Archive for the ‘Not South Carolina Specific’ Category

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 […]

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 […]

Best methods for equalizing physical custody

There are some custody cases that will only settle if both parties get equal time with the child(ren). Thus a sizable subset of custody cases settle with both parties getting at least 180 overnights a year. There are numerous ways one could theoretically create such a custody schedule but many of them are, frankly, stupid. […]

What do we mean by custody?

Parents come to my office wanting to litigate custody. Often they are not sure what it means but they know they want it. Terms like “sole custody,” “shared custody,” “joint custody,” and “primary custody” get mentioned and folks want to know what these terms mean. I really can’t answer. One reason I can’t answer is […]

Was there wisdom in the “tender years” doctrine

There is no doubt that the “tender years” doctrine–which favored granting mothers custody of young children–would not pass constitutional muster in the 21st century. Such gender based classifications cannot survive strict scrutiny as there is no “compelling governmental interest” that favors mothers over fathers in determinations of infant custody and, even if there were, a […]

Getting bossy with custody clients

I have a saying that custody cases are the rare litigation in which it is acceptable for an attorney to change the facts.  While the parties’ parenting skills at the beginning of the case are relevant, their parenting skills at the end of the case can be even more relevant.  Guiding a client to change […]

Answering discovery you first object to

A pet peeve of mine is attorneys who begin discovery responses with a list of boilerplate objections. Recently I received interrogatory answers from two separate attorneys who I actually respect with such lists. One response began: This response is submitted by Plaintiff subject to and without in any way waiving or intending to waive, but […]

 

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