Family Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Why Prince Harry and Meghan Won't Have Full Custody

From Country Living:

Juggling the complicated protocol of the royal family is always going to be difficult. As Meghan Markle has learned since she first began dating Prince Harry, there’s rules and expectations for all aspects of life. But if you thought that the leg crossing and wardrobe choices were confusing enough, just wait until you hear how things work when it comes to having children-especially now that Meghan Markle is expecting their first child next spring.

According to reports, the royal family operates with a strange custody agreement when its couples have their own children, which states that, actually, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has full legal custody over the young royals. Royal expert Marlene Koenig explained to news outlets: “The sovereign has legal custody of the minor grandchildren.”

Confused? It’s a seriously backdated regulation, as Koenig continued: “This goes back to King George I [who ruled in the early 1700s], and the law’s never been changed. He did it because he had a very poor relationship with his son, the future King George II, so they had this law passed that meant the King was the guardian of his grandchildren.”

Read more here.

 

October 23, 2018 in Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Child Abduction

From The Guardian:

Three men and a woman have been accused of helping parents abduct their own children across Australia in contravention of family law orders.

Detectives say as part of a two-year investigation 10 missing children have been located with a parent who had abducted them.

“Five of these are believed to be linked to this group of people,” federal police assistant commissioner Debbie Platz said in a statement on Thursday.

Read more here

October 18, 2018 in Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans), International, Resources - Children & the Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 3, 2018

Surrogacy and Thorny Issues of Identity, Parenthood and Status in Modern Families

From Lexis Nexis:

AB v CD and others [2018] EWHC 1590 (Fam) illustrates how the needs of modern families formed through assisted conception and surrogacy continue to challenge and outpace the law. Louisa Ghevaert and Richard Jones analyse the case in the September issue of Family Law ([2018] Fam Law 1187).

On one level, the case focused on disputes about arrangements for the children’s upbringing, including exercise of parental responsibility and contact. However, at the heart of this case were fundamental issues about the legal identity and status of the parents and children because the biological intended parents had not applied for parental orders.

This case marked the first time the court had to deal with a situation whereby a family created through surrogacy encountered serious domestic violence, marital breakdown, divorce and remarriage forming a new blended family.

Read more here.

September 3, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction, Custody (parenting plans), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Court Jails Mother Who Hid With Sons in Custody Battle

From BBC News:

A Spanish court has jailed a woman for five years for going into hiding with her two sons rather than hand them to the father, whom she accused of abuse.

Juana Rivas has also been stripped of custody rights for six years and told to pay hefty legal costs.

Spanish politicians and women's groups have criticised the verdict.

The long-running custody battle for the boys - now aged 12 and four - has become a rallying point in Spain's battle against gender violence.

Read more here.

July 31, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans), Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Hoosiers With Disabilities Now Have a Less Restrictive Alternative to Guardianship

From Faegre, Baker, & Daniels:

After working for years to become more independent, Richmond native Jamie Beck has made Indiana history in how she successfully terminated the letters of guardianship over her. Indiana Disability Rights (IDR) recently announced that Jamie filed the first petition in Indiana seeking to terminate a guardianship in favor of a Supported Decision Making Agreement. In a matter of first impression, the court granted Jamie’s petition, potentially paving the way for guardians across the state to formalize existing support systems and encourage Hoosiers with disabilities to achieve the greatest degree of independence possible.

Jamie was diagnosed with mild intellectual disability and attention deficit disorder and was adjudicated an incapacitated person in November of 2010. But her petition, filed last month, detailed her improvement since the adjudication. At the time of filing, Jamie lived in the community, worked two part-time jobs and did volunteer work. In October of 2017, Jamie began a vocational training program in environmental services in Muncie, Indiana. Her participation recently led to an offer of full-time employment with Ball Memorial Hospital. Two weeks after Jamie’s petition was filed, she was set to begin orientation.

Read more here.

July 6, 2018 in Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Medical (or not) Marijuana and Child Custody

From Fox Rothschild, LLP:

Pennsylvania uses the standard “the best interests of the child” when determining custody issues. What happens if the best interest of the child breaks the law? Such is the case in Georgia where parents of a 15 year old boy suffering from epilepsy resorted to marijuana to treat his seizures. Their argument is compelling: their son suffers from debilitating seizures that have not responded to traditional treatment and medical help is forty-five minutes away from them. They feared his seizures would eventually kill him.

Having seemingly exhausted their medical options (including a legal form of marijuana oil in a capsule), they began having their son smoke marijuana. His seizures stopped. However, the state of Georgia’s child welfare agency, acting on a tip, investigated the family and removed the young man from his parents’ care in April. Having gone nearly 70 days without a seizure, on the day he was removed from his home he was hospitalized for a severe seizure. He is in a group home and reports did not mention whether he continued to have seizures, but presumably he has and those facts will emerge later this month when a hearing is held.

Read more here.

June 18, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Couple Who Insisted Stuffed Animal Was Their Lawyer Lose Child Custody

 

From Newsweek:

A couple from British Columbia in Canada lost custody of their child after insisting to have a stuffed animal act as their lawyer during the trial.

Inside the bizarre courtroom, the couple—who have not been named to protect the identity of their daughter—consulted with a stuffed lion that they believed was transmitting the advice of God, reported the Vancouver Sun. The pair refused normal legal assistance and instead referred to the small toy for guidance.

The Provincial Court of British Columbia declared in November that the couple’s daughter—who was one at the time—needed protection and placed her in provincial custody. The parents appealed the decision to the British Columbia Supreme Court, claiming the judge was discriminatory towards them as Christians, violated their Charter rights and made procedural blunders.

Read more here.

June 11, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act Passes Senate

From Senator Susan Collins:

Today, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA) celebrated the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act (S. 1091), which would create a federal task force charged with supporting grandparents raising grandchildren as the opioid epidemic increases their numbers. The U.S. House of Representatives must pass the legislation before it becomes law. The bill is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 15 senators and supported by a wide array of child welfare and aging organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics and AARP.

Approximately 2.6 million children are being raised by their grandparents and experts say this number is rising as the opioid epidemic devastates communities across the country. Senators Collins and Casey, who are both members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act last year after an Aging Committee hearing during which witnesses testified about the need for grandparents to have easy access to information about resources available to assist them.

Read more here.

June 10, 2018 in Adoption, Child Abuse, Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

When Living Your Truth Can Mean Losing Your Children

From New York Times:

The questioning went on for days. Did she allow her children to watch a Christmas video? Did she include plastic Easter eggs as part of her celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim? Did she use English nicknames for them, instead of their Hebrew names?

This grilling of Chavie Weisberger, 35, took place not in front of a rabbi or a religious court, but in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, during a custody battle with her ultra-Orthodox Jewish ex-husband after she came out as lesbian and decided to leave the ultra-Orthodox fold. The stakes could not have been higher. In fact, the judge, Eric I. Prus, eventually ruled that she should lose custody of her children, largely because she had lapsed in raising them according to Hasidic customs.

Ms. Weisberger’s case, which was reversed on appeal in August, is still reverberating through New York courts that handle divorce and custody matters for the state’s hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Read more here.

May 29, 2018 in Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Former Playmate Kills Self, Son, in Custody Battle

From The New York Post:

A former Playboy Playmate killed herself and her 7-year-old son in a murder-suicide leap from a Midtown hotel penthouse Friday amid a bitter custody battle with her estranged husband, sources told The Post.

The bodies of Stephanie Adams and her son, Vincent, were found on a second-floor balcony area by a guest at the Gotham Hotel, police said.

Adams, 47, had been battling with her husband, Manhattan chiropractor Charles Nicolai, in court, and the dispute had heated up Tuesday when he filed a motion for sole custody of the boy, said his lawyer, William Beslow.

Read more here.

May 24, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds), Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Who Gets Embryos In Divorce?

From AZ Today (part of the USA Today Network):

State law may soon dictate who has the right to their own frozen embryos, regardless of what the potential parents think.

In cases of divorce, Senate Bill 1393 would require courts to give frozen embryos to the spouse who "intends to allow the embryos to develop to birth."

If both adults want to use the embryos to have a baby, the court would have to give them to the one who "provides the best chance" of successfully doing so.

The bill, which has passed the Senate and now just needs a final vote in the House before going to the governor, would override any agreements or contracts that the couple previously had on the matter, and would ignore either person's current objections or concerns. 

Read more here.

March 13, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction, Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Judge Gives Grandparents Custody of Transgender Teen

From CNN:

A Hamilton County, Ohio, judge on Friday gave custody of a transgender teen to his grandparents rather than his parents, allowing them to make medical decisions regarding his transition.

The parents didn't want the teen, a 17-year-old who identifies as male, to undergo hormone treatment and refused to call him by his chosen name, triggering suicidal feelings, according to court testimony. The parents wanted custody in order to make medical decisions for the teen and prohibit the treatment that his medical team had recommended.
 
Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon had instructed that the family's names not be released.
 
Read more here.

February 22, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sperm Donor Denied Parental Rights

From USA Today:

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — A married same-sex Chemung County couple can rebuff an effort by a sperm donor to exert parental rights on the daughter born as a result of the arrangement.

A midlevel New York appeals court ruled in favor of the couple, suspending a decision by the Chemung County Family Court that originally ordered a paternity test to determine the donor's parental rights.

In a 19-page decision released Thursday, the New York Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, said the lesbian couple has the same parental rights as a traditional couple in a sperm donor arrangement. The mother and wife are the presumed natural parents, the court ruled, and the donor has no specific legal right to be a part of the rearing of the child no matter how the child was conceived.

Read more here.

February 11, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans), Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Japanese Supreme Court Upholds Refusal to Return Children

From International Family Law Firm:

The Osaka High Court has just issued a decision in a case under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the “Hague Convention”) that provides strong support for the claim that Japan does not comply with the terms of the treaty and that is, indeed, in violation of its treaty obligations.

It has not been possible until now to analyze the decisions of the Japanese courts in cases brought under the Hague Convention since they are unpublished and confidential.  Such secrecy has precluded Japanese lawyers from reporting on specific cases, and has frustrated scrutiny of court decisions.  However, the author has now obtained a copy of the shocking decision of the Osaka High Court in the case of Arimitsu v. Cook, issued on February 17, 2017.

This author has long asserted that the law by which Japan brought the Convention into Japanese law -- Act No. 48 of June 19, 2013, which is identified as the “Act for Implementation of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction” (the “Implementing Act”) – contains provisions that inappropriately and excessively expand the so-called “grave risk exception” to the treaty. The author has also long expressed serious concerns that return orders issued by the Japanese courts would not be effectively enforced in Japan.

Read more here.

January 15, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Pending Legislation Will Significantly Change Michigan Child Custody Laws

From The National Law Review:

Late this spring, members of the Michigan House of Representatives introduced House Bill No. 4691, the Michigan Shared Parenting Act. The proposed legislation stands to fundamentally change Michigan's child custody law. Some of the major changes include creating a presumption of joint legal custody and equal parenting time, and reducing the distance a parent may relocate without court permission from the current 100 miles, to 40 miles.

Joint legal custody means that the parents share decision-making authority as to important decisions affecting the child. A legal presumption would require judges to enter an order requiring joint legal custody in all cases, absent one of the parents establishing that a child's health, safety, or well-being would be materially compromised. The current law only requires the court to consider an award of joint custody based upon the best interests of the children. From a practical standpoint, most judges tend to order joint legal custody despite the fact that there is not a legal presumption. However, in cases involving domestic violence, abuse and neglect, judges do not always award joint legal custody.

Read more here.

January 13, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Contact With Parents Not Always Best

From The Guardian:

Children brought up by extended family members should not always have contact with their parents as it could harm their mental health, according to new research.

Interviews carried out for the charity Grandparents Plus examined the effects of parental contact on the increasing number of children being cared for by relatives other than their parents .

It is estimated that more than 180,000 children in the UK are being raised by a family member – often referred to as kinship caring. More than half of the children (51%) live with a grandparent, 23% with an older sibling, and the rest with other relatives.

Read more here.

November 29, 2017 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Grandmother Fights Without Lawyer For Custody of Grandchild

From BuzzFeedNews:

A grandmother who wanted to care for her grandchild had to fight a local authority with no lawyer after a social worker recommended that the baby be put up for adoption.

As the parents were unable to look after the baby, the paternal grandmother – who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity – put herself forward to be the special guardian, similar to a foster carer.

The case, heard in Gloucester’s family court last month, could not be reported until now because Gloucestershire County Council was demanding anonymity. After this was challenged by BuzzFeed News, The Guardian and the BBC, a judge ruled on Monday that they should be named and that the grandmother’s account of her experience should be made public.

Read more here.

November 11, 2017 in Adoption, Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mexico and Utah Sign Child Custody Agreement

From Deseret News Utah:

SALT LAKE CITY — The consulate of Mexico in Salt Lake City signed an agreement Monday with the Utah Department of Human Services, updating the consulate's extensive role in assisting parental custody cases for minors with Mexican citizenship.

Javier Chagoya, the consul of Mexico in Salt Lake, was joined for a signing ceremony by Ann Williamson, executive director of the Department of Human Services, and Tonya Myrup, acting director of the Division of Child and Family Services. Their signatures were met with applause by custody case workers and others in attendance.

Williamson lauded the agreement as an important step "to advance our shared commitment to children and families thriving safely in their homes, schools and communities." She said the consulate of Mexico fills an integral role in assuring that Mexican children involved in custody cases in Utah are provided with as many potential positive solutions as would be arranged for any other child in the state.

Read more here.

May 31, 2017 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Judges Issues Tri-Custody Agreement

From CNN:

An unconventional family produced a child before becoming tangled in a lengthy custody battle that ended last week when a New York judge awarded shared custody of the boy to his dad and two mothers.

The boy in the case is the biological child of a man and one of his neighbors. Both the man and his wife had a longstanding, intimate relationship with the birth mother, according to court documents.
 
The father, identified as Michael M., and his wife, Dawn M., had struggled to become pregnant. Dawn M. had suffered a miscarriage before the couple met the neighbor, identified as Audria. The three later began to "engage in intimate relations," the records state.

Read more here.

March 25, 2017 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Complicated custody battle between a child's adoptive parents and birth father

From ABC News:

Braelynn Dalsing is like any 3-year-old growing up in South Carolina. She’s fascinated with backyard chickens, loves the movie “Zootopia” and is attached to her mom and dad at the hip.

But really, Braelynn isn’t like most other girls her age at all. She’s at the center of a complicated custody battle, one that could have implications for adoptive families all over the country.

Braelynn is adopted. In December 2016, her adoptive parents were told that their adoption had been vacated and that, with conditions, the state intended to return their daughter to her biological father.

“It breaks our heart. Braelynn is the one at the middle of this,” Ed Dalsing, Braelynn’s adopted father, told ABC's “Nightline.”

Read more here.

March 8, 2017 in Adoption, Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (1)