Palm Beach County Mother Consents to Court-Ordered Circumcision and Avoids Consequences of Criminal Interference with Child Custody Charge

I’ve written previously about a local case where a Mother was held in contempt by the Palm Beach County family court for delaying her son’s circumcision for three years.

The Mother has been released from jail under a plea agreement whose terms include no longer blocking the circumcision. Indeed, the Mother has signed a written consent to the procedure.

If the Mother can stay on the right side of the law for a year, she may avoid consequences of the charge of criminally interfering with child custody.

But none of that guarantees that the Mother will have any timesharing with her four year old anytime soon. A full hearing directed to that issue must wait until mid-October, although a shorter related hearing will be held later this month.

In fact, the Mother reportedly does not know at this time whether the circumcision has been performed yet. The original hospital allegedly backed out due to political protests outside the facility.



Age at First Marriage and Its Relationship to Risk of Divorce

Everyone knows that marrying too young elevates the risk of divorce. Teens, early twenties.

But don’t carry this analysis too far or you may be led astray. It turns out that about thirty is the sweet spot on the curve of first marriage divorce risk.

After that, the risk of divorce starts to tick up again, moreso with each passing year. All based on a statistical analysis of demographic collected in the National Survey of Family Growth.

Since the survey’s goal was only to capture the data, it doesn’t yield any insights to explain the data. But the statisticians do have some theories.

For example, people who defer marriage beyond a certain point may just not be that well-suited to marriage. Or perhaps that is just as true of the available potential marriage partners.

It’s important to keep the statistics in proper perspective though. The absolute risk of divorce is still much greater at the youngest end of the spectrum, while the percentages at 35 and 24 are neck and neck.

And divorce rates overall have been gradually slipping for decades.

Read more in this Washington Post article: The best age to get married if you don’t want to get divorced .


Just Divorced? Time to Re-Visit That Will, Insurance Policy, Payable-on-Death Account, Etc.

A recent New York Law Journal article dove deep into the subject of the effect of divorce on inheritances under a will or trust made before the divorce.

Generally speaking, New York law disregards gifts left to a spouse under the terms of a will where the designated recipient is divorced from the the other spouse after their will is made.

The article surveyed several unusual cases with unusual facts, and how current New York law applies.

Florida enacted statutes of its own addressing these issues even more recently. With certain exceptions, the Florida statutes similarly disinherit a subsequently divorced spouse, whether the inheritance would have been by way of a will or a non-probate will alternative.

The example cases should drive home the point that divorce, like marriage, is a time to take a fresh look at your will and also your will alternatives, such as trusts, insurance policies, payable-on-death and joint accounts, etc., and update them in light of changed circumstances.


  1. this New York Law Journal article: Clarifying When and Whether Divorce Revokes Bequests
  2. these Florida statutes excerpts:

732.507 Effect of subsequent marriage, birth, adoption, or dissolution of marriage.—

“(2) Any provision of a will executed by a married person that affects the spouse of that person shall become void upon the divorce of that person or upon the dissolution or annulment of the marriage. After the dissolution, divorce, or annulment, the will shall be administered and construed as if the former spouse had died at the time of the dissolution, divorce, or annulment of the marriage, unless the will or the dissolution or divorce judgment expressly provides otherwise.”


732.703 Effect of divorce, dissolution, or invalidity of marriage on disposition of certain assets at death.—

“(2) A designation made by or on behalf of the decedent providing for the payment or transfer at death of an interest in an asset to or for the benefit of the decedent’s former spouse is void as of the time the decedent’s marriage was judicially dissolved or declared invalid by court order prior to the decedent’s death, if the designation was made prior to the dissolution or court order. The decedent’s interest in the asset shall pass as if the decedent’s former spouse predeceased the decedent.”


What Happens to Divorcing Couple’s Frozen Embryos May Turn on Fertility Clinic’s Waiting Room Consent Form

Husband and Wife get engaged. Their wedding day approaches.

Ten days earlier, Wife’s physician informs her that she has cancer and will require treatments that will likely leave her sterile.

Husband and Wife decide to harvest some of Wife’s eggs, fertilized with Husband’s sperm, and freeze them for later use.

At the clinic, Husband and Wife each sign a clinic form stating that in the event of their divorce, any still-unused embryos would be destroyed.

Before any of Husband’s and Wife’s five embryos are used, Husband decides he wants to divorce Wife.

Wife, who has no children, seeks the right to use the embryos … and asserts that she would not seek any child support or co-parenting support from Husband if she does in fact use any of the embryos.

Nonetheless, Husband objects to Wife using the embryos and raising his genetic offspring, even if nothing is required of him.

The clinic joins Husband in asserting that the clinic form is an enforceable contract that should decide the case.

Wife, a medical doctor by training, characterizes it as a mere medical consent form for the clinic’s benefit.

Certainly, it seems like a reach to seriously contend that the clinic form was a contract between Husband and Wife.

And neither acted as though they believed it was a binding contract as between them. They didn’t pore carefully over it and neither had an attorney review it.

It sounds as though, at most, Husband may be what lawyers sometimes refer to as a third party beneficiary of a contract between the clinic and Wife … and Husband faces some real challenges to making that stick as well.

Wife hangs her hat on a more fundamental foundation. She argues that reproduction is a constitutional right and that her medical status gives her a greater interest in the embryos than Husband.

Beyond the personal significance to this couple, their case could steer the course of the law governing stored embryos in California divorce.

Read more in this San Francisco Recorder article: Fate of Frozen Embryos at Center of Divorce Trial .


Father Leaves Toddler in a Sandwich Shop and Forgets to Return for Her

New York Husband and Wife have three year old Daughter together.

Husband takes Daughter to a sandwich shop one evening, buys her a sandwich and then … leaves her there. Husband, reportedly drunk, promises to return, but never does.

Another patron of the shop, a child welfare worker by chance, takes Daughter to a police station.

Daughter is temporarily placed into the care of the local child welfare agency.

The next day, Husband contacts police regarding his “missing” Daughter.

Police then arrest Husband for child abandonment and reckless endangerment.

Husband reportedly has been arrested several times previously on drug charges, for one of which he served time, and for endangering the welfare of a different child.


this New York Post article: ‘Drunk’ dad forgot 3-year-old daughter at Subway until next day and

this NBC TV 4 news article: Father Arrested After 3-Year-Old Girl Found Alone in Harlem Restaurant: Police .


Timing is Everything: Divorcing One Day After Ten Year Wedding Anniversary, Months After Separation

California celebrity couple announce their impending divorce ten years and one day after wedding, after several months’ separation.

That timing sounds a little too coincidental to write off as such.

There are several possible explanations behind this timing.

One lies in California divorce law, which classifies a marriage of ten years as “long term”. (Not so here in Florida.) A long term marriage typically provides the lesser earning spouse with advantages around alimony and spousal support.

It’s also a common marriage length milestone in prenuptial agreements, often escalating the amount of spousal support and property division.

It’s also possible that that timeframe has significance in external documents that may have a bearing on divorce and life after it, such as a trust or a will.

Read more in this Fortune magazine article: What we can learn about prenups from the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Garner divorce .


Husband’s Conviction for Threatening Wife on Facebook Overturned

Husband regularly publishes on Facebook, among other things, threats against Wife, often violent and graphic.

Husband is convicted under federal law and sentenced to forty-four months in prison.

Husband appeals his conviction, ultimately to the US Supreme Court. Which reverses his conviction.

But narrows its holding in this case to rejecting negligence as the basis of a conviction.

The case raises complex issues regarding requirements of “evil” intent and consideration of possibly unintended readers. The high court drew a distinction between “true threats” targeting a specific victim and more diluted threats intended to entertain a broader audience.

Free speech activists embrace this ruling but domestic violence organizations underscored that the higher bar would make it more difficult to deter and to convict domestic abusers.

Read more in this Huffington Post article: Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Man Convicted Of Threatening Wife On Facebook


Child Abuse and Neglect By Designating Child As Driver for Intoxicated Parents and Younger Sibling

Texas Husband and Wife have two children together, a thirteen year old (Teenager) and a seven year old.

The entire family spend a Saturday evening at a so-called family night club.

Husband and Wife drink alcohol at the club. Enough that, by their own admission, they were intoxicated. And knew that it was not safe for them to drive the family home.

To solve this problem, Teenager volunteers to drive the family home … and Husband and Wife agree.

Witnesses on the road, reported the family’s car for weaving in and out of lanes, running through traffic lights, driving excessively slowly, multiple near-collisions and other erratic driving behavior.

Police pull the family’s vehicle over and find Teenager behind the wheel and Husband and Wife, inebriated.

Both parents are under arrest for child endangerment. Husband is also under arrest for driving under the influence – for about the seventh time.

Presumably the local child welfare agency got involved in short order …



Australian Family Court Judge’s Prohibition on Breastfeeding Due to Mother’s Tattoos is Reversed on Appeal

Australian Mother and Father have Baby together. They were never married, and have since split up.

Mother is breastfeeding Baby.

Mother is reportedly on medication for post-partum depression, and has a couple of new tattoos applied to her foot and finger.

Father seeks to bar Mother from breastfeeding Baby, allegedly because it would subject Baby to significant risk of infection.

But Mother tests negative for hepatitis and HIV.

Nonetheless, the family court judge presiding over Mother’s and Father’s child custody case concluded that there was still a substantial risk to the Baby, and ordered Mother to cease breastfeeding.

On appeal, a full panel of family court judges reversed and set aside the previous order and reinstated Mother’s right to breastfeed Baby.

The panel found no evidence of likely risk of harm to Baby from the tattoos. Further, the first judge had not considered the health and mental benefits of breatfeeding nor the impact on Baby of discontinuing it.


  1. this Huffington Post piece: Australian Mom Banned From Breastfeeding Infant Son Because She Got Tattooed
  2. this Yahoo news article: Breastfeeding Mom Wins Battle Over Tattoo and
  3. this Medical Express article: Australian mum with tattoos wins right to breastfeed .

Man Takes Up His Mother’s Lawsuit for Damages … Resulting From His Birth

Indian Mother enrolls in Indian government program to sterilize women, with the intention of combating overpopulation.

Nonetheless, Mother later becomes pregnant with and, ultimately, gives birth to Son.

While Son is still a toddler, Mother sues the Indian government for damages (that is, the costs of raising Son) resulting from alleged negligence in the administration of the government’s sterilization program.

Years later, Mother even wins her case at trial – and his awarded roughly US $400.

The government appeals, however, and eventually wins. Mother has died by this time though, so Son is ordered to repay the damages previously paid to Mother.

At which point Son finds himself in what must be a somewhat uncomfortable position: pressing in a higher level appellate court an appeal for damages caused by his birth.

That court upholds the denial of Mother’s and Son’s claim of negligence, however. After all, no form of birth control is 100% foolproof.

Read more in this Yahoo News article by way of AFP: Indian man loses long legal battle over his own birth .