Same-sex divorce request to test Indiana law

An Indiana man who married his same-sex partner in Massachusetts is testing his home state’s legal boundaries, having filed a divorce petition there despite the state’s refusal to recognize such unions.

Donald Schultz Lee doesn’t meet the residency requirement for a divorce in Massachusetts, so his attorney filed his petition to divorce Justin Schultz Lee with the Marion County clerk’s office in Indianapolis.

Clerk Beth White told WISH-TV that last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act is likely to “create some situations I think all around the state of Indiana that many of us are not used to handling.”

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

From ‘‘I Do’’ to ‘‘I’m Done’’

It’s not a subject that marriage-equality groups tend to trumpet on their websites, but gay couples are at the start of a divorce boom. One reason is obvious: More couples are eligible. According to a report by UCLA’s Williams Institute, nearly 50,000 of the approximately 640,000 gay couples in the U.S. in 2011 were married. (Another 100,000 were in other kinds of legal relationships, such as domestic partnerships.) The marriage rate, in states that allowed it, was quickly rising toward that of heterosexual couples: In Massachusetts as of that year, 68 percent of gay couples were married, compared with 91 percent of heterosexual couples. Another reason for the coming boom is that while first-wave gay marriages have proved more durable than straight ones (according to the Williams Institute, about one percent of gay marriages were dissolving each year, compared with 2 percent for different-sex couples), that’s not expected to last. Most lawyers I spoke to assume that the gap will soon vanish, once the backlog of long-term and presumably more stable gay couples have married, leaving the field to the young and impulsive.

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

Gay Divorce Is Still A Huge Problem In America

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down part of the Defense of Marriage Act means the U.S. government will recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages, but it won’t necessarily make it easier for American gays to divorce.
The high court struck down one part of DOMA — section 3, which effectively deprived gay married couples of the federal benefits straight marrieds get.

Section 2 of DOMA — which says states don’t have to recognize other states’ gay marriages — is still technically alive, and that makes divorce harder to come by for some married gays.

Say a gay couple in Georgia goes to Massachusetts for the weekend to get married. That gay couple can’t go back to Massachusetts to end their marriage because the state has residency requirements for divorces. And Georgia might not let them get a divorce because the state doesn’t recognize their gay marriage in the first place.

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

Divorce, Custody, Child Support, and Alimony in Denmark

I attended a social gathering in Denmark hosted by a successful businessman with two teenage daughters. “Their mom didn’t want custody,” he explained, “so I’ve had them since the youngest was four years old”. The mother had initiated the divorce, but had not sought any contact with the kids other than an optional twice/month (every other weekend) visit. “It isn’t the life that I expected to live, but it is a good life.” The Americans at the party were shocked by this. What about the maternal instinct? Was it different in Denmark than in the U.S.? “Most middle class parents who divorce simply split the children 50-50,” explained a Dane. “Children aren’t cash cows in Denmark, except for lower class people with six children, for whom state subsidies and child support from the other parent can be a significant source of income. The previous government tried to limit this by paying only for the first two children. But they watched Muslim women in black burkas rioting across the bridge in Sweden so the new government restored the benefits for an unlimited number of children.” Child support payments in Denmark can continue until a child turns 24 (if the kid is still in school, which of course he or she is likely to be in Europe, the original home of infinite adolescence). Our host’s income was easily high enough that in Massachusetts he would have been tapped by a divorce lawsuit plaintiff for $50,000 tax-free dollars per year in child support (roughly $1 million over 20 years; see worksheet). Could it really be the case that children who supposedly cost $1 million to rear in Massachusetts would yield only minimal child support in Denmark, where the cost of almost everything is far higher?

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

Guns in the home proving deadly for kids

He didn’t know the gun was loaded.

The 14-year-old Massachusetts boy had recently found his mother’s handgun, which she kept hidden under her mattress for protection.

“Promise me you’ll never touch it,” his mother, a single mom, had asked him.

But the lure of the gun was irresistible. He decided to show it off to his neighbor, 12-year-old Brian Crowell.

“He was going, ‘Click, click, click,'” pretending to shoot the gun, says Brian’s mother, Ann Marie Crowell, who spoke to the child and his mother after the incident. “But there was one last bullet. It went into Brian’s neck.”

And just like that, Crowell’s son was gone.

Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms.

Written by USA Today. 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

Is This The End of Alimony As We Know It?

For probably as long as it has existed, alimony has been a man vs. woman thing. Men get ordered to pay, women get alimony and men get bitter. But as women have become more economically powerful, the game has changed.

In 2012, a new law came into effect in Massachusetts that abolished permanent alimony and set up a formula for future payments. Some men there had been paying for decades to women to whom they’d only been married very briefly. While Massachusetts is the front runner, several states, especially Florida, are rethinking the way alimony is awarded.

Should men still have to pay alimony when women can now be educated and make (almost) as much as men? What about women who live with another guy but still take alimony? What do women who pay alimony think? And if we abolish alimony, how do older women without job skills get by?

Written by Belinda Luscombe. To read the full article, click here.