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Practice Points

March 10, 2016

Top 10 Tips for a Celebrity Divorce or Paternity Action


I am a Miami-based attorney who specializes in marital and family law and commercial litigation and has represented a number of high-profile and celebrity clientele, including the same-sex partner of tennis legend Martina Navratilova; Linda Hogan in her divorce against professional wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan and in his civil actions against her, Elizabeth Cena in her divorce from WWE star John Cena; NFL great Samari Rolle; and former star of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Miami Cristy Rice in her divorce from NBA star Glen Rice. Over the years, I've learned a few important things to remember when representing a celebrity in a divorce or paternity action. (Yes, this idea is copied from The Late Show with David Letterman—only not as funny. And yes, I'm keeping my day job!)


10. Create your litigation team and include, at least, the following:


A. A crisis management public relations firm or publicist. Do not try to handle the media yourself.

B. The client’s entertainment lawyer or retain an entertainment lawyer and actively work and consult with the entertainment lawyer.

C. A forensic expert(s) to value and address the celebrity’s status, royalties, residuals, trademarks, and other intellectual property and income streams.


9. Depending on whom you represent, push for or fight against any confidentiality agreements or gag orders.


8. Avoid destroying what your client spent a lifetime building; always keep in mind that the client has a career and needs a career during and after the lawsuit. If you’re representing the spouse of a celebrity, pressure is fine, but killing the golden goose may not be the best thing for your client.


7. Whatever you put in the court file will come out of the court file – the media watches court files like hawks (or vultures depending how the story comes out).


6. Do not let your client do interviews or have direct contact with the media. Statements and admissions rarely help your case, and you should only make comments to the media if such benefits your client. But, first listen, think and then respond.


5. Recognize that every reporter is your “friend” when they want an exclusive.


4. Control your clients’ Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media that your client has access at all hours of the day and night and wee hours of the morning—Charlie Sheen splatter is never good for your case or client—unless, of course, your client is Charlie Sheen.


3. Convince your client that no just might be a word in the English language


2. Avoid you or your client becoming late-night comedy and talk show fodder.


1. Avoid a WWE SmackDown in the courtroom, especially in front of the media and its cameras.


Raymond J. Rafool, II, Rafool & Hernandez, LLC, Miami, FL


 

February 5, 2014

Obtaining a Religious Divorce in the Orthodox Jewish Community


A recent survey by the Mellman Group, a national polling research firm, found that between 2005 and 2010, there were more than 460 cases of Jewish women in the United States and Canada that were unable to get a religious divorce. Now, some Orthodox rabbis are insisting that couples planning to marry have a prenuptial agreement.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 5, 2014

Social Media and Its Effect on Divorce


While advanced technology, including social media, has had a profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives, it seems to be creating particular problems in the area of marriage and divorce.  Read an article titled “Effect of Social Media on Divorce”. 


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 5, 2014

Shared Parenting to Become the New Norm in Divorce


A growing number of state lawmakers are examining child custody laws amid a push from advocates who argue that divorcing parents should share equal custody.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 5, 2014

New York Judgment on Divorce


A New York court decided that in cases where the defendant has complete control over the corporation, the court does not have to simply accept the defendant’s claims regarding salary.  Read the decision that states, pursuant to review of the evidence, the court determined that the plaintiff was entitled to additional maintenance and child support payments.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

November 25, 2013

Wevorce Eases the Stresses of Divorce


Wevorce a website that believes technology and social science can be used to ease the stresses of the divorce process announced that it’s taken on $1.7 million in a new seed funding round from investors.  To date, more than 100 divorces have been handled by Wevorce.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

November 25, 2013

Relocating as an Expectant Mother


Can an expectant mother be prevented from relocating?


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

November 25, 2013

Criminal Conspiracy


Florida Judges denied a couple, who admitted being a part of a criminal conspiracy, a divorce.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

November 25

Divorced Men Call Alimony Unconstitutional


Four divorced men sued Connecticut, claiming its alimony laws are unconstitutional, that alimony "burdens the right to end a marriage and to remarry."


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

August 26, 2013

Dividing Digital Assets in Divorce


What happens to digital assets like the couple's shared iTunes library or other accounts?


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

August 26, 2013

Four Divorce Mistakes That Can Derail Retirement


Avoid these four common mistakes to minimize the financial damage to your retirement.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

August 26, 2013

New Divorce Process in Canada


The Honourable Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the coming into force of a new divorce process for certain non-resident couples who married in Canada.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

August 26, 2013

Unique Texas Divorce Case Highlights Little-Known Immigration Clause


Proponents of strict immigration policies support the affidavit provision, saying the United States must ensure that immigrants do not end up being a social drain.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

July 26, 2013

Fighting Like Cats and Dogs


Many divorcing couples fight like cats and dogs, but more and more divorcing couples are fighting over cats and dogs.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

July 26, 2013

Texas Attorney General Comments on the Defense of Marriage Act


Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican who announced this week that he’s running for governor in 2014, argued in a  brief  filed Thursdaythat the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act doesn’t allow same-sex couples to divorce in Texas.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

July 26, 2013

Divorce Requires Courage


According to a recent study by UK law firm Slater & Gordon, the number-one reason unhappy spouses stay together is because they lack the courage to divorce.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

July 26, 2013

How Does Divorce Affect Bankruptcy and Mortgage?


Ask the bankruptcy advisor.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

June 27, 2013

Equal Treatment for Sam-Sex Couples


As to Windsor, DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment and it singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. Same-sex couples who are legally married will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law.


Helen Casale, Esq., Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, Norristown, PA


 

June 27, 2013

Supreme Court Rules on the Legal Right to Defend the Law


As to Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Supreme Court held that the proponents do not have the legal right to defend the law in court. As a result, the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the intermediate appellate court, has no legal force, and it sent the case back to that court with instructions for it to dismiss the case.


Helen Casale, Esq., Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, Norristown, PA


 

April 3, 2013

Manage Your Divorce With an Online Service


Wevorce, a an online service that breaks the process of getting a divorce into discrete steps that are easily managed without having to get into a messy court battle. Read more here.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

April 3, 2013

Regional Social Factors Play a Role in Divorce Rates


Massachusetts may have one of the lower rates of divorce in the U.S. Oklahoma has the highest overall divorce rate at 13.45, followed by Arkansas, which has the second highest rate of divorce in the country at 13.15. Read more here.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

April 3, 2013

Gay Marriage Is Not Recognized by the Church


Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan stopped by ABC's "This Week" with a desire to clarify the Catholic Church's stance on gay rights. Read more here.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

April 3, 2013

Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Rules Nine-Year Marriage Invalid


An Arizona judge refused to grant a divorce to transgender man Thomas Beatie, who gave birth to three children after receiving hormone treatment for becoming a man. Read more here.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

April 3, 2013

Judge's Decision Could Influence Countless Welathy Marriages


A Brooklyn Appellate Court panel unanimously affirmed two Nassau County Court decisions to vacate a pre-nuptial agreement on the basis of a verbal promise. Read more here.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 28, 2013

Washington Bill Would Increase Divorce Waiting Period


It's known as the Family Second Chances Act. Washington's Senate Bill 5614 would essentially extend the divorce waiting period from 90 days to a full year before a marriage is officially over. Read more here.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 20, 2013

Legislation Advocates for Children's Mental Health


Lawmakers in North Dakota heard House Bill 1423, which Rep. Naomi Muscha, D-Enderlin, and other sponsors say is intended to benefit children caught in the middle of a divorce, who could see an increase in financial and mental health concerns as a result.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 14, 2013

U.S. Woman Wins Landmark Divorce Case from Chinese Husband


In a victory for women and Weibo, an American has won a landmark divorce case against her wealthy Chinese celebrity husband, whose vicious beatings she chronicled in visceral detail on the country's largest social network in 2011.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 13, 2013

Oral Promise to Pay Child's Tuition Not Enforceable


In an Albany Family Court case, a non-custodial parent (the father) was ordered to pay 71 percent of his child’s educational costs at a private school even though the father says he consented to the child attending the private school because of the mother’s representation that she would be solely responsible for paying the tuition. There was no signed agreement or documentation to collaborate the father’s claim.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 13, 2013

British Court Accepts NY Rabbinical Court's Ruling


A British court accepted a New York rabbinical court’s ruling in a dispute between a haredi Orthodox man and his ex-wife over their two children.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

January 31, 2013

Court Rules in Favor of Equitable Distribution After Divorce


In Shah v. Shah, the plaintiff (husband) appeals the judgment of the Suffolk County Supreme Court which awards the defendant (wife) 30 percent of his interest in Hi-Tech Trading, Inc., a company which was started by the plaintiff and a partner during the marriage. Plaintiff's interest was subsequently transferred to his partner shortly before the commencement of this action for no consideration. The appellate court determined that the plaintiff's appeal failed to adequately show that he invested in Hi-Tech with his separate property and thus, his interest, which was property acquired during the marriage, is presumed to be marital property and is subject to equitable distribution.  


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

January 31, 2013

Sesame Street Tackles Topic of Divorce


“Children of divorce often have questions that they may not know how to voice,” says Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for outreach and educational practices at Sesame Workshop. “With the national divorce rate hovering around 40 percent, Sesame Workshop has decided to tackle the issue in its series of online tool kits, alongside such topics as starting school, preparing for natural disasters, and coping with financial difficulties.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

January 31, 2013

Maine Joins List of States to Legalize Gay Marriage

 

Effective December 29, 2012, Maine joined eight other states and Washington, D.C., when it legalized gay marriage with the passage of a citizens initiative. Dozens of couples got married right away, while dozens more obtained licenses to marry within the next 90 days, before the license expires. Read more here.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

November 21, 2012

Gold Business Devalued by Hundreds of Thousands


In Quick v. Quick (Appellate Division, Second Department), the plaintiff appealed on the grounds that a valuation of the partnership's business and its gold inventory used fair market value, when it should have used the book value of such inventory. The court determined that this claim is without merit as the book value of the gold as advanced by the plaintiff is based on historical costs, which do not accurately reflect the increased market value of gold. However, the Supreme Court erred in adjusting the book value of the machinery and equipment by an additional $700,000 when the plaintiff's expert did in fact have a detailed and documented analysis that showed that the maximum value of the equipment totaled about $300,000 and thereby lowered the value of the business.


David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 
November 21, 2012

Updates on Divorce


  • Over objections from three of its nine member justices, the Texas Supreme Court has approved new do-it-yourself divorce forms designed for couples without children or real estate.

  • Divorced women are most likely to lose their insurance coverage in the wake of the fiscal cliff, based on a University of Michigan study.

  • Oregon has changed its divorce statute so that the presumption of equal contribution no longer applies to inherited assets that are not commingled.

  • Over the last 20 years, the divorce rate for people age 50 and older has more than doubled as compared to the overall divorce rate, which is falling in the United States.

David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

May 16, 2012

Madoff Scandal’s Effects Still Being Felt


While the fervor relating to Bernie Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme has subsided significantly since his sentencing in June 2009, the fallout caused by this scandal can still be witnessed nearly three years later in the realm of matrimonial law and business/asset valuation. Such can be evidenced in the matter of appellate court decision and court of appeals decision in the New York case, Simkin v. Blank.


Keywords: litigation, family law, Ponzi scheme, Bernie Madoff, New York


—David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

May 16, 2012

Study Shows Older Couples Divorcing More Often


A study released by The National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green University in Bowling Green, Ohio, shows that, between 1990 and 2009, the divorce rate for couples over age 50 more than doubled, and, in 2009, this age group accounted for roughly one out of every four divorces nationwide.


Keywords: litigation, family law, divorce rates


—David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

May 16, 2012

Maryland to Decide Same-Sex Divorce Case


The highest court in Maryland will decide whether two women that were married legally in California will be granted a divorce in Maryland after trying for almost two years.


Keywords: litigation, family law, same-sex marriage, LGBT, same-sex divorce


—David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

May 16, 2012

Mexico City Grants Temporary Marriage Licenses


Lawmakers in Mexico City have proposed legislation that would allow temporary marriage licenses. Couples would be able to choose the length of their marriage, starting at a minimum of two years.


Keywords: litigation, family law, Mexico City, marriage licenses


—David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

May 9, 2012

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Social Security Case


On March 19, 2012, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments [PDF] in a case concerning the right of posthumously conceived children to Social Security survivor benefits.


Keywords: litigation, family law, posthumous, Social Security Act, IVF twins


—Helen Casale Esq., Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, Norristown, Pennsylvania


 

May 9, 2012

Wife Gets Embryos in Divorce


In a case of first impression in the state of Pennsylvania, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the trial court and granted frozen embryos to the wife over the objection of the husband, who wanted the embryos destroyed. This is the first case in the country to grant frozen embryos to the party wishing to procreate.


Keywords: litigation, family law, embryos, cancer, parenthood


—Helen Casale Esq., Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, Norristown, Pennsylvania


 

May 9, 2012

Survivorship Rights Should Be Addressed at Time of Divorce


The Iowa Supreme Court discussed [PDF] whether a divorced couple’s decree-incorporated stipulation awarding the wife “half” of the husband’s Marine Corps retirement included the right to survivor benefits. It is a great lesson for all who practice family law to learn.


Keywords: litigation, family law, survivor, Marine Corps, retirement


—Helen Casale Esq., Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, Norristown, Pennsylvania


 

February 10, 2012

Ninth Circuit Decision Keeps the Focus on California


In a long-awaited decision, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped the right to marry from same-sex couples in California, is unconstitutional. Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt authored the majority decision, which was joined by Judge Michael Daly Hawkins. The third judge, N. Randy Smith, dissented.


The majority affirmed the August 2010 ruling by now-retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker—but on a different legal basis. After a 12-day trial, Judge Walker ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional because it deprives same-sex couples of the fundamental right to marry and discriminates against them based on their sexual orientation. In its ruling Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit held that it was not reaching or ruling on either of those issues—which would apply to every state that prevents same-sex couples from marrying.


Instead, the court focused on the unique history of Proposition 8. California is the only state that first recognized that same-sex couples have an equal right to marry and then permitted a majority of voters to take that right away. The court closely based its ruling on those unprecedented facts, explaining: “Proposition 8 singles out same-sex couples for unequal treatment by taking away from them alone the right to marry, and this action amounts to a distinct constitutional violation because the Equal Protection Clause protects minority groups from being targeted for the deprivation of an existing right without a legitimate reason.”


The court reasoned that there is a constitutionally significant difference between refusing to extend a right to a group in the first place and withdrawing a right that has already been extended. “Withdrawing from a disfavored group the right to obtain a designation with significant societal consequences is different from declining to extend that designation in the first place.” While both are harmful, the court noted there is something particularly pointed, harmful, and invidious about stripping away an existing right. “The action of changing something suggests a more deliberate purpose than does the inaction of leaving it as it is.”


The court also discussed the serious injury inflicted on same-sex couples by being excluded from an institution with so much personal and social significance. As the court put it, “marriage is the name that society gives to the relationship that matters most between two adults. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name of ‘registered domestic partnership’ does not.”


The court ruled that when the voters enacted Proposition 8 in 2008, they did so not for any substantive reason, but rather simply to preserve the esteemed institution of marriage only for heterosexual people. Although some supporters of Proposition 8 argued that its purpose was to promote parenting by heterosexual parents, Proposition 8 did not change the substance of California law dealing with same-sex couples or parents in any way—other than preventing them from enjoying the benefits of being married. Both before and after Proposition 8, California law provides that same-sex parents must be given exactly the same rights, responsibilities, and protections as heterosexual parents. As the court noted, “Proposition 8 had absolutely no effect on the ability of same-sex couples to become parents or the manner in which children are raised in California . . . and in no way modified the state’s laws governing parentage.”


Judge Smith’s dissent acknowledged that those supporting Proposition 8 assume that permitting same-sex couples to marry would devalue the institution of marriage in the eyes of straight people who disapprove of gay people. Remarkably, however, despite acknowledging that Proposition 8 rests on anti-gay animus and “private biases,” Judge Smith concluded that “a measure is [not] invalid under rational basis review simply because the means by which its purpose is accomplished rests on such biases.” This may be the first time a federal judge has voted to affirm an anti-gay marriage law despite acknowledging that it is rooted in irrational bias. That even a judge who voted to uphold Proposition 8 conceded that it was based in part on hostility toward gay people speaks volumes about the success of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) advocates in exposing the lies and stereotypes that underlie Proposition 8 and similar measures.


Judge Reinhardt’s careful, tightly reasoned opinion puts the plaintiffs in the strongest possible position as the supporters of Proposition 8 consider their next steps. The Proposition 8 supporters can now ask a larger panel of Ninth Circuit judges to reconsider the decision, or they can go directly to the Supreme Court and ask the justices to consider the case. In the meantime, California same-sex couples who want to get married will need to keep waiting. The Ninth Circuit panel decided to temporarily keep its decision from going into effect, and it is likely the Proposition 8 supporters will ask for that temporary hold to continue while they decide on their next move after losing their appeal.


Given the reasoning of the Ninth Circuit’s decision and its focus on the specific circumstances that led to the enactment of Proposition 8 in California, it may be a tall order for the supporters of Proposition 8 to persuade the Supreme Court to take the case. The Supreme Court normally only accepts cases when different federal appellate courts have reached opposite conclusions on the same legal issues, or where a decision has broad national implications. The Ninth Circuit’s California-focused decision presents neither of those circumstances. Unless the Supreme Court breaks with its own tradition and intervenes in the case, it’s possible that wedding bells will be ringing in California again before the end of the year.


Keywords: litigation, family law, same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, California


—Shannon Minter Esq. and Christopher Stoll Esq., National Center for Lesbian Rights


 

January 10, 2012

Philadelphia Protestors Support Jewish Woman’s “Get”


Philadelphia protesters are rallying in support of a woman who has been attempting to obtain a “get”—a Jewish decree of divorce—for more than five years.


Keywords: litigation, family law, divorce


—David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

January 10, 2012

Colorado Law Mandates “Cooling Off” Period in Divorce Cases


A lawmaker in Colorado has proposed a bill that would require parents to sit through extensive educational instruction during a divorce.


Keywords: litigation, family law, Colorado, divorce


—David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

January 10, 2012

Hawaii, Delaware Recognize Same-Sex Marriage


More and more states continue to recognize same-sex marriages, with Hawaii and Delaware joining the list this month.


Keywords: litigation, family law, same-sex marriage, Hawaii, Delaware


—David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

November 11, 2011

Senate Democrats Win Key Victory in DOMA Fight


The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10–8 along party lines in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. This POLITICO article provides information as to the arguments on both sides of the issue presented on Thursday, November 10, 2011.


Keywords: litigation, family law, DOMA, marriage, Senate, repeal


—Helen Casale Esq., Hangley, Aronchick, Segal, Pudlin & Schiller, Norristown, Pennsylvania


 

September 20, 2011

Husband's Atheism Makes Marriage Contract Null and Void


Occasionally, the courts have to measure their own law to different cultures and religions that produce their own domestic contracts. This Law Times article looks at Ontario law and a Muslim marriage ceremony held in Germany.


Keywords: litigation, family law, marriage, contracts, Ontario


—Sara R. Cohen, Fertility Law Canada at Raviele Vaccaro LLP


 

September 20, 2011

New York Divorce Rate Up Since No-Fault Divorce Enacted


For those who questioned whether or not no-fault divorce would affect the number of couples deciding to terminate their marriage, a New York Divorce Report article has the answer.


Keywords: litigation, family law, New York, divorce rates, no-fault divorce


—David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

September 20, 2011

New Texas Alimony Laws Go into Effect This Month


Texas Divorce Attorney Patrick Wright explains changes in the Texas Spousal Maintenance Statute, otherwise know as the Alimony Statute, in this PR Web article.


Keywords: litigation, family law, Texas, alimony


—David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

July 25, 2011

Modern Parents Likely to Shun Divorce, Keep Family Strong


In this economic and emotional climate, clients considering divorce are more often asking for alternatives to scorched-earth litigation for a variety of reasons, some of which you may not have even considered. Are you prepared to offer collaborative law or mediation as an alternative to the litigated divorce?


Keywords: litigation, family law, collaborative law, mediation


Charla Bizios Stevens Esq., McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton


 

July 25, 2011

Canada to End Collection of Divorce Statistics


Just a heads-up for our friends in Canada who like to keep track of divorce statistics: Due to budget costs, Canada will no longer be tracking information on divorce rates.


Keywords: litigation, family law, Canada, divorce rates


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

July 25, 2011

Obama Gives Support to Anti-DOMA Legislation


The Obama Administration is taking another step to finalize its separation from the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal recognition and benefits to same-sex married couples, announcing that it will back legislation to repeal the act.


Keywords: litigation, family law, Defense of Marriage Act


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

July 25, 2011

D.C. Court Finds in Favor of Divorce Lawyer


Divorce lawyer Rita Bank was cleared in a legal malpractice suit brought by former client Joseph Stiglitz.


Keywords: litigation, family law, malpractice


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

June 21, 2011

Japan’s Cabinet Moves to Join Child-Custody Pact


Due to pressure from foreign countries, Japan’s Cabinet approved a plan to join a global child-custody pact and to revise policies some say allow Japanese mothers to too easily take their children away from foreign fathers.


Keywords: litigation, family law, Japan, child-custody pact


— Sara Cohen, Esq., Raviele Vaccaro LLP


 

June 21, 2011

Study: Public Sees Custody Decisions As Biased


It is estimated that across a wide range of jurisdictions, mothers are more likely to receive primary custody. To test these estimates, Arizona State University recently conducted a study to see how the public would judge custody decisions and their perceptions of the legal system regarding custody.


Keywords: litigation, family law, child custody


— Sara Cohen, Esq., Raviele Vaccaro LLP


 

June 21, 2011

Fake Facebook Profile at Heart of Courtroom Divorce Drama


A woman created a fake profile on Facebook, posing as a 17-year-old girl, in an effort to collect damning evidence against her ex-husband. Based on the online conversations the ex-husband was taken into custody. But there is a twist. . .


Keywords: litigation, family law, Facebook, social media


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

June 21, 2011

Ways that Divorced Couples Can Get into Financial Trouble


Although some of the initial costs of separation are necessary, other, nonessential expenditures can lead to serious debt. Here are some stories you can relay to clients on common ways that divorced couples can get into big financial trouble after a split.


Keywords: litigation, family law, finances


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

June 21, 2011

Tennessee to Decide Key Alimony Case


This case is about whether a woman who is earning $72,000 a year should get $15,000 a year in alimony for the rest of her life or until she remarries. The Tennessee Supreme Court will soon decide, and this case is important because it could determine how money is awarded in divorce cases across the state.


Keywords: litigation, family law, alimony


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

May 9, 2011

Supreme Court Hears Case on Court-Appointed Lawyers


The New York Times is reporting that the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether or not poor people facing jail time for failing to pay child support are entitled to court-appointed lawyers.


Keywords: litigation, family law, child support


— Sara Cohen, Esq., Raviele Vaccaro LLP


 

May 9, 2011

Fraud Scam Targets Collaborative-Law Attorneys


Attention collaborative-law attorneys—this article warns about a collaborative agreement fraud scam targeting you.


Keywords: litigation, family law, collaborative law


— Sara Cohen, Esq., Raviele Vaccaro LLP


 

May 9, 2011

The Public Favors Equal Custody


A study conducted by Arizona State University shows that the public favors equal custody for children of divorce.


Keywords: litigation, family law, custody


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

May 9, 2011

Social Media Evidence Increasingly Appearing in Court


An article listed on digitallife.today.com discusses how more and more divorces include evidence from social media sites.


Keywords: litigation, family law, social media, evidence


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

May 9, 2011

Senator Suggests Ban on Heterosexual Divorce


A Senator suggests an amendment to ban same-sex marriage should also support a ban on divorce in heterosexual marriages.


Keywords: litigation, family law, same-sex marriage


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

March 18, 2011

Washington May Allow Surrogates to Be Paid for Services


Washington’s House has approved a bill that would allow surrogate mothers to be paid “reasonable compensation” plus medical, legal, and other costs associated with pregnancy.


Keywords: litigation, family law, surrogates


— Sara Cohen, Esq., Borden, Ladner, Gervais, LLP


 

March 18, 2011

University Holds Debate on Divorce


A university recently held a debate focusing on whether divorce should be discussed in terms of the common good or individual rights.


Keywords: litigation, family law, divorce


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

March 18, 2011

Article Looks at Facebook and Divorce


A recent article in the Wall Street Journal examines the often-reported claim that Facebook contributes to 1 in 5 divorces.


Keywords: litigation, family law, Facebook, divorce


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

March 18, 2011

Article Examines Divorcing Parents of Kids with Special Needs


A recent article looks at the growing number of divorcing parents of children with autism and other special needs.


Keywords: litigation, family law, special needs


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

March 18, 2011

South Dakota Rejects Bill to Encourage Joint Custody


The Senate in South Dakota has shot down a bill that would encourage divorced parents to share custody of their children by requiring judges to presume that both parents should get equal time with their children.


Keywords: litigation, family law, custody


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 16, 2011

Lawmakers Attempt to Intervene in Wyoming Same-Sex Divorce Case


Thirteen lawmakers represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based Christian civil rights group, are seeking permission to file a “friend of the court” brief with the Wyoming Supreme Court to get involved in a pending same-sex divorce case.


Keywords: litigation, family law, divorce, Wyoming, same-sex divorce


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 16, 2011

Montana Bill Makes Divorcing Couples with Kids Attend Counseling


Montana’s HB438 would require couples with children who are minors to undergo at least 10 hours of marriage counseling in the previous year before they could be granted a divorce.


Keywords: litigation, family law, divorce, Montana, children, marriage counseling


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 16, 2011

Survey Shows Rise in Couples Litigation


The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) has released a survey of divorce attorneys that shows 48 percent have seen a rise in litigation between couples over the past five years, with 39 percent of divorce attorneys surveyed reporting an increase in the number of cohabitation agreements that protect property and other assets for partners that aren’t married.


Keywords: litigation, family law, divorce, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, cohabitation agreement


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 16, 2011

Article Documents the Rising Divorce Rate Throughout U.S. History


Suite101.com, a website compiling “101” introductions to a variety of topics, now includes an article on the history of divorce in America. The article starts with the country’s early colonial days in 1639 and indicates that the divorce rate has steadily increased since then.


Keywords: litigation, family law, divorce


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

February 16, 2011

Article Highlights Divorce Research and Trends of 2010


An article from Breeden Law highlights a variety of divorce research and trends from the past year. Divorce Research and Trends of 2010 includes studies showing that the children of divorced parents are twice as likely to suffer a stroke, parents of autistic children may be more likely to divorce, divorced parents pay less for their children’s secondary education, and more.


Keywords: litigation, family law, divorce, xxx


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

January 13, 2011

Madoff Investor Simkin Wins on Appeal


The New York Court of Appeals Appellate Division has found that the ex-wife of Bernie Madoff investor Steven Simkin must share her divorce settlement with her ex-husband due to mutual mistake and unjust enrichment.


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

January 13, 2011

Texas Can’t Block Lesbian Divorce That’s Already Been Granted


The Texas attorney general can’t block a divorce granted to two women, Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly, who were legally married in Massachusetts in 2004, an appeals court has ruled. A judge in Austin, Texas, granted the divorce last February.


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

January 13, 2011

Ontario Superior Judge Belittles Couple in Divorce Court Verdict


Ontario Superior Judge Joseph Quinn ridiculed both husband and wife in a stinging 31-page divorce court verdict, displaying his personal distaste for the feuding parties. “The parties repeatedly have shown they are immune to reason. Consequently, in my decision, I have tried ridicule as a last resort,” he wrote.


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

January 13, 2011

New Mexico Attorney General Says Same-Sex Marriages Should Be Recognized


The New Mexico attorney general has issued an opinion stating that same-sex marriages from other states should be recognized in New Mexico, a stance that would allow couples that married in other states to be treated as married for all state-law purposes, including state tax benefits, public and private benefits, and public assistance programs.


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

January 13, 2011

China Plans Online Database of Marital Records to Curb Infidelity


In an effort to crack down on extramarital affairs, Shanghai and Beijing, China, are planning to construct an online database of marriage records that would allow spouses and others to check for cheaters.


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

December 13, 2010

Rule of Civil Procedure 26 Changing this Month


Several amendments affecting Rule of Civil Procedure 26, which governs communications between experts and attorneys, go into effect in December.


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

December 13, 2010

French President’s Sister In-Law Takes Divorce Case to New York


Charlotte Sarkozy, sister in-law of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, has asked a judge to throw out her French prenuptial agreement with husband Olivier Sarkozy. She’s arguing that New York law should apply to her divorce case because she and her husband both live in that state.


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

December 13, 2010

“Collaborative Divorce” Offers Alternative to Traditional Divorce


In a “collaborative divorce,” the parties obtain collaborative attorneys and sort the issues out through a series of four-way meetings in which information and positions are exchanged. When/if an agreement is reached, the paperwork for the divorce is drafted and the court process begins and ends the same day.


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

December 13, 2010

Huffington Post’s Divorce Section Takes Off


One week after the Huffington Post debuted a new Divorce section on Nov. 8, the section was ranked No. 8 in popularity out of 27 sections, with approximately 500,000 page views.


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

December 13, 2010

Quebecoise Billionaire Owes Alimony to Common-Law Wife


In Quebec, Canada, a billionaire was found to owe alimony to his common-law wife. The woman brought suit for over $50,000 per month support, plus child support and a multimillion-dollar lump-sum settlement.


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

December 13, 2010

Facebook Posts Show Trends in When Couples Split


A recent study of Facebook posts shows a variety of patterns in when couples break up.


— David L. Gresen, Klein Liebman & Gresen, LLC


 

October 7, 2010

New York Finally Approves No-Fault Divorce


At the end of the legislative session of 2010, New York became the last state in the union to adopt no-fault divorce. After a resounding defeat 20 years ago, when similar legislation was last introduced, proponents of the bill were pleased to have almost unanimous support this time around.


Prior to the passage of no-fault divorce, couples in New York were prohibited from dissolving marriages by joint or mutual consent. One party had to file on the basis of adultery, cruelty, imprisonment, or abandonment to get a divorce. This often led to collusion between the parties in order to create a scenario where the required allegations could be made. Parties even admitted to acts they did not commit in order to end a marriage.


Opponents of the bill, including the Roman Catholic Church, argued that the change would lead to a higher divorce rate in the state. Supporters argued that the change would save significant amounts of money, which might otherwise have been spent litigating fault issues. The legislation also provides relief to victims of domestic violence who can now unilaterally end a marriage, and it gives couples who would rather part ways amicably the opportunity to do so.


Charla Bizios Stevens, McClane, Graf, Raulerson, & Middleton, chair of the Family Law Litigation Committee

 


 

Ontario Courts Have Jurisdiction to Declare More Than Two People Parents


On January 2, 2007, the Court of Appeal for Ontario released the decision in A.A. v. B.B. and C.C., Docket C39998, confirming that Ontario courts have the jurisdiction to declare more than two people the parents of a child. In this case, a 5 year old child ("DD") had three parents: a biological mother ("BB") and father ("CC") and his biological mother's same-sex partner ("AA").


In 2003, AA applied to the Ontario court for a declaration of legal parentage, that is a declaration that she too was DD's mother. BB and AA did not apply for AA to adopt DD because CC would otherwise lose his status as a parent, something they had decided was not in the best interest of DD. Instead, BB and AA sought legal recognition that AA was the mother of DD, which would effectively provide AA with all of the rights and obligations of a custodial parent. Despite having recognized that AA had been a daily and consistent presence in DD's life, that she was fully committed to the parental role and that the two biological parents recognized her equal parental status with them, the judge declined jurisdiction stating that the legislation contemplated only one mother of a child. AA's application was dismissed.


The Court of Appeal for Ontario took a different view and relied up on the broad parens patriae jurisdiction of the court to address this situation. The court found that it was contrary to the best interests of DD that he be deprived of the legal recognition of the parentage of one of his mothers. The court found the legislation to be deficient and that the only way to fill this deficiency was through the exercise of the parens patriae jurisdiction. On that basis, the court issued a declaration that AA was the mother of DD.


A declaration of parentage has practical implications, such as determining lineage and kindred relationships, but is also a symbolic affirmation of the emotional bond between a child and their non-birth parent. As a result, this decision is a significant move towards recognizing and validating parent-child relationships for all families.


 

Wife's Claim for Counsel Fees Denied


In Patronelli v. Patronelli, 623 S.E.2d 322 (N.C. Ct. App. 2006), a wife's claim for counsel fees in alimony proceedings for which she received pro bono representation was denied.


 

Son's Claim for Derivative Citizenship Denied


In Bustamante-Barrera v. Gonzales, 447 F.3d 388 (5th Cir. 2006), the court found that the son, whose parents were granted joint legal custody when they divorced, did not carry his burden of proof regarding derivative citizenship and denied his petition for review of a Board of Immigration's removal order.


 

New Jersey's Same-Sex Couples Gain Equal Rights


In Lewis v. Harris, 908 A.2d 196 (N.J. 2006), the Supreme Court of New Jersey ordered the New Jersey legislature to either amend New Jersey's marriage statutes or enact a statutory structure affording committed same-sax couples the same rights as married couples.


 

Ban Against Homosexual Foster Parents Unconstitutional in Arkansas


In Dep't of Human Servs. v. Howard, No. 05-814, 2006 Ark. LEXIS 418 (Ark. June 29, 2006), the Supreme Court of Arkansas upheld a lower court decision that a Department of Human Services Regulation banning homosexual persons from being foster parents was unconstitutional—the ban violated separation of powers and the rights of equal protections and privacy, an intimate association guaranteed by the state and U.S. Constitutions.