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Two recent interesting unpublished family law opinions

I rarely blog about unpublished opinions because even when they are interesting, and even when they should have been published, they rarely do anything other than restate legal principals that have been established in published opinions. However two recent unpublished family court opinions make new law–or would make law if they were published and therefore […]

The legislative paternalism of South Carolina’s name change law

When my wife was a social worker at a local hospital she once acted as a case manager for a mother giving birth to twins. That mother had allowed her five year-old son to name the newborns. Thus, there are teenage twins running around the LowCountry with the names “Bubba” and “Mufasa.” No South Carolina […]

Court of Appeals (surprisingly) authorizes reversal of determination of paternity based on father’s fraud claim

Ever since DNA testing became sufficiently accurate to conclusively exclude paternity, there’s been a tension between the goals of establishing paternity with finality and with accuracy.  Previous South Carolina case law has indicated a possibility of overturning prior but inaccurate determinations of paternity.  The August 2, 2017 Court of Appeals opinion in Ashburn v. Rogers […]

Equal protection challenge to domestic abuse statute leaves law in chaos

The July 26, 2017 Supreme Court opinion in Doe v. State has left South Carolina’s Protection from Domestic Abuse [a civil, family court, statute] and Criminal Domestic Violence [a criminal statute] laws in chaos. Doe stems from an equal protection challenge brought a lesbian who sought protection from domestic abuse against her ex-fiancé. That statute, […]

Getting bossy with custody clients

I have a saying that custody cases are the rare litigation in which it is acceptable for an attorney to change the facts.  While the parties’ parenting skills at the beginning of the case are relevant, their parenting skills at the end of the case can be even more relevant.  Guiding a client to change […]

Answering discovery you first object to

A pet peeve of mine is attorneys who begin discovery responses with a list of boilerplate objections. Recently I received interrogatory answers from two separate attorneys who I actually respect with such lists. One response began: This response is submitted by Plaintiff subject to and without in any way waiving or intending to waive, but […]

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 […]

Family Court Procedure 101 Materials

On June 10, 2017, Dana Adkins and I, on behalf of Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services, presented a seminar explaining family court procedure to pro se litigants.  The intent is to repeat this seminar throughout the state and repeat it on occasion locally (as the population of pro se litigants is ever changing).  Materials below.  Feel free to circulate […]

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