Archive for March, 2011

Court of Appeals clarifies remedies to sell marital home in face of one party’s intransigence

Part of the family court’s goals in affecting an equitable distribution of separated spouses’ marital property is severing all entangling legal relationships and placing the parties in a position to begin anew.  Often the hardest item to disentangle is the marital home.  Even before the recent downturn in the housing market, there were numerous cases […]

Mediation is an alternative to trial, not to litigation: avoid premature mediation

There are some common issues that lead to mediations failing to resolve family court disputes.  One common problem is when one or both parties to the dispute continue to take an unreasonable position at mediation. Short of browbeating the parties–which vitiates the concept of mediation–there is little else the mediator can do to settle such […]

Unpublished Court of Appeals opinion provides guidance for mediators regarding admissibility of documents provided during mediation

From Guest Blogger, the Honorable Barry W. Knobel The South Carolina Court of Appeals filed what I consider to be an important unpublished family court opinion which, most probably, should have been published, in that it could have provided precedential guidance for family court mediators and attorneys participating in mediation.  [On a side note, an excellent family […]

Pulled inexorably into disaster

Life is competitive–survival-of-the-fittest and such–and lawyers are among the more competitive life forms.  We don’t like to lose and we especially don’t like to lose big.  Yet, no matter how good an attorney is, occasionally we find ourselves handling a situation in which disaster looms with little the attorney can do can prevent it.  In […]

I’m the attorney; not the babysitter

I had an opposing attorney call me this morning asking if my client’s plans had changed since yesterday.  When we confirmed her plans  the previous day I reminded her to let me, and the opposing party, know if her plans changed.  I hadn’t heard from her since,  so I told opposing counsel that her plans […]

Oral argument on April 7th: come see me crash and burn?

I’ve been handling appeals since I graduated law school, including drafting two appeal briefs in 1991 before being sworn in as a member of the Pennsylvania bar, and successfully briefing and arguing the appeal in Landry v. Hilton Head Plantation Prop. Owner’s Ass’n, 317 S.C. 200, 452 S.E.2d 619 (Ct.App.1994) within two years of being […]

(Don’t) throw me in the briar patch

It’s a shame that Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus books are considered racist nowadays due to their trickster tales and use of plantation-era African American dialect.  Throughout history the powerless have often used patois or pidgin speech to communicate in a manner that the powerful cannot understand.  Further such trickery can be used to make […]

Revealing or shielding a family court attorney’s itemized statement of time spent

An attorney’s itemized statement of time spent on a case can be a valuable piece of information for an opposing party and that party’s attorney.  Knowing what work the other party’s attorney has done can provide insight into that party’s strategy and focus.  That is why an attorney’s billing records are considered privileged material, not […]


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