Archive for the ‘Jurisprudence’ Category

How do you depublish an opinion?

Twice in the past 1 ½ months the South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered that a published South Carolina Court of Appeals opinion be depublished. First, on February 20, 2015, it denied certiorari in State v. Mimms, 410 S.C. 32, 763 S.E.2d 46 (Ct. App. 2014) but ordered that the opinion be depublished. Then, on […]

In praise of modest decision making in family court

With a new family court judge for Charleston County due to be elected this week, the issue of the candidates’ attributes, and the bigger question of what makes a good family court judge, has been a frequent topic of conversation. A common complaint about some family court judges are that they are “indecisive.” I believe […]

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 […]

When should the family court award grandparent visitation?

There’s some dispute surrounding last week’s blog regarding the wholesale revision of South Carolina’s grandparent visitation statute. Some commenters contend that grandparents should never be awarded autonomous visitation over a parent’s objection. Others believe that court-ordered visitation should be available to grandparents even when the parents are part of an intact household. As I indicated in that […]

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 […]

Unpublished Court of Appeals opinion reflects South Carolina’s continuing antiquated view of gender and alimony

South Carolina family law’s approach to alimony continues to reflect an antiquated view of gender roles.  South Carolina is the only state in which a spouse’s adultery will bar alimony–a punishment for “bad” spouses, typically “bad” wives.  Yet, although the alimony statute is gender neutral, I rarely see the family courts awarding husbands alimony–even when […]

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 […]

The Burgess opinion and “The End of Men”

Every published opinion tells a story and the January 15, 2014 Court of Appeals opinion in Burgess v. Burgess, 753 S.E.2d 566 (S.C. App. 2014), tells a particularly interesting one.  Like Hanna Rosin’s “The End of Men: And the Rise of Woman,” Burgess demonstrates a culture that defines men primarily as providers and shows little use […]