Archive for the ‘Child Custody’ Category

The dangers of dating before divorce (or before a final order of separate maintenance)

People coming out of an unhappy marriage are often eager to begin dating. Yet there are risks in dating before one is divorced.  My preference as the attorney is that my clients don’t date until they are divorced (or at least until they have a final order of separate maintenance): a client who doesn’t date […]

Litigating child custody does not, by itself, create personal jurisdiction for child support

Due to an increasingly mobile society, child custody litigation often moves to different states over a child’s minority. When both parents and the child no longer live in the state that issued the most recent child support order, or when the issuing state declines modification jurisdiction because the child has been absent from the state […]

Checklist of questions whose answers can derail a custody or visitation case

I tried a custody case last month in which I learned a few weeks prior to trial that my client was using marijuana approximately once a month. What had previously seemed a strong case for custody no longer was. While many of the issues that can derail a South Carolina custody case seem pretty obvious, […]

How should the family court handle misbehaving stepparents in custody litigation?

I have a fundamental jurisprudential difference with most of my family law colleagues and many of the state family court judges regarding how one should deal with misbehaving stepparents in custody litigation.[1] Their typical response is to join them as parties and subject them to restraining orders. My preferred response is to make parents strictly […]

Court of Appeals affirms custody determination despite claim of improper guardian investigation

The April 2, 2014 Court of Appeals opinion in Simcox-Adams v. Adams, 408 S.C. 252, 758 S.E.2d 206, (Ct. App. 2014), affirmed the family court’s award of custody to Husband despite Wife’s challenge to the guardian ad litem’s investigation and report.  It also affirmed the family court’s finding that Wife’s inheritance was transmuted into marital property. Wife […]

Marijuana use and child custody in South Carolina

One of my oldest and dearest friends was awarded custody of his two children and kept custody until they emancipated.  Not only was he openly using marijuana during that time, he was also openly growing it and selling it. He did not live in South Carolina. Along with exposing children to non-marital sexual relationships, nowhere […]

Should there be automatic de novo review of temporary custody and support orders?

I’ve previously complained that South Carolina’s handling of family court temporary hearings violate due process.  This is because allowing such hearings to proceed on affidavits alone–and affidavits that do not have to be exchanged until the temporary hearing–do not allow parties to prepare to defend the allegations or confront the witnesses against them. The November […]

Demanding UCCJEA submissions before filing motions to dismiss child custody cases

Multi-state child custody actions often get filed where it is unclear if, and how, the state where the action is filed has subject matter jurisdiction to determine child custody.  In defending such actions the reflexive response is to file a motion to dismiss due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), SCRCP. […]