Posts Of Interest to Family Law Attorneys

Unpublished Court of Appeals opinion does the unprecedented

For the 25 years I have been practicing family law no published South Carolina appellate opinion has approved an award of rehabilitative alimony. While I only began reading unpublished opinions in 2004, I cannot recall any such unpublished opinions. I certainly cannot recall any opinion in which an appellate court reversed an award of permanent […]

Court of Appeals affirms an unusual and detailed custody arrangement

The May 8, 2019 Court of Appeals opinion in Klein v. Barrett finds the Court of Appeals affirming a very detailed and highly unusual custody arrangement. Kline involved a custody modification brought by (Ex-)Wife. At the time of the parties’ 2010 divorce, (Ex-)Husband had primary custody of the children with Wife having liberal visitation and […]

Is South Carolina heading the wrong path potentially expanding fault divorce?

In 1969 California became the first state to allow no-fault divorce. In 2010 New York became the last state to allow it. In the interim, the other 48 states began authorizing no-fault divorce, with some abolishing fault grounds for divorce altogether and others, like South Carolina, retaining fault grounds while adding a no-fault ground. When […]

A published appellate opinion that might finally terminate alimony based upon continued cohabitation–finally

When, in 1990, South Carolina enacted its current alimony statute, S.C. Code § 20-3-130, it provided three grounds to automatically terminate permanent periodic alimony: 1) either party’s death; 2) the supported spouse’s remarriage; and 3) the “continued cohabitation” of the supported spouse. The statute further defined continued cohabitation as: the supported spouse resides with another […]

Supreme Court holds order establishing common-law marriage is immediately appealable

The April 3, 2019 Supreme Court opinion in Stone v. Thompson addresses the appealability of final orders from bifurcated proceedings for marital dissolution when a common-law marriage is alleged. Stone filed an action in the family court to establish a common-law marriage and for equitable distribution of marital property. The family court bifurcated the proceedings […]

Supreme Court acknowledges investment income is a factor in awarding alimony but affirms alimony award in which family court declined to set a specific figure for such income

The March 20, 2019, South Carolina Supreme Court opinion in Sweeney v. Sweeney “establishes” something I had assumed was already well established: in setting alimony, the family court should consider investment income available to the parties. After all, the sixth alimony factor is “the current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses.” S.C. Code Ann. […]

What are the potential remedies for notice-based contempt pleadings?

Late last month the family court issued a contempt petition against a client of mine in which the petition was a “notice” pleading, not a “fact” pleading. For those unfamiliar with the distinction, a notice pleading (typical in the federal courts as authorized by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8), simply provides the Defendant notice […]

Court of Appeals reverses family court’s finding of child abandonment

e January 13, 2019 Court of Appeals revered a family court’s finding that adoptive parents abandoned their teenage child in the case of SCDSS v. Wiseman. The case began when the daughter got into a verbal, and then physical, altercation with her parents. Law enforcement intervened and transported the child to a short-term psychiatric unit. […]

 

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