CA: Man Must Continue to Pay Alimony after Ex-Wife Registers Domestic Partnership Instead of Remarrying

Under the law of California, Florida and many states, the obligation to pay alimony ends when the receiving spouse remarries, among other possibilities.

A divorcing California man agreed to pay his wife a certain sum of money each month as alimony.

After their divorce, his ex-wife registered her domestic partnership with another woman.

Believing the registered domestic partnership to be equivalent to marriage, the man thought he was released from the obligation to pay alimony.

But a California judge disagreed, ruling that the domestic partnership is mere cohabitation and not a marriage.

The man plans to appeal the court’s order that he continue to pay alimony.

The ruling highlights one of the less publicized impacts of the difference between marriage and civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Read more in this San Francisco Chronicle article: Man ordered to pay ex-wife alimony, despite domestic partnership.

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Divorce: Caused by Nature or Nurture?

Are divorce rates a function of nature or nurture?

According to studies, nurture. In fact, children of divorce are nearly twice as likely to divorce themselves.

But genetic predispositions or other inherited factors are not believed to be as significant as the social and emotional impacts of their parents’ divorce.

The study was conducted in Australia and followed twins and their families. For both reasons, conclusions may or may not hold up in the general global population.

Read more in this Forbes article: Family, More Than Genes, Helps Drive Divorce.

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Spain Father Loses Visitation after Allows 10 Year Old Son to Run with Bulls

If you’ve ever wondered how to lose your rights to visit with your child, it’s really not that easy to do – in the US.

And it’s not necessarily any easier to do in Spain.

But it’s happened to a Spanish father there.

The father of a 10 year old boy took his son along to participate in the famous “running of the bulls” festivities.

The child was photographed and filmed with the bulls running just behind him.

The rules require that runners be 18 years of age.

Upon learning what had happened, the mother went straight to the police.

And in the end, a Spanish judge simply revoked the father’s rights of visitation.

Didn’t order supervised visitation, didn’t impose restrictions as to time and place and activities. Just out and out revoked them.

The father was also fined.

Read more in these articles:

  1. the Ontario Chronicle Journal: Father denied visitation rights after running with son, 10, in bull festival
  2. Boston Herald: Father denied visitation rights after running with 10-year-old son in bull festival
  3. KARE 11 News: Judge revokes visitation rights over running with bulls
  4. KVIA TV: Father denied visitation after running with 10-year-old son in bull festival
  5. San Francisco Union Tribune: Father denied visitation rights after running with 10-year-old son in bull festival
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Kansas Graces Custodial Grandparents – Sort Of

Kansas, which reportedly has a large and growing number of grandparents raising their grandchildren, passed a law intended to provide financial assistance to those grandparents.

But it turns out that the statute is only aiding a tiny fraction of these grandparents (and only a tiny bit at that). The reason: as in other states, aid is limited to grandparents with formal legal custody of their grandchildren.

Yet many of these grandparents, de facto parents, don’t – and couldn’t – get formal legal custody of their grandchildren.

Ironically, the legal trend in most states makes it harder and harder for grandparents to obtain full legal custody of their grandchildren.

Read more in this Kansas Morning Sun editorial: We must find a way to help all custodial grandparents.

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Barbados: Paternity Challenges Unfounded Ninety-Nine Percent of the Time

It has been almost fashionable for the last year or two to rail against “rampant paternity fraud” in the US. See my previous post, Paternity Fraud: How Much of It Is There Really?

So-called “rampant paternity fraud” may not be universal, however.

In Barbados, ninety-nine (99%) percent of unmarried fathers who challenge paternity reportedly are in fact the biological fathers! It is alleged that these fathers mount their challenges in bad faith, to delay the inevitable support obligation as long as possible.

Try reconciling these two extremely different portraits of the world of paternity cases …

Read more in this Barbados article: Fathers ‘using DNA testing as delay tactic’.

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DV Victim Languishes in Jail For Refusing to Give Up Her Son’s Safe Location

A woman fled with her son from state to state and, ultimately, to Canada to escape domestic violence by the father, according to her.

For that, she has been convicted of kidnapping, and faces a sentence of up to three more years in prison.

She has already served eighteen months for refusing to disclose where the boy is safely hidden.

The boy’s father has denied any abuse. He claimed he had been denied access to his son and that the mother was merely trying to alienate the boy from him.

But the child’s school teacher, a presumably neutral third party, testified that the boy would sometimes start crying at school and ask her to call his mother to make sure she was OK.

Yet it is the mother who is incarcerated.

Read more in this [Montreal] Westmount Examiner article: Woman convicted of kidnapping in cross-border custody dispute.

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Wealthy NJ Bio Dad Off the Hook for Child Support Paid by De Facto Dad of Modest Means

After shelling out $110,000 in child support, a man discovered after some thirty years that he was not his son’s biological father.

It turns out the boy was reportedly the product of an affair by his mother – with a man who is now wealthy.

The de facto father, a retiree on a limited income, is now suing the former family friend and the boy’s godfather.

In an surprise ruling, the NJ Supreme Court, reversed the trial and intermediate appellate courts and, in essence, ruled that it is just too bad for the divorced father. The statute of limitations has long since expired.

Central to the state high Court’s ruling in the case is that the biological father did not actively trick or defraud the de facto father. He merely never volunteered that he thought he was the biological father.

The mother broke her apparently willful silence when her son married, to warn him that he may carry the gene for a potentially deadly disease that had taken the lives of other children of the biological father.

Otherwise, the de facto father might never have learned the truth.

On the specific facts of the case, financially struggling de facto father vs. wealthy bio dad, the outcome just doesn’t sit well.

But, of course, rules of law have to apply broadly to a wide spectrum of facts. Statutes of limitations are very common in our legal system and are intended to impose finality after an appropriate interval of time.

Read more in this New Jersey Star-Ledger article: Duped ‘dad’ out of luck, court says.

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FL: Unmarried Bio Dads Must Be Notified to Register Paternity Claims Before Parental Rights Can Be Terminated

In a far-reaching case, the Florida Supreme Court has held that adoption agencies must notify unmarried biological fathers that their children are going to be placed for adoption and how to register in the state’s paternity registry to protect their rights. If the father still fails to register after thirty days, his parental rights may be terminated.

A statute imposing a time limit on biological fathers to assert their rights was intended to facilitate adoptions and give adoptive parents and the baby finality.

But there have nagging questions with regard to how many biological fathers are actually aware of paternity registries, both in Florida and in other states, let alone how to register with them.

In the case before the Court, the biological father promptly filed a paternity case in court, but failed to register with Florida’s paternity registry. The father maintained that he was unaware of the registry.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the trial court for further fact-finding.

Read more in this Citrus County Chronicle article: Court rules for unmarried adoptive [sic] fathers.

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New York State Girl Feared Abducted Abroad By Disturbed Father

A three year old New York state girl and her father are missing, following a custody ruling adverse to the father. It happened during the father’s visitation.

The father allegedly has a history of depression and suicidal thoughts. His wife reportedly fears that he is off of his medication.

Some reports indicate that the father’s car was found near an airport and that the father has taken the child out of the country.

The FBI and Interpol are apparently involved in trying to track down the missing girl and, hopefully, bring her home soon.

Read more in this America’s Most Wanted alert: Deonna Shipman Missing From Liverpool, New York and this News 10 Now article: Search goes global for kidnapped girl.

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Feds: State Courts Must Work Harder to Keep American Indian Families Together Despite Abandonment, Abuse or Neglect

Children abandoned, abused or neglected.

State steps in to protect them, typically by removing them from the home on at least a temporary basis.

If suitable relatives are willing and available, the children will usually be temporarily placed with them over strangers.

And then begins the process of assessing the weaknesses in the parents’ parenting skills and how to support the parents in building them up – if they are willing and able.

In a recent Maryland case, the children were placed with their aunt. The children did well with her.

And their parents failed to enhance their parenting skills.

One and one-half years later, a court awarded the aunt custody and guardianship of the children.

Not an unusual outcome under the circumstances.

The parents appealed. Also not unusual.

But the rest of the story is.

Because the mother is American Indian.

Therefore, the children are subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act.

That means that the Court was required to make “active efforts” to keep the family intact because the children were American Indian.

(Not that the Court doesn’t or shouldn’t make every reasonable effort to keep every family together, but the requirement is stricter for American Indian children … )

The intermediate appellate court reversed the award of custody and guardianship to the aunt, ruling that the State had, in effect, given up on the parents prematurely, after six months.

Read more in this Baltimore Sun article: Md. court makes unique custody ruling.

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