Archive for the ‘Child Custody’ Category

Passports and child custody

I know family court judges who don’t have passports and am frankly shocked–until you experience foreign cultures its hard to truly understand that radically different approaches to parenting other than the current American middle-class norm might be effective (and might not be potentially abusive). The world is diverse and increasingly interconnected. Children who don’t get […]

Possibly correct but poorly reasoned custody and relocation decision from the Court of Appeals

The January 24, 2018 Court of Appeals opinion in Burgess v. Arnold is possibly correct but, in at least three important particulars, poorly reasoned. Burgess stems from Mother’s appeal of a family court order that gave the parties joint custody with her having primary custody over all issue except education. That order required that she […]

How fathers who gain custody can keep custody

For reasons having nothing to do with sexism, more mothers than fathers have custody of their children. Often when fathers get custody they have never had the role of equal or primary caretaker of their children. If they gained custody because the mother was unfit (and remains unfit) there is little risk of mother getting […]

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 […]

South Carolina child custody restraining orders I really hate

By the same process that causes attorneys’ boilerplate to grow over time–they borrow “good” ideas from other attorneys but never weed out redundant or obsolete clauses–the list of restraining orders that family court judges impose on parents continues to grow. Since many local family court judges treat violations of these restraining orders as criminal contempt–and […]

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 […]


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