According to Pew Research, there has been a nine-fold increase in single dad households since 1960.
Society and the courts are slowly beginning to realize that gender alone is not a fair way to decide which parent is best suited to raise the kids.
In 1995, Texas add Section 153.003 to the Family Code which said that courts may not discriminate based on sex in deciding which party will be the sole managing conservator. Despite this however, many attorneys still observe a general bias against dads in family courts.
Despite this, more dads are taking on the role of primary parent. However they may not be receiving the same kind of acceptance and support that single mothers do.
In Australia, single dads have been filling in this support gap by forming their own groups:
Get Text Evidence Before The Court
We text every day- many times without thinking about the fact that these hasty words are perfectly preserved and readily available to be used against you in your divorce or family law case.
Galveston family lawyers and other practitioners are eating these bits of evidence up like candy in domestic cases. But there are still some issues about getting evidence of a text before the court that the attorney must consider. Like all pieces of evidence, attorneys must show that the evidence is an actual document (or an "authentic" true copy) that wasn't fabricated. Attorneys must also show that the text should be allowed despite the general rule that hearsay (an out of court statement offered as the truth) is not allowed because it is so unreliable.
In the case of Butler v. State, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals set out the following predicate:
Q. What is [Appellant’s] phone number?
Q. Does that number appear on all the pages of the exhibit?
Q. How do you know that that is [Appellant’s] telephone number?
A. Because that’s where he called me from and that’s what’s on the
same exhibit in front of me.
Q. You’ve read the text messages in the exhibit?
Q. Who sen[t] you those text messages?
A. He did.
Q. How do you know that it was him?
A. Because he was the one texting me back and forth and he had
even called in between the conversations talking mess.
The Court of Criminal Appeals said that it was not enough for a lawyer to prove that a text was sent to a certain person's phone. The lawyer must also prove that it was received by the certain person (NOT just the person's phone- because phones can be stolen). So an attorney must also show that based on the response to the text or other context clues that the phone receiving the information was under the control of the other party.
ACLU Sues Over Adoption Subsidies
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has filed a lawsuit on behalf of two foster parents against the director of the Indiana Department of Child Services’ Central Eligibility Unit over adoption subsidies.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday on behalf of Lyons residents David and Julie Arthur, who act as foster parents for three grandsons, the Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/1Sdqc3W ) reports.
The couple claims the state agency violated federal law by calculating the adoption subsidy without considering “circumstances of the adopting parents and the needs of the child being adopted,” according to court records.
The Arthurs say they want to adopt their grandsons, who are 6, 3 and 2 years old. The couple says the boys have “profound disabilities,” but that they can’t pay for services needed.
Medicaid covers the boys’ medical needs. Their grandparents receive $145.72 per day as licensed foster parents to help offset the boys’ extensive needs.
If the Arthurs adopt the boys, they would get $52 per day under the Department of Child Services’ “final offer” for adoption assistance payments. The couple says it would be “impossible” to “adequately and appropriately care for the children” at that amount, according to the lawsuit.
Source: The Washington Post
Read more here.
Linda Massey opposes gay marriage. But she was incensed last summer to see that Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, was refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
"If the government says you have to give out those marriage licenses, and you get paid to do it, you do it," says the 64-year-old retiree from Lewiston, Michigan. "That woman," she said of Davis, "should be out of a job."
Americans like Massey are at the heart of a shift in public opinion, an Associated Press-GfK poll has found. For the first time, most Americans expect government officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even over religious objections.
It's partly a matter of expecting public servants to do their jobs. But more broadly, the issue touches on a familiar dispute over which constitutional value trumps which: religious freedom, or equality under the law?
The question in recent months has entangled leaders with political sway, among them Pope Francis and the 2016 presidential contenders. But it's not a new conflict for a nation that has long wrestled with the separation of church and state.
Where Davis's answer was the First Amendment's protection of religious freedom — and she served jail time to back it up — a majority of respondents don't buy that argument when it comes to public officials issuing marriage licenses. That's a shift since an AP-GfK survey in July, when Americans were about evenly split. Then, 49 percent said officials with religious objections should be exempt from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and 47 percent said they should be required to issue them.
Source: U.S. News & World Report
Read more here.
Shared Mortgages After the Divorce
Deciding what to do with the house can be a major quandary for couples getting a divorce, particularly when they share a mortgage.
When there is equity in the home, each spouse typically wants to take a share as part of the settlement agreement. But if one person wants to remain in the home, rather than sell it and split any profit, then that spouse will likely have to qualify for a mortgage on his or her own. Spouses who choose to stay may have to refinance their mortgages in order to cash out enough equity to pay off an ex.
But even a spouse who has the financial resources for a buyout without drawing on home equity will still probably have to get a mortgage in his or her name.
“The person walking away wants their share of the equity, but also wants their name off the mortgage as soon as possible,” said Kathleen B. Connell, a family law lawyer and lecturer in Atlanta. The mortgage obligation can tie up that person’s credit, and “if there’s a default,” Ms. Connell added, “the mortgage company is going to sue them both, regardless of what the divorce agreement says.”
Source: New York Times
Read more here.
Late Life Divorce on the Rise
Hilary Stephens was 57 when she decided she had had enough — enough of her job, of caretaking, of her marriage of 28 years. So she did something many people fantasize about: She walked away from it all.
“Sometimes it’s the only solution,” said Ms. Stephens, now 58 and the mother of two adult children. She moved from Washington to the Philadelphia area, where she is now vice president for development at Woods Services, a nonprofit.
Late life divorce (also called “silver” or “gray” divorce) is becoming more common, and more acceptable. In 2014, people age 50 and above were twice as likely to go through a divorce than in 1990, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. For those over 65, the increase was even higher.
At the same time, divorce rates have plateaued or dropped among other age groups.
One explanation is that many older people are in second marriages; the divorce rate is about two and a half times larger for those who have remarried and are often grappling with blended families or greater financial challenges.
Life expectancy also plays a role. In the past, “people died earlier,” said Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle, and the love, sex and relationship ambassador for AARP. “Now, let’s say you’re 50 or 60. You could go 30 more years. A lot of marriages are not horrible, but they’re no longer satisfying or loving. They may not be ugly, but you say, ‘Do I really want 30 more years of this?’”
Source: New York Times.
Read more here.
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Attorney Sean Y. Palmer has over 20 years of legal experience as a Texas Attorney and over 25 years as a Qualified Mediator in civil, family and CPS cases. Palmer practices exclusively in the area Family Law and handles Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Adoptions, and other Family Law Litigation cases. He represents clients throughout the greater Houston Galveston area, including: Clear Lake, NASA, Webster, Friendswood, Seabrook, League City, Galveston, Texas City, Dickinson, La Porte, La Marque, Clear Lake Shores, Bacliff, Kemah, Pasadena, Baytown, Deer Park, Harris County, and Galveston County, Texas.