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Court of Appeals finds adultery by both spouses and changes ground for divorce

In the extremely odd May 14, 2014 opinion of Mick-Skaggs v. Skaggs, the South Carolina Court of Appeals modified the grounds for divorce from one year’s separation to mutual adultery but otherwise left the family court’s order intact. At trial both parties alleged adultery against the other and Wife sought alimony. The trial court denied both […]

Adult protective services opinion has implications for abuse and neglect cases

The April 30, 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court opinion in the case of In the Interest of Jane Doe, 407 S.C. 623, 757 S.E.2d 711 (2014), provides a rare interpretation of South Carolina’s adult protective services statute and may have implications for South Carolina’s child abuse and neglect statutes. Because the probate court handles the appointment of […]

Why file for separate maintenance when one doesn’t have grounds for divorce?

Separate maintenance is the action one files with the family court when one is no longer living with one’s spouse but one doesn’t yet have grounds for divorce. This occurs when one doesn’t have fault grounds for divorce (physical cruelty; habitual intoxication; adultery) but hasn’t been separated for the one-year period that allows for a […]

Court of Appeals reverses family court determination that prenuptial agreement was unconscionable on equitable distribution

The April 16, 2014 Court of Appeals opinion in Hudson v. Hudson, 408 S.C. 76, 757 S.E.2d 727 (Ct. App. 2014), reversed the family court’s determination that the parties’ prenuptial agreement was unconscionable on the issue of the equitable distribution of Husband’s pre-marital businesses. The prenuptial agreement included a mutual waiver of alimony, as well as a […]

Court of Appeals affirms custody determination despite claim of improper guardian investigation

The April 2, 2014 Court of Appeals opinion in Simcox-Adams v. Adams affirmed the family court’s award of custody to Husband despite Wife’s challenge to the guardian ad litem’s investigation and report.  It also affirmed the family court’s finding that Wife’s inheritance was transmuted into marital property. Wife raised a number of issues regarding the […]

Should one explain one’s request to admit responses?

I had a lively debate a few weeks ago with colleagues I respect over whether one should explain request to admit responses that look bad on the surface but have reasonable explanations [this is a good time to acknowledge I have a very unusual conception of what constitutes a “good time”].  All of us frequently […]

Common Rule 11 violations in discovery requests and objections

I’m not sure my fellow members of the bar are aware they are doing it, but I see a whole lot of Rule 11 violations in discovery requests and objections. Rule 11 of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure reads in part: The signature of an attorney or party constitutes a certificate by him […]

The two types of motions to compel discovery

Although the rules of civil procedure don’t differentiate them, there are really two distinct types of motions to compel discovery: one addressing the untimeliness of the response and one addressing the inadequacy of the response.  Each type requires a very different strategy to prosecute. The easier type is when the other party has simply failed […]

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