Archive for February, 2013

Using prior consistent statements to bolster credibility

A few years ago I was court appointed in a Department of Social Services abuse and neglect case as the lawyer for a twelve year old who was accusing her stepfather of sexually molesting her.  Unique in my career, I was not her guardian or the lawyer for her guardian: I was her lawyer.  Thus […]

Seeking procedural relief before seeking substantive temporary relief

My colleagues frequently recount war stories in which their attempts to obtain substantive relief on a temporary basis early in the case failed while subsequent discovery uncovered evidence that might have led to a different temporary result.  By then it is typically difficult if not impossible to obtain the requested relief until trial (or to […]

Supreme Court alters equitable distribution award and reverses reservation of alimony

N.B., on May 8, 2013, the South Carolina Supreme Court slightly modified its original opinion.  For more information read Supreme Court reconsiders equitable distribution of marital home. The February 20, 2013 Supreme Court opinion in Wilburn v. Wilburn deals with numerous interesting, sometimes novel, equitable distribution issues.  The appeal stemmed from a divorce action in a […]

What becomes of a transmuted waterfront lot?

In my almost four years of blogging about every reported South Carolina appellate decision from family court and over fifteen years of handling family law appeals, I can discern a few clear patterns on when the appellate courts will reverse an equitable distribution award.  Math errors and clear mistakes of law will always lead to […]

Considerations in reconciliation

Occasionally separated spouses in marital dissolution actions attempt to reconcile.  Even though it’s bad for my business when they do so, I generally encourage reconciliation There are times when reconciliation is quite beneficial for my client. Perhaps my client was the Defendant and did not desire the separation in the first place.  Or my client […]

Custody to the bigger breeder

Unbeknownst to me until last week, on December 2, 2012 the South Carolina Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case of Moeller v. Moeller, 394 S.C. 365, 714 S.E.2d 898 (Ct. App. 2011), thus enshrining into South Carolina appellate case law one of the stupidest bases to award (heck, reverse) custody that our appellate courts […]

Presiding over the decline in the legal profession

Between my work as a volunteer attorney mentor, being asked by a Philippine attorney working on a book about legal career paths to describe mine, and being asked by South Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly “what do you tell young people who are considering a career in law?,” I have spent significant time the past few weeks […]

Is habitual and flaunted jaywalking “conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice”

Recently South Carolina’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) has taken action against attorneys for their activities outside the context of actual cases if these acts are “conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.”  Specifically, they are trying to discipline an attorney for vile blogging. Also recently, a New York Times article discussing United […]


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