Patterns in 2016 Published South Carolina Family Court opinions

For the past six years I’ve done an annual recap of the prior year’s South Carolina published family court appeals. It’s an opportunity for me to observe patterns that I may not have observed in reviewing each published opinion discretely and shortly after its release.

After a slow start (two published opinions in the first six months), the South Carolina Court of Appeals ultimately issued eleven published family court opinions in 2016. While answering one of my One hundred things I don’t know about South Carolina family law in a disciplinary opinion, the South Carolina Supreme Court did not issue a single published family court decision. I believe that has never happened before in my twenty-four years of practice.

Probably the most consequential 2016 opinion is Noojin v. Noojin, which confirmed my long-held belief that, in some circumstances, custodial parents could be held in contempt for refusing to force their children to visit the other parent.

Lessons for South Carolina family law attorneys for 2016: encourage custodial parents to follow court orders on visitation and don’t issue records subpoenas without orders of discovery.

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