It’s fall in the Charleston County Family Court.
Fall brings relief in so many ways: a little breeze here and there, not quite so much sun, and the anticipation of cool nights with maybe even a sweater or two being brought out! The breeze has been blowing through the Charleston County Family Court, as well, with changes in practice Rules, public airing of one adoption case, and a change in focus in some cases, whether they be alimony cases, child support cases, custody case, or any combination of these. Let’s review the atmosphere in the Charleston County Family Court in a series of postings on this subject.
In the Charleston County Family Court, there has been a ton of publicity over one particular case (the Baby Veronica adoption case).
Baby Veronica was returned to the care and custody of her adoptive parents recently. Having had every Court (Charleston County Family Court, South Carolina Supreme Court, United States Supreme Court, Oklahoma Family Court, and Oklahoma Supreme Court) deny her biological father’s requests for her adoption to be denied, set aside, or re-heard, the outcome which was so clear all along finally was set in place, and Veronica was returned to her adoptive parents. While I have never been involved in this particular case, and I claim no insider knowledge of any sort, there are lessons here for everyone, particularly in an age such as this where many children are being born out of wedlock. Those lessons:
- No matter what, when you are involved in any Family Court case, tell the truth, always, even if it pains you or is potentially harmful to your case. Changing your positions or your versions of the truth actively harms you. Your attorney can help turn the truth in your favor, but liars almost always get caught, and nothing can help you once you are caught in a lie.
- Be pro-active about your rights. If you know or suspect that you have fathered a child, or if you have simply had sexual relations with a woman to whom you are not married, there is a registry in South Carolina where you are permitted to post your identity. Aptly titled the Responsible Father Registry, the requirement is for the inclusion there of the putative father’s name as well as the name of the woman who could be the mother. This Registry is maintained by SC Department of Social Services, and is generally protected from public disclosure except under certain terms.
- Please note: an unmarried biological father is deemed to have notice of a possible pregnancy, under the statute establishing the registry, by his act in engaging in sexual intercourse with the biological mother. See S.C. Code Ann. Sec. 63-9-810 et seq., for full details of the Responsible Father Registry requirements;
- Moving your case from place to place in hopes of improving its outcome is generally known as “forum shopping” your case and is routinely prohibited in every jurisdiction.
- Cooperation and flexibility are good things, especially when it comes to the interests of children. You can only help yourself by developing such attitudes, and practicing them religiously.