Archive for the ‘Litigation Strategy’ Category

Don’t forget rebuttal

One of the biggest mistakes I see my family court colleagues making is forgoing the opportunity to present rebuttal (sometimes called reply) testimony. Rebuttal is the testimony the Plaintiff presents to rebut the testimony the Defendant presented in his or her case in chief. No attorney who handles family court appeals–and is presented with a […]

What are you communicating with your proposed parenting plan?

In 2012, South Carolina revised its child custody statutes and added a provision requiring proposed parenting plans at temporary hearings. This parenting plan asks each party to propose a bi-weekly, holiday, electronic, and summer visitation schedule, address legal custody, describe requested restraints, and note any other custody concerns the family court should be aware of. […]

The most obvious malpractice there is in South Carolina family law

About five years ago–after being burned for the umpteenth time by entering a temporary consent order binding my client to a temporary support without first obtaining a financial declaration from the opposing party, only to subsequently learn that the other party’s income and expenses would not have justified such generous support–I vowed never again to […]

Outline of “Preparing for a Family Court Trial”

In August 2017, I lectured at the Charleston School of Law on “Preparing for a Family Court Trial.” The lecture outline has never been published. Some might consider it a handy trial preparation cheat sheet. Those who do are welcome to download it.

Defending the client’s deposition

An attorney tasked with defending a client’s deposition is doing most of the work prior to the deposition. While I have a frequently asked question on how a deponent should act at his or her deposition, the basic gist is: understand the question before you answer it; don’t lie; answer the question asked (but don’t […]

There is no formula to predict South Carolina alimony obligations

There’s a chart circulating amongst South Carolina family law attorneys that lists most of the published alimony opinions and has columns for the amount of alimony ordered, length of marriage, the spouses’ respective incomes and expenses, grounds for divorce, and other factors described in the alimony statute. My understanding is that family law attorneys look […]

Shouldn’t a party’s assets be a factor in “ability to pay” family court attorney’s fees?

E.D.M. v. T.A.M., 307 S.C. 471, 476-77, 415 S.E.2d 812, 816 (1992) is the seminal South Carolina case in deciding whether to award a prevailing party attorney’s fees in family court. It lists four factors the family court should use to determine an award of fees. Excepting the “beneficial results” factor, the other three factors […]

You ain’t my only (or even final) audience: the unacknowledged revolution that Lewis and Stoney have wrought

By the start of this millennium I believe I had developed a reputation for overtrying my domestic cases: that is, I was considered an attorney who wasn’t satisfied with proving a contested fact though one source but would attempt to prove contested facts through as many sources as possible. The common byproduct of this approach […]

 

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