Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom, Fundamentally at Odds

In recent essays at Public Discourse, Mark Regnerus argued that same-sex marriage would harm marriage for everyone, and John Smoot argued that it would be bad for children in particular. Today I want to show the damage that redefining marriage does to religious freedom. At bottom, even the defense of religious liberty is a struggle over what is true and false about the meaning of marriage.

Should the truth about marriage—that it unites men and women so that children will have fathers and mothers—be defied by the laws of the land, we cannot expect the religious freedom of those who believe in that ancient truth to be respected under the new dominion of falsehood.

Written by Matthew Franck. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website http://www.jwbrookslaw.com

We Should Reform Child Support

President Obama’s Father’s Day speech included one provocative, yet very declarative, sentence: “We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children.” Obama didn’t elaborate, but we can build on what he said because, yes indeed, child support laws urgently need “reform.”

Many fathers work long hours and make incredible sacrifices for their families. Child support formulas are based on the ridiculous notion that a father would make those same sacrifices for an ex-wife who is living with her new husband or boyfriend and for children he never or seldom sees.

Many fathers would happily do more to support their children if they got to see their kids more and were more engaged in their lives. But current child support laws have reverse incentives: The more the mother prevents such contact, the more child support she receives.

Written by Phyllis Schlafly. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website http://www.jwbrookslaw.com

Alimony Till Death Do Us Part? Nay, Say Some Ex-Spouses

Alimony dates back centuries. The original idea was that once married, a man is responsible for a woman till death. But that notion has shifted in recent decades, as more women have jobs and their own money. Now, a number of states are considering laws to end lifetime alimony.

During his two-decade marriage, Tom Leustek’s wife earned a Ph.D. and landed a job that paid as much as his. He’s a college professor in New Jersey.

But she quit to start her own psychology practice, and her salary plummeted. Then they split. Leustek says he was astonished when a judge ordered him to pay lifetime alimony, despite his wife’s clear earning potential.

“When the judge told me at one point, ‘It’s not fair, Mr. Leustek; it’s the law,’ I decided something had to be done about it,” he says.

Leustek heads New Jersey Alimony Reform, one of a dozen groups taking their cue from Massachusetts. A law that went into effect there last year sets up formulas limiting alimony based on the length of a marriage. Leustek says a similar proposal in New Jersey would also end alimony when the payer reaches retirement age.

Written by Jennifer Ludden. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website http://www.jwbrookslaw.com

Dividing It Up—Divorce Laws Vary According to Individual States

Sacramento, CA: Divorce in California is a community affair. No, it’s not that the entire community gets involved [although there are those who will tell you otherwise]. Rather, it’s that aspect of Family Law in California that dictates whether your divorce will be governed by community property or equitable distribution. Divorce lawyers will guide you through this, of course—but here’s the skinny that may save you your shirt…

Equitable distribution is observed by most states. What that means, is that any property acquired during the marriage is deemed as belonging to the spouse who earned the income necessary to acquire it. In the event both spouses contributed equally to the acquisition, the division is fairly straightforward. However, there can be variations. In most cases, one spouse will earn far more than the other—or income is split with one spouse paying for the mortgage and property taxes, whereas the other covers household expenses. Does the spouse who paid for the groceries, then, miss out on the matrimonial home? Would a full-time caregiver to children lose out on property because the other spouse earned the money to acquire it? There IS value placed on childcare and running the household. Divorce laws, together with the courts work all that stuff out on an individual basis.

Of course, in California you don’t have to worry about equitable distribution. That’s because California is one of the minority states that observes community property.

Written by Gordon Gibb. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website http://www.jwbrookslaw.com/

In Age of Dual Incomes, Alimony Payers Prod States to Update Laws

MIAMI — In the waning days of this year’s legislative session, Florida lawmakers and advocacy groups are pushing to overhaul the state’s alimony law in a bid to better reflect today’s marriages and make the system less burdensome for the alimony payer.

Florida joins a grass-roots movement in a growing number of states that seeks to rewrite alimony laws by curbing lifelong alimony and alleviating the financial distress that some payers — still mostly men — say they face. The activists say the laws in several states, including Florida, unfairly favor women and do not take into account the fact that a majority of women work and nearly a third have college degrees.

The Florida House recently approved legislation that would make lifelong alimony more difficult to award and less onerous for the payer and, in the case of a remarriage, would place a new spouse’s income off-limits in awarding payments. Attention turns to the Senate, where the companion bill is less far-reaching. Florida had already changed some provisions in alimony law two years ago.

Written by LIZETTE ALVAREZ. To read the full article, click here.

Dividing It Up—Divorce Laws Vary According to Individual States

Sacramento, CA: Divorce in California is a community affair. No, it’s not that the entire community gets involved [although there are those who will tell you otherwise]. Rather, it’s that aspect of Family Law in California that dictates whether your divorce will be governed by community property or equitable distribution. Divorce lawyers will guide you through this, of course—but here’s the skinny that may save you your shirt…

Equitable distribution is observed by most states. What that means, is that any property acquired during the marriage is deemed as belonging to the spouse who earned the income necessary to acquire it. In the event both spouses contributed equally to the acquisition, the division is fairly straightforward. However, there can be variations. In most cases, one spouse will earn far more than the other—or income is split with one spouse paying for the mortgage and property taxes, whereas the other covers household expenses. Does the spouse who paid for the groceries, then, miss out on the matrimonial home? Would a full-time caregiver to children lose out on property because the other spouse earned the money to acquire it? There IS value placed on childcare and running the household. Divorce laws, together with the courts work all that stuff out on an individual basis.

Of course, in California you don’t have to worry about equitable distribution. That’s because California is one of the minority states that observes community property.

Written by Gordon Gibb. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website http://www.jwbrookslaw.com/