Archive for the ‘Litigation Strategy’ Category

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 […]

Odd skirmishes in the battle over credibility

I recently completed a lengthy custody and divorce trial in which the judge asked both attorneys to draft proposed orders. This required us to consider the factual findings we wanted this judge to make. Given that issues of the parties’ credibility would impact all the contested issues, it required a consideration what is meant by […]

It can be counterproductive to fight grounds in termination of parental rights cases

A party bringing a termination of parental rights (TPR) case must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, both a statutory ground under S.C. Code § 63-7-2570 to terminate parental rights and that such termination is in the best interests of the child. One can defend TPR cases by defending the ground(s), the best interests element, […]

Should one execute a formal agreement at the conclusion of mediation?

A frequent debate among my family law colleagues is whether one should have one’s client execute a formal agreement before concluding mediation if one has reached an agreement-in-principal during mediation. There’s no right answer to this issue–just pros and cons with each position. The benefit of having a formal executed agreement is that it mitigates […]

Negotiating with a gun to one’s head

The family court won’t approve agreements that are obtained through coercion. However, “coercion” in this legal sense is quite different, and much more limited, than what coercion means to the general public. If one executed an agreement with a literal gun to one’s head one could repudiate that agreement before or at the hearing to […]

Getting the child’s items returned at the end of visitation

Recently I prosecuted a rule to show cause in which one of my client’s goal was to get her child’s items returned. The father’s visitation had been cut short and he failed to return the child’s clothes and electronics when the visitation ended. Since these were clothes and electronics that my client had purchased, and […]

File an answer at or before the temporary hearing

One of the odd procedural quirks of South Carolina family law is that one can have a hearing seeking temporary substantive relief as part of a family court lawsuit long before the time to file a response to that lawsuit has passed. That is because under Rule 21(a) of the Family Court Rules one can […]

Litigating child custody does not, by itself, create personal jurisdiction for child support

Due to an increasingly mobile society, child custody litigation often moves to different states over a child’s minority. When both parents and the child no longer live in the state that issued the most recent child support order, or when the issuing state declines modification jurisdiction because the child has been absent from the state […]