Justia Family Law Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the juvenile court granting the State's complaint seeking to disestablish the paternity of Aaron S. to a child born during his marriage to the child's mother and to establish paternity in another man, holding that the State was not statutorily authorized to bring the action. After genetic testing showed that Ian K. was the child's biological father the State filed a complaint seeking to establish Ian's paternity. A trial was held, and at the conclusion of the evidence the State asked the court to disestablish Aaron, the husband of the child's mother, as the child's legal father and to establish Ian as the child's father so he could effectively relinquish his rights. The juvenile court entered an order which purported to disestablish Aaron as the child's biological father and to establish Ian's as the child's father. The Supreme Court vacated the order, holding that because the child was not born out of wedlock and was the legitimate child of Aaron, the State lacked statutory authority to bring this paternity action under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-1411. View "State ex rel. Miah S. v. Ian K." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the juvenile court terminating the parental rights of Samantha H. to her minor child, Noah C., holding that the juvenile court did not err when it denied Samantha's motion to continue the termination and when it found that termination was in the best interests of Noah. After a termination hearing, the district court entered a written order finding that sufficient evidence was presented to demonstrate clearly and convincingly that termination of parental rights was appropriate under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-292(7) and in the best interests of Noah. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Samantha's motion for a continuance; and (2) it was shown by clear and convincing evidence that termination of Samantha's parental rights would be in Noah's best interests. View "In re Interest of Noah C." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dissolving the marriage of Tammy Doerr and Brian Doerr, holding that the district court did not err in its division of the marital estate. On appeal, Brian challenged the district court's decision to award half of the proceeds from what he claimed was his separate property to Tammy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in awarding roughly half of the equity of the parties' home on Howard Street in Fremont to Tammy; (2) did not err in its division of the parties' bank accounts; (3) did not err by not equally dividing the marital debt comprising a credit card balance and a bill for preseparation renovations; and (4) did not err calculating the amount of the equalization payment. View "Doerr v. Doerr" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment entered in favor of Rand in an action brought by plaintiff, a former employee, alleging that Rand unlawfully fired her for taking leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The court affirmed and agreed with the district court that plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that Rand's justification for the termination was false and merely a pretext for retaliation. In this case, Rand presented a lawful explanation for firing plaintiff: performance problems. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding a former employee's testimony under Federal Rule of Evidence 403. View "Fry v. Rand Construction Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decree of the family court terminating Respondents' parental rights to their daughter, holding that the findings of the family court justice were based on clear and convincing evidence and were not clearly wrong, nor did the justice overlook or misconceive material evidence. The family court justice concluded that it was in the best interest of the child that the parental rights of Respondents be terminated based on the finding of unfitness. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the family court justice did not err in (1) admitting into evidence a medical report prepared by Dr. Adebimpe Adewusi, the child's treating physician; (2) finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that Respondents were unfit parents "by reason of conduct or conditions seriously detrimental to the child," in that they committed, or allowed to be committed, conduct toward the child "of a cruel and abusive nature"; and (3) finding that it was in the best interest of the child that Respondents' parental rights be terminated. View "In re Rylee A." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Relators compelling Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services (TCJFS) to produce copies of, or permit Relators to inspect, records pertaining to their childhood history with TCJFS, holding that TCJFS did not have a clear legal duty to allow Relators to inspect or copy the records they sought. Relators were sisters who spent portions of their childhoods in the Tuscarawas County foster care system. Relators believed that they experienced trauma while in foster care and that access to their TCJFS records would help them move forward with their lives. Relators commenced this mandamus action seeking to compel TCJFS to produce copies of, or permit Relators' access to, TCJFS records pertaining to them. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding (1) the TCJFS director's good-cause finding did not create a legal duty requiring TCJFS to give Relators full access to all TCJFS records pertaining to them; (2) Ohio.Adm.Code 5101:2-33-21(H) did not impose a duty on TCJFS to disseminate any records to Relators; and (3) Relators failed to submit sufficient evidence supporting that there was good cause to override Ohio Rev. Code 5153.17's confidentiality requirement. View "State ex rel. Martin v. Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court declaring section 11.800 of House Bill No. 2011 (HB2011) invalid, holding that there was a direct conflict between the language of Mo. Rev. Stat. 208.153.2 and 208.152.1(6), (12) requiring the MO HealthNet Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services to pay its authorized providers for covered physicians' services and family planning provided to Medicaid-eligible individuals and the language of section 11.800 prohibiting MO HealthNet from doing so. Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood (Planned Parenthood) was an authorized provider of physicians' services and family planning because it had an agreement with MO HealthNet to do so. MO HealthNet informed Planned Parenthood that it could not reimburse Planned Parenthood for those services during the fiscal year 2019 due to section 11.800, which stated that "No funds shall be expended to any abortion facility...." The circuit court concluded that section 11.800 of HB2011 violated Mo. Const. Art. III, 23 because it amended substantive law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 11.800 was invalid because article III, section 23 prohibits using an appropriation bill to amend a substantive statute; and (2) the circuit court properly severed that provision from the remainder of HB2011. View "Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region v. Department of Social Services, Division of Medical Services" on Justia Law

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This case involved three children and a district court's judgment finding the children were deprived and father's parental rights should be terminated. The children were taken into emergency custody in 2016. The mother had been incarcerated, and the father shortly thereafter, for violation of the terms of his probation. DHS determined the home was "inadequate, dangerous, and unfit," and that the children were neglected. Their condition evinced developmental delay, lack of medical care, lack of hygiene, and lack of food. The children were removed from their home. Their mother voluntarily terminated her parental rights. The petition to terminate father's parental rights was based in part on his previous conviction for two counts of first-degree rape dating back to 2005. Father also had a previous Alaska conviction for sexual assault. After a jury trial, the children were adjudicated deprived by the court and the jury's verdict found two reasons for terminating father's parental rights. Father appealed the judgment and the Oklahoma Supreme Court retained the appeal. After review, the Supreme Court held the evidence was sufficient for the adjudication of deprived status and termination of father's parental rights. Accordingly, the Court upheld the district court's judgment. View "In the Matter of L.M.A." on Justia Law

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Wife Carolyn Mullonkal and husband Sithaj Kodiyamplakkil were married for three years and five months. Husband appealed the judgment of dissolution and some post judgment orders, contending: (1) the community was entitled to reimbursement, under Family Code section 2641, for community funds spent repaying wife’s educational loans; (2) reimbursement was also required for community funds used to pay wife’s non-educational loans; (3) wife breached her fiduciary duty by transferring community property to family members; (4) the trial court abused its discretion in awarding only $10,000 of the over $108,000 in attorney’s fees he incurred; (5) the court also abused its discretion in denying a new trial; and (6) the trial court erred in finding a bank account of husband’s was community property. The Court of Appeal agreed with husband as to every contention except the fifth. Judgment was reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Marriage of Mullonkal & Kodiyamplakkil" on Justia Law

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Subdivision (j)(1) of Code of Civil Procedure section 527.6 provides that civil harassment restraining orders are subject to modification or termination on the motion of a party, but does not specify the grounds for modification. In the published portion of this opinion, the Court of Appeal addressed and resolved several legal questions involving section 527.6, subdivision (j)(1) that have not been explicitly decided in a published decision. First, the court held that the determination whether to modify or terminate a civil harassment restraining order is committed to "the discretion of the court;" second, the trial court's discretionary authority to modify or terminate a civil harassment restraining order includes, but is not limited to, the three grounds for modifying ordinary injunctions set forth in section 533; third, a trial court has the discretion to modify a restraining order when, after considering the relevant evidence presented, it determines there is no reasonable probability of future harassment; and fourth, the restrained party seeking modification on the ground that there is no longer a reasonable probability of a future harm has the burden of proving this ground by a preponderance of the evidence. In this case, the court reversed the trial court's order denying Grandfather's request to modify a civil harassment restraining order and directed the trial court to vacate the order. View "Yost v. Forestiere" on Justia Law