Archive for the ‘Of Interest to General Public’ Category

Are you cross-examining that witness for mistake, bias or corruption?

Recently one of my prior mentees was regaling me with the story of his first custody trial.  One of his concerns was his overly confrontational cross-examination of the guardian ad litem, who is a local attorney we both like.  He was unhappy with the conclusions in her report, and was attempting to undermine that report […]

The Fantastic Mr. Fox and the allure of risk-taking masculinity

Practice family law with any degree of passion and intellectual curiosity and you will naturally turn into an amateur marriage counselor and sociologist.  One cannot understand one’s clients without understanding what makes marriages work or not work.  I continuously contemplate how our culture might be restructured to make humans happier and make the stabilizing institutions […]

Don Jon’s refreshingly mature take on male sexuality

SPOILER ALERTS Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, has been getting solid reviews for its portrayal of the maturation of a twenty-something, working-class Jersey guy.  Most of reviews focus on the film’s pronounced pornography aspect.  Levitt’s character, Don, and his bros are stuck at a maturity level in which women are debated and rated for […]

South Carolina Supreme Court refuses to adopt the “putative spouse” doctrine

In the August 28, 2013 opinion of Hill v. Bell, 405 S.C. 423, 747 S.E.2d 791 (2013), the South Carolina Supreme Court refused to adopt the “putative spouse” doctrine, which allows a party who innocently enters a bigamous marriage to claim the benefits of marriage. Hill came to the Supreme Court as a certified questions from the […]

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 […]