Thursday, September 30, 2021

You Don’t Have To Be Britney Spears To Get A Prenuptial Agreement

From CNBC:

Millions of people congratulated Britney Spears on her recent engagement. Almost as many urged her to get a prenuptial agreement. . . . In fact, the singer’s assets are valued at more than $50 million, which makes the pop star and her long-time love obvious candidates, but fame, fortune and a financial conservatorship aside, most couples can benefit by sorting out some money issues before tying the knot.

For example, prenups, which generally safeguard real estate and investments holdings, savings accounts or a business, can also offer the chance to hash out how a partner could be compensated for leaving the workforce to care for their children.

In addition, it’s increasingly common that there are complicating factors, including children from a previous relationship, a family business, real estate and investments holdings, or one partner’s student loan or credit card debt.

A solid prenup can even help couples stay married, according to Penelope Hefner, a family law attorney and principal of Sodoma Law Union in Monroe, North Carolina. It’s an opportunity to have those conversations about money, she said. Doing this before getting married gives each person a better understanding of what’s most important to their partner as well as the chance to discuss and set shared goals.

Read more here. 

September 30, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Rewriting Your Will After Divorce

From Investopedia:

Many states have laws that, after a divorce, automatically revoke gifts to a former spouse listed in a will. . . . Some states go even further to include provisions that revoke gifts to family members of a former spouse.

Typically, if you had alternate beneficiaries listed in your will, the gifts would default to them. If you had no alternate beneficiary for a gift, the person you listed in your will as a residual beneficiary would inherit the assets in question. However, it is not a great idea to rely on state law in these matters. Additionally, during the divorce process, you are still technically married, and you may wish to change your beneficiaries in advance of the final divorce decree

Most married people leave everything in their will to their surviving spouse. If this is how your will currently reads, be sure to remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary and add a new beneficiary. Be aware, however, that many assets are passed outside of a will. These asset transfers are based on bank or insurance documents. Therefore, it is also critical to change the beneficiary designation on those documents. 

The important items to update in your will are your beneficiaries, executor, property, and guardianship of minor children. 

Read more here

September 29, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Should Foster Youth Age Out At 21? This Week’s Cutoff of Pandemic Relief Money Again Raises the Question

From The Seattle Times:

[A]s part of its emergency response to the pandemic, the federal government last year required states to continue providing benefits to those who would otherwise age out of “extended foster care” programs for young adults. Washington used federal pandemic relief money to do so.

On Thursday, the moratorium on aging out is set to expire, cutting off payments to about 320 people in Washington and 20,000 nationwide, unless the feds or the state step in.

The federal government, in addition to issuing the moratorium, allocated $400 million in emergency funding to help 23- to 26-year-old former foster children. The deadline for distributing that money, unless extended, is also Thursday. Treehouse, charged with administering $1.65 million in Washington, has so far only been able to find 600 of an estimated 2,800 of these young adults, according to Rains.

The pandemic has heightened worries that already existed about those aging out of the foster system. Some say 21 is too soon — even in normal times — to expect them to be completely independent.

Advocates note California in July approved a plan to send monthly checks of up to $1,000 to 21- to 24-year-olds who have been through the foster care system — heralded as the country’s first guaranteed income program.

Read more here. 

September 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 27, 2021

Switzerland Votes to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

From NBC News:

Cheers rang out, hugs were exchanged and rainbow-colored flags waved overhead across Switzerland as the Swiss resoundingly voted to allow same-sex couples to marry, final results of a nationwide referendum showed Sunday.

Official results showed the measure passed with 64.1 percent of the vote while more than half of all voters approved in each of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, or states. The vote — years in the making — is set to bring the Alpine nation into line with many others in Western Europe and wraps up an often tense campaign between rival sides.

Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said on Twitter that the government would implement the decision quickly and, under current plans, the new rules can take effect on July 1.

Passage is set to put same-sex partners on an equal legal footing with heterosexual couples by allowing them to adopt children and facilitating citizenship for same-sex spouses. It will also permit lesbian couples to utilize regulated sperm donation.

Read more here

September 27, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Oregon: State Program Provides Free And Optional Resource To Help Families With Newborns

From KTVZ:

Oregon is launching the program called Family Connects Oregon in Central Oregon that will take families of newborns and connect them with registered nurses in each county's health department. The purpose of the program is to help families overcoming the challenges.

The pandemic has influenced the program's rollout and virtual meetings are being implemented now. Though in-person ones are preferred, the program has conducted Zoom meetings effectively. The program covers pregnant women as well as people who are adopting, or looking to become foster parents.

Family Connects Oregon, which launched in February 2020 following the passage of Senate Bill 526, provides voluntary, universally offered nurse home visiting services to all families with newborns living in the state, no matter their income, location or insurance status. Oregon is the first in the country to offer these services statewide and require private insurance providers to pay for them.

Read more here.

September 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Texarkana Area: 1st Choice Pregnancy Center Offers Free Parenting Classes Among Other Resources

From TXK Today:

1st Choice Pregnancy Center has been in the Texarkana area for years, providing a wide variety of resources to those in our area seeking help. 1st Choice prides themselves in their care and compassion for mothers and fathers of all ages, by using their mission to help encourage, educate and counsel those who may be in a pregnancy crisis.

While 1st Choice has many different class options for parents in our area, they also provide rewards and incentives to parents who continue to come to classes. Rewards can help them purchasing items such as car seats, strollers, diapers and more. For many, becoming parents and learning that they are pregnant can cause extreme fear and hopelessness. 1st Choice provides support and encouragement for parents at any age.

One way 1st Choice has continued to meet the needs of our growing community of expectant mothers and fathers, is with their newly designed mobile unit Leah. Leah will be traveling across Texarkana and surrounding communities including DeKalb, Fouke, Atlanta, and New Boston. The mobile unit will allow 1st Choice to provide pregnancy testing, sonograms and peer counseling to those in our local communities who don’t have the means to make it into town to visit the Center. 

Read more here.

September 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 24, 2021

Life Consequences For People Who Cannot Get Abortions

From NBC News:

Denial of abortion is not only a concern in legal field, but also an issue in economy. While people of all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds get abortions, about half of all individuals who obtain one live below the federal poverty level. 

Meanwhile, people who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term experienced a 78 percent spike in debt that was a month or more past due after the time of birth and an 81 percent increase in reports of bankruptcies, evictions, and tax liens, compared to others who had access to abortion care. Individuals who are denied an abortion are also three times more likely to be unemployed.

Denial of abortion also causes mental problems and increases the instances of domestic violence. Carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term is far riskier to someone's physical health than having an abortion. About 700 people in the United States die each year as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications, the maternal mortality rate is 20.1 deaths per 100,000 live births. 

Domestic violence is also common among people seeking abortions, with between 6 percent and 22 percent reporting recent violence from an intimate partner. Those who are turned away from getting an abortion are more likely to stay in contact with a violent partner, and they are more likely to raise the child alone.

Read more here.

September 24, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 23, 2021

"Everyday Counts Campaign" Is Helping Kids In Foster Care's Adoption

From KATV:

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of kids in foster care has only gone up in the past 18-months, and for the next few months leading up to National Adoption Month, they’re making every day count.

The Division of Children and Family Services and Project Zero are in the midst of their three month long “Everyday Counts Campaign” in Arkansas. Approximately more than 340 kids are in foster care now, awaiting for adoption.

"A lot of foster kids end up on the streets, like doing drugs, and like, sleeping around, and all of that,"  one of the girls said. "A lot of the kids in the system, like, honestly had no idea why their parents had given them up."

The three month campaign is intended to bring attention to the need for adoptive families in Arkansas, and find forever families for the hundreds of waiting kids in foster care by National Adoption Month in November.
Read more here.


September 23, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Lawsuit On Fertility Treatment Coverage Issue For LGBTQ+ People

From NBC News:

Health insurer Aetna Inc has been sued for allegedly discriminating against beneficiaries that are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer by requiring them to pay more out of pocket for fertility treatments.

Plaintiffs said that they were forced to pay nearly $45,000 for fertility treatments as a result of Aetna’s policy, which required same-sex couples to pay for fertility treatment out of pocket before becoming eligible for coverage. They alleged that Aetna’s discriminatory policy is an illegal tax on LGBTQ individuals that denies the equal rights of LGBTQ individuals to have children which such policy violated state law. 

Claims are brought under the Affordable Care Act’s anti-discrimination provisions and New York state and city human rights laws, seeking to represent a class of people covered by Aetna student health plans in New York.

Read more here.

September 22, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

India: Minor Marriage Is Valid If Not Declaring Void At 18

From Times of India:

The Punjab and Haryana high court has ruled that a married minor can seek separation only through a decree of divorce before the age of majority if she did not declare the marriage void at 18.

Section 5(iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, requires the bride to be at least 18 for union to be considered legally valid.

A petition for nullity under Section 13(2)(iv) can be filed if the girl married at the age of 15, filed petition for dissolution of marriage before turning 18. In this case, the girl married at 17 and did not file a petition to declare marriage void on attaining the age of majority, the high court held that a dissolution of marriage by mutual consent should be allowed by the family court.

Read more here.

September 21, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 20, 2021

Wealthy Couples Would Face An Increasing Marriage Penalty From House Democrats' Tax Plan

From CNBC:

House Democrats unveiled a tax package this week that would raise $2.1 trillion over a decade from the wealthy and corporations. Couples who file a joint tax return experience a marriage penalty if their income-tax bill is larger than the one they’d get filing as single taxpayers.

The tax plan would increase the existing marriage penalty for wealthy couples, according to financial advisors. The proposal would raise the top income-tax rate to 39.6% from 37%. A single filer with more than $400,000 of income in 2022 would pay that rate. However, the $450,000 income threshold for married couples filing a joint return isn’t much higher. 

If successful, the legislation may change how high-income couples file their taxes.

Read more here.

September 20, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Treasury Department: America’s ‘Unworkable’ Child-care System Is Failing Families

From CNBC:

The Treasury Department has determined that the nation’s child-care system is “unworkable,” saying it is plagued by market failures that put quality care out of reach for many families.

In a report released Wednesday, Treasury details the struggle many parents face to afford child care, especially as bills pile up before their peak earning years.

Treasury is making the case for federal government support for paid family leave, universal preschool and significant tax credits for parents and dependent care as Democrats in Congress work to write a social-spending bill that could total $3.5 trillion.

The Treasury report found that the average family with a child younger than age 5 must devote 13% of its income on care, which is unaffordable for many families. That inability to pay is what economists call a “liquidity constraint”: Parents cannot spend more on child care than they earn on the job, and they cannot borrow from their future earnings to cover the cost. 

At the same time, leaving the labor force comes with penalties of its own. The report cites a study by Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Larry Katz that found that an 18-month break from work was tied to a 41% decrease in earnings for women with MBAs.

Read more here

September 19, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 18, 2021

France to Offer Free Contraception for Women Up to 25

From The New York Times:

“It is unbearable that young women cannot protect themselves, cannot have contraception if they choose to do so because it is too expensive for them,” said Olivier Véran, the country’s health minister, on France 2, a public broadcaster. The government had noticed a decline in the use of contraceptives among “a certain number of young women,” he said.

The government said it would set aside about 21 million euros, or almost $25 million, to pay for all types of contraceptives — including IUDs — and consultations on their use. The age of 25 was chosen as a threshold, Mr. Véran said, “because it is an age that corresponds, in terms of economic life, social life and income, with more autonomy.”

The announcement was in stark opposition to much of the debate over women’s reproductive rights in some other countries. In the United States, a near total ban on abortion in Texas came into effect last week making it the most restrictive state in the U.S. Poland’s government implemented a ban on almost all abortions in January, spurring widespread protests.

Read more here

September 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 17, 2021

Kentucky Reaches Settlement Over Placement Of Foster Kids

From The Associated Press:

The settlement came from a two decades-old federal lawsuit alleging religious coercion of children and discrimination of LGBTQ people by Sunrise Children’s Services. Sunrise is a religious-based agency run by the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation for Church and State said they reached the settlement with state officials last week.

Kentucky officials have agreed to take steps to try to ensure children are not subject to religious proselytization and discrimination because of sexual orientation, according to a news release from the ACLU and Americans United.

Sunrise, also a defendant in the lawsuit, opposed the settlement and said it would appeal, the Courier Journal reported. The agency has declined to place children with same-sex couples or hire openly gay employees.

Read more here. 

September 17, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Educated Women Increasingly Likely To Have First Baby Before Marriage

From The Hub at Johns Hopkins University:

College-educated women are much more likely than ever before to have a first child outside of marriage, a new Johns Hopkins University study finds.

Women with degrees are also more likely to be married at the time of their second birth, suggesting a historic shift among the educated away from starting families with marriage to starting them with a baby. The findings by Johns Hopkins University sociologist Andrew Cherlin are published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

"The place of marriage in the sequence of life events for emerging adulthood may be shifting among college graduates."

The proportion of first births outside of marriage has increased at all educational levels but the increase has been greatest among women with college degrees, he found.

Cherlin points to several likely reasons for the marked change, chiefly money problems, including college debt and lower economic returns from a college degree, and the widespread cultural acceptance for single parenthood and unmarried couples living together.

Read more here.

September 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

As Courts Reopen, Divorce Filings Are on the Rise

From The New York Times:

According to figures from the Superior Court of California, divorce filings are up significantly in Los Angeles over the last five months, as compared with the same period in 2020. And some lawyers and relationship experts say that divorce filings in New York and other states are also on the rise.

Of course, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to know whether the higher rates are because more people want to get divorced or because many courtrooms were closed during the pandemic, creating a backlog.

Mr. Wilson is a relationship expert and “breakup coach” in Nashville, who collects data from the thousands of surveys he sends to married couples. Two months ago, 2,704 married individuals responded to Mr. [Wilson]’s most recent survey regarding the effect on marriages from the reopenings after lockdowns. 

Among the survey’s questions was: “Since the reopening following the lockdowns of 2020/2021 and a significant return to normal from the changes of the Covid-19 pandemic, has your marriage relationship been impacted?” Twenty-one percent of respondents answered that the pandemic had harmed their marriage, a 10 percent increase from a survey asking the same question the year before

Read more here. 

September 15, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Morongo, 3 other tribes ask U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Indian Child Welfare Act

From The San Bernadino Sun:

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians and four other tribes from across the nation have joined the federal government in petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a law that gives adoption preference for American Indian children in state foster care to American Indian families.

In a petition filed Sept. 3, the tribes are essentially requesting that the high court leave intact the Indian Child Welfare Act, a law enacted in 1978 amid a trend that saw an “alarmingly high percentage” of American Indian children separated from their families by nontribal public and private agencies.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who is of American Indian descent, also has petitioned the Supreme Court to uphold the law, while the state of Texas, on behalf of Chad and Jennifer Brackeen, have petitioned the high court to repeal the law, claiming it is unconstitutional.

ICWA has withstood legal challenges for more than 40 years, but in the past four years federal judges have been divided on its constitutionality.

Read more here

September 14, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 13, 2021

Mexico’s Supreme Court Greenlit Abortion. Will Doctors and Nurses Listen?

From The New York Times:

Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is not a crime, setting a national precedent that puts the country on the path to becoming the most populous nation in Latin America to allow the procedure. Thousands of people have faced criminal investigations in recent years for ending their pregnancies, and the court’s unanimous decision last week should enable them to get any charges dropped, legal experts said.

As an emboldened women’s rights movement increasingly took to the streets in Mexico, the nation edged toward broader access to abortion, with several states decriminalizing the procedure before the Supreme Court ruling. But as in Argentina, which legalized abortion last year only to have many doctors refuse to provide the procedure on moral grounds, those changes have created sharp divisions in a country with one of the world’s largest numbers of Catholics.

In fact, lawmakers in Mexico enshrined a doctor’s right to refuse to perform any procedure that goes against his or her personal beliefs in 2018 — a contentious issue that the Supreme Court is expected to take on this week that could ultimately determine how widely available abortion is in practice.

The court is considering whether to require that public hospitals have medical professionals on staff who are willing to perform abortions, or that patients must be transferred to facilities that do. The justices are also deciding whether to prohibit medical professionals from harassing or preaching to women who want abortions, a move that could fundamentally change the way doctors and nurses are allowed to treat people who seek to end their pregnancies.

Read more here

September 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Indiana: Guidance On Restraining Order

From IndyStar:

The Indiana Civil Protection Order Act allows for victims of domestic or family violence, sexual assault, stalking, harassment or child sex grooming to obtain protection orders against the alleged perpetrators. A person must file a petition with the courts to formally request a protection order.

the most important thing when filing a petition for a protection order is "specificity." Petitioners should be prepared to describe the relationship with the subject of the order, called the respondent. They should be able to describe when the incident happened, what happened, how and who was present during the incident. 

The terms of a protection order will vary depending on the situation and what the petitioner asks. Most commonly, the order will prohibit the respondent from having direct and/or indirect contact with the petitioner. 

Read more here.


September 12, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Online Child Support Case System

From GlobeNewswire:

Kansas Department for Children and Families has elected a business service process company to re-platform its child support case management system affecting approximately 131,000 children and their parents in the state.

Today, roughly half of state child support agencies still rely on legacy mainframes, incurring high costs to operate and making it difficult to modify and find technical resources to support. By using advanced code and data conversion tools, Conduent’s migration will help Kansas accelerate project completion times and avoid retraining agency staff. The newly migrated system will not require users to change how they access or use the system, resulting in a seamless transition.

A more effective Child Support Case System is much needed for the department as it will help accelerating the speed and lead to a better working environment for the workers.

Read more here.

September 11, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)