Adoption Agency Liable for Negligently Failing to Disclose Medical Information in Florida Adoption

A Boston couple has won a $400,000 judgment because adoption agencies failed to disclose medical information about the health and delivery of their adopted twin sons’ birth mother. The boys were born here in West Palm Beach fourteen years ago.

The concealed medical information placed the children at risk of various disabilities, and the boys do in fact suffer from a number of disabilities, including cerebral palsy and Tourette’s Syndrome.

The judge barred the jury from awarding emotional damages, constraining the judgment. The boys’ adoptive father doubts the boys will ever become self-supporting, and may appeal that ruling.

The jury also found the adoptive parents partially negligent.

Read more in this Sun Sentinel article and in this Bradenton Herald article.

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US Supreme Court Passes On WA Gay Parental Rights Case

The US Supreme Court has passed on reviewing a Washington state supreme court ruling permitting a lesbian to seek parental rights to the child she raised for five years together with her former partner.

The theory advanced by the gay woman is that she was a de facto parent (that is, in actual fact, acting as a parent).

The high Court’s non-action leaves gay parental rights up to the individual states – and up in the air – at least for now.

Political / activist groups on both sides of the issue were disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to stay “hands-off” this question rather than provide legal guidance – especially since the issue is cropping up in more and more cases.

Read more in:

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Pregnant Woman Jailed for Abducting Children Abroad

A pregnant woman is allegedly being held in a Canadian jail on charges of abducting her children to France, in direct violation of a Canadian court order prohibiting taking the children to visit maternal relatives in France.

The woman was apparently arrested when she returned to Canada to complete her academic doctoral program requirements, leaving the children behind in France with her mother.

The father has reportedly exhaustively litigated his application for return of the children to Canada under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and the French courts have reportedly consistently ruled that the children must be returned to Canada as requested by the father.

The father contends that the mother has agitated in France to stir up popular sentiment against him on religious grounds.

Read more in this article.

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Father Passed Over in Favor of Placement With Foster Parents Who Fatally Abused Baby

According to an Associated Press article published in the Duluth [MN] News Tribune, two Wisconsin babies were placed in foster care near the time their mother began basic military training.

It is not entirely clear from the article why the boys were placed with strangers, when it appears that both their father and their great-grandmother were willing to take them in.

While the baby boys were in foster care, they were allegedly abused and neglected and, as a result, the older boy died.

After the 3 year old’s death, one relative, his great-grandmother, was reconsidered and then deemed suitable, so the younger baby was placed with her.

The child’s father reasonably questions whether the great-grandmother will be able to keep up with the baby – and why she should have to, when his father wants to care for him.

The father reportedly plans to comply with the social services agency’s requirements for his surviving son to be placed with him. The requirements may include parenting classes and a psychological assessment.

The article does not report whether the foster parents were required to take parenting classes and undergo psychological assessments. Or whether those measures would have made a difference in the older baby’s fate.

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Tips to Uncover Unreported Income and Hidden Assets

Divorce Online has published this handy article containing tips on finding Unreported Income and Hidden Assets.

A couple of highlights:

  • do a cost/ benefit analysis before pulling the trigger on forensic accounting investigations
  • where a spouse / parent is not forthcoming, subpoenaing a third party is a relatively productive, reliable and inexpensive way of obtaining certain information
  • is the spouse / parent’s lifestyle consistent with the income and assets reported?
  • is the financial picture of the spouse / parent’s business consistent with similar businesses?
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    Discipline Needed After Divorce

    Divorce makes for many changes in the lives of all concerned.

    But, according to psychologist and KidTips columnist Tom McMahon, one thing doesn’t change: kids still need discipline after divorce.

    Yet some divorced parents relax (or completely eliminate) the rules after divorce – out of misguided parental guilt.

    According to Dr. McMahon, this can be more damaging to the children than the divorce itself.

    Read more in this Inside Bay Area article.

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    Mother In Jail on Contempt Released for Mother’s Day

    An Illinois woman was reportedly held in contempt and incarcerated for refusing to submit her son to a court-ordered psychological evaluation by an agency that refused to disclose the therapist’s credentials to her.

    The woman and her supporters contend that the incarceration was yet another instance of a penalty imposed on local women who don’t have attorneys in child custody cases. They claim that women lose overwhelmingly in contested custody cases there.

    The women will be pressing their claims of discrimination and denial of due process in a separate action in federal court soon.

    Read more in this Chicago News Sun article.

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    Dad Who Beat Ban on Reproducing in Jail for Non-Payment of Support

    An Ohio man with seven children is reportedly in jail for non-compliance with his probation, as a result of his alleged non-payment of child support.

    When the man was put on probation, one condition of it was that the man abstain from having more children until he was off probation.

    The Ohio Supreme Court subsequently struck that probation condition, however – because there was no provision to release the condition if the man brought his obligations current.

    Read more in this Akron Beacon Journal article.

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    Maine: Parental Rights Include Right to Harass Children

    A trial judge, seeing and hearing the evidence firsthand, called it harassment – and prohibited it, finding that it caused the minor child “to suffer intimidation, serious inconvenience, annoyance and alarm”.

    The Maine Supreme Court, reading the sterile paper transcript of the hearing, in effect, called it exercise of parental rights of access and visitation.

    Two very different perceptions of the following conduct:

    1. showing up at your child’s home for visitation that your child doesn’t want
    2. showing up uninvited at your child’s school events
    3. making unwanted calls to your child
    4. sending unwanted e-mails to your child and
    5. mailing unwanted cards and notes to your child.

    Apparently, Maine can be a cold place to grow up.

    Read more in this Portland Press Herald article.

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    Pssst … Domestic Violence: It Happens to Men Too

    A Contra Costa [CA] Times article calls attention to the fact that a significant number of victims of domestic abuse are men – but community resources give almost no support or protection to men.

    Now, a male victim of past spousal abuse is reportedly suing a government-funded domestic violence agency and the state of California for gender discrimination and denial of equal protection of the laws.

    According to that plaintiff, male victims of domestic violence suffer the indignity of ridicule and indifference by law enforcement authorities and lack of access to affordable refuge in shelters. The plaintiff was also denied a restraining order against his wife.

    A law professor finds merit in the plaintiff’s lawsuit.

    Approximatley 835,000 men reportedly suffer domestic abuse each year – although men are not as likely to call the police.

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