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Why family law in South Carolina is so underdeveloped

South Carolina family law attorneys frequently complain about the random nature of family court. A large part of the reason for this “randomness” is that South Carolina family law invests so much discretion in family court judges. The one area of family law in which judges have little discretion–setting child support–is the most predicable aspect […]

A little more perfect union

It seems fitting that I was at the TD Arena with my family awaiting President Obama’s eulogy for Clementa Pinckney when the United States Supreme Court announced its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a right to gay marriage throughout the country.  Both events seem part of America’s grand struggle to live up to […]

Common law marriage is still marriage

I am amazed at the number of folks contacting my office who have inadvertently gotten themselves married via common law marriage. I am also amazed at the folks who ask how they can get common law married because they don’t want to go through the trouble or expense of a ceremonial marriage. Such questions or […]

Stopping case dismissal under the 365 day rule when the other party won’t mediate

Within the past few years the South Carolina Supreme Court has promulgated one rule in which family court cases are dismissed if no final hearing is requested within 365 days of the date the action is filed and another rule in which cases need to be mediated in most counties (including all three local countries: […]

Class sensitivity and toilet training

Before I started practicing family law I never really understood why some folks pushed toilet training on their toddlers. While no one enjoys changing diapers, it’s really not that horrible. Further, most children will eventually toilet train themselves–especially if they attend a preschool where other kids are already trained. If the unpleasantness of a loaded […]

Getting the family law client to behave

A large but unsung part of a good family law attorney’s role is to get clients to behave well towards the opposing party. Not only is this role unsung, it often makes the attorney extremely unpopular with the client–especially in the early part of the representation. However being cognizant of this role is often vital […]

Court of Appeals reverses termination of parental rights because child not eligible for adoption

The May 12, 2015 Court of Appeals opinion in SCDSS v. Williams reverses the family court’s decision to terminate Mother’s parental rights to her daughter because Child was not eligible for adoption and therefore the termination was not in Child’s best interests. In Williams, Child came into emergency protective custody in September 2010 after she […]

South Carolina Supreme Court promulgates new rule for appointing mediators in family court

An August 27, 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court order requires dismissal of family court actions if they are not resolved or set for trial within 365 days of filing. A March 14, 2013 Supreme Court order made most local counties subject to mandatory mediation before family court cases will be set for a contested trial. Together, […]

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