Archive for the ‘Not South Carolina Specific’ Category

The joy of supersedeas

A much younger family law colleague of mine texted me earlier this week, informing me that she was successful in her first attempt at supersedeas. After a testimonial hearing on a placement plan for a child in DSS custody, the family court judge ordered that the child her foster-parent clients had been raising almost since […]

It only took forty-five days

When, on October 6, 2014, in Rainey v. Bostic, 135 S.Ct. 286 (2014), the United States Supreme Court denied Virginia’s petition for certiorari in Bostic v. Schaefer, 760 F. 3d 352 (4th Cir. 2014), I predicted “it is only a matter of time–possibly even days–before South Carolina’s ban [on same sex marriages] is found unconstitutional.” Within […]

Litigating child custody does not, by itself, create personal jurisdiction for child support

Due to an increasingly mobile society, child custody litigation often moves to different states over a child’s minority. When both parents and the child no longer live in the state that issued the most recent child support order, or when the issuing state declines modification jurisdiction because the child has been absent from the state […]

The Benefits of Co-Mediation in Family Court

Karen Klickstein-Forman and I spoke today for the Mediation and Meeting Center of Charleston on The Benefits of Co-Mediation in Family Court. Karen drafted the materials below.  A word file of these materials can be downloaded here. Co-Mediation is a style of mediation that involves multiple mediators, usually two, which in some way may compliment […]

Remedies for the evasive deposition witness

Few areas of litigation practice are more frustrating than deposing an evasive, hostile or obnoxious witness. In the courtroom setting, a witness who acts these ways will be admonished by a judge to stop. If the witness continues that behavior, criminal contempt–sending the witness briefly to jail until he or she behaves–is an available sanction. […]

Checklist of questions whose answers can derail a custody or visitation case

I tried a custody case last month in which I learned a few weeks prior to trial that my client was using marijuana approximately once a month. What had previously seemed a strong case for custody no longer was. While many of the issues that can derail a South Carolina custody case seem pretty obvious, […]

Can judges stop attorneys from communicating their rulings to litigants?

I occasionally see or hear of family court judges issuing instructions for orders but asking attorneys not to reveal their ruling to their clients until the order is signed and filed. These judges’ rationale is that, until the order is entered, they reserve the right to change their ruling. I believe such requests are inappropriate. […]

Courtesy copying clients on emails

Fellow attorneys often ask me why I courtesy copy my clients on almost all emails. Evidently it is not a uniform practice. However there are three good reasons for doing so. First, it helps one comply with Rule 1.4(a), specifically Rule 1.4(a)(3), of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct, which requires a lawyer to […]