Archive for the ‘Law and Culture’ Category

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 […]

Class sensitivity and toilet training

Before I started practicing family law I never really understood why some folks pushed toilet training on their toddlers. While no one enjoys changing diapers, it’s really not that horrible. Further, most children will eventually toilet train themselves–especially if they attend a preschool where other kids are already trained. If the unpleasantness of a loaded […]

Charleston’s daily paper wins Pulitzer Prize for series on domestic violence

On April 20, 2015, the Charleston Post and Courier won the 2015 gold medal for public service, the most prestigious of the Pulitzer Prize awards for journalism, for the paper’s series on domestic violence, “Till Death Do Us Part.” Among the P&C journalists sharing this award is a friend, Glenn Smith, whose reporting on the […]

Can someone be too demented to consent to sex with a spouse?

There’s an interesting, and quite disturbing, article in the April 14, 2015 New York Times regarding the upcoming trial of Henry Rayhons, a now-former Iowa State Representative who is “charged with third-degree felony sexual abuse, accused of having sex with his wife in a nursing home on May 23, 2014, eight days after staff members […]

Why do mothers (more typically) get custody?

A college student, interested in a career in family law, interviewed me earlier this week for a school project. Mostly he asked questions related to family law and one of his questions expressed a common assumption: Why do mothers get custody? This isn’t an inaccurate assumption. Mothers get custody more often than fathers–although not nearly […]

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 […]

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 […]