Archive for the ‘Family Court Procedure’ Category

Ambiguity in the rules on requests for admissions

There is a clear ambiguity in the South Carolina Rule of Civil Procedure regarding requests for admissions–SCRCP 36. I suspect that many denied requests to admit exploit (or take advantage of) this ambiguity. Akin to the procedural rule addressing responding to pleadings, the rule regarding responding to requests for admissions states that “when good faith […]

Without an itemized statement of time, your attorney fee affidavit is incomplete

Probably once a month I attend a contested family court hearing in which the opposing counsel attempts to submit a fee affidavit without including an itemized statement of time. Most often I’ve been able to keep the family court from considering awarding the other party attorney’s fees if I object. Yet this behavior persists. In […]

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’ […]

The surprising breadth of res judicata

At this point in my career, it’s rare I learn anything significant about legal doctrines from opposing counsels. However, earlier this week, I was completely schooled by an attorney, Jeffrey Thomas Watson, three years out of law school about the breadth of the res judicata doctrine. That doctrine holds that issues that have been completely […]

Not pleading for a guardian (or discovery)

Last week I prosecuted a motion to appoint a guardian ad litem for the child at issue in a custody case (along with requests for other relief). The opposing counsel opposed this request. In support of his opposition he noted that my complaint had not sought a guardian as part of the relief I was […]

What are the potential remedies for notice-based contempt pleadings?

Late last month the family court issued a contempt petition against a client of mine in which the petition was a “notice” pleading, not a “fact” pleading. For those unfamiliar with the distinction, a notice pleading (typical in the federal courts as authorized by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8), simply provides the Defendant notice […]

Sealing records when private custody cases reference past child protective services involvement

While the general principal is that court records are open to the public, information from child protective services cases are not. Thus conflicts develop between the general rule of open records and the prohibition against revealing child protective services information. Twice in the past month I have been involved in a private custody case that […]

Getting arbitration awards turned into court orders (or preventing it from happening)

Many of my colleagues are turning to arbitration to resolve family law disputes. Few seem aware that an arbitrator’s award does not automatically become a valid court order. South Carolina’s Uniform Arbitration Act, Title 15, Chapter 48, sets forth procedures to challenge or obtain court approval of an arbitration award. S.C. Code §15-48-120 addresses “Confirmation […]

 

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