Archive for the ‘Jurisprudence’ Category

The interaction of the De Facto Custodian statute and the Moore factors

There are numerous recurring issues in South Carolina family law that ultimately will need to be resolved by our appellate courts. One of the more interesting ones–because it is both relatively common and extremely consequential–is the interaction of the De Facto Custodian statute and the Moore factors. The Moore factors were created by the 1989 […]

Alimony for the less ambitious spouse

On June 6, 2019, I argued an appeal in the Court of Appeals that involved a novel issue that I expect to become increasingly common. The family court ordered my client, the Appellant/Wife (I was not the trial attorney), to pay significant permanent periodic alimony to her now Ex-Husband. Unhappy with the both amount and […]

Is South Carolina heading the wrong path potentially expanding fault divorce?

In 1969 California became the first state to allow no-fault divorce. In 2010 New York became the last state to allow it. In the interim, the other 48 states began authorizing no-fault divorce, with some abolishing fault grounds for divorce altogether and others, like South Carolina, retaining fault grounds while adding a no-fault ground. When […]

Whose “morality” dictates what is in the best interests of the child?

South Carolina case law from as recently as May 2018 holds that the morality of a parent is a proper factor for consideration in custody determinations, limited in its force to what relevancy it has, either directly or indirectly, to the welfare of the child. The problem with this case law is that it leaves […]

The unfairness of the family court asking litigants if they think their agreement is “fair”

In the South Carolina family court, a standard part of the practice of questioning parties about their agreements before approving said agreements is whether the party believes that agreement is “fair.” If minor children are involved, that process will also include a question about whether the agreement is additionally fair to the parties’ children. Those […]

Does South Carolina divorce law distinguish marijuana use from abuse?

One of South Carolina’s four fault grounds for divorce under S.C. Code §20-3-10 is “Habitual drunkenness; provided, that this ground shall be construed to include habitual drunkenness caused by the use of any narcotic drug.” Hutchinson v. Liberty Life Insurance Co., 393 S.C. 19, 709 S.E.2d 130 (Ct.App. 2011) indicates that marijuana qualifies as a […]

Is merely having a “crush” on another marital fault?

I recently handled oral argument on an appeal that resulted in the unpublished opinion. One unusual aspect of the case was Husband’s focus, and the opinion’s recognition, that, Wife had a “crush” on someone who worked with one of the parties’ children and that Husband learned of this crush when he caught Wife emailing a […]

Smith case reveals judges do more than simply call balls and strikes

  After I posted my blog on the May 9, 2018 South Carolina Supreme Court opinion in SCDSS v. Smith to Facebook, a number of my attorney friends commented with dismay about the court’s consideration of the Grandmother’s limited income as a factor in allowing Foster Parents (and not Grandmother) to adopt the minor child […]

 

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