Archive for the ‘Contempt/Enforcement of Orders’ Category

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 […]

Who has the burden of proof on the willfulness element of contempt?

A few days ago I prosecuted a contempt action. The proof for one of the allegations of contempt was very document intensive and mathematical–reimbursement for unpaid medical expenses–and another was heavily reliant on exhibits. I figured that establishing violations would be easier by having my client explain the records through direct testimony rather than by cross-examining […]

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 and remind them how both parties were harmed by financial declarations that were inaccurate or uncorroborated. Husband […]

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 […]

Where should one enforce a support order when the obligor resides elsewhere?

A common dilemna in family law is enforcing a support order when the obligor no longer resides in the issuing state. There are two reasonable ways of resolving the matter. One option is to enforce the order in the issuing state and, if necessary, register the resulting enforcement order in the obligor’s state of residence. […]

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 […]

Court of Appeals affirms contempt finding against mother who didn’t force children to visit

Calling bullsh*t on custodial parents who let the children decide their visitation is one of my most controversial and by far my most commented-upon blog.  In that blog I argue that it is the custodial parent’s job to require the children spend their court-ordered visitation time with the non-custodial parent (assuming that parent wants to […]

Script for defeating the “unclean hands” defense in contempt prosecutions

I don’t believe “unclean hands” is a defense to contempt. If an opposing party seeks to hold my client in contempt for conduct that party has engaged in, I believe proper procedure is to bring one’s own contempt action. If that party’s conduct has prevented my client’s compliance with a court order, I think the […]

 

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