Archive for the ‘South Carolina Specific’ Category

In praise of the additional sustaining ground

The Supreme Court opinion of Walker v. Brooks, 414 S.C. 343, 778 S.E.2d 477 (2015) was unique for my appellate experience in a number of disappointing ways. While I have lost a number of appeals, this was the first time I have lost when representing the respondent (it is much harder to lose when one […]

Help T. Ryan Phillips get Baker v. Hardwick published

I would love to see the May 24, 2017 Court of Appeals opinion in Baker v. Hardwick get published. Not just because T. Ryan Phillips and I share office space; not just because I referred him the appeal that he turned into a victory reversal. Baker establishes an important legal principle: the outer limits of […]

Who has the burden of proof on the willfulness element of contempt?

A few days ago I prosecuted a contempt action. The proof for one of the allegations of contempt was very document intensive and mathematical–reimbursement for unpaid medical expenses–and another was heavily reliant on exhibits. I figured that establishing violations would be easier by having my client explain the records through direct testimony rather than by cross-examining […]

Learn something new every day: involuntary non-suits in family court

I’ve long been aware that one could use Rule 41(b), SCRCP, to move to dismiss an action for failure to prosecute or as a sanction for the other party failing to comply with the rules of civil procedure or a court order. However yesterday, at the end of my case in chief of a contempt […]

Automatic discovery in family court–finally

Effective today (May 1, 2017) the South Carolina Supreme Court has amended Rule 25, SCFCR, to authorize automatic discovery in family court. In 23 years practicing under the prior rule, I only had three cases in which a motion for discovery was contested. In one case the family court authorized discovery. In the other two […]

When to file and when to continue negotiating without filing

I had a recent consult with a woman who was gung ho to file for divorce. In discussing her situation, I could not understand her urgency to file before giving negotiations a chance. Like many spouses who come to my office seeking a divorce, she didn’t realize that she would need to resolve issues of […]

South Carolina Court of Appeals opinion highlights the importance of accurate financial declarations

My clients get sick of me harping on refining and corroborating their financial declarations before we file them. In the future I will direct them to the April 5, 2017 Court of Appeals opinion in Sweeney v. Sweeney and remind them how both parties were harmed by financial declarations that were inaccurate or uncorroborated. Husband […]

Lessons from my first contested termination of parental rights prosecution trial

Last week I represented a mother and step-father in a contested termination of parental rights(TPR)/step-parent adoption case. I have been a licensed attorney for over twenty-five years–the last twenty of which I have primarily focused on family law. I have successfully defended a couple of TPR cases brought by DSS. I have filed contested TPR […]

 

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