Archive for the ‘Divorce and Marriage’ Category

How to avoid becoming (unwittingly) common-law married

I get frequent calls or emails inquiring how long one can live with a romantic companion before one is common-law married. Often these folks believe there is a set time period (typically seven or ten years) after which cohabitation is presumed to become a common-law marriage. These folks are mistaken. While cohabitation (living together) is […]

Now there’s a third way to become married in South Carolina

I would like to thank Professor Roy T. Stuckey for making me aware of the February 18, 2015 Court of Appeals opinion in Thomas v. 5 Star Transportation, 412 S.C. 1, 770 S.E.2d 183 (Ct. App. 2015). Evidently there is now a third way for folks to become married in South Carolina. Thomas was a […]

A little more perfect union

It seems fitting that I was at the TD Arena with my family awaiting President Obama’s eulogy for Clementa Pinckney when the United States Supreme Court announced its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a right to gay marriage throughout the country.  Both events seem part of America’s grand struggle to live up to […]

Common law marriage is still marriage

I am amazed at the number of folks contacting my office who have inadvertently gotten themselves married via common law marriage. I am also amazed at the folks who ask how they can get common law married because they don’t want to go through the trouble or expense of a ceremonial marriage. Such questions or […]

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 […]

What I’ve learned after twenty-five years of marriage (or, if you expect your spouse’s farts to smell like roses, you are going to be upset)[1]

My wife and I celebrate our 25th anniversary today. Thanks to a family law practice that exceeded my expectations in personal, professional and financial success, we will be able to celebrate in grand style. The irony that this success is predicated upon the inability of others to sustain their most important familial relationships is something […]

It only took forty-five days

When, on October 6, 2014, in Rainey v. Bostic, 135 S.Ct. 286 (2014), the United States Supreme Court denied Virginia’s petition for certiorari in Bostic v. Schaefer, 760 F. 3d 352 (4th Cir. 2014), I predicted “it is only a matter of time–possibly even days–before South Carolina’s ban [on same sex marriages] is found unconstitutional.” Within […]

On the wrong side of history again

Bowing to the inevitable, North Carolina has authorized same sex marriage, leaving South Carolina the last remaining state of the Fourth Circuit to bar such marriages. Today U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn of Asheville struck down the state’s laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said the state […]