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How mediators and attorneys can make mediation more productive

For attorneys and their clients there’s often much unproductive time during mediation. When the mediator is meeting with the opposing party, the attorney and client are often merely waiting to react to the next offer, and little productive work is being accomplished. Meanwhile, the client is being billed for the attorney’s time. However there are […]

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 […]

Eating our seed corn

Two recent news stories, one local and one national, highlight just how badly our society is doing caring for the majority of our children, especially our neediest children. Locally, on January 12, 2015, national advocacy organization Children’s Rights, the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center and Matthew T. Richardson, partner at the South Carolina law […]

2014 again finds few published family law opinions

While gender roles and marital expectations have rapidly changed during the past 50 years, family law has lagged in its response. Custody, child support, alimony and, to some extent, property division all tend to reflect traditional gender roles and expectations, creating a widening gap between what the average citizen considers just and what a family […]

If you expect your spouse’s farts to smell like roses, you are going to be upset[1](or what I’ve learned after twenty-five years of marriage)

My wife and I celebrate our 25th anniversary today. Thanks to a family law practice that exceeded my expectations in personal, professional and financial success, we will be able to celebrate in grand style. The irony that this success is predicated upon the inability of others to sustain their most important familial relationships is something […]

Court of Appeals continues recent trend of rejecting a family court’s credibility determinations

One portion of this opinion was substantially modified on February 25, 2015: Refiled opinion in Srivastava makes revisions to equitable distribution ruling. The December 23, 2014 Court of Appeals opinion in Srivastava v. Srivastava has an interesting analysis on the ability to pay as a factor in an award of attorney’s fees in family court actions […]

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