Archive for the ‘Divorce and Marriage’ Category

Court of Appeals finds adultery by both spouses and changes ground for divorce

In the extremely odd May 14, 2014 opinion of Mick-Skaggs v. Skaggs, the South Carolina Court of Appeals modified the grounds for divorce from one year’s separation to mutual adultery but otherwise left the family court’s order intact. At trial both parties alleged adultery against the other and Wife sought alimony. The trial court denied both […]

Why file for separate maintenance when one doesn’t have grounds for divorce?

Separate maintenance is the action one files with the family court when one is no longer living with one’s spouse but one doesn’t yet have grounds for divorce. This occurs when one doesn’t have fault grounds for divorce (physical cruelty; habitual intoxication; adultery) but hasn’t been separated for the one-year period that allows for a […]

Should there be a uniform waiting period for a no-fault divorce?

I rarely blog on proposed family law legislation.  Often legislation fizzles to nothing: in my twenty years of practice bills to abolish common law marriage or reform alimony had gone nowhere.  Other times bills become radically altered during the legislative process.  Within the past few years a bill to make grandparent visitation more uniform ended […]

South Carolina Supreme Court refuses to adopt the “putative spouse” doctrine

In the August 28, 2013 opinion of Hill v. Bell, 405 S.C. 423, 747 S.E.2d 791 (2013), the South Carolina Supreme Court refused to adopt the “putative spouse” doctrine, which allows a party who innocently enters a bigamous marriage to claim the benefits of marriage. Hill came to the Supreme Court as a certified questions from the […]

Sue the cuckolder elsewhere

Cheated-upon spouses occasionally inquire whether they can sue the other man (or woman) for breaking up their marriage.  In South Carolina the answer is no: in 1992 the South Carolina South Carolina eliminated causes of action for alienation of affections and criminal conversation. Russo v. Sutton, 310 S.C. 200, 422 S.E.2d 750 (1992). An August […]

Changing family formation and the practice of family law

The past twenty years have seen rapid demographic changes in family court clientele.  I am seeing fewer divorces among the professional/managerial classes and seeing more out-of-wedlock custody, visitation and child support cases (and fewer married couples) among the working class.  However practitioners, such as myself, cannot be certain whether their anecdotal experience is an accurate […]

United States Supreme Court on the left side of history in two rulings on gay marriage

To the surprise of no one who has been paying attention, the June 26, 2013 United States Supreme Court opinions in the cases of United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013), and Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S.Ct. 2652 (2013), strengthened the rights of homosexuals to marry, while avoiding the issue of whether the Equal Protection Clause of the […]

Revenge of (and against) the bluenoses

For almost 20 years I’ve seen many of my family court clients gets slammed for unbiblical sexual behavior.  Initially it was the obvious–adultery.  But in recent years I’ve seen some clients punished for sexual banter with others.  A few family court judges have found the mere fact that my client masturbates to be relevant on […]