Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, February 27, 2006

AFCC Annual Conference Registration

"AFCC is an interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to improving the lives of children and families through the resolution of family conflict." AFCC's 43rd Annual Conference entitled, "Juggling conflicts, Crises and Clients in Family Court" will be held Mary 31- June 3, 2006, in Florida. "The AFCC Annual Conference brings together innovators, thinkers and reformers. You'll interact with leading judges, mediators, lawyers, parenting coordinators, custody evaluators, researchers and others." By AFCC Link to Conference Brochure (last visited 2-26-06 NVS)

February 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Innovation Mini-Grants

"The AFCC Innovation Mini-Grant program was created in 2005 to assist in the development or expansion of imaginative educational programs designed to improve the lives of children of separating or divorcing parents. This year, $5,000 will be awarded to an organization to provide a two-day parenting coordination training, after which trainees will provide pro bono services." By AFCC Link to Application (last visited 2-26-06 NVS)

February 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Declining Fertility Rates

"By the year 2015, for the first time in the history of Canadian population statistics, there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 15. Even the normally staid national bureau of record-keeping, Statistics Canada, declared, "This would be an unprecedented situation in Canada," when it announced late last year the critical turning point in a population projections report.

These projections, which were shaped by various growth scenarios, predicted fertility rates ranging from a low of 1.3 babies per woman to a high of 1.7 babies per woman. That puts Canada in line with the growing roster of nations beset by declining fertility: France, 1.9; Australia, 1.7; Germany, 1.3; Italy and Spain, 1.2, Japan, 1.2; Korea, 1.1. Only the United States is conspicuous among its industrialized neighbours for a fertility rate that continues to remain above what is known as replacement level, with 2.01 babies per woman. The main reason for this difference seems to be in the fertility rate among women aged 24-29, which has been cut almost in half in Canada and many of the other nations with declining fertility, but which remains virtually unchanged in the U.S., where more traditional values prevail, says demographer Alain Belanger, the demographer behind Statistics Canada's latest projections." By Anne Marie Owens, National Post, Link to Article (last visited 2-26-06 NVS)

February 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Supreme Court To Hear Subject Matter Jurisdiction Arguments Tuesday in the Anna Nicole Smith Case

The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in the legal fight over the fortune of oil entrepreneur J. Howard Marshall II between the one-time Playboy Playmate of the Year, Vickie Lynn Marshall, a/k/a Anna Nicole Smith, and 67-year-old E. Pierce Marshall, the deceased’s billionaire's youngest son.  Smith and Marshall married in 1994 in Houston when she was 26 and he was 89. Smith died just 14 months later. The narrow question before the court is whether a federal court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear a dispute involving state probate matters. (reo)   You may download Petitioner's Brief in Case 04-1544_Here.pdf  You may download Respondent's Brief in Case 041544_Here.pdf

February 26, 2006 in Jurisdiction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Case Law Development: New Jersey Court Rejects Mistress Palimony Claim

A New Jersey appeals court ruled Thursday that a woman who bore two sons to a multi-millionaire does not have a palimony claim to his estate beyond a $100,000 bequest. She was also permitted to occupy a house owned by the multi-millionaire until their surviving son turns 25. Their son received $1.5 million and the house.

The deceased left an estate valued between $21 and $36 million when he died in 2000. He had been married three times and at the time of his death, had been married to his third wife for about thirty years. Although separated from his third wife for many years, the deceased  had indicated prior to his death that he did not wish to go through a divorce because it would result in his wife receiving one-half of their assets, which he believed would disrupt his business and real estate interests. The deceased met his mistress in January 1990 and two children were later born of the relationship. Their relationship continued for at least ten years.

The Court of Appeals said that the “critical issues to be determined in the palimony trial were whether plaintiff and [the deceased] lived together in a marital type relationship and whether [the deceased], either expressly or impliedly,” promised the mistress he would provide support for her for the rest of her life. If those questions were answered in the affirmative, then, said the court, “it would then be necessary to determine whether plaintiff gave adequate consideration in exchange for the promise and the amount required in a present value lump sum payment” to satisfy the deceased’s obligation.

In rejecting the palimony claim, the court initially summarized the law followed by New Jersey courts: “The fundamental principle upon which courts decide palimony cases is that “the formation of a marital-type relationship between unmarried persons may, legitimately and enforceably, rest upon a promise by one to support the other.” In re Estate of Roccamonte, 174 N.J. 381, 392 (2002). “[T]he right to support in that situation does not derive from the relationship itself but rather is a right created by contract. A palimony contract may be oral and may be either express or implied.” It said that “A critical element of a palimony claim is cohabitation for a significant period of time” and observed that another panel of the court had recently reiterated that failure to prove cohabitation in a marital-type relationship is fatal to a palimony claim.

The apparent key to court rejecting the palimony claim rested upon the decision by the deceased to insist upon separate households for himself and plaintiff. The deceased and the mistress “had a romantic relationship,” said the court, however, the deceased “continued, by choice, not necessity, to live separately and spend some limited time with her occasionally at a home he provided for her, at one of his homes, or on an occasional trip.” The court emphasized that “a palimony cause of action continues to require actual cohabitation in a marital-like relationship. That continues to require living together in a household or households under the same roof or roofs on a regular basis as dictated by the circumstances.” McDonald v. Mavety, February 23, 2006 (reo). Download here the slip opinion, McDonald v. Mavety.pdf

February 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)