Archive for January, 2012

Should a parent’s adultery be per se relevant to child custody?

I’m no social conservative but, contrary to many South Carolina family law attorneys and judges, I believe that a parent’s adultery is almost automatically relevant on the issue of child custody when such adultery demonstrates a spouse’s failure to honor his or her commitment of sexual fidelity to a spouse. South Carolina case law generally […]

Forgoing divorce grounds corroboration based upon an “admission against interest”

To prevent spouses from making up grounds for a divorce that they are not entitled to, South Carolina requires “corroboration” of divorce grounds to prevent “collusive” divorce requests. However, one shouldn’t assume that an independent witness or documentary evidence is necessary to corroborate a fault divorce.  Often an admission against interest will be sufficient to […]

In disputes between biological parents and third-parties, we don’t want decisions to be based on “the best interests of the child”

A review of the excellent news reporting from Allyson Bird at the Charleston Post and Courier, regarding the adoption case involving two year-old, Veronica, her prospective adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, and her Cherokee birth father, Dusten Brown, demonstrates a misunderstanding when a “best interests of the child” standard is applicable.  For custody cases […]

Mullarkey opinion utilizes S.C. Code Ann. § 63-3-530(A)(30) to allow clarification of equitable distribution award

The January 25, 2012 Court of Appeals opinion in Mullarkey v. Mullarkey, 397 S.C. 182, 723 S.E.2d 249 (Ct. App. 2012), provides valuable guidance on how to obtain clarification of an unclear “final” final order (“final” in the sense that all allowable post-trial motions and appeals have already been resolved or the time period to file such […]

Fuller opinion provides little guidance on affect of retirement on periodic alimony

Even though he was reversed, one has to admire the clarity of Judge R. Kinard Johnson, Jr.’s views on age, retirement and alimony.  Judge Johnson was asked to determine Husband’s request to reduce his alimony based on Husband’s claim that his medical condition limited his ability to work.  Husband was 67 years old at the […]

WTF does the restraint against exposing minor children to “age inappropriate entertainment” actually mean?

I sometimes think there is some hidden law titled, “The South Carolina Family Law Attorney Full Employment Act,” which requires family court judges to issue child-related restraining orders so vague that, in theory, an infinite number of attorneys could spend an infinite amount of time arguing about whether that restraint has been violated.  Such is […]

Shameless self-promotion

I will be speaking at two upcoming Continuing Legal Education programs. On January 27, 2012 I will be moderating and speaking at the South Carolina Bar’s annual guardian ad litem training in Columbia (and via satellite at various locations throughout the state).  My topic will be “Religion as a Child Custody Issue.”  The other topics […]

2011 provides further evidence of the dearth of published South Carolina family law appellate opinions

Two of my frequent complaints are that South Carolina family law attorneys don’t appeal enough of the decisions they believe are unjust and that the South Carolina appellate courts don’t publish enough of their family court decisions.   As a result of these two factors the development of family law in South Carolina fails to […]


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