Archive for the ‘Not South Carolina Specific’ Category

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 […]

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 […]