Posts Tagged ‘Family Court Procedure’

The surprising breadth of res judicata

At this point in my career, it’s rare I learn anything significant about legal doctrines from opposing counsels. However, earlier this week, I was completely schooled by an attorney, Jeffrey Thomas Watson, three years out of law school about the breadth of the res judicata doctrine. That doctrine holds that issues that have been completely […]

Not pleading for a guardian (or discovery)

Last week I prosecuted a motion to appoint a guardian ad litem for the child at issue in a custody case (along with requests for other relief). The opposing counsel opposed this request. In support of his opposition he noted that my complaint had not sought a guardian as part of the relief I was […]

What are the potential remedies for notice-based contempt pleadings?

Late last month the family court issued a contempt petition against a client of mine in which the petition was a “notice” pleading, not a “fact” pleading. For those unfamiliar with the distinction, a notice pleading (typical in the federal courts as authorized by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8), simply provides the Defendant notice […]

Sealing records when private custody cases reference past child protective services involvement

While the general principal is that court records are open to the public, information from child protective services cases are not. Thus conflicts develop between the general rule of open records and the prohibition against revealing child protective services information. Twice in the past month I have been involved in a private custody case that […]

Getting arbitration awards turned into court orders (or preventing it from happening)

Many of my colleagues are turning to arbitration to resolve family law disputes. Few seem aware that an arbitrator’s award does not automatically become a valid court order. South Carolina’s Uniform Arbitration Act, Title 15, Chapter 48, sets forth procedures to challenge or obtain court approval of an arbitration award. S.C. Code §15-48-120 addresses “Confirmation […]

Illiterate family court attorneys?

Whence came the South Carolina family court habit of pleading for procedural relief in initial pleadings? When I learned to draft pleadings in law school we didn’t plead for procedural relief. When I started my career doing personal injury law, we didn’t plead for procedural relief. If we needed procedural relief we filed motions. Yet, […]

Who has the burden of proof on the willfulness element of contempt?

A few days ago I prosecuted a contempt action. The proof for one of the allegations of contempt was very document intensive and mathematical–reimbursement for unpaid medical expenses–and another was heavily reliant on exhibits. I figured that establishing violations would be easier by having my client explain the records through direct testimony rather than by cross-examining […]

Learn something new every day: involuntary non-suits in family court

I’ve long been aware that one could use Rule 41(b), SCRCP, to move to dismiss an action for failure to prosecute or as a sanction for the other party failing to comply with the rules of civil procedure or a court order. However yesterday, at the end of my case in chief of a contempt […]

 

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