Archive for April, 2009

The dual faces of helicopter parenting

I had lunch at my younger daughter’s elementary school today.  I am blessed to live and work within a half mile (10 minute bike ride) of her school and even more blessed that my job as a self-employed attorney gives me the flexibility to take time from work on slow days to have lunch with […]

Visitation and the alcoholic parent

If we accept that alcoholism is a disease (which I do), the cure is simple: don’t consume alcohol. I have happily represented many outstanding recovering alcoholic parents in family court and some of these parents have obtained custody of their children and done a fantastic job raising them. Note the word “recovering” alcoholics. The alcoholic […]

Could the (barely acknowledged) enforcement of social norms in family court custody orders be having a hidden impact on our culture?

Though I have seen no statistics on the subject, I would estimate that between one-quarter and one-half of all children in America will spend some portion of their childhood under the authority of a family court custody order. I base this estimate on current estimates of the percentage of out-of-wedlock births (approximately 30%) and the […]

What makes a family court judge’s order “judicial”?

A court order, including an order from family court, is just as much “law” as the statutes passed by our legislature. Just as with statutes, the government will enforce these orders using its police powers and will imprison people who violate these orders in order to force compliance. The legitimacy of statutes is that they […]

Did the Supreme Court limit laches too much in defending back alimony and child support claims?

Two recent South Carolina Supreme Court opinions: Ables v. Gladden, 378 S.C. 558, 664 S.E.2d 442 (2008) and Strickland v. Strickland, 375 S.C. 76, 650 S.E.2d 465 (2007) abolished the defense of laches in the collection of back child support or alimony, while authorizing the continued use of a similar defense, equitable estoppel, in such […]

Does the term “custody” cause more problems than it solves?

I am frequently asked by clients or potential clients to explain all the nomenclature that surrounds custody orders: “shared,” “sole,” “joint,” “legal,” “physical,” “primary.” In my view these terms are ill-defined or undefined and I find I cannot give clients clear answers to their questions. I further believe this same flaw causes much child custody litigation to be unproductive or counterproductive because […]


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