Archive for the ‘Equitable Distribution/Property Division’ Category

The myth of the ironclad prenuptial agreement

Intolerable Cruelty, a lesser Coen Brothers movie, follows the courtship of an over-slick, high-powered divorce lawyer and a man-eating gold-digger, as they take turns getting over on the other. The plot’s Macguffin is the “Massey Pre-Nup,” an allegedly ironclad agreement that has never been successfully challenged. It is, obviously, a work of fiction. Most folks seeking […]

The aggravation of equitably dividing household furnishings

Early in my career I spent an afternoon with two estranged spouses and a friendly opposing counsel auctioning the parties’ household furnishings to the highest bidder as the method of equitable distribution.  From this I developed two insights: 1) this is the fairest way to equitably divide household furnishings; and 2) this is an insane […]

United States Supreme Court holds a state court may not order a veteran to indemnify a divorced spouse for the loss in the divorced spouse’s portion of the veteran’s retirement pay caused by the veteran’s waiver of retirement pay to receive service-related disability benefits

The United States Supreme Court rarely issues opinions addressing family law, making the May 15, 2017 opinion in Howell v. Howell blogworthy. Howell addresses an issue that arises in divorces involving military members and that I had previously assumed had been addressed by the Supreme Court in Mansell v. Mansell, 490 U. S. 581 (1989): […]

South Carolina Court of Appeals opinion highlights the importance of accurate financial declarations

My clients get sick of me harping on refining and corroborating their financial declarations before we file them. In the future I will direct them to the April 5, 2017 Court of Appeals opinion in Sweeney v. Sweeney and remind them how both parties were harmed by financial declarations that were inaccurate or uncorroborated. Husband […]

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. […]

Wife’s lack of corroborating evidence mostly dooms her appeal

In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story “Adventure of the Silver Blaze,” Sherlock Holmes deduces the identity of the thief, in part, by noting that a dog did not bark, indicating the thief was no stranger. Holmes understood that the absence of evidence can be as telling as evidence itself. This is often true in […]

Five years of litigation, all for naught

Pity poor Lori Stoney, a fellow member of the Charleston County family court bar, and the appellant in the July 27, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in Stoney v. Stoney, 417 S.C. 345, 790 S.E.2d 31 (Ct. App. 2016).  After waiting over 20 months from oral argument to the decision, the Court of Appeals simply […]

On the same day two separate Court of Appeals panels reverse transmutation findings

On July 13, 2016, the Court of Appeals published two opinions in which the primary issue on appeal was transmutation–the almost alchemical process by which non-marital property turns into marital property: Taylor-Cracraft v. Cracraft, 417 S.C. 570, 790 S.E.2d 423  (Ct. App. 2016), and McMillan v. McMillan, 417 S.C. 583 790 S.E.2d 216 (Ct. App. 2016). In both […]

 

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