Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lozano v. Alvarez

From Margaret Ryznar, writing for the Huffington Post:

In early March, the United States Supreme Court handed down the opinion in its most recent international abduction case, Lozano v. Alvarez. Justice Thomas wrote for the unanimous Court, holding that American courts cannot toll the one-year period for left-behind parents to file a Hague petition for a child's return -- after which time a defense to return the child can be asserted if the child is now settled in her new environment -- even when the abducting parent concealed the whereabouts of the child.

Lauren Moskowitz, partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, represented Ms. Alvarez pro bono. Ms. Moskowitz elaborated upon the decision in an interview for this post:

"We are grateful for the Supreme Court's unanimous decision, which makes clear that parents will not be prevented from raising the defense to return that the child is 'now settled' in the United States, a defense that specifically is provided for in the Hague Convention. The Court's decision correctly refused to displace the careful balance of interests that was memorialized in the treaty, which recognizes that in these international custody disputes, the interests of the child are paramount."

Read more here.

MR

April 17, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Adoption Case in NY

From the New York Law Journal:

A Queens man may legally adopt his husband's biological twins even though they were born to a woman under a surrogacy agreement that is illegal in New York state, a Family Court judge determined.

Judge Barbara Salinitro ruled that the best interests of the twins is the most important consideration in weighing the adoption petition of a man identified in court papers as "J.H.-W.," not that the surrogacy agreement that reulted in their birth is "void and unenforceable" under New York law.

Read more here.
MR

April 16, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

College Debt Division at Divorce

From the Wall Street Journal:

In many states, divorce courts have the discretion to divide marital property in a holistic way. That means that if the educational debt is considered marital property, they have the option of taking into account contextual issues, such as each spouse's ability to pay it off, Ms. Carbone says.

So while student loans generally will go to the person who incurred them, there may be exceptions, she says.

For example, if it seems like one spouse will have high income after a divorce and another will struggle to make debt payments, the higher earner may end up having to fork over some temporary spousal support to cover the ex's debt payments.

But debt division is complicated and can vary, depending on whether the state applies equitable-distribution, community-property or marital-property rules, Ms. Carbone says. As such, student loans in some circumstances could be split down the middle, even if one spouse has a much different financial situation than the other after divorce.

In a related issue, in a few jurisdictions such as New York, a professional degree earned during the marriage can be considered marital property, says Rachel Rebouché, an associate professor who teaches family law at Temple University Beasley School of Law.

That can lead to situations where the degree earner has to compensate a spouse for supporting his or her educational pursuits. Support for a spouse could mean time spent cooking meals, driving the degree earner to campus or even the supporter delaying his or her own educational pursuits, Ms. Rebouché says. In some cases, courts have awarded more property to the supporter to offset the value of a partner's degree, she says.

Two Steps

Those in the field say couples can take two basic steps to avoid surprises related to college debt.

First: Get a prenuptial agreement and make sure it clearly specifies how you and your partner want to allocate any student debt accrued during a marriage in a divorce, says Naomi Cahn, a professor who researches family law at George Washington University.

Second: Ask a partner about the extent of his or her debt and be honest about yours. When discussing finances, couples tend to "focus so much on the assets, but they forget that there's often a lot of debt," Ms. Cahn says.

Read more here.

MR

April 15, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fighting Divorces

From the Washington Post:

For years, social conservatives have been fighting to prevent certain people from getting married. But they’re waging a parallel battle, too: Trying to keep married couples together.

In cooperation with the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, socially conservative politicians have been quietly trying to make it harder for couples to get divorced. In recent years, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have introduced bills imposing longer waiting periods before a divorce is granted, mandating counseling courses or limiting the reasons a couple can formally split. States such as Arizona, Louisiana and Utah have already passed such laws, while others such as Oklahoma and Alabama are moving to do so.

Read more here.

MR

Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

April 14, 2014 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Taxes after Love

From Reuters:

"Conscious uncoupling" might become all the rage now that actress Gwyneth Paltrow and musician Chris Martin have announced they are separating in a cooperative and respectful way. But there is nothing touchy feely about divorce in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service.

In fact, filing taxes after you divorce, or even separate, may be trickier than when you were together. And, as if to add insult to the emotional injury of ending a marriage, your first "uncoupled" tax bill might deliver a major financial blow.

Read more here.

MR

April 12, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dividing Planes, Trains & Automobiles in Divorce

From the Chicago Tribune:

Schiller, DuCanto & Fleck hosted an event last night for nearly 150 estate and financial planners, money managers, judges, lawyers, and executives to help guests learn how to better advise their clients regarding planning and dividing of luxury items including planes, trains and automobiles. The event took place at Lake Forest Sportscars, a world-class, luxury automobile dealership that boasts one of the largest indoor displays of high performance automotive fashion anywhere in the country.

"When a wealthy client is contemplating divorce, it is vital for wealth advisors, whether in financial advisory or trust or estate planning roles, to keep the future prospect of divorce in mind as they consult with their clients," said Meighan Harmon, a senior partner at Schiller, DuCanto & Fleck who focuses on complex family law cases involving the distribution of multi-million dollar estates.

Read more here.

MR

April 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cohabitation Among Adults Over 40 in England & Wales

From Family Law Week:

The latest release by the Office for National Statistics from the 2011 Census shows that people aged 40 and over made up a larger proportion of the cohabiting population in 2011 (41%), up from 2001 (31%). The ONS suggests that possible reasons include the increasing number of divorced people and the social acceptability of cohabitation following divorce or instead of marriage.

The new release analyses data on marital status (legal partnership status including marriage and civil partnership) for adults (aged 16 and over) usually resident in England and Wales, noting key changes since 2001.

Read more here.

MR

April 10, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Family Planning in the Philippines

From Medical Press:

The Philippine Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a family planning law is constitutional, allowing the government to provide reproductive health care services primarily to the country's poor despite strong opposition to the law from the Roman Catholic Church.

Supporters of the law cheered as court spokesman Theodore Te announced the ruling in northern Baguio city, where it was issued.

President Benigno Aquino III signed the law in December 2012 but the court imposed a temporary restraining order while it studied petitions questioning its constitutionality.

Read more here.

MR

 

April 9, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Breakdown of English Adoptions

From Family Law Week:

The most comprehensive study ever to be carried out into adoption in England has confirmed that the rate of breakdown is lower than anticipated, but it also reveals a stark picture of the problems faced by families.

In Beyond the Adoption Order: challenges, intervention, disruption researchers from the University of Bristol analysed national data on 37,335 adoptions over a 12 year period to show that 3.2 per cent of children – around three in 100 – move out of their adoptive home prematurely, known as a 'disruption'.

Adoptions were more likely to breakdown if a child was placed once they were over the age of four. Most adoptions breakdown during the teenage years with teenagers 10 times more at risk of disruption compared with children under the age of four.

Read more here.

MR

April 8, 2014 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 7, 2014

On Parenting

From the Atlantic:

One of the central tenets of raising kids in America is that parents should be actively involved in their children’s education: meeting with teachers, volunteering at school, helping with homework, and doing a hundred other things that few working parents have time for. These obligations are so baked into American values that few parents stop to ask whether they’re worth the effort.

Until this January, few researchers did, either. In the largest-ever study of how parental involvement affects academic achievement, Keith Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and Angel L. Harris, a sociology professor at Duke, mostly found that it doesn’t. The researchers combed through nearly three decades’ worth of longitudinal surveys of American parents and tracked 63 different measures of parental participation in kids’ academic lives, from helping them with homework, to talking with them about college plans, to volunteering at their schools. In an attempt to show whether the kids of more-involved parents improved over time, the researchers indexed these measures to children’s academic performance, including test scores in reading and math.

What they found surprised them. Most measurable forms of parental involvement seem to yield few academic dividends for kids, or even to backfire—regardless of a parent’s race, class, or level of education.

Read more here.

MR

April 7, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

"The Overprotected Kid"

Hanna Rosin has a fasinating article on the "overprotected kid" in the Atlantic here.

MR

April 5, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 4, 2014

$30k Average Wedding

From CNN:

Want one more sign the economy is improving? Couples spent an average of $30,000 on their wedding last year -- a record high. 

Wedding budgets have grown for the past two years, with newlyweds (or their families) shelling out an average of $29,858 for the big day in 2013, up 5% from the previous year, according to a survey of 13,000 brides and grooms by wedding website TheKnot.com.

Read more here.

MR

Hat Tip: SH

April 4, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Re-Homing

From NBC News:

n an Internet forum where parents sought takers for adopted children they no longer wanted, a teenager from Haiti was offered more frequently than any other girl.

Starting at age 14, Nita Dittenber was passed among four families over two years through a practice called “private re-homing.”

In September, Reuters exposed an underground marketin which desperate parents use online bulletin boards to offer adoptees to strangers, often illegally and with no government oversight. The Internet forums, including the Yahoo group where Nita was advertised, can enable abusers to acquire children easily; in one case, an Illinois man who’s now in prison on child pornography charges took home a 10-year-old boy hours after an ad for the child was posted online.

Read more here.

MR

April 3, 2014 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Child Abuse & Child Custody

From SF Gate:

A month after a toddler suffered severe head trauma and died, state senators ended a second committee meeting Wednesday to review laws protecting children from abuse and heard testimony that changing the laws might not address the problem.

Chief Administrative Judge Amy Davenport said some judges don't think custody issues in child abuse cases can be solved by legislation. She described for the committee how judges decide temporary care issues and use kinship in making decisions.

Read more here.

MR

April 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Petitioning for Sex

From ThinkProgress:

There’s nothing that sets the mood for a romantic evening like petitioning a judge for permission to have sex at the end of the night.

If Massachusetts State Sen. Richard J. Ross (R) gets his way, that’s exactly what many women (and men) would have to do if they have children and are going through a divorce. In fact, not only would permission-less coitus be banned, but so too would the romantic evening and many dating activities.

Read more here.

MR

April 1, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Adoptions in Ohio

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Janice Matteo plans to download a document that might change her life.

Matteo said she will fill out a Contact Preference Form, a new way for Ohio birth parents to state their wishes about being contacted by the child they placed for adoption.

The only record Matteo has now is an old Polaroid photo taken after she gave birth in 1988 to a healthy, 9-pound boy. He’d be nearly 26 now. Matteo has no idea where he is or whether he has tried to find her.

“I felt bad later, when I understood the law better, that I had chosen closed adoption,” she said. “That was a real awakening for me. How do I let him know?”

Matteo will check the box that says she would like to be “contacted directly by the adopted person or their lineal descendant” and hope that he will someday get in touch.

Other options for birth parents are to request contact through an intermediary or to ask not to be contacted at all.

Read more here.

MR

March 31, 2014 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Muslims & Same-Sex Marriage

From Professor Faisal Kutty (Valparaiso University School of Law), writing for the Huffington Post:

Can Muslims accept same-sex marriages?

This has been a thorny question since the first jurisdictions began legalizing same-sex marriage. It took on a new urgency in the wake of the Defense of Marriage Act ruling from the US Supreme Court last June. Now, the heat is on as state courts continue to strike down same-sex marriage bans.

Islamic law, as interpreted today, unanimously classifies same-sex sexual activity as haram (prohibited). Islamic law encompasses fiqh (from pre-modern times to contemporary times) as well the state sanctioned derivatives and laws. The prohibition is derived from the normative Islamic position that the institution of the family (preservation of which is one of the maqasid al Sharī'ah, higher objectives of the Sharī'ah) created through marriage is the only sanctioned avenue for sex. This policy objective is reinforced through comprehensive regulations found in classical fiqh, which is the human articulation of God's will as expressed in the Sharī'ah.

Read more here.

MR

March 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Foreign Adoptions Down

From US News:

The number of foreign children adopted by U.S. parents plunged by 18 percent last year to the lowest level since 1992, due in part to Russia's ban on adoptions by Americans. Adoptions from South Korea and Ethiopia also dropped sharply.

Figures released Friday by the U.S. State Department for the 2013 fiscal year showed 7,094 adoptions from abroad, down from 8,668 in 2012 and down about 69 percent from the high of 22,884 in 2004. The number has dropped every year since then.

Read more here.

MR

March 28, 2014 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Divorce Law in Oklahoma

From the Wall Street Journal:

Oil wildcatter Harold Hamm spent decades at the helm of Continental Resources Inc. as it became the most powerful company in North Dakota's Bakken Shale.

But because of a quirk in Oklahoma divorce law, the success of the tiny oil-patch outfit he founded in 1967, which became a drilling powerhouse, may work against him as he splits from his wife of 25 years—and may even weaken his control of the company.

The judge overseeing the couple's divorce in Oklahoma City, where the company is based, deemed most of Mr. Hamm's 68% stake in Continental—122 million shares out of the 126 million he owns—as his premarital property. That means those shares, worth more than $14.6 billion, aren't directly subject to division with Sue Ann Hamm, a former lawyer for Continental who married Mr. Hamm in 1988.

But in Oklahoma and a handful of other states, splitting up marital assets isn't that simple.

State law gives Mrs. Hamm the right to half of the increase in value of Mr. Hamm's premarital shares if she can prove the company's stock price rose over the course of their marriage because of her husband's efforts.

Read more here.

MR

March 27, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Suing Parents

From NJ.com:

Attorneys who specialize in family law say an 18-year-old Morris County woman faces an uphill battle in suing her parents for financial support after she moved out of their house.

But they say her chances of forcing her parents to pay for her private school and college tuition would be better if they were involved in a divorce case.

Read more here.

MR

March 26, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)