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Desperation to settle makes favorable settlement more difficult

I am often confronted by clients wanting me to reach out, yet again, to a recalcitrant opposing counsel or party about settling their cases. Typically, when I send out a settlement proposal that isn’t responded to in a timely manner, I will ask–once–when I can expect a response. However, I prefer not to begin reducing my […]

An aggressive mediator is a hammer but not every case is a nail

The model of mediation we were all taught in the family court mediation training has the parties sitting together with the mediator in one room, while the mediator, tapping into the parties’ latent empathy skills and powers of rationality, kindly guides the participants into a mutually satisfying agreement. At the end everyone sings Kumbaya (just […]

Playing Monopoly when no one agrees on the rules (or why I’m a Civil Procedure maven)

Any contest requires an agreement on the rules, in advance, to proceed properly. Many people have variations on Milton Bradley’s “official” Monopoly rules. When these folks play Monopoly without having agreed on the variations beforehand, disputes develop and the game halts. What was supposed to be a form of play devolves into an argument. Unless […]

It just became a little easier (although still not very easy) to sue DSS in tort

There is a common complaint among attorneys who do appeals that they do not recognize the fact pattern described in their appellate decisions. The belief is that appellate courts sometimes start with the result they want to establish and then highlight facts that would justify that result and ignore or downplay facts that might lead […]

How well you cooperate with your attorney should affect how aggressively your attorney pursues your goals

If a client retains me at the beginning of the litigation process it will typically take at least six months, and more likely a year or more, until his or her case goes to trial. During the litigation process I learn a lot about my client’s ability to act responsibly, pay attention, follow directions, retain […]

South Carolina Supreme Court leaves intact important Court of Appeals opinion on prenuptial agreements

I probably should have noted this when it came out, but on October 28, 2015 the South Carolina Supreme Court, in Hudson v. Hudson, 414 S.C. 352, 778 S.E.2d 482 (2015), dismissed as improvidently granted the writ of certiorari it issued to review the Court of Appeals opinion in Hudson v. Hudson, 408 S.C. 76, 757 […]

The risks of rushing into a final order on custody or visitation

Most people, at least those who are thoughtful and mature, try to avoid protracted and contentious litigation. This is especially true for custody and visitation cases. The stress and expense of litigation is heightened when the fight is over one’s children–and placating and paying a guardian ad litem only adds to this stress and expense. […]

Abandoning children but fighting termination of parental rights

I recently took a phone call from a mother who’d just been served with termination of parental rights (TPR)/stepmother adoption action. A few years earlier she’d left her then-husband and child and moved far, far away. Since then she hadn’t seen the child nor paid her court-ordered child support. Her ex-husband had remarried and the […]

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