Archive for the ‘Litigation Strategy’ Category

Best practices in responding to requests for production

I spend a lot of time struggling to get opposing attorneys to fully respond to requests for production. Often it’s hard to tell if the response is adequate because often the response is not clear. Vague request for production responses can be treated as a failure to respond. See Rule 37(a)(3), SCRCP (“an evasive or […]

The codification of child custody factors is making encouragement of the other parent’s relationship with the child much more important

When South Carolina codified child custody factors in June 2012 as S.C. Code § 63-15-220, I noted,“I do not see any reason why this statute should radically alter South Carolina child custody determinations.” My experience and the anecdotal experience of my peer [to date, no appellate opinion interprets or analyzes that code section] indicates that […]

Little reason to attack the guardian at trial

Working on materials for an upcoming lecture on attorney/guardian interactions, I realized that it had been years since I last felt compelled to “attack” the guardian ad litem at trial. However I am often asked by colleagues on effective techniques to undermine the guardian. There are times when the only effective strategy for minimizing a […]

Betting on an estranged spouse’s untimely demise

In the first twenty years of my practice it was rare that a party died in the middle of divorce litigation or within a few years of the divorce. The few times this happened there were obvious warning signs: either a history of serious mental illness including suicidal ideations, or addiction to dangerous narcotics–typically opiates. […]

(Unwittingly) Coaching the children

To most people “coaching” children in the context of custody and visitation cases is telling a child to lie to the judge (or the guardian, or a mental health professional/forensic evaluator) about that party’s or the other parent’s behavior. Two classic (but overstated) examples are telling kids to lie about sexual or physical abuse in […]

How to enforce an attorney fee award

A few months ago my mentee observed me enforce my attorney fee award through a family court contempt proceeding. Expecting me to prove the contempt through my client’s testimony, she was surprised when I testified first and asked my client very few questions when I called him as a witness. The method attorneys typically use […]

Like blind men boxing

I often suggest to newly licensed attorneys wanting to learn how to practice a particular area of law that they go to the courthouse and observe a variety of cases within that field of law. While to practice in court without a supervising attorney merely requires an attorney to observe one family court trial, attorney’s […]

Where should one enforce a support order when the obligor resides elsewhere?

A common dilemna in family law is enforcing a support order when the obligor no longer resides in the issuing state. There are two reasonable ways of resolving the matter. One option is to enforce the order in the issuing state and, if necessary, register the resulting enforcement order in the obligor’s state of residence. […]