Archive for the ‘Child Custody’ Category

Fighting for the last few percent of 50/50 custody

I’ve had a few custody cases the past few years in which my client has had a goal of equal time with his or her child only to be offered very close to, but not quite, equal time. Sometimes, when I don’t think my client has a strong position on custody, I might encourage that […]

That ship has sailed (or implicitly condoning past child abuse or neglect)

A decent subset of my custody and visitation cases have one parent raising abuse or neglect allegations that predate an agreement (whether a temporary consent order or an agreement incorporated into a final order). While not trying to be heartless, the best advice I can typically give these clients is “that ship has sailed.” There […]

The problems in splitting children’s expenses based upon undefined “pro rata income shares”

I have recently encountered a number of court-approved child support agreements in which child-related expenses are divided upon undefined “pro rata [Latin for “in proportion”] income shares.” Often these agreements were negotiated or drafted by experienced family law attorneys. While the intent is well meaning, the language causes serious problems. Without knowing how “pro rata” […]

The difficulties relocating with children merely because the stepparent is moving

Custodial parents rarely consider whether their spouses are prone to work related relocations when they decide to (re)marry. They simply assume that if their spouse moves they and the children will move. Rarely do they consider the difficulties they might encounter with the other parent if they wish to relocate merely because their own spouse […]

The risks of rushing into a final order on custody or visitation

Most people, at least those who are thoughtful and mature, try to avoid protracted and contentious litigation. This is especially true for custody and visitation cases. The stress and expense of litigation is heightened when the fight is over one’s children–and placating and paying a guardian ad litem only adds to this stress and expense. […]

Mutually assured dysfunction

Sadly, there are way too many custody in which both parents have “issues” that would lead their fitness to be questioned if the other parent raised them. Much like the United States and USSR, which stockpiled nuclear weapons they hoped never to use as a “mutually assured destruction” deterrent, these parents stockpile–but typically do not […]

A child custody reversal that should have been published (and remanded rather than reversed)

Child custody determinations are among the hardest family court matters to get reversed on appeal. Because custody decisions are based upon the weight the trial judge places on sixteen listed factors and a seventeenth catch-all factor, and because so much of the weighing of these factors can be based on the judge’s credibility determinations, appellate […]

Hightailing it with the kid(s)

When I first began practicing family law in the early 1990’s it was a lot easier for mothers (it was typically mothers) to get away with leaving their boyfriends/husbands and removing the children from South Carolina. Rarely would the family courts require the mother to return the children to South Carolina–especially if the mother wasn’t […]