Family Law Decisions: Decided
Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

Recently in Family Law Category

The California Supreme Court ruled that couples must be living apart before they can be considered legally separated.

Whether going through a divorce or choosing a legal separation instead of a divorce, the new definition can have a huge impact on each spouse's property and finances. The court attempted to simplify matters by creating a bright-line rule based on the establishment of individual residences as creating a legal separation.

The Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of a controversial abortion restriction after a lower court struck down the law.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that North Carolina's mandate that doctors take ultrasounds and describe the image to women prior to abortions was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court decided not to review that ruling, and did not comment on their decision.

Everybody in New Mexico must report suspected child abuse and neglect, the state's highest court has ruled.

In an opinion released Monday, New Mexico's Supreme Court clarified that the state's mandatory child-abuse reporting requirements applied to all residents of the state, not just to certain publicly employed professionals.

New Mexico already has a law requiring everybody to report child abuse. So why was this ruling necessary?

Birthing Moms Can Kick Dads Out of Delivery Room: N.J. Court

In the first ever ruling of its kind, a New Jersey judge ruled that a woman in labor has the right to ban an unwed father from the delivery room.

The case -- argued the day the mother went into labor (!) -- stemmed from an estranged couple who called off their wedding prior to the birth of their child. Steven Plotnick sued his ex-fiancée Rebecca DeLuccia for the right to know when she went into labor and for access to the baby upon its birth, The Star-Ledger reports.

Though the child has since been born (in case you're wondering: pops was present at the birth), Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed ruled in favor of the mother.

An Arkansas man can have his gay partner and son under the same roof after the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed a prior court order.

Little Rock's KTHV-TV reports that Arkansas' highest court reversed an earlier court decision barring John Moix from having his same-sex partner in the home when Moix's son had an overnight visit.

This case is a victory for many gay parents who have been barred by their ex-spouses from having their children and new partners in one place.

Girl in Foster Care Not 'Mature' Enough to Get Abortion: Court

The Nebraska Supreme Court rejected the abortion request of a 16-year-old girl in foster care, ruling the girl was not mature enough to make the decision herself.

The case highlights some of the major concerns surrounding Nebraska's abortion consent laws.

S.C. Court: Baby Veronica's Adoptive Parents Should Get Custody

South Carolina's Supreme Court has awarded custody of Baby Veronica to her adoptive parents, and not her biological Cherokee dad. The ruling brings to a close a protracted and highly emotional legal battle that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a 3-2 decision, the state court sent the case back to a family court with instructions to finalize Veronica's adoption by Matt and Melanie Capobianco, who live in Charleston.

The order comes on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision to reverse and remand the South Carolina Supreme Court's earlier ruling, which had granted custody to Veronica's Cherokee Indian birth father, Dusten Brown, based on the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, reports Reuters.

Supreme Court Sends Indian Adoption Case Back to S.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court has sent a contentious adoption case back to South Carolina's Supreme Court.

In a 5-4 ruling, justices reversed the South Carolina Supreme Court's decision in the case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. South Carolina's highest court had affirmed a lower court's ruling to award custody of the girl to her biological father, a Cherokee Indian who cited the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 in support of his custody claim.

But as Justice Samuel Alito explained, the Act does not apply in this case.

Army Dad Can Pursue Int'l Child Custody Case: Supreme Court

Being an army dad or mom can be challenging, but having to fight for custody when your child is outside the United States makes it even more complicated.

For U.S. Army Sgt. Jeffrey Chafin, however, the battle just got a little easier. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that he can seek custody of his 6-year-old daughter Eris, who lives in Scotland with her mother.

That may not sound like much of a victory, and it's true that the legal battle has only just begun. But for Chafin and other parents who have a child living outside U.S. shores, it's an important decision.

Arizona's Anti Planned Parenthood Funding Law Blocked by Fed. Judge

Arizona's attempt to cut off public funds to Planned Parenthood ended abruptly on Friday when a judge stopped a new law from being enforced.

The law would have blocked Medicaid funding for family planning and other general health services from going to organizations that also provide abortions. It was signed earlier this year but hasn't yet gone into effect.

Judge Neil Wake's ruling was a temporary injunction meaning he didn't decide whether the law was illegal or unconstitutional. Instead he ordered that the law cannot go into effect until that is determined.