Duh, Child Support Obligation Survives Death of Custodial Parent

The TN Supreme Court recently handed down a decision affirming that the non-custodial parent must contribute to the support of minor children throughout their childhood, regardless of whether the custodial caregivers are the other parent or grandparents.

This particular case arose after the custodial parent, the mother, passed away while the children were minors. The children’s grandparents then became their legal guardians.

And the father concluded that he no longer was obliged to pay child support – because of the children’s mother’s death.

And the father pursued this position all the way to the state’s highest court.

He’s not the first non-custodial parent to have that point of view. I’ve had non-custodial parents consult me in regard to pressing the same argument.

Read more in this Tennessean article: Court sides with the kids.

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Can Boy Born to Married Parents Compel Bio Mom to Disclose Bio Dad After Legal Dad Ruled Out

Child brings suit to learn the identity of his biological father.

An adopted child?

No. And that’s what makes this case unusual.

After his parents’ divorce, the boy resided primarily with his legal father – the then-husband of the boy’s biological mother.

(In many states, including Florida, the man married to a birth mother is presumed to be the legal father of a baby.)

But, apparently, a recent DNA test proved that the boy’s legal father is not his biological father.

And now the boy wants his biological mother to disclose who his biological father is, supposedly out of concerns over his family health history.

And now a Michigan court must decide whether the boy has a right to compel the disclosure.

Read more in this Detroit News article: Mom, teen square off in paternity case.

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Free Speech on, and Equal Access to the Internet is Slipping Away from Bloggers – and You

The battle to preserve internet and blogging freedom is still raging, but the scales are tipping toward the lobbyist-rich large media companies that want to control the internet, and by whom and for what it is used.

The Save the Internet campaign has made it incredibly easy to see where your very own senators standif they have chosen to let their constituents know where they stand.

For example, Florida’s Senator Bill Nelson supports internet freedom – and, as a result, those of us who bring you much wanted information through our blogging.

The Florida Divorce Law Blog commends and supports Senator Nelson’s support of Net Neutrality.

By contrast, Florida’s Senator Mel Martinez has not taken a public stand on Net Neutrality.

It’s July 28th. Time is running out on Free Speech on, and Equal Access to the Internet.

Do you know where your Senators stand?

You have a right to know. If you want to, just visit the graphical Save the Internet Map of US Senators.

If you don’t like what you learn about your senators’ positions on Net Neutrality = Internet Freedom, you can sign a petition and/or write to your senator(s) to let your senator(s) know how you feel – without even leaving your computer.

If you are a Floridian and support Florida blogs like this one, consider contacting Senator Martinez and urging him to join Senator Nelson in non-partisan support of both Florida’s Internet Coast and internet freedom throughout the US, on behalf of his individual and small business constituents throughout Florida.

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Undocumented Immigrant Mother Arrested Before Child Support and Custody Agreement Signed With Father’s Representation by Attorney for Immigration Agent

An immigrant who reportedly overstayed her visa was arrested here in Florida – the day before she and the father of her baby were to finalize an agreement on paternity, custody and child support for their baby.

The woman had allegedly been working to support her baby, using someone else’s social security number.

It turns out that the father’s attorney previously represented the immigration agent, who was instrumental in the mother’s arrest, in his own divorce.

And the father reportedly went around threatening the baby’s mother with deportation if she didn’t reconcile with him. In fact, the local police cited him for trespassing at the baby’s grandmother’s home, where he allegedly made the same threats of deportation.

The father is reportedly on probation for drug charges.

The woman’s attorneys believe that the common attorney link between the immigration agent and the baby’s father is more than coincidence, and may bear on the legality of the case against her and, therefore, her defense.

The judge in the case ordered the sheriff’s office to disclose the identity of law enforcement’s informant.

But the sheriff’s office flat out refuses to comply with the court’s order – and makes no bones about it.

Perhaps there is something to the defense’s suggestions that this woman, just one of many local immigrants allegedly improperly using another’s social security number to work, was singled out for unequal treatment under the law because of the child custody and support case, and the father’s attorney’s presumed access to the immigration agent who had reportedly been his client.

Read more in this Treasure Coast Palm article: Indian River County Sheriff’s Office refuses to identify informant.

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CA Order for Permanent Foster Care Reversed For Lack of Child Custody Jurisdiction Over Long Absent Baby

In a California juvenile dependency case, the trial court ordered long-term foster care and continuing protective custody of a baby born in California.

The only problem was that the baby was reportedly removed from the state of California when he was two days old and has since lived in Georgia with his father for more than a year.

The California Court of Appeal reversed because, under the applicable uniform child custody jurisdiction acts, there was no valid basis for California to exercise child custody jurisdiction over the baby and therefore the trial court exceeded its power.

The appellate ruling was quite correct, because the baby’s life is and has been in Georgia and, if any rulings about the baby’s custody and care are needed, Georgia is clearly the place which can be best informed for making them.

Read more in this Los Angeles Metropolitan News article: Juvenile Court Judge Cannot Make Custody Order Regarding Missing Child—Court of Appeal.

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Judge Kicks Illegal Alien Seeking Order of Protection Out of Court

A California “fill-in” judge allegedly more or less shooed an illegal alien, who was seeking a restraining order against her husband, out of his courtroom – for what he thought was her own good.

Although the judge reportedly wanted only to spare her from being deported, his concern was completely unnecessary.

First, federal law protects immigrants who are victims of domestic violence. Second, turning her over to immigration authorities was outside the province of the court.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, the only reason that the woman’s legal status in this country came up on the courtroom record was because the judge delved into it with his questions – even though it was totally irrelevant to her application for an order of protection.

The judge’s misguided concerns over the woman’s right to stay in this country potentially placed her at risk of serious bodily harm.

Incidents like this underscore the importance of interdisciplinary training of judges in areas of law often overlapping with family and domestic violence law.

Read more in this LA Times article: Experts Criticize Judge’s Deportation Threat.

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Abducted Boy Returned to US by Abducting Parent

After four months in Cairo, a six year old boy’s mother reportedly returned with the boy to the US, upon discovering that a federal warrant had been issued for her arrest. The mother allegedly moved to take up with a man she had met over the internet.

Since their departure from the US, the father filed for divorce and custody. The father wants his son “to grow up in America”.

The boy is now in his father’s care, while the mother is released to her parents’ custody.

Read more in this Columbus Dispatch article: Father reunited with son after wife ends Cairo tryst.

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Enter The Divorce Coach

Divorce has become so widespread and, in certain cases, complex, that there are now a wide array of professionals who concentrate on serving divorcing couples with different skill sets and from different vantage points.

One of the newest professional arrivals on the divorce scene is The Divorce Coach. A Memphis Commercial Appeal article, Divorce coach: A new profession helps people cut through the end zone of a long-term relationship, offers an introduction to the role and background of divorce coaches in some divorces.

Although the article focuses on divorce coaches who are psychologists, who aid their clients in transitioning back to single life, divorce coaches may have alternative experiences and play varying roles in certain divorces.

People who hold themselves out as divorce coaches may instead be social workers, financial analysts and planners, mediators, life coaches, ordinary people who have been divorced themselves – and even attorneys who are not representing either party as attorney, among other professional backgrounds.

And divorce coaching means many different things to different professionals. While some concentrate on developing their client’s coping and transitioning capabilities, others function more as expert advisors on selected aspects of the divorce process itself.

Since divorce coaching is still a new, evolving concept, anyone interested in hiring a divorce coach should clarify early on the type of assistance they are seeking and be sure to engage someone with the appropriate background and mindset to provide that type of assistance.

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Narrow Criticism of NV Judge Says More About the Critics and Our Collective Values

A Las Vegas, Nevada family court judge was recently in the news over his alleged involvement in questionable financial transactions with questionable people.

The theme of one article was that the judge must answer for that reported financial misconduct to the authorities and to the voters who elected him.

But a story within the story drew little attention. And that’s both sad and telling.

One particular article about the judge’s alleged foibles runs approximately 725 words.

Of those 725 words, barely 50 words were allocated to the judge’s “arrest on a domestic battery charge involving his live-in girlfriend” and the hearing on “whether to extend a temporary protective order in the battery case”.

The passing, nearly dismissive reference virtually implies that that judge need not be accountable for that reported domestic violence, that that alleged misconduct has no bearing on the judge’s fitness for his judicial office.

This although the judge presides over family court, where victims and innocent, captive bystanders to domestic violence desperately seek protection from the family court judge … in this instance, a judge who allegedly himself perpetrates domestic violence and, therefore, presumably identifies more with the victimizers than the victims.

Read the article in the Las Vegas Review Journal’s: Family Court judge’s role in failed real estate venture raises questions.

The story within the story is every bit as newsworthy and important as the featured story. Why isn’t it treated that way?

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Pet Custody: Still Ahead of the Times?

In most states, pets are viewed legally as property, to be equitably distributed in a divorce.

In practice, pets typically follow the children in a divorce.

But what about when the pets are the children, the only children?

Childless couples can be as attached to their “pet children” as couples with human children are to their children.

The law’s very different current view of pets can be powerful incentive to settle pet “custody” by mutual agreement, rather than incur the displeasure of a judge.

But change may be in the wind.

More and more divorcing couples do see what happens to the family pets as a custody / visitation issue.

And the Animal Legal Defense Fund is lending support to their cause.

In an 18 page friend of the court legal brief, the Fund makes it clear that pets do have preferences as to caretakers and the best interests of the pet deserve consideration.

And animal law, including animal rights law, is gaining recognition as a distinct branch of the law.

It’s likely only a matter of time before custody law catches up to pet owners’ (or pet parents’) perceptions.

Read more in this Hartford Courant article: It Can Be A Regular Dog Fight.

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