Archive for the ‘Not South Carolina Specific’ Category

Was there wisdom in the “tender years” doctrine

There is no doubt that the “tender years” doctrine–which favored granting mothers custody of young children–would not pass constitutional muster in the 21st century. Such gender based classifications cannot survive strict scrutiny as there is no “compelling governmental interest” that favors mothers over fathers in determinations of infant custody and, even if there were, a […]

Getting bossy with custody clients

I have a saying that custody cases are the rare litigation in which it is acceptable for an attorney to change the facts.  While the parties’ parenting skills at the beginning of the case are relevant, their parenting skills at the end of the case can be even more relevant.  Guiding a client to change […]

Answering discovery you first object to

A pet peeve of mine is attorneys who begin discovery responses with a list of boilerplate objections. Recently I received interrogatory answers from two separate attorneys who I actually respect with such lists. One response began: This response is submitted by Plaintiff subject to and without in any way waiving or intending to waive, but […]

The aggravation of equitably dividing household furnishings

Early in my career I spent an afternoon with two estranged spouses and a friendly opposing counsel auctioning the parties’ household furnishings to the highest bidder as the method of equitable distribution.  From this I developed two insights: 1) this is the fairest way to equitably divide household furnishings; and 2) this is an insane […]

In praise of opinionated lawyers

Folks who know me well–and even some who don’t–consider me the most opinionated person they know. I accept their judgment. Given something I’ve thought about, I have an opinion on it. Who makes better queso fundido: Minero or Pancito & Lefty? Having finally eaten a both, I now have an opinion. Which beach is better: […]

The time to prepare for trial is long before trial

I’m always amazed when the court asks me if I can be ready for a multi-day trial it wishes to set a few weeks hence. The level of preparation necessary to determine that trial is necessary is vastly lower than the level of preparation necessary to actually try the case. It requires months–at least three […]

United States Supreme Court holds a state court may not order a veteran to indemnify a divorced spouse for the loss in the divorced spouse’s portion of the veteran’s retirement pay caused by the veteran’s waiver of retirement pay to receive service-related disability benefits

The United States Supreme Court rarely issues opinions addressing family law, making the May 15, 2017 opinion in Howell v. Howell blogworthy. Howell addresses an issue that arises in divorces involving military members and that I had previously assumed had been addressed by the Supreme Court in Mansell v. Mansell, 490 U. S. 581 (1989): […]

Keeping smart people from doing stupid stuff

When I attended law school no one informed me that I would spend a substantial part of most days talking smart people out of doing stupid stuff. Lessons in best practices doing this could have been one of my more valuable practimum experiences had anyone thought to teach this. It seems to be the lot of most […]

 

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