Archive for June, 2009

Criminal and family law issues in Governor Sanford’s adultery

South Carolina remains among the minority of states to criminalize adultery.  S.C. Code Ann. § 16-15-60.  Adultery also remains a ground for divorce.  S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-10.   As noted in a previous blog, adultery is a major factor in alimony, property division and child custody.  Adultery further, with a few exceptions, acts as […]

Is the application of civil contempt in South Carolina’s “daddy round-ups” improper?

“The problem is, chronic non-supporters do not have dependable jobs, nor tax refunds, nor seizeable property. That’s why they are chronic. . . . As cruel as it sounds, the one remedy that almost always works is incarceration. We family court judges call it ‘the magic fountain.’ . . . Of course, there is no magic. […]

Transmutation in an economic downturn

In the time before housing prices collapsed it was easy to get many separating homeowners’ property divided.  They would either sell their home and divide the proceeds or one spouse would refinance the house and withdraw equity to buy out the other spouse’s interest.  Today, spouses are often fighting over how to divide the debt […]

Yet another reason for supporting spouses to offer lump sum alimony

Permanent periodic alimony is one debt that may never end until the payor dies.  Today’s Court of Appeal’s decision in Fiddie v. Fiddie, 384 S.C. 120, 681 S.E.2d 42 (Ct.App. 2009) is an additional reminder of why payor spouses might want to offer generous lump sum alimony to avoid permanent periodic alimony. The Fiddies’ twenty-eight year marriage ended in […]

Irresponsible baby daddies

One day I may post a blog describing my research on why the methods that South Carolina uses to collect back child support (sarcastically referred to as “Daddy Round-Ups”) are an improper use of the court’s civil contempt powers.  However, even if the current uses of civil contempt to collect back child support are improper, I […]

Supreme Court decision reestablishes deference to family court judges’ credibility findings

I have been eagerly awaiting today’s [June 15, 2009] South Carolina Supreme Court decision in McCrosson v. Tanenbaum, 383 S.C. 150, 679 S.E.2d 172 (2009). Not only was this one of the more notorious recent child custody cases in my county, but the Court of Appeals opinion 375 S.C. 225, 652 S.E.2d 73 (Ct.App. 2007) that the Supreme Court […]

A legal education can be expensive

I love contempt. See Enforcement (or Defending Enforcement) of Family Court Orders.  Folks tend to forget (if they ever realized) that court orders aren’t simply laudatory proclamations suggesting what people should or should not do but judicially-created law that carries the authority of police powers behind it.  Nothing brings out the venal, mendacious and dysfunctional […]

The sexless marriage

Last week the New York Times ran a blog titled When Sex Leaves the Marriage. Practice family law for over fifteen years and you’ll witness first-hand how most marriages that fail break down over children, money or sex.  Thus, I spend a great deal of time thinking about how sex should impact divorce issues. In […]


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