Archive for July, 2012

South Carolina Supreme Court amends Rules of Professional Conduct to address the charging of advance fees by lawyers

Today the South Carolina Supreme Court adopted amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct to address the charging of advance fees by lawyers.  Given recent confusing disciplinary opinions regarding the handling of minimum fees or non refundable retainers these new rules provide welcome clarity. The primary change is the addition of Rule1.5(f), which reads: (f) […]

The New York Times and Family Law

The amount and quality of the journalism coming from the New York Times that touches on issues related to family law is–literally–remarkable.  I could easily generate 100 blogs a year highlighting Times stories that implicate family law.  Often this journalism identifies first-wave issues that are likely to go national, such as a recent article on […]

South Carolina Supreme Court’s Suspension of Family Court Rule 24 for Title IV-D Cases

Two different family law attorneys have asked–nay demanded–that I blog about the July 19, 2012 South Carolina Supreme Court Administrative Order suspending application of South Carolina Family Court Rule 24 as it relates to the review and enforcement of Title IV-D child support payments paid through the clerk of court.  This suspension is based upon […]

Supreme Court applies Federal Indian Child Welfare Act to prevent adoption

The July 26, 2012 South Carolina Supreme Court opinion in Adoptive Couple v. Cherokee Nation, 398 S.C. 625, 731 S.E.2d 550 (2012), had been long anticipated.  The story of two-year old Veronica ripped from her adoptive parents who had raised her since birth and returned to her biological father in Oklahoma was a local media sensation, with comments […]

The limitations of textualist construction in statutory interpretation

Based on a mostly enthusiastic review in the New York Times by Stanley Fish, I purchased “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,” by (Supreme Court Justice) Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner.  While generally not a fan of Scalia’s originalist approach to constitutional law, I find his textualist approach to generally be a sound […]

What drinking problem?

The past few years I have, on numerous occasions, met with a family court litigant who has made obvious attempts to alter his or her body to evade the consequences, and change the results, of a court-ordered drug or alcohol test.  On a few occasions they have even admitted drinking large quantities of some substance, […]

A shield but not a sword

I reviewed two files yesterday in which one party to a custody dispute was refusing to answer questions by invoking her 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination while seeking affirmative relief from the family court.  In both instances, the opposing attorneys were accepting this 5th Amendment invocation without protest.  They could do more. Both South Carolina […]

What does it all mean?

Recent Charleston School of Law graduate Asher Watson has asked me questions about recently enacted (effective June 26, 2012) South Carolina House Bill 3400, which modifies S.C. Code § 63-3-530(A)(17), a subsection of the family court code that explains when child support terminates.  That code section previously read that “The family court has exclusive jurisdiction:” […]


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