Posts Tagged ‘Equitable Distribution/Property Division’

Betting on an estranged spouse’s untimely demise

In the first twenty years of my practice it was rare that a party died in the middle of divorce litigation or within a few years of the divorce. The few times this happened there were obvious warning signs: either a history of serious mental illness including suicidal ideations, or addiction to dangerous narcotics–typically opiates. […]

Wife’s lack of corroborating evidence mostly dooms her appeal

In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story “Adventure of the Silver Blaze,” Sherlock Holmes deduces the identity of the thief, in part, by noting that a dog did not bark, indicating the thief was no stranger. Holmes understood that the absence of evidence can be as telling as evidence itself. This is often true in […]

Five years of litigation, all for naught

Pity poor Lori Stoney, a fellow member of the Charleston County family court bar, and the appellant in the July 27, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in Stoney v. Stoney, 417 S.C. 345, 790 S.E.2d 31 (Ct. App. 2016).  After waiting over 20 months from oral argument to the decision, the Court of Appeals simply […]

On the same day two separate Court of Appeals panels reverse transmutation findings

On July 13, 2016, the Court of Appeals published two opinions in which the primary issue on appeal was transmutation–the almost alchemical process by which non-marital property turns into marital property: Taylor-Cracraft v. Cracraft, 417 S.C. 570, 790 S.E.2d 423  (Ct. App. 2016), and McMillan v. McMillan, 417 S.C. 583 790 S.E.2d 216 (Ct. App. 2016). In both […]

“Hammered” by the family court, Court of Appeals hammers Husband again

There are some family court smack-downs that beg for an appeal. And there are some Court of Appeals decisions that beg for a petition for certiorari. The April 13, 2016 opinion in Fredrickson v. Schulze, 416 S.C. 141 785 S.E.2d 392 (Ct. App. 2016), is one such case. Husband, Schulze, appealed many aspects of the family court’s […]

Husband’s lack of credibility on financial disclosure has multiple adverse consequences

The March 16, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in Conits v. Conits, 417 S.C. 127, 789 S.E.2d 51 (Ct. App. 2016) rejects many of Husband’s allegations of error in the family court’s equitable distribution award because he lacked credibility in his financial disclosure. This opinion is a warning to those who would provide false financial disclosure that […]

South Carolina Supreme Court distinguishes personal goodwill from enterprise goodwill for equitable distribution purposes

The October 7, 2015 Supreme Court opinion in Moore v. Moore, 414 S.C. 490, 779 S.E.2d 533 (2015), is the first published South Carolina appellate opinion to distinguish personal goodwill from enterprise goodwill for equitable distribution purposes. As this is a frequently recurring issue, the Moore opinion is necessary reading for any family court attorney who handles equitable […]

Misvaluing small personal services businesses

A recent unpublished opinion Court of Appeals opinion, Herring-Wilson v. Wilson, highlights a common fallacy in valuing small personal services businesses for purposes of equitable distribution: treating personal goodwill as marital property. The Court of Appeals reversed a finding that Wife’s business had a value of $603,000 and requiring her to pay Husband half that […]