Blog

Vacating court approved agreements

Most family law attorneys will occasionally get contacted by an unhappy litigant who wishes to “appeal” his or her court approved agreement. The simple answer to that request is that “you can’t.” The “court will not entertain appeal from an order issued with parties’ consent.” Hooper v. Rockwell, 334 S.C. 281, 513 S.E.2d 358, 363 […]

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 […]

Supreme Court reinstates termination of father’s parental rights and authorizes foster parent adoption

The May 9, 2018 Supreme Court opinion in SCDSS v. Smith reverses a 2017 Court of Appeals opinion, terminates father’s parental rights, and authorizes the foster parents to adopt the minor child at issue. This case is extremely fact intensive but to summarize: at the time this child was conceived both Mother and Father were […]

Unpublished Conits opinion reveals the dangers of lackadaisical litigating

After three published opinions in Conits v. Conits, one a refiled Supreme Court opinion, on May 2, 2018 the Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion on the remanded issue of the value of Husband’s Greek farm. Either Spiro Conits is a pants-on-fire liar who is finally getting his just desserts or a foolish litigant […]

Court of Appeals approves joint custody order (and the post-trial reformation of an equitable distribution agreement)

The May 2, 2018 Court of Appeals opinion of Clark v. Clark is one of the rare published opinions approving true joint physical custody. Further the opinion approves a post-trial reformation of an equitable distribution agreement based upon what the court described as a “clerical error.” The Clark divorce litigation essentially commenced when the parties […]

Three methods of reducing the impact of an unfavorable guardian ad litem report

The typical response of an unhappy litigant to an unfavorable guardian ad litem report is to accuse the guardian of bias. While in rare instances the guardian is actually biased, more often the report is fairly accurate (reports, being the product of human beings, are rarely perfectly accurate) and the litigant is simply unhappy with […]

Supreme Court clarifies standard of review on family court appeals (and the Stoney appeal may never end)

On April 18, 2018, almost four months after the South Carolina Supreme Court remanded the appeal of Stoney v. Stoney back to the Court of Appeals to apply the correct standard of review, the Supreme Court issued a revised opinion clarifying that standard of review. The revised opinion keeps in place the prior holding that […]

Attorney-client privilege’s crime-fraud exception in family court

The recent FBI search of the records of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s attorney, has raised issues of attorney-client privilege and the crime-fraud exception to that privilege. Attorney-client privilege is the client’s right (and the attorney’s obligation) to shield a client’s disclosures to the attorney and that attorney’s advice to the client from exposure to others […]

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