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Jurisdiction shopping while pregnant

I recently handled a marital dissolution case in which my client had hightailed it while pregnant to another state. Her husband’s motion for temporary relief sought to have her return to South Carolina in an attempt to force her to bear their child in South Carolina–and thus insure South Carolina had subject matter jurisdiction to […]

South Carolina Supreme Court uses grandparent visitation case to reveal its true feelings about duplicitous parents

The October 30, 2019, South Carolina Supreme Court opinion in Bazen v. Bazen would be interesting if it merely tested the constitutionality of South Carolina’s most recent version of its grandparent visitation statute–more on that later. However, this case, which featured a mother who mouthed the proper pieties about encouraging a relationship between her children […]

In Thornton, Court of Appeals mostly affirms decisions on equitable distribution and fees

The October 23, 2019, Court of Appeals opinion in Thornton v. Thornton mostly affirms the family court’s decision on issues of equitable distribution and fees. In Thornton, Husband filed for an adultery divorce after he became suspicions of Wife’s relationship with a co-worker. Custody was highly contested and required the services of a guardian ad […]

Selecting a mediator: what are your goals?

Unlike a guardian ad litem–whose work product and testimony may impact a judge’s decision at trial–the only thing the court will hear from the mediator is that mediation took place, what issues were mediated, and what issues remain unresolved. In this respect the choice of mediator has no bearing on the outcome of the trial. […]

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 […]

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