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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 […]

Using opposing parties’ evasive discovery responses against them

Often opposing parties will respond to discovery with evasion: giving answers that respond to some, slightly different allegation; providing lengthy responses to “yes/no” questions without really stating “yes” or “no”; citing a lack of knowledge to answer a question that, given their litigation posture, they really should be able to answer. The Rules of Civil […]

Acknowledging the obvious

In responding to discovery or pleadings, some of the responses, if accurate, will bolster the other party’s case.  Clients, even (especially) sophisticated clients, often balk at issuing a formal response that, although accurate, bolsters the other party’s case. Sometimes these clients will want to issue an evasive response. Occasionally they will want to issue an […]

Fighting for the last few percent of 50/50 custody

I’ve had a few custody cases the past few years in which my client has had a goal of equal time with his or her child only to be offered very close to, but not quite, equal time. Sometimes, when I don’t think my client has a strong position on custody, I might encourage that […]

Respecting the ongoing duty to supplement written discovery responses

South Carolina case law recognizes the fundamental importance of discovery to preparing a lawsuit for trial: The primary objective of discovery is to ensure that lawsuits are decided by what the facts reveal, not by what facts are concealed. The entire thrust of our discovery rules involves full and fair disclosure, to prevent a trial […]

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