Archive for the ‘Litigation Strategy’ Category

The difficulties of predicting alimony reduction on retirement

In 2012 South Carolina passed a statute, S.C. Code § 20-3-170(B), in which one subsection set forth criteria for the family courts to consider when modifying alimony upon a supporting spouse’s retirement. One assumed the goal was to create greater certainty and uniformity for retirement-based alimony reduction/termination cases. However this subsection lists six factors for […]

Marital property as lump sum alimony

There are occasionally cases in which a spouse who would typically pay significant permanent periodic alimony as part of a marital dissolution has destroyed his career around the time of the parties’ separation. Often this career destruction was the cause of the marital dissolution: a spouse charged with a crime that leaves him incarcerated or […]

What de novo appellate review is actually doing

I thought it noteworthy when the Supreme Court remanded Stoney v. Stoney, 421 S.C. 528 , 809 S.E.2d 59 (2017), back to the Court of Appeals to apply an even less deferential (to the family court) standard of review for an appeal in which the Court of Appeals had granted the appellant practically everything she […]

An evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer

I find it curious that attorneys routinely treat incomplete or evasive discovery responses as no big deal. From my reading, Rule 37(a)(3), SCRCP, could not be more clear, “For purposes of this subdivision an evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer.” Further, Rule 37(a)(2), SCRCP, makes it clear that […]

The guardian’s questionnaire is additional interrogatories

While not thought of as such, the guardian’s questionnaire is akin to additional (child-custody related) interrogatories. As an example, the current questionnaire of a local attorney/guardian, S. Maria Averill, whose work I greatly respect follows: Admittedly such questionnaires are not answered under oath. Still, inaccurate responses or responses that trash the other parent or that […]

Does your work product convey seriousness?

With every litigation both parties have the options of settlement or trial. One factor in deciding whether and on what terms to settle is how seriously the other side appears in its preparation to take the case to trial. A less prepared opposing party presents lower risks at trial and allows a more aggressive approach […]

The pitfalls of boilerplate supplemental interrogatories

I’m shocked how often I encounter supplemental interrogatories in family court in which the issuing attorney has clearly given no thought into how interrogatories might be useful in that particular case. The ability to require the opposing party to answer up to fifty (including subparts) unique questions, under oath, and early in the case, without […]

Wives can pay alimony too

When I first began practicing family law twenty-five years ago it was almost unheard of for South Carolina wives to be ordered to pay alimony. Even when circumstances suggested alimony might be appropriate (high income wife; low income husband staying home with the parties’ children) few took these husbands’ alimony requests seriously. Often these husbands […]

 

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