Archive for March, 2013

Will your adult children dread visiting you?

I attended a hearing yesterday in which two seemingly caring parents of teenagers were, perhaps unwittingly, doing their best to destroy the other’s relationship with these children.  At the conclusion of the hearing the judge addressed the parties with advice that I had never heard before.  I paraphrase: I am the father of adult children. […]

Renegotiating with litigants who won’t obey their previous court-approved agreements

Folks who refuse to comply with their court-approved agreements but then ask you to renegotiate those agreements to make them more to their liking are akin to domestic abusers attempting to sweet talk their way back into the home.  Which makes the folks who agree to renegotiate agreements that the other side won’t obey…..abused. Just […]

Mediator full employment act hits the tri-county area

News today from the South Carolina Judicial Department announced a March 14, 2013 Supreme Court order making Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties subject to mandatory alternative dispute resolution for “cases filed in the circuit court and the family court on or after June 1, 2013.”  Previously the local family courts were pretty uniform about requiring […]

Divided Supreme Court reinstates termination of parental rights

In the March 20, 2013 opinion in SCDSS v. Sarah W., 402 S.C. 324, 741 S.E.2d 739 (2013), a divided South Carolina Supreme Court reinstated a termination of parental rights and rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of S.C. Code § 63-7-2570(8), which allows parental rights to be terminated when “[t]he child has been in foster […]

When abuse and neglect and private custody cases overlap

Not infrequently a claim of abuse or neglect against one parent will lead another parent to seek custody.  Other times a private custody case will lead to a referral to the Department of Social Services (DSS), which leads that agency to bring an abuse and neglect proceeding.  Either way, the result is concurrent DSS abuse […]

Going for the “easy kill” in contempt proceedings

Clients seeking to hold the other party in contempt for violation of a family court order often present a mix of potential contempt claims.  Some of these claims will merely seek compliance with the court order.  An example might be a contempt action for unpaid support, in which the goal is to get the other […]

Supreme Court holds foster parents lack standing to seek or challenge adoption when child is placed with DSS for purpose of placing child for adoption

The March 8, 2013 Supreme Court opinion in Youngblood v. DSS, 402 S.C. 311, 741 S.E.2d 515 (2013), holds that once the South Carolina Department of Social Services is given the legal authority to place a child for adoption, there is no right to judicial review for parties unhappy with DSS’s decision. In Youngblood, the Youngbloods were foster […]

Zero tolerance idiocracy

It’s dress up Friday at my daughter’s magnet school, in which students can ditch uniforms and come as their favorite novel character.  My daughter’s dressing as Katniss from “The Hunger Games.”  While she was walking out the door with her crossbow and quiver of rubber arrows, I reminded my wife of the school district’s zero […]


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