Family Law Prof Blog

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

Monday, September 10, 2018

Couples Will No Longer Have To Prove Blame (UK)

From The Telegraph:

Couples will be allowed no-fault divorces in the first major change to UK marriage laws for 50 years.

David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, wants to abolish the current system of fault-based divorce and will announce a consultation on the matter as the first stage in the process of passing legislation.

Under a simplified system, spouses would lose the ability to block a divorce as there would be no need for their husband or wife to prove adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion in a contested divorce.

It comes weeks after the Supreme Court ordered a wife to stay in her “loveless” marriage after her husband of 40 years denied that he had behaved unreasonably.

Read more here.

 
 

September 10, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Divorce Crisis

From The Guardian:

A woman who wants to divorce her husband of 40 years because she says their marriage is unhappy has lost her case. Supreme court judges “reluctantly” told her she must remain his wife, because a joyless marriage is not adequate grounds for a divorce if one spouse refuses to agree.

Five judges at the UK’s highest court unanimously upheld rulings by a family court and the court of appeal that Tini Owens, 68, must stay married to Hugh Owens, 80, despite her complaint that the marriage was loveless and had broken down.

Read more here

 

September 4, 2018 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Same-Sex Divorce Has Some Complications

From CNBC:

Two years after the U.S. Supreme Court leagalized same-sex marriages, some couples who decide to call it quits are discovering that getting married was the easy part.

From divvying up assets to asserting parental rights, the details of divorce that can be more clear-cut with heterosexual marriages are creating complications for same-sex couples.

"The reality for many same-sex couples who are divorcing is that they had relationships in place prior to the marriage — some for many, many years," said Joyce Kauffman, principal of Kauffman Law & Mediation in Roslindale, Massachusetts. "The courts have broad discretion in these matters, and that discretion can go in your favor or not."

Read more here.

August 9, 2018 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

UK Supreme Court: Woman Can't Divorce Husband of 40 Years

From WISH TV 8:

The U.K. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a woman must remain married to her husband of 40 years after he opposed her request for a divorce, saying its hands were tied by the country’s divorce laws.

The justices upheld a lower court ruling that Tini Owens, 68, failed to prove “unreasonable behavior” by her husband, 80-year-old Hugh Owens, who she claimed was moody, argumentative and disparaging. English law requires a spouse to prove unreasonable behavior, adultery, desertion or a separation of five years unless both parties agree to divorce.

In issuing their ruling, the justices made their unease plain, noting that society’s expectations for reasonable behavior have changed since divorce laws were last updated in 1969 and marriage is now seen as a partnership of equals. The court then opened the door for lawmakers to rewrite the rules.

Read more here.

August 1, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 27, 2018

Planning for Special Needs Children in Divorce

From The New Jersey Law Journal:

Unfortunately, the rate of divorce is exceptionally high—80-90 percent—among families of children with special needs. It is critical that family law practitioners understand the unique issues that arise in these cases. While all divorces are emotional and fraught with concerns about both short and long-term issues, divorce proceedings for parents of a child with special needs must be viewed through the lens of the long-term realities of disability. This is particularly true for children with complex or severe disabilities, who will require lifetime supports and services. Unlike “typical” kids, these children will never outgrow their need for assistance with basic decision-making, activities of daily living, self-care, etc. However, even children with mild disabilities may require specialized planning during a divorce due to their unique needs.

When a child is a minor, and custody or parenting time is at issue in a divorce, any special needs the child has must be considered when making final decisions. Children with autism or sensory processing issues, for example, may have a more difficult time transitioning between homes regularly. One home—or parent—may be better equipped to safely manage a child’s disability-related needs due to knowledge, work scheduling issues, other individuals in the home, etc. As with all custody discussions, the “best interests of the child” should prevail. Similarly, in terms of child support, additional expenses may need to be built in beyond the mandated guidelines to account for necessary therapies, private tutoring or education, specialized medications, items not covered by insurance, etc.

Read more here.

July 27, 2018 in Child Support (establishing), Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Desperate Couple Considering Divorce to Afford Health Care

From People Magazine:

An Army veteran and his wife of nine years say they’re considering divorce in order to qualify for health care assistance for their disabled daughter.

Jake and Maria Grey of Sanger, Texas, opened up in a Today report about the cost of caring for their daughter Brighton, who has a rare chromosomal disorder called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.

At age 6, Brighton has the developmental abilities of a newborn and requires round-the-clock care. Ailments include vision and hearing impairment, heart and kidney problems, seizures, and more, according to WFAA News.

Read more here.

July 22, 2018 in Current Affairs, Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Supreme Court Upholds Changes to Beneficiaries Upon Divorce

From JD Supra:

Married persons often name the other spouse as beneficiaries of their estate, life insurance, pensions, IRA’s, annuities and other contractual arrangements upon the death of the first spouse. Upon divorce, they often do not get around to changing these beneficiary designations, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Many state legislatures have reached the conclusion that the spouse that died would likely have wanted to change the beneficiary from the former spouse, but just never got around to it (whether intentionally via procrastination or unintentionally). They have enacted revocation-on-divorce statutes that treat a divorce as voiding one or more of testamentary bequests and beneficiary designations. In 2002, Minnesota adopted such a statute that applied to will and various will substitutes, including life insurance and annuity contracts.

The Contracts Clause of the U.S. Constitution restricts the power of States to disrupt contractual arrangements. It provides that “[n]o state shall . . . pass any . . . Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.”  U. S. Const., Art. I, §10, cl. 1. In a recent case, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the issue whether Minnesota’s revocation-on-divorce statute was unconstitutional as violative of the Contract Clause. The dispute arose between the claims of a divorced spouse, and alternative beneficiaries, as to entitlement to life insurance proceeds when a former spouse died and did not remove the surviving spouse as beneficiary of the insurance policy.

Read more here.

 

July 17, 2018 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 30, 2018

For Women In Papua New Guinea, Income From Selling Betel Nut Can Come At Heavy Price

From NPR:

The women are mostly in their early 20s. They have children at home. Selling betel nut — an addictive, natural chew — to passersby in mountain towns of Papua New Guinea is a good way to earn a living.

But the extra income sometimes comes at a heavy price: violent beatings by their spouses. Two out of three women in Papua New Guinea experience abuse at the hands of an intimate partner at least once in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization and aid groups.

Betel nut sellers in Goroka, the main city in the Eastern Highlands, say physical violence is particularly common in their marriages.

Read more here.

June 30, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Valuing a Closely Held Business in Divorce

From McNees Law:

Valuing a closely held business can be a complex endeavor, requiring a through analysis of assets, financial statements, financial claims, earning potential and inherent risks. A host of other factors can also influence the determination. Valuations are especially tricky in the context of contentious divorces involving businesses. In such cases, each spouse should not only have his or her own lawyer, but also a forensic business evaluator to ensure the thoroughness and accuracy required to make an informed decision regarding equitable distribution and to secure the best result.

This article discusses the valuation process and methods used, notes common pitfalls, and offers practical pointers on what to do when divorce is or may be on the horizon.

Whether considering a divorce or facing one where either or both spouses have a closely held business, each spouse should consult a lawyer with extensive experience in handling divorces involving business valuations and in working with forensic business evaluators. That experience is key when determining whether the business has value or is simply providing a job to the owner, when selecting forensic evaluators, reviewing documentation, or challenging the opposing experts’ valuation and in ensuring the best possible outcome for the client. An experienced attorney can streamline the process and avoid the unnecessary expenditure of funds.

Read more here.

June 19, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), Resources - Divorce | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Dangers of Divorce Law

From NBC News:

New York divorce lawyer extraordinaire Raoul Felder, who handled the celebrity splits of everybody from Rudy Giuliani to Christie Brinkley, kept a pistol in the desk drawer of his Manhattan office for many years.

His reasoning was simple: “Everybody hates divorce lawyers, sometimes even their own clients,” he said.

That animosity was on display earlier this week when police said an Arizona man — upset over his divorce nearly a decade earlier — went on a killing spree that left seven people dead, including himself.

Read more here.

June 13, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, June 1, 2018

Want A Divorce In China? Not If You Do Well On This Quiz

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

Hong Kong: It's like the American television show the Newlywed Game, but for divorce.

In some parts of China, married couples seeking to split up have been asked to take a quiz issued by the local authorities. The more they know about each other — including a spouse's birthday or favourite food — the less likely they are to have the divorce immediately approved.

The quizzes, issued in at least two provinces since last year, follow the format of a typical three-part school exam: fill-in-the-blank, short-answer questions and an essay. Questions include the mundane —"When is your anniversary?"— and the philosophical: "Have you fulfilled your responsibility to your family?"

Read more here.

June 1, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), International | 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, April 17, 2018

Bitcoin and Divorce

From Schiller, DuCanto, & Fleck, LLP:

In Illinois, incident to resolving a divorce case, all assets and liabilities are required to be identified, valued, and allocated between the parties equitably. Although often resulting in a 50/50 division of marital assets, “equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal.” Prior to either reaching an agreed upon division of assets, or proceeding to trial on the issues of property division, all assets must first be identified and then where possible, valued. With the rise of the digital age, issues of valuation have expanded to the world of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Valuation, however, is not the only issue involving bitcoin and divorce. Today, divorcing parties and their attorneys must be diligent in approaching bitcoin (and all other cryptocurrencies for that matter) during divorce.

While identification of the existence of bitcoin or other cryptocurrency is the starting place, one must first understand what bitcoin is. Bitcoin is an electronic currency that allows users to transfer funds directly to one another through a peer-to-peer system without the need for a middle man, like a bank or Western Union. As set forth in the Wall Street Journal, “Bitcoin, despite its name, isn’t money. It does not have governmental backing. According to the Journal, its extreme price volatility significantly diminishes its usefulness as a reliable unit of account or effective means of payments. Bitcoin might, however, serve as a sustainable store of value, like gold.”

Read more here.

 

April 17, 2018 in Current Affairs, Divorce (grounds) | 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)

Divorce Substitute in Philippines

From CNN Philippines:

The House of Representatives committee on population and family relations on Wednesday approved a measure that would allow divorce in the Philippines.

The bill, entitled "An act instituting absolute divorce in the Philippines," was approved with no contention.

Under the bill, married couples may end their marriage for several reasons, including abuse, infidelity, and irreconcilable differences.

Read more here.

March 13, 2018 in Annulment, Divorce (grounds), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 5, 2018

Single Mother Urges IN Lawmakers to Consider Alimony

From WTHR:

After 25 years of marriage, Lori Vanatsky was left alone with her three children, one under 18, when her husband packed his bags and moved to North Carolina, taking a lifetime of support with him.

Vanatsky, 46, of Zionsville, told a Senate committee Wednesday that she had been a stay-at-home mom and had limited resources when her spouse left because Indiana law does not provide for spousal support under most circumstances.

She approached Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, with her situation and convinced him that something needs to be done for spouses who end up in situations like hers. That is why Delph has proposed Senate Resolution 32, which calls for a study committee to explore topics of spousal support and updates to Indiana’s divorce laws.

Read more here.

March 5, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Why New Tax Law May Spur More Divorces

From Politico:

Republicans may pride themselves on upholding family values, but their new tax law could soon lead to a surge in married couples calling it quits.

Lawyers are counseling couples considering divorce to do it this year — before a 76-year-old deduction for alimony payments is wiped out in 2019 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“Now’s not the time to wait,” said Mary Vidas, a lawyer in Philadelphia and former chair of the American Bar Association’s section on family law. “If you’re going to get a divorce, get it now.”

Read more here.

February 8, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Social Media and Divorce

From the HuffPost:

Every morning, as I drink my morning cup of coffee, I scroll through my Facebook news feed, and it does not take me long before I come across a “friend’s” post that causes me to shake my head, and think “Why would they post that?” In today’s social media savvy world, people are often quick to send out a tweet, update their Facebook status, or post an item without thinking first. Maybe I think this way because I am a divorce attorney, but I cringe when I read some of these posts. If you are going through a contentious divorce, about to go through a divorce or just finalized your divorce, or you and your spouse are engaged in a heated custody battle, please heed this simple advice:

a) THINK BEFORE YOU POST: Before you hit the post or tweet button, think to yourself: if this post is printed out and introduced as evidence in my divorce or custody matter, how does it reflect upon me? Does it show poor parental judgment? Does it show immaturity? Will it be used against me in Court? Would my spouse show it to my children? For example, posting about your late night out drinking wine might not be smart to discuss with a custody matter pending and children are involved. Hey, Mommies, everyone likes a good glass of wine once in a while, but during your divorce is not the time to post about it.

Read more here.

December 21, 2017 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Divorce Finance

From Forbes:

Divorce is never easy. It represents the end of a way of life you have known for years. Not only could a divorce wear you out emotionally, it could wear you out financially. Even the wealthiest may not have sufficient access to capital during a divorce. Assets could be frozen during the pendency of a divorce. Some turn to friends or family for capital but, for some, this is not an option and certainly it is not an easy ask.

Read more here.

July 23, 2017 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Divorce and the Hong Kong Housing Market

From Bloomberg:

The usual suspects for Hong Kong’s sky-high property prices are low interest rates, a housing shortage and demand from mainland China. But there’s another unforeseen factor: divorce.

Demand for separations and remarriages have accelerated sharply over the past two decades as the former British colony has deepened its integration with the mainland. That’s according to Richard Wong, an academic at the University of Hong Kong and a veteran analyst of the local housing sector.

The numbers tell the story: Between 1976 and 1995, cumulative total marriages reached 803,072, with 84,788 divorces and 65,794 remarriages, according to Wong. In the subsequent years, through 2015, marriages rose to 878,552 while divorces shot up to 323,298 and remarriages came in at 256,066.

Looser travel restrictions between Hong Kong and the mainland after Britain handed the colony back in 1997 have played a role in encouraging Hong Kong residents to find new partners across the border. The divorce phenomenon is distinct from the mainland, where couples have sometimes separated simply to get around curbs on housing purchases.

Read more here.

June 13, 2017 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)