Archive for July, 2013

When can a family law attorney be required to pay the other party’s fees?

A few weeks ago one of my mentees inquired whether there were circumstances in which an attorney could be required to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees.  There are two circumstances I am aware of and a wise attorney avoids those circumstances. An attorney can be required to pay the other side’s fees for having […]

Grasping at straws

Many family law attorneys I know have mixed feelings about the outcome of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.  State and federal laws make it more difficult than necessary for fathers of children born out of wedlock to assert their parental rights: the balance between the right to claim paternity and the imposition of child support […]

Seeking protective orders for private investigator information

Since adultery is often a bar to alimony in South Carolina, family law attorneys here frequently employ private investigators (PIs).  However, even when such PIs develop solid evidence of adultery, they rarely develop ironclad evidence.  If the opposing party knows what evidence the PI has developed, s/he can concoct an evasive story that denies the […]

Failing to answer a family court complaint can be malpractice

Recently I was an expert witness [for the first time in my career] in a legal malpractice case.  I was asked to provide an opinion about the standard of care for a family court attorney who had failed to file an answer and counterclaim.  This led to his client being precluded from seeking relief she […]

In 3-2 decision, South Carolina Supreme Court orders immediate adoption in Indian Adoption case

In a 3-2 decision today [July 17, 2013] in the case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 404 S.C. 483, 746 S.E.2d 51 (2013), the South Carolina Supreme Court resolved the remand from the United States Supreme Court by: [R]emand[ing] this case to the Family Court for the prompt entry of an order approving and finalizing […]

Why does South Carolina require court proceedings and a guardian ad litem for parents to change a child’s name by agreement?

I occasionally get calls from folks wanting to change their child’s name.  Often both parents agree on the name change.  Yet South Carolina not only requires parents to obtain an order from the family court to change their child’s name, it also requires that a guardian ad litem be appointed for the child as part […]

Give ‘em enough rope

Sometimes, in contested custody cases, parents seek more time with the children than they actually want or can realistically handle.  The motivation can be malevolent: a desire to “punish” the other parent or pay less child support by arguing for application of Schedule C Child Support Guidelines.  The motivation can also be merely misguided: many […]

Well it seemed obvious to me

I’ve avoided blogging about the June 12, 2013 Supreme Court opinion in Ware v. Ware, 404 S.C. 1, 743 S.E.2d 817 (2013), until remittitur issued, not wanting to jeopardize a victory that’s taken over five years to achieve.  What’s seemed blindingly obvious to me–that once Ms. Ware chose to enter a special appearance and challenge jurisdiction in […]


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