Archive for the ‘Child Custody’ Category

The best time to defeat a relocation case is before it’s filed

In my 20+ years of family law practice, I’ve yet to see a relocation case in which the requested relocation was solely for the child’s benefit and at the inconvenience of the custodial parent. I’m not sure how a family court judge would react to a non-custodial parent who opposed a relocation that was based […]

The price of relocation

When custodial parents relocate, the non-custodial parent almost always suffers. Typically they lose the frequent contact with the minor child that helps sustain most parent-child relationships. The ability of the non-custodial parent to observe or participate in the child’s school and extracurricular activities greatly diminishes. When a child lives hundreds of miles away, midweek visitation […]

Does the De Facto Custodian statue limit or implicitly overrule Moore v. Moore?

Comments from attorneys and litigants who’ve made this argument are most welcome Moore v. Moore, 300 S.C. 75, 386 S.E.2d 456, 458 (1989) is the seminal South Carolina case on the factors the court should consider in determining whether to return a child to a parent after that child has lived with a non parent […]

The codification of child custody factors is making encouragement of the other parent’s relationship with the child much more important

When South Carolina codified child custody factors in June 2012 as S.C. Code § 63-15-220, I noted,“I do not see any reason why this statute should radically alter South Carolina child custody determinations.” My experience and the anecdotal experience of my peer [to date, no appellate opinion interprets or analyzes that code section] indicates that […]

Little reason to attack the guardian at trial

Working on materials for an upcoming lecture on attorney/guardian interactions, I realized that it had been years since I last felt compelled to “attack” the guardian ad litem at trial. However I am often asked by colleagues on effective techniques to undermine the guardian. There are times when the only effective strategy for minimizing a […]

Is the lack of a set notice requirement in the UCCJEA a feature or a bug?

In 2008 South Carolina went from the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The updated statute was largely an improvement. It includes limitation upon the exercise of “emergency jurisdiction” so that an emergency cannot be used to give a state permanent jurisdiction. It provided powerful […]

(Unwittingly) Coaching the children

To most people “coaching” children in the context of custody and visitation cases is telling a child to lie to the judge (or the guardian, or a mental health professional/forensic evaluator) about that party’s or the other parent’s behavior. Two classic (but overstated) examples are telling kids to lie about sexual or physical abuse in […]

Should custody be dealt with in a separate order?

I recently completed a divorce case in which all issues other than child custody settled in the middle of trial. With the court’s permission, I drafted a separate final order addressing the ground for divorce, property division, and spousal support. When the judge issued her final ruling, I drafted a separate final order addressing custody. […]