S.E.2d 51 (2013), the South Carolina Supreme Court resolved the remand from the United States Supreme Court by: [R]emand[ing] this case to the Family Court for the prompt entry of an order approving and finalizing […]

Why does South Carolina require court proceedings and a guardian ad litem for parents to change a child’s name by agreement?

I occasionally get calls from folks wanting to change their child’s name.  Often both parents agree on the name change.  Yet South Carolina not only requires parents to obtain an order from the family court to change their child’s name, it also requires that a guardian ad litem be appointed for the child as part […]

United States Supreme Court on the left side of history in two rulings on gay marriage

To the surprise of no one who has been paying attention, the June 26, 2013 United States Supreme Court opinions in the cases of United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013), and Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S.Ct. 2652 (2013), strengthened the rights of homosexuals to marry, while avoiding the issue of whether the Equal Protection Clause of the […]

United States Supreme Court reverses on South Carolina Indian Adoption case

In a highly anticipated case that generated much local notoriety, and in which some of my friends and colleagues participated, the United States Supreme Court reversed the South Carolina Supreme Court in the case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S.Ct. 2552 (2013), and “remand[ed] the case for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.” This […]

South Carolina Supreme Court looks to state constitution’s right to privacy in finding due process requires judicial review of lifetime electronic monitoring of sex offenders

South Carolina is one of the few states with an explicit right to privacy within the state constitution. S.C. Const. art. I, §10. One of my early legal interests and my first published piece on the law regarded our state’s constitutional protection of the right to privacy.  When“Privacy Rights in South Carolina After Singleton v. State” […]

No lesson learned two years after the spanking

Two years after the United States Supreme Court reversed the South Carolina Supreme Court in Turner v. Rodgers, 131 S.Ct. 2507 (2011), I see no evidence that our family court system has taken any of Turner’s ruling to heart.  This is partially the fault of our state Supreme Court, which has failed to exercise its […]