by
Married same-sex couples conceived children through anonymous sperm donation. Their babies were born in Arkansas in 2015. Each couple completed paperwork listing both female spouses as parents. The Department of Health issued birth certificates bearing only the birth mother’s name, based on Ark. Code 20–18–401, which states “the mother is deemed to be the woman who gives birth to the child … if the mother was married at the time of either conception or birth … the name of [her] husband shall be entered on the certificate as the father of the child.” Another man may appear on the birth certificate if the “mother,” “husband,” and “putative father” all file affidavits vouching for the putative father’s paternity. The requirement that a married woman’s husband appear on her child’s birth certificate applies if the couple conceived by means of artificial insemination by an anonymous sperm donor. The couples challenged the law. The trial court held that the challenged sections were inconsistent with the 2015 Supreme Court holding, Obergefell v. Hodges, that the Constitution entitles same-sex couples to civil marriage “on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.” The Arkansas Supreme Court reversed. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed, finding the statute invalid because it denied married same-sex couples access to the “constellation of benefits” that Arkansas links to marriage. The law required the placement of the birth mother’s husband on the birth certificate even when the husband was “definitively not the biological father,” but did not impose the same requirement with respect to the birth mother’s wife. Same-sex parents lacked the same right as opposite-sex parents to be listed on a document used for important transactions like medical decisions or enrolling a child in school. View "Pavan v. Smith" on Justia Law

by
In a post-divorce contempt action, the Georgia Supreme Court granted Appellant’s application for discretionary appeal to review the trial court’s order finding Appellant in contempt of three separate provisions of the parties’ divorce decree. “To be sure, this Agreement could have been more clearly drafted [. . .] the complete text of the Agreement demonstrates that the parties intended for Husband to assume all tax liabilities of the businesses. We therefore conclude that the trial court’s construction of ‘corporate income tax liability’ constituted a reasonable clarification of that term rather than an improper modification of the Agreement.” The Court affirmed the trial court’s findings as to two of provisions and reverse as to the third. View "Sutherlin v. Sutherlin" on Justia Law

by
Wife Nicola Weaver appealed the trial court’s order granting a motion filed by husband David Weaver to modify his spousal maintenance obligation. Wife argues the trial court erred by: (1) reducing her spousal support to zero; (2) inaccurately calculating husband’s actual living expenses because the court declined to consider husband’s current wife’s financial support of husband; and (3) allowing a credit for overpayment of spousal maintenance against a child support arrearage. The Vermont Supreme Court agreed with wife that the trial court erred on these three points of law and therefore reversed and remanded. View "Weaver v. Weaver" on Justia Law

by
Pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 130.207, a Nevada child support order controlled over a Norway order. Mother and Father were granted a divorce from a Nevada court. Their children habitually resided in Norway. At issue in this case was a child support order entered in Norway. The district court concluded that the Nevada support order controlled because Norway lacked jurisdiction to modify the Nevada order. Father appealed this conclusion as well as other court rulings. The court of appeals concluded that Nevada’s child support order controlled over Norway’s order and that it lacked jurisdiction to consider Father’s challenges to certain contempt findings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Nevada child support order controlled; and (2) this court had jurisdiction over the challenges to contempt findings and sanctions in the order appealed from, but the court need not consider them because Appellant failed to assert cogent arguments or provide relevant authority in support of his claims. View "Vaile v. Porsboll" on Justia Law

by
The district court did not err in granting Robert Boynes paternity over a child adopted by Ken Nguyen under the equitable adoption doctrine. During their relationship, Rob and Ken decided to adopt a child. The parties ended their relationship mere months after they received the newborn child. Ken later formally adopted the child. Thereafter, Rob filed a petition for paternity and custody. The district court concluded that Rob was entitled to a presumption of paternity under Nev. Rev. Stat. 126.051(1)(d) and that Rob and Ken were to have joint legal and physical custody of the child. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in granting Rob paternity under the equitable adoption doctrine; (2) the district court’s order did not violate equal protection principals; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting Rob joint legal and physical custody. View "Nguyen v. Boynes" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court vacated the decree of the family court as it pertained to Mother. The decree found that Mother failed to provide Daughter with a minimum degree of care or guardianship, that Child was without proper parental care and supervision, that Mother inflicted or allowed to be inflicted upon Daughter physical injury, and that Mother created or allowed to be created a substantial risk of physical injury to Daughter. Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the evidence presented was insufficient to permit a reasonable inference to be drawn that Mother abused and negligent Child. View "In re Adrina T." on Justia Law

by
The mandatory termination language in Ark. Code Ann. 9-12-312(a)(2)(D) does not apply retroactively to automatically terminate alimony awards entered before the 2013 amendment. Pursuant to a 2011 divorce decree, the court awarded Debra Mason alimony. In 2014, Debra filed a motion to modify the alimony award. Charles Mason responded that, based on a 2013 amendment to Ark. Code Ann. 9-12-312(a)(2), his obligation to pay alimony terminated when Debra began living with her boyfriend. The circuit court concluded (1) Charles's obligation to pay alimony ceased as a matter of law because Debra and her boyfriend cohabited full-time, and (2) applying the statute to the divorce decree would not have a retroactive effect. The Supreme Court answered a question certified to it by the court of appeals and remanded the case to the court of appeals, holding that the statute does not automatically terminate alimony awards entered before August 6, 2013. View "Mason v. Mason" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgments of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to Lacie G. and Tyler S. pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a), (B)(2). Specifically, the court held (1) given the findings, which were supported by competent evidence in the record, the district court did not err in finding, by clear and convincing evidence, at least one ground of parental unfitness; and (2) the court did not err or abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the best interests of Tyler and Lacie. View "In re Lacie G." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgments of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her children, Mackenzie P. and Antonio P. pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1), (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii). Specifically, the court held (1) given the findings, were were supported by competent evidence in the record, the district court did not err in finding at least one ground of parental unfitness and in determining that termination of Mother’s parental rights with a permanency plan of adoption was in the children’s best interests; and (2) because the court acted at Mother’s request to prevent any prejudice by excluding the testimony of a guardian ad litem at the termination hearing. View "In re Mackenzie P." on Justia Law

by
At issue in this appeal were two judgments of the district court. The first judgment clarified that a divorce judgment required Appellant to pay $50,000 plus post-judgment interest to Appellee and ordered that a writ of execution should issue. The second judgment, issued after a writ of execution had issued, clarified an ambiguity in the first judgment and directing that a new writ should issue in the amount of $50,000 plus interest. The Supreme Court dismissed as untimely the appeal from the first judgment clarifying the divorce judgment and affirmed the second judgment clarifying the terms on which the writ of execution would issue, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in entering a judgment clarifying that a writ of execution should issue in the same amount as the clarifying judgment. View "Chamberlain v. Harriman" on Justia Law