Archive for the ‘Of Interest to Family Court Litigants’ Category

The guardian’s questionnaire is additional interrogatories

While not thought of as such, the guardian’s questionnaire is akin to additional (child-custody related) interrogatories. As an example, the current questionnaire of a local attorney/guardian, S. Maria Averill, whose work I greatly respect follows: Admittedly such questionnaires are not answered under oath. Still, inaccurate responses or responses that trash the other parent or that […]

The pitfalls of boilerplate supplemental interrogatories

I’m shocked how often I encounter supplemental interrogatories in family court in which the issuing attorney has clearly given no thought into how interrogatories might be useful in that particular case. The ability to require the opposing party to answer up to fifty (including subparts) unique questions, under oath, and early in the case, without […]

Wives can pay alimony too

When I first began practicing family law twenty-five years ago it was almost unheard of for South Carolina wives to be ordered to pay alimony. Even when circumstances suggested alimony might be appropriate (high income wife; low income husband staying home with the parties’ children) few took these husbands’ alimony requests seriously. Often these husbands […]

A few big things trump a lot of small things

At the very beginning of any new domestic client relationship the attorney and client need to discuss the client’s goal, discuss the law related to each of these goals, and discuss the evidence that might be marshaled to achieve each goal. For example, if a client has the goal of getting custody of the children, […]

Nelson demonstrates the problems of inaccurate or incomplete financial disclosure when resolving equitable distribution

The August 21, 2019 Court of Appeals opinion in Nelson v. Nelson demonstrates the problems of inaccurate or incomplete financial disclosure when resolving equitable distribution issues. In Nelson both parties, but especially Husband, went to trial with incomplete or inaccurate information regarding the value of and their interest in various assets and debts, including real […]

Thompson finds Rule 60(b)(5), SCRCP, does not give family court subject matter jurisdiction to modify equitable distribution

The August 7, 2019 Court of Appeals opinion in Thompson v. Thompson, holds that Rule 60(b)(5), SCRCP, does not give that family court subject matter jurisdiction to modify an equitable distribution order. The Thompsons’ divorce decree approved a separation agreement providing “[a]s soon as she is able, Wife shall assume or re-finance all loans on […]

May approves reformation of a court-approved equitable distribution agreement based upon an alleged mutual mistake

The July 24, 2019 Court of Appeals opinion in May v. May, upheld the family court’s reformation of a court-approved separation agreement based upon the mediator’s scrivener’s error and an alleged mutual mistake. In May, the parties entered a separation agreement drafted by the mediator. In a provision dealing with the marital home, the parties’ […]

South Carolina Supreme Court finally (and only prospectively) abolishes common-law marriage–and makes it harder to establish retroactive common-law marriages

A decade ago, in a blog titled, “Why won’t South Carolina end common-law marriage?,” I expressed my strong dislike of the doctrine by noting, “cases resolving the issue of whether a couple was married at common-law do not become a ‘quest for the truth’ but instead devolve into determining who is the less convincing liar,” […]

 

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