Archive for the ‘Litigation Strategy’ Category

How automatic discovery has changed my family law practice

It’s been six months since the South Carolina Supreme Court mandated automatic discovery in family court. I didn’t expect this rule change to change my practice. It has. As I’ve noted before, serving discovery can be a way of showing the opposing party that one is serious about the litigation and that one has given […]

What you think, what you know, and what you can prove

One goes into a hearing or trial trying to establish various facts that will hopefully lead the court to rule in the desired manner. However the court is looking for “proof” of these facts. Merely alleging these facts exist is insufficient to convince a factfinder. One might think of three confidence levels in evidence: thinking […]

Falling into the tiger pit of prior consistent statements

About a decade ago I represented a pre-teen girl in a DSS abuse and neglect case in which she alleged her stepfather had sexually abused her. DSS became involved after she reported the abuse to a school counselor. At a pre-trial hearing, in an attempt to get the matter dismissed, the stepfather’s attorney had noted […]

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 […]

Answering discovery you first object to

A pet peeve of mine is attorneys who begin discovery responses with a list of boilerplate objections. Recently I received interrogatory answers from two separate attorneys who I actually respect with such lists. One response began: This response is submitted by Plaintiff subject to and without in any way waiving or intending to waive, but […]

The aggravation of equitably dividing household furnishings

Early in my career I spent an afternoon with two estranged spouses and a friendly opposing counsel auctioning the parties’ household furnishings to the highest bidder as the method of equitable distribution.  From this I developed two insights: 1) this is the fairest way to equitably divide household furnishings; and 2) this is an insane […]

The time to prepare for trial is long before trial

I’m always amazed when the court asks me if I can be ready for a multi-day trial it wishes to set a few weeks hence. The level of preparation necessary to determine that trial is necessary is vastly lower than the level of preparation necessary to actually try the case. It requires months–at least three […]

 

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