Family Law Roundup – August 31, 2012

by Amy K. Butler on August 30, 2012

If you feel like you need counsel, but are having trouble figuring out how you can afford it, take heart!  Many state and local bar associations have lawyer referral services to attorneys who will provide low-cost consultations (see the Vermont Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service). Many law schools in the United States have clinics that provide assistance and sometimes representation to low-income clients. (Here’s an example of one in Nevada.)  Many communities also provide free and low-cost seminars to folks dealing with family law issues.  Here’s one out of Indiana.

Can your companion animals and livestock be protected under a domestic violence order?  This article examines the issues involved, and includes a link to a list of states with statutes extending domestic violence protection to companion animals.

The Chicago Tribune has an interesting look at digital assets.  I can see implications for this not only in estate planning, but in areas of pre-nuptial agreements, as well as family law matters.  It might not be a bad idea to take an hour or two and put together an inventory of your online accounts.

New Zealand takes the first step toward becoming the 12th country since 2001 to legalize gay marriage.

And – From Supreme Courts around the U.S., from

  • The Delaware Supreme Court, in Tourison v. Pepper, held that, when a fit parent files to rescind a guardianship Order, the burden is on the guardian to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the child will suffer physical or emotional harm if the guardianship is terminated.
  • The North Dakota Supreme Court overturned an emergency modification of custody, where, Father, knowing that Mother was represented by counsel, failed to notify the Court of such, and an ex parte motion for change of custody was granted without a hearing.  The North Dakota rules of Civil Procedure require a hearing in cases where the non-moving party is represented by counsel.
  • Also from North Dakota in the Matter of S.E., the Supreme Court reversed a dismissal of an adoption Petition where the Petitioners had mistakenly named the wrong agency as having custody of the child, when the proper agency had notice of the Petition.

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