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SEK Family Law Case Chart

Topic Case Name Fact Summary Rule of Law PG#


What’s a
Family?
Hewitt v. Hewitt Victoria Hewitt (P) sued Robert Hewitt (D) for one-half share of An unmarried cohabitant may 10
all of the couple's property acquired while unmarried and not recover an equal share of
cohabitating. the profits and properties
accumulated during the period
This case would come out differently today; Victoria would have of cohabitation.
gotten something.
Braschi v. Stahl Braschi sought to be declared a member of Blanchard's Unmarried cohabitants of the 13
Associates Family (they had lived together for 11 years in that apt) in order same sex may be found to be
Company to stay in the rent-controlled apartment the couple shared members of each other's
before Blanchard died. family. Court looks at the
policy reason behind the NY
Statute: protection of tenants
and availability of affordable
housing
City of Ladue v. A zoning ordinance enacted by the City of Ladue, Missouri (P), A municipality may limit
Horn limited households to individuals related by blood or marriage. households to individuals
related by blood or marriage;
ordinance would get rational
basis review
Borough of Vallorosi purchased a single-family home in the Municipalities may adopt 25
Glassboro v. Borough community for her brother to reside in with nine zoning regulations restricting
Vallorosi roommates while all attended the local state college. The certain residential zones to
Borough's zoning ordinance prohibited such living arrangements single housekeeping units, but
and the Borough sought an injunction to prevent that use and the definition of such a unit
occupancy. must remain flexible and
cannot impermissibly
Court said that if the point of the ordinance was to limit noise, distinguish between related
garbage, etc, then community could have enacted ordinances and unrelated persons.
for that exact purpose.
Marrying
Content of the Lutwak v. United Lutwak, Munio Knoll, and Treitler were tried for conspiracy to Aliens may not circumvent the 158
Agreement States defraud the United States by helping aliens enter the United immigration laws by fake
States by marrying honorably discharged veterans of World War marriages in which neither of
II and get circumvent immigration laws using the War Brides the parties ever intended to
Act. enter into the marital
relationship.
If no “good faith”, the legal validity of the marriage doesn’t
matter.
Capacity to Edmunds v. Edmunds brought suit to annul the marriage of his A marriage is valid if the party 165
Agree Edwards ward, Harold Edwards, and Inez Edwards for lack of mental has sufficient capacity to
capacity. Case doesn’t say what prompted the guardian to understand the nature of the
challenge the marriage. When ward was asked questions about contract and the obligations
his understanding of marriage, he responded with enough and responsibilities it creates.
competence to make it seem like he got the picture of what he
was doing.
Fraud and Wolfe v. Wolfe Wife knew her ex-husband wasn’t dead, but told her “future” A marriage contract can be 171
Duress hubby that former hubby croaked so that he would marry her voided only if the nature
(wouldn’t unless she was a widow as opposed to being a of the fraud itself affects the
divorcee due to his religious beliefs) essentials of the marriage.
-religious convictions are essentials of the marriage
Family
Economics
Murdoch v. Mrs. Murdoch (P) claimed a one-half interest in ranch property In order to assert a beneficial 40
Murdoch titled solely in Mr. Murdoch's (D) name. interest in marital property
that is titled solely in the other
Court says that she doesn’t have an interest in the property spouse, the proponent spouse
because she was simply doing what she had marital must demonstrate the
responsibility to do (working the land, buying furniture, etc.) existence of a common
intention to share the
beneficial interest in that
property.
Daily McGuire v. Wife brought suit against her husband for maintenance and In order for one spouse to 63
Management McGuire support while the couple were living together as husband and maintain an action against the
and Control of wife. Husband is pretty much loaded but he and his wife live in other for support and
Marital Wealth an old as hell house with no indoor plumbing, an old coal stove, maintenance, the parties must
a car without a working heater, etc. Hasn’t bought his wife a first be separated or living
new coat in 4 years, and other stuff like that. apart.
Sharp Furniture v. Karen Buckstaff purchased a sofa from Sharpe Furniture When an item or service 77
Buckstaff and failed to make payment thereon. Husband tried to get out of necessary for the
having to pay for it, but the court said that furniture was a maintenance of the
necessity, that he used it (had it in his house, etc), etc. This is a family is purchased, and no
case where the court is protecting the 3rd party. payment for that item has
been tendered, the
husband is held primarily
liable therefor and an action
for an implied contract may be
maintained.
Antenuptial
Contracts
Spousal Borelli v. Brusseau Mr. Borelli violated an agreement whereby he promised to Contracts granting a wife 98
Contracts during leave Mrs. Borelli certain property in exchange for her promise compensation in exchange for
Marriage to care for him, and not to admit him to a nursing home. Court providing care and support to
decided that she was just doing her wifely duties (court took the her husband lack
easy route in deciding this one) consideration and are void
as against public policy.
Pacelli v. Pacelli Husband (P) gave wife (D) $500,000 in full satisfaction of Mid-marriage agreements 107
his equitable distribution and alimony obligations in the event of resolving issues of equitable
divorce, and then brought this divorce proceeding. In the middle distribution and alimony in the
of the marriage husband presented wife with papers and event of a divorce are
basically said she signed them or they would get divorced. enforceable if fair and
Husband understated his net worth and K was made under equitable.
duress, therefore not fair and equitable.
Premarital Sanders v. Sanders Husband filed a petition for dissolution and requested that the A pre-nup requiring forfeiture 728
Agreements court invalidate a pre-nup that his wife had insisted that he sign. of joint property when a
This was the 3rd time these people were getting married. spouse files for divorce does
not violate public policy.
Simeone v. Wife requested alimony pendente lite, contrary Absent fraud, 732
Simeone to the prenuptial agreement she had signed on the eve of her misrepresentation, or duress,
wedding. Her lawyers allege duress, but she had months to spouses should be bound by
think about it, had a copy of the K, etc. Court says that state the terms of their prenuptial
isn’t going to intervene absent fraud, duress, etc. agreements.
Restrictions to
Marriage
Constitutional Zablocki v. Redhail Redhail was denied a marriage application because of Reasonable regulations that 176
Framework unpaid child support obligations and because his child was a do not significantly interfere
public charge. The purpose of the state law was to protect with the ability to enter into
children, and ensure they have support, but it didn’t really marriage may be imposed.
accomplish that. Instead it just made it more likely that poor This law was not reasonable;
men would have “illegitimate” children since they couldn’t get rational basis review.
married.
Monogamy Potter v. Murray Potter brought suit against Murray City for firing him State restrictions on polygamy 184
City as a police officer because he practiced polygamy. Court do not violate the
basically says tough shit. Police officers are supposed to uphold Constitution.
the law and Potter was violating it.
Relationship: State v. Sharon H Sharon H. and Dennis H., who are half-siblings, were charged Prohibitions on marriage 191
half-siblings with entering into a prohibited marriage. between blood relatives are to
marrying include persons related by the
half, as well as the whole,
blood.

Different Sexes Goodridge v. Dept. Seven same-sex couples (P) sought marriage licenses in The Massachusetts 195
of Public Health Massachusetts, but the Massachusetts Department of Public Constitution does not permit
Health (D) denied the licenses. The couples challenged the the state of Massachusetts to
constitutionality of the marriage licensing statute, which denied bar same-sex couples from
all same sex couples the right to civil marriage. civil marriage.
Age In re Barbara Haven (P) petitioned the orphans' court to allow for the A state may place age 215
Haven issuance of a marriage license to her at age fourteen. Court had restrictions on the right to
the power to grant it, but chose not to. marry.
Alternatives to
Formal
Marriage
Common Law In re Marriage of Sally contended that her intent to be married combined An intent to be married on the 233
Marriage Winegard with John's conduct created a presumption that a common law part of one party, combined
marriage existed and justified an order for temporary attorney with cohabitation and conduct
fees. Court decided that she was right. John had no problem by the other party manifesting
calling her his wife until he got caught cheating on her and an intent to be married, create
wanted an easy way out. She asked for temporary attorneys a presumption that a common
fees. law marriage exists,
thereby justifying an order for
temporary attorney fees.
Presumptions of Spearman v. When Edward Spearman (P) died leaving $10,000 in life (1) There is a presumption 241
Marriage and Spearman insurance payable to his "widow.” Unfortunately, two women that 2nd marriage is valid, but
Putative showed up, each of whom had married him during his lifetime. that may be rebutted by a
Spouses -Burden is initially on spouse #1 to show that there wasn’t a showing that there is no
divorce of her marriage (relationship hadn’t been ended). If record of the first marriage
spouse #1 succeeds, then the burden shifts to spouse#2 to offer having been ended in any of
proof that the first marriage didn’t succeed. the jurisdictions where the
parties to that marriage were
domiciled. (2) A putative
spouse is one who engaged
in a marriage ceremony or a
solemnization on the
reasonable good faith belief in
the validity of the marriage.
Judicially Marvin v. Marvin Wife sued hubby for breach of an oral agreement made while Express agreements between 249
Created they were unmarried and cohabitating. Basically they held unmarried cohabitants are
Solutions themselves out to be married, acted like it, and she was to do all enforceable, unless they rest
“wife” stuff and he was supposed to support her financially. on an unlawful meretricious
consideration.
In the Matter of the Mary Sopko's (P) live-in boyfriend died intestate and she An enforceable promise of 253
Estate of sought palimony support from his estate. The estate (D) claimed financial support may be oral,
Roccamonte that no valid contract for Sopko's (P) lifetime support existed or express or implied, made
that any contract fails for want of consideration. Court said that between married or unmarried
Roccamonte and Sopko had a marital-like relationship, brought persons, and may be
about after Sopko returned based on Roccamonte’s enforceable against the
representations. The promise to provide lifetime support was promisor's estate.
implied if not express and Roccamonte’s death did not
discharge his obligation to Sopko.
Connell v. Following a prolonged meretricious relationship, Connell A trial court may not distribute 260
Francisco (P) filed a lawsuit seeking a just and equitable distribution of the property acquired by each
property acquired during the relationship. Court decided that party prior to the relationship
property that would be considered community property had they at the termination of a
been married was ok for distribution purposes. meretricious relationship.
Domestic
Violence
Crimes Between People v. Liberta When Hubby was indicted for first-degree rape The statutory marital 114
Spouses and sodomy of his wife, he claimed his acts were protected exemption for rape lacks a
under the marital exemption. (read between the lines: rational basis in violation of
ASSHOLE). the Equal Protection Clauses
of both the state and federal
constitutions.
Spousal Tort Burns v. Burns Wife filed a complaint that Hubby assaulted and battered her. The common law rule that a 137
Liability The trial court ruled that the complaint was barred by the spouse cannot bring an action
doctrine of inter-spousal immunity and Wife. against another spouse under
the doctrine of inters-pousal
immunity is no longer viable.
Hill v. Hill The court was asked to determine whether the interspousal The inter-spousal tort
tort immunity doctrine should be modified or abolished. immunity doctrine should not
be modified or abolished.
Dissolution of
Marriage
Fault Kucera v. Kucera The Kuceras married each other with the knowledge that Mrs. K Where spouses plead and 295
was pregnant with another man's child, and then had a second prove facts constituting
child together before Mrs. K for divorce and Mr. K grounds for divorce against
counterclaimed. The father of Mrs. K’s first kid had been calling each other, a divorce must be
and visited at least once. Mr. K didn’t like that. denied to both parties.
Simpson v. Mrs. S filed for divorce based on cruel and inhuman treatment A defendant in a divorce 297
Simpson after Mr. S threatened to kill her and her family. Husband action asserting insanity as a
claimed as a defense that he was schizophrenic. defense to cruelty must prove
that at the time of such
conduct, due to mental illness,
he lacked sufficient capacity
to appreciate the
wrongfulness of his conduct
or the volition to control his
acts.
No Fault Desrochers v. Mrs. D filed for divorce based on irreconcilable differences, but A divorce may be granted on 312
Desrochers Mr. D contested the divorce, wanting a reconciliation. the ground that the marriage
is irretrievably broken down
even when one party contests
the divorce.
Boddie v. Boddie (P) and other welfare recipients (P) challenged a Due process prohibits a state 316
Connecticut state law requiring the payment of filing and other related fees from denying access to its
as a denial of their right to due process in seeking a divorce. courts to individuals seeking a
A Connecticut statute required an average payment of $60 for divorce solely based on their
an individual seeking a divorce ($45 for filing, minimum of $15 inability to pay a filing fee,
for service of process). absent a satisfactory
prevailing justification.
Manion v. Manion Wife sought to have the court enter final judgment by default in In an action for divorce, a 319
her divorce proceedings due to Hubby’s failure to answer. motion to enter final judgment
by default may not be properly
initiated based solely on
affidavits.
Jurisdiction Sherrer v. Sherrer Wife, a resident of MA, filed for and obtained a divorce in FL Where a divorce is granted by 774
from Hubby, who appeared specially to contest FL's jurisdiction a competent court in a
and later claimed the divorce to be invalid. manner consistent with the
requirements of due
process and in which
defendant has participated,
the obligation of full
faith and credit requires that
such litigation end in the
courts of the state in which the
judgment was rendered.
Vanderbilt v. Hubby obtained a divorce decree in Nevada and A court cannot adjudicate a 779
Vanderbilt Wife later sued in New York for alimony. But Hubby claimed that personal claim or obligation
NY was compelled to grant full faith and credit to the NV decree, unless it has jurisdiction over
which had destroyed any duty of support to Wife. the person of the defendant.
Federal Ankenbrandt v. Wife filed a lawsuit in federal court for tort damages on behalf of There is a domestic relations 831
Court Richards her children against her former hubby who resided in a different exception to federal
state, but the court abstained, invoking the domestic relations jurisdiction however, it
exception to federal jurisdiction. encompasses only cases
involving the issuance of
a divorce, alimony, or child
custody.
Property
Division
“Equitable In the Matter of the Mrs. Pierson challenged the trial court's division of four parcels In effectuating an equitable 402
Distribution” Marriage of of real property in a divorce proceeding. division of the marital estate,
Pierson the court is not required to
divide the property equally.
Dividing Debts Geldmeier v. Mr. Geldmeier challenged the trial court's division of the Court doesn’t need to divide 425
Geldmeier marital property as being disproportionate, awarding him more property equally so long as it’s
debts than property. a just and equitable
distribution.
Spousal
Support
Turner v. Turner Mrs. Turner was awarded rehabilitative alimony to be A court order of rehabilitative 441
ceased after one year. They were married 22 years, her earning alimony, so that the
capacity was 1/3 of marital income. Court said this was nonworking spouse has to
equitable because husband had been injured and his earning develop the skills necessary
potential for the future was uncertain. to get a job after divorce is a
permissible means of granting
spousal support.
In re Marriage of Wife appealed from a circuit court order granting her A maintenance award must 443
Larocque rehabilitative spousal support, charging that it was insufficient in further the two legislative
amount and duration. Court said that forcing one spouse to goals of support for the
liquidate assets in order to survive, while granting the other full recipient spouse and
use of a salary and pension fund is not consistent with the assurance of a fair and
statutory mandate of fair and equitable distribution. equitable financial
arrangement between the
parties.
Pensions and Laing v. Laing Hubby challenged the trial court's valuation of his nonvested Pension rights of a spouse 463
Other pension and the award of an offsetting payment to Wife. are considered an asset of the
Employment- marital estate subject to
Related benefits division regardless of whether
they are vested or nonvested.
Prof. Practices May v. May Wife’s expert valued Hubby’s dental practice at nearly twice Enterprise goodwill is a 479
and other that of Hubby’s expert due to valuation of goodwill. divisible marital asset while
Closely-Held personal goodwill is not
Businesses divisible.
Degrees, Mahoney v. Wife argued that Hubby’s professional license, acquired during A professional degree earned 493
Licenses, Jobs, Mahoney marriage, was marital property subject to equitable distribution. during marriage is not
and Earning property requiring equitable
Capacity distribution at divorce.
O’Brien v. O’Brien Wife argued that Hubby’s professional license, acquired during All property acquired during 495
marriage, was marital property subject to equitable distribution. marriage, including a
In this case, wife had contributed to the acquisition of Hubby’s professional license, is marital
degree with $ so she was entitled to reimbursement alimony. property subject to equitable
distribution.
Modification
and
Termination
“Voluntary” Deegan v. Deegan Hubby claims that he has undergone changed circumstances A spouse may modify the 551
versus and should therefore be allowed to stop alimony payments to support agreement due to a
“Involuntary” Wife. Hubby retired at 62 (lil’ bit early buddy!) voluntarily. Court retirement only when the
Decreases in the suggested that he get a part-time job to fulfill his support advantage to the retiring
Payor’s Income obligation. spouse substantially
outweighs the disadvantage
to the payee spouse.
New Families Peterson v. Wife appealed from a judgment terminating her right to receive Remarriage establishes a 557
Peterson alimony after she remarried. She claims that her new hubby prima facie case requiring the
can’t support her. Court essentially says that it was her choice court to stop support
to marry him and her former hubby doesn’t have to keep her at payments unless the recipient
the status she was used to while marrying him anymore. can show extraordinary
circumstances that justify their
continuation.
In re Marriage of Hubby contended that he should not have to continue to A former spouse's unmarried 561
Dwyer pay maintenance to his former wife because she was cohabitation is not, in and of
cohabitating with another man. Wife and other man did not have itself, sufficient grounds for
joint accounts or anything; more like roommates. suspending, reducing, or
terminating maintenance.
New Families- Ainsworth v. Hubby remarried after being ordered to pay child support to his A trial court has the discretion 566
Child Support Ainsworth former wife. He then he claimed changed circumstances to find that the application
prevented him from paying the full amount of increased of financial support guidelines
child support due under state statutory guidelines. is inequitable because of new
support duties.
Jailing Moss v. Superior Hubby was in arrears of several thousand dollars of child (1) Criminal and contempt 582
“Deadbeat” Court support payments. In appealing his convictions for contempt, he sanctions are appropriate
Parents argued that his ex-wife did not sufficiently prove that he had the when an able parent willfully
ability to pay and his convictions were reversed. The state (P) refuses to pay or accept
argues that this court should determine if the evidence was employment to be able to
sufficient. pay court-ordered support. (2)
Inability to pay is an
affirmative defense to be
proved by a preponderance of
the evidence.
Bankruptcy
In re Huckfeldt After being ordered to pay certain debts accumulated during The filing of a Chapter 7 612
his marriage to Wife, Hubby filed for bankruptcy protection and petition to frustrate a divorce
took a low-paying job. decree, and the manipulation
of earnings to effect this goal,
Court says you can’t file for bankruptcy to get out of your justify dismissal of a
obligations. bankruptcy petition for cause.
Sylvester v. The bankruptcy court refused to discharge payments (alimony, Obligations in the nature of 616
Sylvester maintenance, support) by Hubby to ex-Wife. alimony, maintenance, or
support are nondischargeable
under the Bankruptcy Code
regardless of a former
spouse's present need for
support.
Parenthood
Constitutional Troxel v. Granville Grandparents petitioned for the right to visit their grandchildren A parent has a fundamental 841
Rights of over the protest of the children's mother. The court is upholding right in the care, custody and
Parents the primacy of the parent’s interest in their children. There is a control of his or her child.
presumption that parent’s act in the best interests of their
children.
Unmarried Matter of L. Dad challenged a child support award when the Constitutional entitlement to 869
Fathers: Child Pamela P. v. Frank child's birth resulted because of the mother's avoid procreation does
Support, S. misrepresentations about birth control (i.e. that she was on it). not encompass a right to
Inheritance, Court basically says “tough shit, your choice was when you avoid a child support
Public Benefits decided to have sex.” The point of child support is meeting the obligation.
needs of the child.
Unmarried Lehr v. Robertson Dad contended that a New York statute, which allowed his Due process does not require 878
Fathers: biological child to be adopted without his receiving notice, was that notice be given in all
Custodial Rights unconstitutional. The biological connection affords the father the cases to a biological father
opportunity to have a relationship with the child. Absent regarding the pending
relationship, and no registry then no rights. adoption of his child.
Adoption of An unwed father (mother was 15 when she got pregnant) An unwed father has no 888
Michael H. planned to give his child up for adoption but later sued for federal constitutional right to
custody after the baby's birth. Court held that Mark was not the withhold consent to an at-
presumed father (didn’t hold the kid out as his, didn’t take the birth, 3p adoption unless he
kid into his home) and therefore it is in the best interests of the demonstrates a full
child that the adoption goes through. commitment to his parental
responsibilities shortly
after learning of the
pregnancy.
Establishing Plemel v. Walter Plemel argued that Walter is the father of her child, which he Paternity tests are admissible 900
Paternity denied. as evidence so long as the
expert explains that the index
is not the probability that the
defendant is the father, but
measures only the chance
that the defendant is the
father compared to the
chance that a randomly
selected man is the
father, and that the expert
should never be allowed to
present a single figure as the
probability of paternity.
Parenthood/Marr Michael H. v. Natural father Michael H. sought to have legal visitation rights A putative father does not 852
iage Gerald D. with daughter who had been born into a marriage between have a liberty interest
Mother and Gerald D. Complicated because Mom was kind of a protected by the Due Process
Ho. Child born into a marriage presumed to be a child of the Clause 14th Amendment in
marriage. maintaining a relationship with
his child born into an existing
marriage.
Child Custody
“Best Interests Painter v. Bannister Grandparents sought to retain custody of their grandson despite A child's best interests dictate 623
Standard” the request of his father that he be given custody. to whom custody should be
granted, even if inconsistent
This case would not come out the same way today. with the parental preference
presumption.
Primary Burchard v. Garay Mom appealed after Dad was awarded custody of son based on A court can’t base a custody 635
Caretaker Dad’s superior financial condition, the fact that he was decision based on the wealth
remarried, and his “willingness” to let Mom visit the child (history of one of the parties and the
of the couple did not support that). notion that a single parent is a
bad parent.
Joint Custody Taylor v. Taylor Mom appealed a custody award based upon a visitation The authority to grant joint 644
schedule. custody is an integral part of
the judicial power to
determine child custody.
Lombardo v. The parents of a gifted child petitioned the court to resolve a When parents, sharing joint 657
Lombardo dispute over whether that child should be placed in a talented custody, cannot agree on
and gifted program. important matters affecting the
welfare of their child, the court
must determine the issue in
the best interests of the child.
Sexual Activity Taylor v. Taylor Father sought to modify the custody arrangement of his Evidence-based factors of 661
two minor sons with Mother because Mother had a lesbian likelihood of harm rather than
friend living with her and the two boys. On appeal, Mother perceptions and appearances
argues that the court should not have considered future harm must govern decisions of
due to the appearance of impropriety when changing primary changing custody of
custody to Father. children.
Race Palmore v. Sidoti Mother appealed from a decision of the court of Can’t take custody away from 669
appeals affirming the award of custody to Father, her ex- a natural parent found to be
husband, on the basis that her marriage to a black man would an appropriate person to have
subject the child to the damaging impact of a racially mixed such custody just because of
household. racial prejudices.
Religion Shelley v. Father was an adulterer and avowed atheist who wanted The court should not grant 673
Westbrook custody of his two minor children after their mother died. custody of children to a father
who practices and espouses
an immoral lifestyle.
In re Marriage of Father was granted custody of four of the Hadeens' Religious acts may constitute 673
Hadeen five minor children due, in part, to the trial court's consideration a determinative factor in a
of the effect of Mother’s religious practices on the children's best custody award if there is a
interests. reasonable and substantial
likelihood of
immediate or future
impairment to the mental
health or physical safety of
a child.
Spouse Abuse Opinion of the Because the purpose of Senate 2021 is to prevent children from Parents’ interests in their 681
Justices to the witnessing or experiencing domestic violence, a standard of relationships with their
Senate proof greater than a preponderance of the evidence would children are not absolute,
prevent many victims of abuse from proving the existence of because “the overriding
domestic violence at custody proceedings, and a greater principle in determining the
number of children would end up in the custody of a perpetrator rights of a parent to custody
of domestic violence The “preponderance of the evidence” must be the best interests of
standard satisfies the requirements of due process under the the child.”
State and Federal Constitutions.
Unfriendly Co- Renaud v. Renaud Father appeals award of sole physical custody of the minor son It is not an abuse of discretion 687
Parenting to Mother, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in to award primary physical
ignoring Mother's attempts to alienate the son from Father custody to a parent found to
(mother alleged abuse, but also repeatedly sought expert make repeated groundless
opinions on it, brought the kid to doctors, etc; seemed like she accusations of abuse when
was just an overly paranoid parent). the primary purpose of the
accusations was not
alienation of affection and the
child may recover a healthy
relationship with the falsely
accused parent.
Initial In re McCoy Mother and the two minor children moved from Qatar to A state may exercise 803
Jurisdiction Arkansas, where mother filed for divorce. Father argued that jurisdiction over child custody
Texas was the appropriate forum for the child custody orders only under its version
order and Mother’s motion to dismiss was denied. Question is of the Uniform Child Custody
one of controlling jurisdiction. and Jurisdiction and
Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).
Interstate In re Forlenza Father’s petition for writ of mandamus was granted on the basis A trial court maintains 810
Enforcement that Texas did not have exclusive jurisdiction. Mother appealed exclusive, continuing
and Modification on the ground that the Texas trial court retained jurisdiction under the UCCJEA
Jurisdiction exclusive, continuing jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. if the children have a
significant connection to the
state.
Visitation
Visitation and Morgan v. Foretich Mother refused to comply with court ordered visitation, alleging Trial court decisions as to 695
Enforcement that Father had sexually abused their daughter. Trial court visitation rights are only
wouldn’t take away custody from Father, so Mother hid the kid reversible for clear abuse of
in Australia with maternal grandparents and Mother went to jail discretion.
for two years.
Burgess v. Burgess Father tried to get physical custody of the children In an initial judicial custody 701
after mother announced her intention to relocate (she got a job determination based on the
offer in a different city). "best interest" of minor
children, a parent seeking to
relocate does not bear the
burden of showing that the
move is necessary as a
condition of custody.
Bersani v. Bersani When Mother’s attorney was asked to reveal the whereabouts The attorney-client privilege 711
of Mother and her children, the attorney refused to reveal the does not apply to information
information. imparted to an attorney by a
client in the course of
perpetrating a fraud
on the court.
Modification of State ex. rel. Father gained legal custody over the parties' daughter When determining custody in 715
Custody and Johnson v. Bail after mother interfered with his visitation rights by relocating a modification proceeding
Visitation Orders without telling father of their whereabouts. Dad was basically a after finding a change in
stranger to the child. Here both the trial court and court of circumstances, the court may
appeals found a change in circumstances and that it was in the consider a parent's illegal
child's best interests to award custody to the mother, despite her conduct only if that conduct is
illegal conduct. causing, or may cause,
emotional or physical damage
to the child.
Child Support
Applying Child Peterson v. Ex-Wife moved to increase the amount of child support ex- The statutory definition of a 519
Support Peterson hubby was required to pay. The motion was granted, person's monthly gross
Formulas but Ex-wife appealed on the grounds that the court neglected to income for child support
consider certain items of the ex-hubby’s gross income when purposes includes only those
applying the child support guidelines. sums actually received by
that person.
Colonna v. Colonna Father has custody 73 percent of the time while Mother has A parent with primary custody 528
custody 27 percent of the time, and Father sought a reduction in may be ordered to pay child
child support paid to Mother. Mother claimed on appeal that support to a parent with partial
differences in income and support guidelines contravene the custody and the trial court
modification. should consider whether
deviation from child support
guidelines is appropriate
when parental income differs
significantly.
Support for Childers v. Childers Father appealed the portion of the divorce decree requiring Parents owe MINOR 534
Older Children payment of higher education fees and support of his adult sons dependent children a duty to
until they were no longer dependent. pay the child's reasonable and
necessary support.
New Families: Ainsworth v. Father remarried after being ordered to pay child support to A trial court has the discretion 566
Child Support Ainsworth Mother/ex and then he claimed changed circumstances to find that the application
prevented him from paying the full amount of increased of financial support guidelines
child support due under state statutory guidelines. Except in is inequitable because of new
extraordinary circumstances, no obligation to support step-kid. support duties.
Lawyering and
ADR
Creating the Klemm v. Klemm Attorney was going to represent both parties in their divorce. If no present, actual, existing 345
attorney-client When the court ruled that there was a conflict of interest conflict between the
relationship which precluded the same attorney from representing both parties, the same attorney
parties in a marital dissolution proceeding, both parties provided may represent both with full
the court with written consent to joint representation. disclosure to, and informed
consent of both clients.
Arbitration Flaherty v. Flaherty An arbitration provision in a separation agreement Marital separation 376
that had been incorporated into the divorce decree was agreements are enforceable
challenged on public policy grounds. insofar as they are just and
equitable, and an arbitration
provision contained therein
will be an enforced agreement
unless it violates public policy.
Post-nuptial
Agreements
Post Decree Hresko v. Hresko Contending that Wife had concealed assets during A misrepresentation of assets 758
Attacks on separation and property settlement negotiations, Hubby filed a that leads to a voluntary
Agreements and motion to set aside the divorce judgment. separation and property
Decrees Based agreement amounts to
on Them Court said that the “fraud” didn’t prevent him from going to court intrinsic fraud and does not
to get divorced. People don’t tell each other everything. provide grounds to set aside a
divorce decree.
Modification of In re Estate of Wife and Husband were divorced and had a property settlement Alimony payments are 762
Agreements Hereford agreement providing that Husband would pay Wife alimony presumed to be continued
during her life, but did not specifically provide for the absence language to the
continuance of alimony payments beyond his death. contrary.

Adoption
Terminating the In re Petition of Father challenged the adoption of his child after the A parent's change of heart or 947
First Parent- S.O. child's mother and stepfather refused to permit him visitation, as subsequent regret about
Child previously agreed. consenting to the adoption of
relationship his child is not, by itself, a
sufficient reason for setting
aside an adoption.
Child Placement, Mississippi Band of The Choctaw Tribe moved to vacate an adoption decree on twin Under the Indian Child 962
Race, and Choctaw Indians v. Indian babies on the grounds that exclusive jurisdiction over the Welfare Act, tribal courts have
Religion Holyfield adoption of Indian children was vested in the tribal court. Mother exclusive jurisdiction over
had the kids 200 miles off reservation, but she was still proceedings concerning
domiciled there. Kids’ domicile is that of their parents for these Indian children who reside or
purposes. are domiciled on reservations.
Second-Parent Sharon S. v. The biological mother sought to prevent her lesbian partner, Second-parent adoptions are 927
Adoption Superior Court from finalizing the second-parent adoption of one of her boys, legislatively authorized and
arguing that an independent adoption terminates her biological constitutional even where a
parental rights without her consent. The K said that it didn’t birth parent does not agree to
terminate her parental rights. terminate parental rights.

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