Archive for the ‘Not South Carolina Specific’ Category

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 […]

How should the family court handle misbehaving stepparents in custody litigation?

I have a fundamental jurisprudential difference with most of my family law colleagues and many of the state family court judges regarding how one should deal with misbehaving stepparents in custody litigation.[1] Their typical response is to join them as parties and subject them to restraining orders. My preferred response is to make parents strictly […]

When should the family court award grandparent visitation?

There’s some dispute surrounding last week’s blog regarding the wholesale revision of South Carolina’s grandparent visitation statute. Some commenters contend that grandparents should never be awarded autonomous visitation over a parent’s objection. Others believe that court-ordered visitation should be available to grandparents even when the parents are part of an intact household. As I indicated in that […]

Should one explain one’s request to admit responses?

I had a lively debate a few weeks ago with colleagues I respect over whether one should explain request to admit responses that look bad on the surface but have reasonable explanations [this is a good time to acknowledge I have a very unusual conception of what constitutes a “good time”].  All of us frequently […]

This is why we do what we do

I received an email from a recent client this weekend which concluded: On a better note I just took [my son] to disney world and the florida keys. ten days camping out of a pickup with a cap living the good life all for $1500 and half of that was gas. thank you so much […]

Should there be a uniform waiting period for a no-fault divorce?

I rarely blog on proposed family law legislation.  Often legislation fizzles to nothing: in my twenty years of practice bills to abolish common law marriage or reform alimony had gone nowhere.  Other times bills become radically altered during the legislative process.  Within the past few years a bill to make grandparent visitation more uniform ended […]