Violence in Divorce: Not Even Law Professors are Immune

Husband and Wife marry and have two Children together.

Both Husband and Wife are law professors in northwestern Florida.

Husband and Wife divorce.

Wife’s family is from South Florida.

Wife’s family wants Wife and Children to be closer to them, in South Florida.

But Husband apparently does not agree to that.

Husband is murdered by his home.

The two men who murder him have no direct connection to him and there is no apparent motive.

But police traced a connection between the alleged murderers and Wife’s brother.

Police have arrested the first of the two men believed to have murdered Husband.

The police investigation is ongoing.

Read more in this National Law Journal article: Florida Law Professor Killed in Murder-for-Hire, Police Say .


UK Studies Effect of “Uncoupling” on Ex-es’ Nutrition

Past studies have suggested that, upon marriage, men’s diets and weight improve, and women’s diets and weight tend to suffer a bit.

A large and singular UK study looks at the opposite end of the spectrum: how are men’s and women’s diets impacted by the end of their marriage, whether as a result of death or breakup.

After following roughly twelve thousand study subjects over nearly a decade, the researchers concluded that, upon the end of their marriage, men ate about twenty-five percent less fruit and vegetables than they did when they were married, but women’s diets underwent no significant change.

In the age range of the study participants, women in the couples were more likely to bear responsibility for shopping, planning and preparing food, which would at least partially explain the conclusion of no significant change in the diets of women before or after divorce.

While the study should provide some food for thought (pardon the expression), especially for men, the only variable considered was quantity of fruit and vegetable consumption … and the quantity was all self-reported at that.

Self-reported data is inherently suspect.

Not all fruits are nutritionally equivalent, nor all vegetables. In fact, fruits, in general, and vegetables, in general, are not nutritionally equivalent.

And these are just one or two components of the subjects’ diets. The remainder could tell a very different story.

Last, the study made no distinctions regarding the cause of the end of the couples’ relationships, nor which spouse initiated the end.

All of the above factors could call the conclusion reached into question.

But we should applaud researchers for studying participants’ nutrition in the context of divorce and separation. Even if they have just scratched the surface, it’s an important start.

Read more in this Wall Street Journal article: Diet After Divorce: Men vs. Women .


Record-breaking Honeymoon: Over in a Blink … And On to Divorce

Saudi Arabian Husband and Wife marry.

Then off to their honeymoon hotel.

Where Wife reportedly gets deeply involved with … her smart phone.

Texting away. On and on and on.

Totally ignoring her new husband’s amorous advances … and efforts to draw her attention away from her smartphone.

Wife finally responds that communicating with her friends about her wedding is more important to her than he is.

At which point Husband and Wife argue and Husband tells Wife that he wants a divorce.

Actually, under Florida law and the law of some other US states, this is that relatively rare scenario in which the strict criteria for a legal annulment are met.



Unusual Paternity Case Awards Mother’s Brother Temporary Custody of Young Boy

Denver Mother and Father have Son together.

Mother and Father are both immigrants to the US from Mexico … only Mother is not here legally.

When Son is just six months old, Mother flees to Mexico and Father is unable to locate Son.

Eventually, Father gives up and returns here and moves on with his life.

Eight years later, Father’s Wife sees Son, who strongly resembles Father, on Facebook …at a Denver area school.

It turns out that Son is back in Denver, having lived for several months with Uncle.

Father goes to Uncle’s home and takes Son home with him.

After that, Uncle files for custody of Son … and is awarded temporary custody, with supervised visitation awarded to Father.

A bit unusual for the typical paternity case, but then Son hasn’t seen Father since he was an infant … and Father previously served a couple of years in prison for accessory to attempted murder.

Read more in this [Denver] Fox 31 TV news article: Eight years later, father finds out son is in Denver, launches custody fight.


Surrogate Mother Seeks Custody of Triplets She Gave Birth To

Biological Father in Georgia hires Surrogate Mother in California to carry a baby (or babies?) throughout pregnancy.

At some point during the pregnancy, Father learns that Surrogate is actually carrying triplets.

This apparently is at least one more than Father bargained for.

According to Surrogate, Father requests that Surrogate abort one of the fetuses, allegedly because he cannot afford a third child.

Surrogate refuses.

And because of Father’s request, Surrogate reportedly believes Father cannot and will not care for third child and wants to care for that child herself.

A temporary stay there initially kept the Triplets in California, but that stay was lifted and all three Triplets were released to Father’s care and returned to Georgia to live there with Father.

Both state and federal courts in California declined to strike down California’s surrogacy laws as unconstitutional, as requested by Surrogate.

Father, who is reportedly fifty years old, is being assisted by relatives and paid caregivers.

He is reportedly on the radar of Georgia’s child welfare agency.

Surrogate insists she has not given up her child custody case.



Divorced with Two Kids … and One Home

Husband and Wife have Children together.

Husband and Wife divorce.

Husband and Wife do NOT argue about what happens to the marital residence.

Because …

The Children still live in the residence.

With whom?

Wife. And Husband. Just probably not Husband and Wife at the same time, or together.

Instead of the Children packing their overnight bags and traveling from Wife’s place to Husband’s place and back and forth, over and over again …

The Children stay put in their home (the marital residence). And Husband and Wife each travel with their overnight bags between the marital residence and their respective new residences.

Less disruption for the Children. That’s certainly good.

But more contact and, therefore, potentially, more conflict between Husband and Wife.

Still, birdnesting clearly does have its good points, and is worth considering.

It presupposes though that neither Husband or Wife is pressing for a third party sale or spousal buyout of the marital residence.

Read more in this New York Post article: Is ‘birdnesting’ the stupidest — or smartest — divorce trend yet?


Husband Awarded Custody of Five Children Later Allegedly Murders Every One of Them

South Carolina Husband and Wife marry young. Husband and Wife have five Children together.

Husband has a history of substance abuse and has served time in prison.

The child welfare agency makes numerous visits to Husband and Wife’s home, not due to abuse or neglect, but due to the reportedly unsafe condition of their home.

Husband and Wife are able to bring home into compliance before Children are taken into protective custody.

Wife claims to be a victim of domestic violence. Husband and Wife separate.

Husband keeps Children.

Wife seeks to get Children back from Husband and his family.

Husband and Wife divorce.

Husband receives custody of Children from court.

Child welfare agency resumes investigations, now based on recurring allegations of abuse.

Husband appears to investigators to be overwhelmed keeping up their home and caring for the Children.

Husband is charged with incident of neglect.

Children go missing.

Mother reports Children as missing.

Authorities begin search.

Husband is arrested on DUI and possession of drugs. Incriminating materials are found in his car.

Husband is charged with unlawful conduct toward a child.

Husband confesses and leads authorities to Children’s bodies.

Husband is charged with five counts of murder.

Wife sues the child welfare agency for dropping the ball. Badly.


  1. this Daily Beast article: He Got Custody, Allegedly Killed 5 Kids and
  2. this WYFF4 TV Greenville article: Timeline of Jones family before deaths of 5 children .

Woman Sues Sperm Bank That Provided Sperm from the Wrong Donor, Of the Wrong Race

Mother had Daughter using a sperm donor provided through a sperm bank.

Mother selected Donor A as her sperm donor. However, the sperm bank actually provided the sperm of Donor B.

Mother and Donor A are both white. Donor B is black.

As a result, Daughter is biracial, and that is reportedly apparent.

Mother loves Daughter.

However, Mother lived in a very small town in Ohio, with a population of under 3,500 … only 10 of whom were African American.

The surprise of Daughter’s heritage and the need to relocate to a larger, more compatible community allegedly caused Mother stress and actual damages. The lawsuit seeks compensation for those as well as punitive damages.

So Mother sued the sperm bank. For wrongful birth and breach of warranty.

That didn’t fly. A state court dismissed that lawsuit.

But Mother was not barred from refiling her case in federal court, premised this time on the sperm bank’s negligence.

Mother’s claims are apparently predicated entirely on the racial differences between Donor A and Donor B. But there are undoubtedly many differences between the two men.

Whatever one’s opinion about the practice, would-be mothers who use sperm banks pore over donor profiles in search of the perfect donor.

Not only racial heritage but also height, weight, attractiveness, intelligence, creativity, sense of humor, skills, talents, interests, education, religion, politics, you name it, are all carefully assessed.

Not all are as objective or quantifiable as race, so perhaps they are not as well-suited for calculation of damages.

But it is perhaps surprising that no other characteristics seem to have found their way into the lawsuit.



Court-Appointed Counsel Required in Adoption Challenges and Termination of Parental Rights Cases

New Jersey Mother has special needs Daughter.

Mother is indigent and opts to put Daughter up for adoption.

Daughter goes to live with adoptive parents.

And somewhere along the way Mother has a change of heart about putting Daughter up for adoption.

At trial on the termination of Mother’s parental rights and Daughter’s adoption, Mother has no legal representation and does her best to represent herself.

But falls short. Mother’s parental rights are terminated.

On appeal, the appellate court holds that Mother should have been assigned court-appointed counsel. Parental rights are fundamental constitutional rights.

The perhaps thornier issue: how will free legal representation be funded?

Possibilities include:

  • the state of New Jersey
  • attorneys practicing in New Jersey or
  • existing legal services providers to the indigent, such as the public defenders office or legal aid.

Read more in this article: Justices Mull Counsel for Indigent Parents Challenging Adoptions.


Is Something Wrong With This Picture? NonViolent Punishment Subjects Mother to Criminal Charges and Family to Child Welfare Investigation

Suburban to exurban Tennessee Husband and Wife have two teen-aged Daughters.

One day (and possibly many others before it), Daughters miss their school bus.

Wife decides it is time to punish Daughters.

Their punishment is having to walk to school instead of ride.

The distance is roughly 3.5 miles.

Daughters are both normal, healthy kids.

Wife drives the route, with Daughters walking along the side of the road.

A couple of county Sheriffs happen to observe this.

In their opinion, it is too cold, the distance too great and the punishment too dangerous.

So, Sheriffs arrest Wife for child neglect.

And it doesn’t end there.

It is Wife’s misfortune that her driver’s license is invalid. Add driving without a valid license to the charges against Wife.

And as a result, Sheriffs seek alternative transportation to school for Daughters.

When Husband and Father-in-Law arrive, Father-in-law flies off the handle and he too is subjected to criminal charges by Sheriffs.

At this point, it should come as no surprise that Tennessee’s child welfare agency is into the act and Daughters potentially face removal from Husband and Wife’s home.

One editorialist comments on life in the Nanny State and hypothesizs that some children who are not being punished may walk this distance to school daily.


  1. this New York Daily News article: Tenn mom made daughters walk on highway as punishment and
  2. this Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial : The crime of walking .