Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Michigan Gay Couples Denied Marriage Licenses

For the fourth year in a row, gay persons in Michigan applied for marriage licenses on Valentine’s Day. The 30 or so applications were denied. The denial was based on language found in Chapter 83 of Michigan laws, which is based on language found in Proposal 2, in which Michigan voters defined marriage as the “union of one man and one woman.” Proposal 2 was approved by Michigan voters in 2004.  Source:  L.L. Brasier, Detroit Free Press, freep.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited February 15, 2006, reo).

February 15, 2006 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Case Law Development: Maine Supreme Court Strikes down Grandparent Visitation Standing Based on Death of Parent

The Maine Supreme Court holds its grandparent visitation statute unconstitutional to the extent it grants grandparents standing to sue for visitation when one parent has died. "In effect, the Act adopts a per se rule that the fact of a parental death in itself justifies imposing on the surviving parent the burden of litigation that ...itself infringes on the parent's fundamental rights and may result in court-ordered visitation that more significantly infringes those rights. We do not see, however, how the fact of a parental death standing alone can be an urgent reason for a court's interference in family life over the objections of a custodial parent.... We conclude that the death of one parent in itself is not an urgent reason that justifies forcing the surviving parent into litigation under the Act.... In the absence of a compelling state interest, forcing Patricia to defend against the grandparents' visitation petition for the sole reason that her daughter's father is dead would violate her substantive due process rights."

Conlogue v. Conlogue, 2006 ME 12 (February 9, 2006)
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February 14, 2006 in Visitation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Case Law Development: Delaware Supreme Court Holds that Parents have Right To Counsel in Private TPR Actions

In a termination of parental rights proceeding brought by a private party, the Supreme Court of Delaware holds that “Because the jeopardy to the parent's rights is identical [as in an action brought by the state], we hold that a parent's right to seek court-appointed counsel is the same regardless of who initiates a termination proceeding.”

Walker v. Walker, 2006 Del. LEXIS 81 (February 9, 2006)


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February 14, 2006 in Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Case Law Developments: Best Interests Test Applied in Contested Testamentary Appointment of Guardian

In a tragic case in which Father, shortly after returning from active military combat in Iraq, shot and killed Mother and then himself, the trial court was faced with competing claims for guardianship of the daughter.  Shortly after the deaths, daughter was placed with her maternal aunt and uncle, who petitioned for guardianship.  Paternal grandmother also petitioned, as she had been designated by Father’s will as the guardian.  The trial court found that, absent a showing of harm to the child, it was required to approve the testamentary guardianship.  The Supreme Court of Colorado reversed, holding that the proper test in such circumstances is the best interest of the child.

In re R.M.S., a child, 2006 Colo. LEXIS 144  (February 13, 2006)
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February 14, 2006 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Case Law Development: TPR may be based on default judgment in TPR of other child

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed partial summary judgment in a termination of parental rights case in which the grounds for termination was that Mother’s rights to another child were involuntarily terminated within the prior three years.  The court rejected Mother’s argument that, because the prior termination was by default, it should not provide a basis for a second TPR, or – at least – that the state should be required to prove that there was sufficient evidence in the first proceedings for termination.  The court rejected both arguments, noting that the statute only requires that the first termination be “involuntary” not “contested.”  Requiring the court in the second termination to review the sufficiency of the evidence in the first proceeding would simply open that proceeding to collateral attack.

In re Brianca M.W., 2006 Wisc. App. LEXIS 111 (February 7, 2006)(BGF)

February 14, 2006 in Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Case Law Development: Interpreting Requirements for Post-Majority Educational Child Support

Missouri’s child support statute provides that, to qualify for post-majority educational support, the child must submit to the parents a school transcript at the beginning of each semester. In this case, the judges of the Missouri Court of Appeals exchanged lengthy dissertations on the meaning of the phrase “at the beginning” – with the dissent arguing that the phrase must meet before or on the first day of classes, while the majority contemplates a more flexible case-by-case determination of whether the requirement is met. With a subtextual debate over Proust and Churchill’s value as sources for interpreting legislative meaning, the case is a lively reminder that much of family law advocacy requires highly refined skills of statutory construction.

Owsley v. Brittain, 2006 Mo. App. LEXIS 148 (February 7, 2006)
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February 14, 2006 in Child Support (establishing) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Misdirected Valentine Messages

"Britons texting St Valentine's Day love messages on Tuesday should be careful they don't send them to the wrong person. A poll of 3000 mobile phone users found 40 per cent will be texting rather than sending cards and that one in four have misdirected a provocative text or photo. Recipients of the unwanted texts include bosses or colleagues (9 per cent) parents (3 per cent) and perhaps most embarrassing of all - ex-partners (2 per cent)." By jobstuff Link to Article (last visited 2-12-06 NVS)

February 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Green Valentines

THINK GREEN ON Valentine's Day.Instead of giving Belgian chocolates and champagne why not give tablea (blocks of cocoa powder) and virgin coconut oil?
"Love me, love the earth," is the passionate cry of greenies this month.The Ecological Waste Coalition of the Philippines has asked the public to be responsible consumers and consider earth-friendly ways of marking Valentine's Day." By Julie M. Aurelio, Inquirer Link to Article (last visited 2-12-06 NVS)

February 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Organizing Against Valentines Day

"Separatist group Dukhtaran-e-Millat, or Daughters of Faith, has vowed to stop couples from celebrating Valentine's Day in Kashmir. The group is known for fiercely opposing Western-style romance. Aasiya Andrabi, leader of the group, said in a statement, "We will not allow anyone to observe Valentine's Day as it does nothing but spread immorality among youth."" By Lynda Fisher, All Headline News Link to Article (last visited 2-12-06 NVS)

February 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Civil Registrations on the Rise in Scotland

"At least three gay "weddings" have been held in Scotland every day since new laws allowing homosexual couples to legally register their relationships came into force less than two months ago. A survey of every local authority in the country by Scotland on Sunday has revealed an astonishing demand for the civil partnership ceremonies and registrations, with 173 taking place in the past 53 days. Another 385 homosexual couples have booked registrations to take place over the next three months. Gay rights campaigners expressed welcome surprise at the rush for registrations, but critics of the new legislation say civil registrations are eroding the sanctity of marriage." By Richard Gray and Arthur MacMillan, Scotland on Sunday Link to Article (last visited 2-12-06 NVS)

February 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Valentine Celebrity Divorces

"Valentine's Day may be around the corner, but that hasn't stopped a harvest of celebrity hearts being broken. Lance Armstrong, the US super-cyclist, for instance, has split up with singer Sheryl Crow, only months before their wedding. He said she was 'one of the smartest, wisest, most gifted people I've ever met' - but, somehow, it still wasn't quite enough.
Actress Heather Locklear is to divorce the Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora after 11 years of marriage, owing to 'irreconcilable differences', while Madonna and Guy Ritchie's relationship is allegedly also in difficulties. And then, of course, there is the big one - or at least the one that has been most commented on: actor Ralph Fiennes has been shown the door by his partner of 11 years, Francesca Annis. Cue lots of chat about infidelity and forgiveness. (By the way, 11 is the year of living dangerously when it comes to divorce and separation.)" By Yvonne Roberts, The Observer Link to Article (last visited 2-12-06 NVS)

February 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Divorce Costs Utah Taxpayers

"Couples who divorce aren't the only ones likely to face big bills. Utah's marriage commission says divorce costs other Utah taxpayers too. In 2003, 9,500 Utah couples got divorced. The marriage commission says this cost the state nearly 124-million dollars, and the federal government about 173-million dollars." By ksl.com Link to Article (last visited 2-12-06 NVS)

February 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Young Men Living With Parents

"And you thought good Italian boys stay at home because they love mamma? Not according to two economists who today announced to a baffled world that it's really to do with the "endogeneity of parental income" or, more crudely, parental bribery.
Whether or not it's more to do with money and power than a supply of good pasta, the economic effects of "mammismo" in Italy are striking.

Eight out of 10 Italian men aged 18 to 30 live with their parents compared to one in five in the UK and one in four in the US, note Marco Manacorda, of Queen Mary, University of London, and Enrico Moretti, of the University of California, Berkeley." By Donald MacLeod, Guardian Unlimited Link to Article (last visited 2-12-06 NVS)

February 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cohabitation Leads to Marriage or Breakup

"A half-century ago it was almost unheard of for couples to live together outside of marriage. But in the past 30 years, cohabitation has become a popular lifestyle for a majority of couples. Sometimes couples go on living together for many years without tying the knot; but in most cases, co-habitation ends in either marriage or breakup. According to a Web site from the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, over half of all first marriages are now preceded by living together, compared to virtually none 50 years ago. About a quarter of unmarried women age 25 to 39 are living with a partner and an additional quarter have lived with a partner at some time in the past." By Iris Hersh, Publicopiniononline.com Link to Article (last visted 2-12-06 NVS)

February 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Family Law Education Reform Report Completed

Sponsored by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and the Center for Children, Families and the Law of Hofstra Law School, the Family Law Education Report has been released and concludes that law schools should reconsider nature and purposes of legal education in family law. FLER examined current courses and teaching materials, and organized several conferences in which family law professors and stakeholders in the family law system shared their views on the family law curriculum. With support from the Johnson Foundation and the JAMS Foundation, the project also systematically surveyed judges, lawyers, mediators, mental health professionals and others about the knowledge and skills required to effectively practice family law. FLER is Co-chaired by Peter Salem, AFCC Executive Director and Andrew Schepard, Professor of Law, Hofstra University School of Law, Director of the Center for Children, Families and the Law and FLER’s reporters, Professors Mary E. O’Connell of Northeastern University School of Law and J. Herbie DiFonzo of Hofstra University, wrote a Report for law schools to improve their family law curricula.

The Reporters will prepare a final Report to be published in the Family Court Review in October 2006 with additional commentary from legal educators, judges, lawyers, mediators and mental health professionals. If you are interested in reading the Report, you can download the document from the AFCC Web site at www.afccnet.org/about/fam_law_tf.asp. AFCC will be hosting two workshops on the research and implementation of the Report at its 43rd Annual Conference in Tampa Bay, May 31-June 3, 2006. More detail on these workshops can be found in the AFCC conference brochure on the AFCC Web site at www.afccnet.org or by calling (608) 664-3750.

February 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Is New Jersey Supreme Court Ready to Legalize Gay Marriage?

The question of whether New Jersey should allow full marriage benefits to gay couples will be argued before that state’s supreme court this week.  Some observers believe there is a reasonably good chance that the court will follow the Massachusetts high court and extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Rutgers family law professor Sally Goldfarb says the litigants in this case are in a “better position” than they would be in other courts. She also says that “New Jersey's court has a long and proud history of interpreting cases in favor of civil rights, and a victory in this case would be in keeping with that tradition.” Source:  Kaitlin Gurney, Knight Ridder, The Salt Lake Tribune, sltrib.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited February 12, 2006, reo).

February 12, 2006 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

United Church of Christ Splits over Same-Sex Marriage Endorsement

The decision by the United Church of Christ in July to endorse same-sex marriages has created a split among members of the denomination.  Estimates of churches that have voted to leave the denomination since July range from 49 to 77.  The UCC has a tradition of support for gays and lesbians. In 1972 it became the first major Christian church to ordain an openly gay minister. Source:  John Seewer, AP, The Beacon Journal, ohio.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited February 12, 2006, reo).

February 12, 2006 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Florida Supreme Court hears Arguments to Keep Same-Sex Amendment off 2008 Ballot

The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday to keep a proposed state constitutional amendment barring gay marriage off the 2008 ball.  According to some press reports, the court did not seem persuaded. A decision in the matter is not expected for several weeks.  Source:  Michael Foust, Baptist Press, bpnews.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited February 12, 2006, reo).

February 12, 2006 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Every 4 Days a Woman Dies of Domestic Violence in France

In a report issued by Amnesty International, every year at least 90 women die of domestic violence in France.  The Report also claims that one woman in ten in that country is subject to domestic violence.  Source:  Ali Ihsan Aydin, Zaman Online (First Turkish Paper on the Internet), zaman.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited February 12, 2006, reo).

February 12, 2006 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)