More and More Romantic Partners Opt Out of Saying “I Do”

In the US, the number of adults who are not married has surpassed the number of adults who are married. A record forty-six percent of young adults have never married.

Both statistics are firsts in a hundred years.

It has something to do with the weak economy. Something.

But the diminishing popularity of marriage is also an evolving trend. The poor economy has just intensified it.

Romantic partners are more likely to simply cohabit these days. That’s less scary in these uncertain economic times.

Sociologists do anticipate pent-up demand for marriage to get triggered when the economy picks up. But probably only temporarily.

Read more in this New York Times article: Saying No to ‘I Do,’ With the Economy in Mind.

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Florida Intermediate Appellate Court Strikes Down Law Banning Gay Adoption as Unconstitutional Violation of Equal Protection of Law

Thirty years ago, Florida outlawed adoption of children by gay couples. And that’s been the law here ever since.

However inconsistent though, gay couples have been allowed to serve as foster parents for foster children.

Setting up the situation where children live for extended periods with gay parents, with neither the parents nor the children permitted to harbor hopes of becoming legally related to each other through adoption.

And so it is for a gay man who has been caring for two foster children as his own for the past five years, since the younger child was only four months old. He refuses to accept that outcome.

At trial, the court found there was no credible evidence that children raised by gay parents did any less well than children raised by heterosexual parents.

Florida is the last remaining state to prohibit all adoptions by any gay people. And that is the basis of an appeal that was just decided.

An intermediate appellate court has struck down Florida’s law as violating constitutional guarantees of equal protection of the law.

An appeal to Florida’s highest court is anticipated.

In the meantime, the state will no longer enforce the statutory prohibition of adoption by gay parents.

One thing is clear. For the many children in foster care in Florida, the pool of prospective parents who just may adopt them has suddenly grown a lot larger.

Read more in this New York Times article: Florida Court Calls Ban on Gay Adoptions Unlawful and this Miami Herald article: Appeals court: Florida ban on gay adoption unconstitutional.

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Father in Child Custody Case Is Under Arrest for Making Threats Against The Presiding Family Court Judge … and the Courthouse Building

Father and Mother are engaged in a child custody legal battle in Michigan.

According to Father’s own attorney, Father has made threats against the presiding family court judge – and also has threatened to blow up the county judicial building.

Father is now under arrest for felony terror and bomb threats, and remains held in confinement.

A visiting judge may have to be assigned to hear Father’s criminal case due to potential conflicts of interest.

Father faces up to twenty-four years’ imprisonment if convicted of the charges against him.

Read more in this [Adrian, MI] Daily Telegram article: Indiana man faces trial for Lenawee County court threats

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Divorcing Couples Adopting Divorce Social Media Policies and Agreements

2010 brings new concerns to the world of divorce. And calls for new measures.

And so it is that some divorcing couples are starting to adopt divorce social media policies and put them in writing. A targeted species of nondisclosure agreement, concentrated on keeping the details of a divorce off of social media.

That’s right.

Couples are coming to terms about how much or how little of their divorce they want to see aired on social networking sites. Where it will be there for all the world to see. Forever.

No photos. Keep the kids out of it. Too soon to talk about new significant others. No character assassinations. Synchronized “no comments”.

What’s off limits. Including that everything is off limits, and it’s best to just take a break from social networking until it’s all over.

Such social media divorce agreements will undoubtedly find their way into prenuptial agreements of the future.

Read more in this [Ontario] National Post article: Divorcing spouses quit Facebook in favour of privacy.

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Father Arrested for Abducting His Son … Seventeen Years Ago

Texas Father and Mother have three year old Son.

Father and Mother divorce.

At trial, the divorce court awards Mother primary custody of Son.

So Father allegedly abducts Son … for seventeen years.

Mother and Son have apparently had no contact for all those years.

Now twenty years old, Son reads a newspaper article about his own kidnapping as a child.

Son tells Father to turn himself in.

Father is charged with interference with child custody.

Read more in this Associated Press article: Texas woman’s ex-spouse, son emerge after 17 years and this Houston Chronicle article: Taken as boy, solves case as a man.

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Yet Another Demonstration That Domestic Violence Isn’t Confined to Lower Income Individuals …

Father has four daughters by more than one woman.

Father is arrested for beating his third wife, with a bed post – while she is seven months pregnant.

Father takes a plea bargain and is sentenced to probation only.

Father is also granted only supervised visitation and timesharing with their children together.

In addition to Father’s abusive behavior, it is alleged that he has also driven their children in his vehicle while he was under the influence of alcohol.

Now Father is accused of beating his fourth wife.

The mother of the children with whom father has supervised visitation seeks to terminate his timesharing with their children.

Father goes her one better and agrees to terminate his parental rights.

Who is this Father / Husband, with this history of domestic violence and substance abuse?

Father is a Texas medical doctor. The owner of a surgical clinic with multiple locations.

Father’s medical license is reportedly revoked due to illegal drug use.

Read more in this Houston Chronicle article: Ex-hand surgeon forfeits parental rights to 2 kids.

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Multi-Billionaire Off the Hook for $134 Million in Additional Child Support

California Mother and Father, never married, have two Children.

After Mother and Father part company, Children, now legal adults, sue Father for child support for the period since Mother and Father separated.

The amount? In round numbers, $134 million.

After all, Father is a billionaire, in fact, a multi-billionaire. And all Father paid in child support was a measly $3 million.

Children argue that is far less than the court would have awarded had Mother and Father gone to court in the first place. Only they didn’t go to court in the first place.

They allegedly reach an amicable agreement while they were still seeing each other.

Father shows a jury that Father supported the Children in grand style, paying for grad school and giving them luxury cars once they had their licenses.

After a trial to a jury, the jury took Father’s view of the case: enough is enough.

Read more in this Southern California Public Radio KPCC 89.3 news article: Irvine billionare Donald Bren’s adult children fail to win back child support and this Calgary Herald article: Jury sides with billionaire on child support.

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Who Gets the Retirement Savings in Divorce?

According to a recent study, women have far less retirements savings invested in IRA accounts than men.

Women are both less likely to have IRAs, and likely to have less money deposited in any IRAs they do have.

There are several reasons for these statistics, including that women are more likely to be out of the workforce during childrearing years and, therefore, without earned income entitling them to make deposits toward retirement.

In light of these statistics, it bears repeating that:

  1. Under Florida law, pensions and other retirement accounts accumulated by either spouse during a marriage are marital property and are subject to property division in divorce. If a retirement account was opened prior to marriage, the portion of the account accumulated during the marriage is still considered marital property.

  2. A divorced alimony recipient responsible for the income taxes on his or her alimony may contribute to an IRA because of their alimony income, even if they don’t have earned income.

Read more in this Forbes commentary: Women Need To Play Catch-Up With IRA Savings.

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Italian Wife and Husband in Georgia Dispute Child Custody Jurisdiction

Italian Wife, American Husband and their five year old Son live in Georgia.

Husband is arrested for domestic violence.

Wife takes Son back to live in Italy.

Wife files for divorce in Italy, where Wife and Husband were married.

Husband challenges jurisdiction in Italy, and files for divorce in Georgia.

Georgia family court awards Husband temporary custody of Son.

Italy grants Wife a divorce, and awards Wife custody of Son.

Georgia divorce court holds that Italy has jurisdiction and dismisses Husband’s divorce case in Georgia.

Husband appeals the Georgia divorce court’s dismissal of his case.

Even where the courts of a jurisdiction may exercise jurisdiction, they may also decline to exercise jurisdiction.

In ruling on jurisdiction, the Court may also consider domestic violence and likelihood of harm to the child.

A ruling from Georgia’s appellate court is not expected for months.

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Woman Collects Child Support … Without Having a Child … And Gets Arrested

A Washington state Woman has successfully managed to collect child support.

No mean feat, considering that she doesn’t even have a child.

She reportedly deceived the Man who paid her the “child support” into believing that she was pregnant with his child.

It seems the Woman may have falsified an initial home pregnancy test which gave a positive result.

Within a month, however, further pregancy tests gave negative results … which she failed to disclose to the Man.

In fact, she allegedly repeatedly maintained the falsehood before the Seattle family court.

And collected about $3,500 in “child support” before the Man got wise to her.

But at least he did catch on before paying the roughly $10,000 hospital bill.

The Woman has been charged with theft, perjury and forgery.

Read more in this KOMO 4 TV news article: Not guilty plea in fake pregnancy case.

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