Archive for the ‘Not South Carolina Specific’ Category

Red lines and teenagers

Non-custodial parents of teenagers often complain when the custodial parent doesn’t stop their child from engaging in typical risky teen behavior. One hears stories of parents losing custody merely because their teen engages in alcohol use, mild drug use, or has sex while under their care. Not having seen this actually happen myself, I am […]

Should guardians give opinions?

A former mentee of mine, who is developing a thriving practice as a guardian ad litem in private custody cases, recently asked for my opinion on whether guardians should give opinions. S.C. Code § 63-3-830(A)(6) prohibits guardians from making recommendations on custody in their final written report and places limits on making custody recommendations at […]

“I don’t know/recall” may be the best interrogatory or deposition answer you can get

I lectured last week to recent law school graduates about family law discovery. Part of this lecture discussed Rule 37(a)(3), SCRCP which reads: “Evasive or Incomplete Answer. For purposes of this subdivision an evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer.” I remarked this rule meant that they should not […]

Why join stepparents as opposing parties to family court proceedings?

The short answer is discovery. While I understand the logic of joining stepparents as parties to custody or visitation proceedings when that stepparent will not behave around the child(ren), I remain convinced it is bad strategy. Not only does it double the number of adversarial parties, it allows the stepparent to participate in all the […]

Where’s my time machine?

Where’s the time machine that a sizable portion of family law clients, and potential clients, think I have? My colleagues inform me that their clients also believe they have a time machine. If I own a time machine I’d really love to find it. I’m sure my family law colleagues feel likewise. How else to […]

United States Supreme Court finds order granting adopting lesbian mother visitation is entitled to full faith and credit

On March 7, 2016, in the case of V. L. v. E. L., ET AL., the United States Supreme Court, in an unsigned Per Curiam opinion, ordered the Alabama Supreme Court to give full faith and credit to a Georgia adoption decree that allowed a lesbian mother to adopt her then-partner’s three biological children. The […]

Why not divide up legal custody?

Deciding who will have legal custody–final decision making authority for a child–can be one of the more contentious issues in custody cases. Often one parent wants final decision making authority to “validate” his or her superior parenting. More often, and not mutually exclusive with the desire for validation, one parent wants the right to control […]

Don’t end a long-term marriage unless you’re ready to amputate

I spend a bit of time talking folks in long-term marriages out of separating from a spouse with whom they are unhappy. It’s amazing how many people come to me expecting that ending their long-term marriage will be relatively painless. Instead I liken it to an amputation: expect serious, permanent loss as part of a […]