Archive for September, 2010

Maybe we’re stretching the definition of adultery a bit too far?

I married a few years before I moved to South Carolina or began practicing family law.  When I married I thought I had a workable definition of the what the adultery that I wasn’t supposed to be having meant.  I knew I wasn’t to have sex with other women.  My wife wouldn’t have considered it […]

Monthly visits and small gifts sufficient to prevent termination of parental rights says Court of Appeals

Note: this decision was later reversed by the South Carolina Supreme Court.  See, Supreme Court grants termination of parental rights, finding mother’s failure to support was “willful” Today’s 2-1 decision in SC Department of Social Services v. M. R. C. L., 390 S.C. 329, 701 S.E.2d 757 (Ct. App. 2010), reversed a family court ruling terminating […]

Should having sex, or even spending nights, with one’s spouse prevent a one-year’s continuous separation divorce?

South Carolina law allows spouses to obtain a divorce when they “have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year.” S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-10(5).  Based primarily upon what I hear anecdotally, I suspect if you asked South Carolina family court judges whether they could grant a divorce on this ground […]

Seeking paternity testing and joint custody

While nothing in the law prohibits it explicitly, I’ve never understood how attorneys can counsel their male clients to demand DNA paternity testing, especially for a child born in their marriage, while seeking joint custody of that child.  I’ve never done it and I don’t see how one can escape the logical conclusion that in […]

I thought I was “taking one for the team”

For a family law attorney, having sexual relations with a client’s spouse is probably the height of (over)zealous advocacy (assuming that the spouse is the opposing party). That spouse’s adultery would probably be an absolute bar to alimony.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-130(A) (“No alimony may be awarded a spouse who commits adultery before […]

Bill James, American exceptionalism, and a sense of perspective and vigilance

Sabermetric guru Bill James is one of my favorite writers and one of my fantasy dinner guests.  Recently he’s turned his attention to the history of crime in America and has a book out next Spring, Popular Crime. One of the issues that book examines is why America’s crime rate is much higher than that […]

Court ordered sibling visitation in South Carolina

One of the more recent additions to the South Carolina jurisdictional code regarding children and family court, § 63-3-530, is subsection 44, which allows the family court “to order sibling visitation where the court finds it is in the best interest of the children.”  The sentiments behind this code subsection, the judicial protection of sibling […]

High income child support in South Carolina: extrapolation versus the “Three Pony Rule”

A belief undergirding support guidelines is that children are entitled to enjoy a lifestyle similar to their parents, but if daddy has an entourage does this mean the children deserve one too? How to determine child support when the parents’ combined income is above the child support guidelines is an issue increasingly litigated but infrequently […]


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