Is Three a Crowd? Not in PA.

A Pennsylvania court has held that a sperm donor may be a “third parent” and owe a duty of support to his biological children.

The sperm donor in question had an occasional, recurring relationship with his biological offspring and voluntarily provided money to them from time to time.

The sperm donor has since passed away.

But the court nonetheless sees a continuing duty of support, which may be met from the deceased biological father’s estate.

This is an unusual fact pattern, but many anticipate action from the legislature to clarify the proposition that a child can have only two parents, who owe a duty a support.

Read more in this York Daily Record article: Pa. could add a third parent.

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Mothers’ Complaint to Inter American Commission on Human Rights Alleges US Courts Often Award Custody to Child Abusers

In many states, Florida included, one of the criteria for awarding custody of a child is whether the proposed custodial parent is likely to foster continuing, frequent, meaningful contact with the other parent.

Of course, that’s normally an important, legitimate consideration, since a child is entitled to have a relationship with both parents.

But what about families where one of the parents abuses or molests the child?

Are steps taken by one parent to secure a child against unprotected contact with an abusive and/or molesting parent properly viewed as failing to foster continuing, frequent, meaningful contact with the abusing and/or molesting parent?

Well, according to many parents, that is precisely the view of too many US courts.

Ten such mothers banded together just before this Mother’s Day weekend to file a complaint directed against US family courts with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, a last resort forum.

Also joining in the complaint is a former child victim, custody of whom was awarded to a sexual abuser. And anti-abuse and anti-violence organizations.

Read more in this PR Newswire release: Mother’s Day Complaint Claims United States Courts Violate Children and Mothers’ Human Rights and at Stop Family Violence.

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1,000 Words … and Many Convictions

Victims of domestic violence are finding aid and comfort in an unexpected place – digital cameras.

Since the introduction of digital cameras to New York City police, criminal convictions for domestic violence charges have risen noticeably, in some areas dramatically – even where the victims recant by the time of trial.

Prosecutors can extract more and deeper evidentiary values from digital images than from traditional “Polaroid” pictures.

Digital evidence can be processed much more rapidly, and catalogued faster for easier retrieval.

And digital images carry greater impact for the judge and/or jury, at every stage of the case.

Digital photos are even credited with increasing the odds of incarceration pending trial and of higher bails where defendants are released pending trial.

Even willingness to enter plea bargains faster is attributed to digital “snapshots”.

Last but not least, digital images may even spare traumatized victims from having to re-tell their stories at trial.

Because a picture is worth a 1,000 words … and many convictions.

Read more in this New York Times article: In Domestic Abuse, Digital Photos Can Say More Than Victims.

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How a Professional Practice is Valued and Divided in a Divorce

  1. physician
  2. veterinarian
  3. psychiatrist
  4. chiropractor
  5. podiatrist
  6. psychologist
  7. therapist
  8. dentist
  9. lawyer
  10. accountant
  11. bookkeeper
  12. financial planner
  13. financial analyst
  14. appraiser
  15. architect
  16. consultant
  17. coach
  18. realtor
  19. stockbroker
  20. engineer
  21. etc.

What do all of the above have in common?

They are all professionals who may be sole or part owners of a private professional practice.

Therefore, in the event of a divorce, a key concern of such a professional is likely going to be what rights, if any, his or her spouse may have to the practice.

An excellent introduction to how a professional practice will be valued and divided in a divorce appears in an article by my North Carolina colleague, Lee Rosen, in the Carolina NewsWire: When A Professional Divorces – Protecting a Professional Practice.

One particularly important component of value in a professional practice is probably goodwill. As Lee explains, there are two types of goodwill, personal and enterprise, – and different states treat each type differently in the event of a divorce.

As Lee explains, in a professional practice, the personal goodwill of the professional may be significant. What that means is that, without that particular individual professional, the practice may have little or no value.

There is a fairly even split among states as to whether personal goodwill of one spouse is marital property which should be divided in a divorce. (Of course, property division of a professional practice in a divorce refers only to division of the value, not of the practice itself.)

Unlike Lee’s North Carolina, in Florida, personal goodwill of a spouse is not marital property and should not be divided in a divorce.

This article is well worth reading for all stakeholders in professional practices.

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