Archive for the ‘South Carolina Specific’ Category

Court of Appeals vacates removal and TPR orders due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction

In the October 10, 2016 opinion in SCDSS v. Ngoc Tran, the South Carolina Court of Appeals vacated the family court’s removal order and termination of parental rights order, finding that DSS had failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. Initially I thought the Court of Appeals was correct–even stating the same to […]

Five years of litigation, all for naught

Pity poor Lori Stoney, a fellow member of the Charleston County family court bar, and the appellant in the July 27, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in Stoney v. Stoney. After waiting over 20 months from oral argument to the decision, the Court of Appeals simply ordered a new trial on the issues she appealed: […]

Court of Appeals partially reduces Husband’s alimony reduction in case Husband probably wishes he never filed

One of my harder tasks practicing family law in South Carolina is advising ex-spouses with alimony obligations whether and how much their obligation might change based on reduced income. The July 27, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in Woods v. Woods does not provide additional clarity on this topic. In Woods, Husband agreed to pay […]

Obtaining electronically stored information in electronically stored format

A common idea among litigators is that an excellent way to hide damaging information is to produce it with a whole bunch of innocuous information. There’s even an informal term for it: data dumping. Producing thousands of pages of financial or cell phone records in a paper format requires the requesting party to laboriously search […]

On the same day two separate Court of Appeals panels reverse transmutation findings

On July 13, 2016, the Court of Appeals published two opinions in which the primary issue on appeal was transmutation–the almost alchemical process by which non-marital property turns into marital property: Taylor-Cracraft v. Cracraft and McMillan v. McMillan. In both cases the Court of Appeals largely reverses the family courts’ transmutation findings. The timing of […]

Court of Appeals affirms contempt finding against mother who didn’t force children to visit

Calling bullsh*t on custodial parents who let the children decide their visitation is one of my most controversial and by far my most commented-upon blog.  In that blog I argue that it is the custodial parent’s job to require the children spend their court-ordered visitation time with the non-custodial parent (assuming that parent wants to […]

Small bites on visitation

Absent a showing of a “substantial change of circumstances” one is allowed to bring only one motion for temporary relief on a particular issue prior to trial. Typically these motions are brought early in the case–some attorneys almost reflexively file these motions with their initial pleading. However whatever relief the client obtains at the temporary […]

The problem in filing updated financial declarations at final hearings to approve agreements

Family Court Rule 20(a) requires “a current financial declaration” “be served and filed” “[i]n any domestic relations action in which the financial condition of a party is relevant or is an issue to be considered by the court.” A problem arises when parties negotiate an agreement involving financial issues while relying on old financial declarations, […]