Posts Of Interest to Family Law Attorneys

Supreme Court finds valuation of Greek farm preserved for appeal–remands issue to Court of Appeals

The November 15, 2017 Supreme Court opinion in Conits v. Conits granted Husband’s petition for a writ of certiorari, dispensed with further briefing, and reversed the Court of Appeals opinion in Conits v. Conits, 417 S.C. 127, 789 S.E.2d 51 (Ct.App. 2016). It remanded back to the Court of Appeals one issue on Husband’s appeal: the […]

How automatic discovery has changed my family law practice

It’s been six months since the South Carolina Supreme Court mandated automatic discovery in family court. I didn’t expect this rule change to change my practice. It has. As I’ve noted before, serving discovery can be a way of showing the opposing party that one is serious about the litigation and that one has given […]

Free Mental Health Ethics CLE for Young South Carolina Lawyers

On November 10, 2017 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. I will be lecturing at the Charleston School of Law on “Preserving one’s sanity when one starts practicing law: advice for a newly licensed attorney (or what my older self wishes my younger self had known).” The lecture is being videotaped for the South Carolina Bar’s […]

What you think, what you know, and what you can prove

One goes into a hearing or trial trying to establish various facts that will hopefully lead the court to rule in the desired manner. However the court is looking for “proof” of these facts. Merely alleging these facts exist is insufficient to convince a factfinder. One might think of three confidence levels in evidence: thinking […]

Getting arbitration awards turned into court orders (or preventing it from happening)

Many of my colleagues are turning to arbitration to resolve family law disputes. Few seem aware that an arbitrator’s award does not automatically become a valid court order. South Carolina’s Uniform Arbitration Act, Title 15, Chapter 48, sets forth procedures to challenge or obtain court approval of an arbitration award. S.C. Code §15-48-120 addresses “Confirmation […]

Building better restraining orders

A few weeks ago I blogged about what I considered ill-conceived child custody restraining orders. These restraints criminalized behavior that, while not ideal, are hardly incarceration worthy (e.g., no vulgarity around the children), criminalized behavior that is completely proper (one could not bring one’s boyfriend/girlfriend to a family reunion even if one slept in separate […]

Falling into the tiger pit of prior consistent statements

About a decade ago I represented a pre-teen girl in a DSS abuse and neglect case in which she alleged her stepfather had sexually abused her. DSS became involved after she reported the abuse to a school counselor. At a pre-trial hearing, in an attempt to get the matter dismissed, the stepfather’s attorney had noted […]

The myth of the ironclad prenuptial agreement

Intolerable Cruelty, a lesser Coen Brothers movie, follows the courtship of an over-slick, high-powered divorce lawyer and a man-eating gold-digger, as they take turns getting over on the other. The plot’s Macguffin is the “Massey Pre-Nup,” an allegedly ironclad agreement that has never been successfully challenged. It is, obviously, a work of fiction. Most folks seeking […]

 

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