Archive for the ‘Family Court Procedure’ Category

Supreme Court sets procedures for family court attorney fee awards

The December 3, 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court opinion in Buist v. Buist sets forth procedures to be used in setting attorney fee awards in family court cases. This opinion recognizes the difficulties of preserving fee award issues when the litigants don’t know the court’s decision on attorney’s fees until the court renders its decision. […]

Supreme Court changes Family Court 365 day benchmark administrative order

On August 27, 2014 the South Carolina Supreme Court issued an administrative order superseding the May 9, 2006 order that set the 365 day benchmark to dispose of family court cases. The new order is more detailed and provides guidance to family law attorneys and litigants. Under the new order, written requests for a final […]

Certificates of service in South Carolina state courts

Many attorneys issue certificates of service (also known as proofs of service) with the motions, orders, pleadings and discovery they issue in filed cases. I sometimes get asked if such certificates are necessary. Except for the summons and complaint they are not. However I have a suspicion why many attorneys still issue them. That suspicion […]

Common Rule 11 violations in discovery requests and objections

I’m not sure my fellow members of the bar are aware they are doing it, but I see a whole lot of Rule 11 violations in discovery requests and objections. Rule 11 of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure reads in part: The signature of an attorney or party constitutes a certificate by him […]

Should one verify what doesn’t have to be verified?

An old mentee of mine asked me if he should verify pleadings given that Rule 11(a) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure no longer require verifications.  That rule reads, “Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleadings need not be verified or accompanied by affidavit.”  A larger question is whether one […]

Establishing paternity when the husband ain’t the daddy

A few times a year I am contacted by a mother who wants to put her child’s biological father on the child’s birth certificate but she was married to someone else at the time of the child’s birth.  What she expects to be an easy procedure isn’t.  Family court clerks will tell her she needs […]

South Carolina takes small step toward insuring due process in child support collection

On February 28, 2014 the South Carolina Supreme Court promulgated the use of the following new form, SCCA 430S, which can be downloaded here, for use in child support collection proceedings. This form is designed to provide a sworn one-page summary of the obligor’s current income, assets and monthly debts, and information regarding other biological […]

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 […]