Archive for February, 2011

Sandbagging opposing counsel: don’t do it

A colleague came to me today seeking advice.  Opposing counsel had served her client with a rule to show cause but the service hadn’t been done properly.  The hearing was coming up and she wanted my advice on what she should do. Every attorney makes occasional procedural mistakes.  I’m a bigger stickler for the rules […]

Maybe we’re taking the deference to the family court judge’s credibility determinations too far?

The February 23, 2011 Court of Appeals opinion in Reiss v. Reiss, 392 S.C. 198, 708 S.E.2d 799 (Ct.App 2011) makes me question whether the appellate courts are taking the deference to family court judge’s credibility findings too far.  In Reiss, Husband got beaten miserably at trial and he didn’t obtain any relief from this appeal. […]

Family law CLE on Handling your first…

Natalie Bluestein and I have decided to organize and moderate a continuing legal education program aimed at recently licensed attorneys who practice in family court.   With the recent influx of newly licensed attorneys who are practicing family law without direct supervision, we hope this CLE provides the help and guidance they need to establish […]

He got what he wanted but lost what he had

Little Richard threatened to title his yet-unwritten autobiography, “He got what he wanted but lost what he had,” after his 1962 single of the same name.  Someone should appropriate that title for a memoir of modern Bourgeois marriage.  That title, and the poignant sadness it implies, is the meta theme for much of the literature of Western […]

Hit the crack pipe, not the bong?

At a family law lecture yesterday, I came to the realization that most South Carolina family law attorneys believe there is a ground for divorce for habitual drug use.  However a close reading of S.C. Code. Ann. § 20-3-10(4) makes the ground for divorce “Habitual drunkenness; provided, that this ground shall be construed to include […]

Ode to optimism

I had the pleasure yesterday of attending the wedding of one of my legal colleagues, Allen Mastantuno, and his new bride, Blair O’Briant.  I’ve gotten to know the new couple the past year after Allen began renting office space in the same suite in which I practice.  Allen and Blair are lovely people: smart, hard […]

Making the defendant testify in the plaintiff’s case-in-chief

I have never understood the general preference of litigants and attorneys to be the plaintiff in family court proceedings.  “You get to go first,” is the sole explanation for this preference, which is indubitably true.  The collerary is that the defendant gets to go last.  In most competitions  going last is considered a big advantage. […]

The men don’t know but the little girls understand[1] (or, I took my nine year old daughter to a rave and neither of us ended up regretting it)

A desire to participate in communal ecstatic experiences would appear to be an innate part of human existence.  Almost every culture in every time has had some version of this: generally involving music and dance–rhythm appears to be hardwired; often involving mass invocations of fealty to a deity or ideology; frequently involving a Dionysian use […]


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