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Why join stepparents as opposing parties to family court proceedings?

The short answer is discovery. While I understand the logic of joining stepparents as parties to custody or visitation proceedings when that stepparent will not behave around the child(ren), I remain convinced it is bad strategy. Not only does it double the number of adversarial parties, it allows the stepparent to participate in all the […]

Husband’s lack of credibility on financial disclosure has multiple adverse consequences

The March 16, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in Conits v. Conits rejects many of Husband’s allegations of error in the family court’s equitable distribution award because he lacked credibility in his financial disclosure. This opinion is a warning to those who would provide false financial disclosure that this lack of credibility can be fatal […]

Where’s my time machine?

Where’s the time machine that a sizable portion of family law clients, and potential clients, think I have? My colleagues inform me that their clients also believe they have a time machine. If I own a time machine I’d really love to find it. I’m sure my family law colleagues feel likewise. How else to […]

United States Supreme Court finds order granting adopting lesbian mother visitation is entitled to full faith and credit

On March 7, 2016, in the case of V. L. v. E. L., ET AL., the United States Supreme Court, in an unsigned Per Curiam opinion, ordered the Alabama Supreme Court to give full faith and credit to a Georgia adoption decree that allowed a lesbian mother to adopt her then-partner’s three biological children. The […]

Why not divide up legal custody?

Deciding who will have legal custody–final decision making authority for a child–can be one of the more contentious issues in custody cases. Often one parent wants final decision making authority to “validate” his or her superior parenting. More often, and not mutually exclusive with the desire for validation, one parent wants the right to control […]

Don’t end a long-term marriage unless you’re ready to amputate

I spend a bit of time talking folks in long-term marriages out of separating from a spouse with whom they are unhappy. It’s amazing how many people come to me expecting that ending their long-term marriage will be relatively painless. Instead I liken it to an amputation: expect serious, permanent loss as part of a […]

Maybe the judge is wrong

Earlier this week I spent two days presenting and attending a legal education seminar, “Family Law From Start to Finish.” As with most such seminars, I heard a number of war stories in the guise of questions where a lawyer would tell me about a case in which a family court judge had issued a ruling […]

In defense of the concept of romantic comedies

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice Thus begins the greatest romantic comedy in the history of romantic comedies. With Valentine’s Day approaching, movie studios release a number of mostly banal, mostly Saccharin, mostly […]

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