» Civility

My Most Important Factor in Child Custody Cases

As a lawyer and a mediator, my first question of a litigant in a custody case is “Do you love your child so much that you can treat the other parent with dignity and respect?” They always answer “yes” but frequently act otherwise. Treating the other parent with dignity and respect not only benefits the child, it benefits the parent who will have a better relationship with the child, will avoid contentious and expensive litigation, and will most probably achieve a better result.

Read More

Why I Enjoyed Thanksgiving, a Visitation Discussion

My three children, their spouses, and seven grandchildren were here for Thanksgiving so of course I enjoyed the holiday. I had special moments and memories with each over the weekend.

Why the children were here rather than somewhere else goes back to the late seventies when their mother and I were going through separation and divorce. We initially had the then typical visitation schedule that alternated holidays with Christmas starting December 24 on even-numbered years and December 26… Read More

How Should One Address an Estranged or Former Spouse?

Thomas F. McDow

As a plebe at The Citadel, I learned that plebes must address upperclassmen as Mister as a sign of respect and that upperclassmen must address plebes as Mister to keep them in their lowly position. Thus I learned that Mr. and Ms. can express respect or contempt.

When litigants in family court refer to an estranged or former spouse as Mr. or Ms., I see it as distance, derision, and disrespect. I advise clients to refer to an estrange… Read More

Trial Strategy in Family Court

Conventional wisdom in Family Court cases, particularly custody cases, teaches dredging up all of the mud on the other party and then spending the entire trial plastering the other party with that mud. Erin Urquhart and I believe that the conventional wisdom is not necessarily wise. We think maybe George Bernard Shaw got it right when he said “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

Lawyers and litigants make a severe tactical… Read More

About The Authors

Thomas F. McDow's Profile Image
Thomas F. McDow is the author of Debating SC Family Law, a blog devoted to discussing family law and appellate court issues in South Carolina. Read More
Erin K. Urquhart's Profile Image
Education: Spartanburg Public SchoolsWinthrop University, B.A. 2003University of South Carolina, J.D. 2006 Admitted: All South Carolina courts and the United States District Court for South Carolina, November 13, 2006 Professional Activities: South C… Read More

Subscribe to the Debating Family Law blog by Email!

Recent Comments

These are very helpful comments. I am starting a similar newsletter in WV for my clients and potential clients. Getting the clien...

John B on 03/02/2017
Read More

I am well aware of this conundrum. That's why I called it "When you absolutely cannot or will not hire a lawyer (for your divorce)...

J Burton Hunter III on 12/28/2016
Read More

I agree! Unbundled would be a great help to people like me. I tried to get lawyers to assist me with specific parts of the process...

Nanette Stevens on 12/27/2016
Read More

I haven't followed this thread for awhile. By far the best option is an experienced lawyer who cares about you and your family. Se...

J Burton Hunter III on 12/27/2016
Read More

I absolutely love this discussion on this subject. Involved in a divorce and forced to represent myself due to lack of funds and n...

Nanette Stevens on 12/27/2016
Read More