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 (3) | 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)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Uncertain Paternity

From Family Law Week:

A survey for www.DNATestingChoice.com by YouGov suggests that 8% of fathers in the UK have been 'unsure that they are the biological father of their child'.

Fathers aged 25-34 were most likely to be unsure, at 15%twice as much as average. At 5%, fathers aged 55+ were least likely to be unsure.

Read more here.

MR

March 25, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Report on Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements

From Family Law Week:

The Law Commission for England and Wales has just published its report on Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements. The project has seen, first, the publication of a Consulation Paper in 2011, dealing with marital property agreements, and, in 2012, following the extension of the project, a Supplementary Consulation Paper focusing on the additional areas of financial needs and non-matrimonial property.

Our key recommendations in the Report are for:

1. guidance to be produced by the Family Justice Council on the law regarding how financial needs should be met on divorce and dissolution; and

2. the introduction of binding nuptial agreements, to be known as qualifying nuptial agreements.

This article sets out the context of our recommendations before turning to a discussion of our key policy points, concluding by examining the benefits of our proposed reforms.

Read more, and read the report, here.

MR

March 24, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Update: Same-Sex Marriage in MI

From the New York Times:

A day after a federal judge struck down Michigan’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages, hundreds of gay couples raced to clerks’ offices across the state on Saturday morning to exchange wedding vows before an appeals court challenge that could reinstate the ban.

But the euphoria of the day for the couples quickly turned to disappointment by late afternoon when the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, suspended the judge’s ruling until at least Wednesday, when the court is expected to decide whether to grant a longer injunction while it considers an appeal filed by Michigan’s attorney general. That means that same-sex weddings in the state were halted immediately for now.

The injunction ended a 24-hour emotional roller coaster and put those couples who were married earlier in the day in a legal limbo.

Read more here.

MR

 

March 22, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Same-Sex Marriage in MI

From CNN:

A federal judge on Friday ruled that Michigan's prohibition on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution, ordering the state to stop enforcing the ban.

"Today's decision ... affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail," U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman wrote.

Read more here.

MR

March 22, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Multi-Person Reproduction

From Professors Judith Daar and Erez Aloni, writing for the LA Times:

Since January, a new California law allows for a child to have more than two legal parents. But children are still limited to two genetic parents. That could change soon, if the Food and Drug Administration approves human clinical trials for a technique known as mitochondrial replacement, which would enable a child to inherit DNA from three parents.

News of the pending application has caused a kind of panic not seen since Dolly the sheep was cloned, raising the possibility of a single genetic parent. But far from being the end of the human race as we know it, the technique might be a way to prevent hundreds of mitochondrial-linked diseases, which affect about one in 5,000 people.

Read more here.

MR

March 21, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Age of Cohabitation As Divorce Predictor

From CNBC:

For years, social scientists have tried to explain why living together before marriage seemed to increase the likelihood of a couple divorcing. Now, new research released by the nonpartisan Council on Contemporary Families gives an answer:

It doesn't. And it probably never has.

This is despite two decades of warnings from academics and social commentators who pointed to studies that claimed a correlation between "shacking up" and splitting up—warnings that increased as the number of couples living together before marriage skyrocketed.

As it turns out, those studies that linked premarital cohabitation and divorce were measuring the wrong variable, says Arielle Kuperburg, a professor at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, who produced much of the research released Monday. The biggest predictor of divorce, she says, is actually the age at which a couple begins living together, whether before the wedding vows or after.

Read more here.

MR

March 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The 12-Year Divorce

From CBS New York:

A Long Island man is claiming a crooked court system and an unrelenting wife are to blame for one of the longest-running divorce cases in New York State.

Joseph Yerushalmi of Great Neck has been trying to divorce his wife for the past 12 years, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.

Read more here.

MR

March 19, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

High Divorce Bill

From the Telegraph:

A senior judge has sharply criticised the “eye-watering” £1.6 million legal costs of Britain’s biggest divorce case involving one of Malaysia’s wealthiest men and his beauty queen wife.

Mr Justice Holman also questioned why the Malaysian couple, who pay no tax in this country, have been allowed to “squeeze out” more important cases while paying a fraction of the costs of the taxpayer-funded court hearings, according to reports.

Two of the country’s leading – and most expensive – divorce lawyers have built up massive legal costs despite no guarantee that the case will be heard in Britain, the High Court has heard.

Read more here.

MR

March 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Russian Special Courts

From the Voice of Russia:

Russia will establish eight special courts to adjudicate international child custody battles in which one parent takes the child abroad without the permission of the other parent, a government official said

Read more here.

MR

March 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Opinion in Lozano

From the Washington Post:

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that it has no authority to change the terms of an international treaty on child abduction to benefit a father who missed a deadline for demanding the return of his child, whose mother took her to another country.

It is the third time in four years that the justices have considered how to interpret articles of what is known formally as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Federal courts are having difficulty reconciling some of the provisions of the agreement with domestic family law.

Read more here.

MR

March 15, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Military Parents' Rights in New Mexico

From ABC 7 Albuquerque:

A new law aims to protect the parental rights of members of the military while they are deployed.

Gov. Susana Martinez signed the Service Member Child Custody Act on Saturday. The law prevents any changes to child custody arrangements while either parent is deployed. Officials said they hope the law will make life a little easier.

Read more here.

MR

March 14, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Child Custody in South Dakota

From the Capital Journal:

South Dakota lawmakers passed legislation that would change the state’s child custody laws on Monday.

SB 74 provides judges a set of guidelines when determining split custody between divorced parents. The bill was unanimously supported in the Senate in a vote last month. Members of the House of Representatives voted 68-2 in support of the bill Monday afternoon.

Read more here.

MR

March 13, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bigamy in Jewish Law

From the New York Times:

LAS VEGAS — The wedding was a modest affair, held in a reception hall overlooking an artificial lake tucked behind a suburban strip. But just minutes after it ended, the bride and groom hurriedly scurried past dozens of protesters here who were chanting “Bigamist!” and “Shame on you!”

One of the wedding guests on Thursday evening glared at the demonstrators, repeatedly hissing: “Mazel tov. Mazel tov. Mazel tov.” The bride, in a lace and sequin floor-length gown, grasped the hand of her husband and looked at the crowd in silence.

Meir Kin, the new husband, has been divorced for more than seven years, under California’s civil law. But he has refused to give his previous wife the document known as a “get,” as required by Orthodox Jewish law to end a marriage. In the eyes of religious authorities, the woman he married in 2000 is what is called an agunah — Hebrew for chained wife. Without the get, the woman, Lonna Kin, is forbidden under Jewish law to remarry.

Jewish law prohibits men from taking multiple wives. But Mr. Kin, according to several rabbis here, apparently relied on a legal loophole, which says that if a man can get the special permission of 100 rabbis to take a second wife, he is able to do so.

Read more here.

MR

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Money & Families

From the New York Times:

MARVIN BLUM, a lawyer from Fort Worth, flew to New York last week to visit his daughter, son-in-law and young granddaughter. Staying close to his family is crucial to him. The same goes for seeing his son, who lives in Austin.

“I’m at a point in my life where the things I want I can’t buy with money,” said Mr. Blum, 59. “I want relationships and memorable moments.”

As hokey as this might sound, like a sentiment scribbled on a Hallmark card, Mr. Blum takes it seriously. He has worked with his son, 31, and daughter, 28, on the family’s threefold mission: “We value relationships. We value productive work. We value meaning in our life, from spirituality or whatever else can offer you something in terms of meaning.”

In New York, Mr. Blum, who runs a large trusts and estates law practice in four cities in Texas, attended a symposium called “Successful Multigenerational Families,” hosted by Tiger 21, an investment club for people with more than $10 million to invest. The room was packed with dozens of very wealthy men and women, all focused on how to deal with wealth from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars so it would not divide their families.

Read more here.

MR

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

Infanti: "Big (Gay) Love: Has the IRS Legalized Polygamy?"

Anthony C. Infanti (University of Pittsburgh - School of Law) has posted "Big (Gay) Love: Has the IRS Legalized Polygamy?" North Carolina Law Review Addendum, 2014, Forthcoming, on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Within days in December, a federal judge in Utah made news by loosening that state’s criminal prohibition against polygamy and the Attorney General of North Dakota made news by opining that a party to a same-sex marriage could enter into a different-sex marriage in that state without first obtaining a divorce or annulment. Both of these opinions raised the specter of legalized plural marriage. What discussions of these opinions missed, however, is the possibility that the IRS might already have legalized plural marriage in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last June in United States v. Windsor, which struck down section three of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). 

In exploring that possibility, this essay continues my work analyzing the shortcomings of the IRS’s implementation of the Windsor decision. The Secretary of the Treasury promised that IRS guidance would provide same-sex couples with “certainty and clear, coherent tax-filing guidance.” To the contrary, I have explained that the IRS’s guidance provides no more than the same veneer of clarity that DOMA did, because it leaves important questions unanswered, lays traps for the unwary, creates inequities, and entails unfortunate (and, hopefully, unintended) consequences. In this essay, I extend that analysis by explaining how ambiguity in the IRS’s guidance may also have unintentionally opened the door to recognizing plural marriage for federal tax purposes.

MR

March 10, 2014 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)