Archive for the ‘Attorney’s Fees’ Category

Shouldn’t a party’s assets be a factor in “ability to pay” family court attorney’s fees?

E.D.M. v. T.A.M., 307 S.C. 471, 476-77, 415 S.E.2d 812, 816 (1992) is the seminal South Carolina case in deciding whether to award a prevailing party attorney’s fees in family court. It lists four factors the family court should use to determine an award of fees. Excepting the “beneficial results” factor, the other three factors […]

Bojilov highlights importance of a good record and accurate financial declarations

The September 19, 2018 Court of Appeals opinion in Bojilov v. Bojilov doesn’t establish any novel legal issues but does highlight important recurring issues in South Carolina Family Law. Bojilov stems from a divorce, with the primary issues on appeal being child custody, Husband’s right to travel with the child to Bulgaria, alimony, equitable distribution, […]

Stoney 2 (or 4) largely follows the original Stoney opinion

The long strange journey of the Stoney appeal took another step on August 29, 2018 when the Court of Appeals issued its remanded opinion. Told by the Supreme Court to review the case on a de novo standard of review, and then told by the Supreme Court to review evidentiary and procedural issues on an […]

Don’t expect the other side to pay your attorney’s fees

Folks going through marital litigation–and, less often, folks going through custody disputes– often contact me regarding representation with the expectation that the other side will be required to pay my fee and the concurrent hope that I will work without an initial retainer (or for a low retainer) based upon that expectation. These litigants assume […]

South Carolina Court of Appeals opinion highlights the importance of accurate financial declarations

My clients get sick of me harping on refining and corroborating their financial declarations before we file them. In the future I will direct them to the April 5, 2017 Court of Appeals opinion in Sweeney v. Sweeney, 420 S.C. 69, 800 S.E.2d 148 (Ct. App. 2017), and remind them how both parties were harmed […]

How to enforce an attorney fee award

A few months ago my mentee observed me enforce my attorney fee award through a family court contempt proceeding. Expecting me to prove the contempt through my client’s testimony, she was surprised when I testified first and asked my client very few questions when I called him as a witness. The method attorneys typically use […]

Wife’s lack of corroborating evidence mostly dooms her appeal

In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story “Adventure of the Silver Blaze,” Sherlock Holmes deduces the identity of the thief, in part, by noting that a dog did not bark, indicating the thief was no stranger. Holmes understood that the absence of evidence can be as telling as evidence itself. This is often true in […]

Five years of litigation, all for naught

Pity poor Lori Stoney, a fellow member of the Charleston County family court bar, and the appellant in the July 27, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in Stoney v. Stoney, 417 S.C. 345, 790 S.E.2d 31 (Ct. App. 2016).  After waiting over 20 months from oral argument to the decision, the Court of Appeals simply […]

 

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