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Domestic Relations
Charleston School of Law
Beckman, Sydney Aaron

Domestic Relations
Spring 2007
a.       Moore v. City of East Cleveland
                                                               i.      Looks at the definition of family
                                                             ii.      A city ordinance defined family as strictly the nuclear family
                                                            iii.      The court determined that the law has not defined it so strictly in the past so it was a violation of the law
b.      Griswold v. Connecticut
                                                               i.      Facts: Doctor prescribed contraceptives to a married couple. He was arrested and fined under the statute. 
                                                             ii.      Issue: Marital privacy is not in the constitutional but the parties argued there was. 
c.       Lawrence v. Texas
                                                               i.      Issue: Same sex sodimy found unconstitutional due to the right of privacy and equal protection. 
                                                             ii.      It occurred behind closed doors so courts need not intervene.
II.                 Practicing Family Law
a.       Divorce- can only get a divorce in the state in which your are a resident
                                                               i.      Fault Divorce- someone has done something that gives you grounds for a divorce; no waiting period in South Carolina
                                                             ii.      No Fault Divorce- one year waiting period in South Carolina
b.      Divorce in general
                                                               i.      California- liberal Alimony state, South Carolina is second, almost no alimony in Texas
                                                             ii.      Jurisdiction may be an issue; must be a resident of the state first; the first to file dominates
                                                            iii.      Divorce may be a status adjudication only so no property or custody issues are handled in the proceeding
c.       Roles the Family Lawyer Plays
                                                               i.      Mediators
1.       settle over 80% of the cases
2.      a third party neautral who meets with both parties, with or without counsel, seeking to facilitate voluntary settlement
                                                             ii.      Arbitrator- third party decision maker appointed by the parties to reach resolution
                                                            iii.      Collaborative Lawyer- an attorney who negotiates on behalf of one party, with the understanding that if the case proceeds to court, he or she will withdraw and be replaced by litigation counsel
                                                           iv.      Guardian Ad Litem- an advisor appointed by the court to speak on behalf of the child’s best interests
                                                             v.      Parent Educator- an attorney instructing divorcing parents in a classroom setting on post-divorce matters involving visitation and custody
                                                           vi.      Parent Coordinator- an attorney providing intensive case management for high-conflict families with children
d.      Many times you will have to cover the most intimate details of the marriage; emotion drives much of what happens in family law
e.       Ethical Foundations
                                                               i.      Serve clients in roles such as
1.      advisor who “provides a client with an informed understanding of the client’s legal rights and obligations and explains their practical implications”
2.      advocate who “zealously asserts the client’s position under the rules of the adversary system”

reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent or the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation
                                                             ii.      Lawyers are not charged to report suspected child abuse;
                                                            iii.      A lawyer may reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm
III.               Entering Marriage
a.       Marriage
                                                               i.      Religious Marriage
1.      Benefits
a.       Recognized by the religious sect under
                                                             ii.      Civil Marriage
1.      Benefits
a.       Tax consequences
b.      Social Security
c.       Intestate Inheritance
d.      Ability to bring suits on behalf of spouse
e.       Health Benefits (must insure spouse)
f.        Information Rights (consensual rights for medical treatment)
g.       Property Rights
h.       Access to medical records and visitation
i.         Spousal Privilege
j.        Common Law Marriages are not always accorded the same benefits (must agree to be married and avoid the civil marriage)
                                                                                                                                       i.      Should not have to pay to get married because it is a fundamental right