Utah Court Finds Posthumous Marriage Valid

Thursday, 11 December 2014 § Leave a comment

A woman in Utah prevailed in her appeal seeking a judicial declaration of common law marriage after the death of her partner. A local court granted her petition, but was reversed on appeal by the man’s surviving cousins, based upon the woman’s failure to inform her late partner’s cousins of the declaration of marriage she sought. She then took her appeal of that decision to the Utah Supreme Court. The five judge panel unanimously backed her appeal and stated that the lower court erred in allowing the man’s cousins to intervene and set aside the declaration of marriage. The decision noted that since the woman was the executor of her late partner’s estate, there was no onus on her to inform anyone that she was seeking a declaration of common law marriage.

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St. Louis City Judge Overturns Missouri’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

Thursday, 6 November 2014 § Leave a comment

St. Louis City Circuit Judge Rex Burlison has ruled that Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. In the ruling issued on November 5, 2014, Judge Burlison wrote that “Any same-sex couple that satisfies all of the requirements for marriage under Missouri law, other than being of different sexes, is legally entitled to a marriage license.” Attorney General, Chris Koster, may appeal the ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S. as October 2014

Tuesday, 7 October 2014 § Leave a comment

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals of multiple cases in which state appellate courts held that same-sex marriage bans were unconstitutional. This decision by the Supreme Court now makes it legal for same-sex marriages to proceed in those states (Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin).

Same-Sex marriage is now legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia. A complete list is available here. Presumably, this list will continue to expand in the months ahead.

Missouri Judge Rules Same-Sex Marriages Must be Honored in State

Saturday, 4 October 2014 § Leave a comment

Good news. . . but an unknown future path . . . for same-sex couples residing in Missouri after having legally wed in other states. Kansas City judge, J. Dale Youngs, is the first judge in Missouri to affirm same-sex marriage in the state. Judge Youngs found that a state ban on recognition of legal same-sex marriages violated the rights of gay couples to the same protections heterosexual couples have under the U.S. Constitution. We will see where the ruling goes on appeal.

Legal System Plays into Impulse to Hurt Back in Divorce

Sunday, 7 September 2014 § Leave a comment

Married parents cannot sue each other, and as long as disputes between married parents do not involve anything harmful to the welfare of their children, matters concerning the upbringing of those children are left to the mother and father. If those parents divorce, courts get involved in myriad parental decisions, including choice of schools, doctors, religions. Parenting decisions once nothing to blink an eye at during marriage, suddenly receive court scrutiny. Do courts get too involved in parenting? Many states have dropped the term “custody” altogether, and have chosen less adversarial terms, such as “cooperative parenting.” Parenting should still be left to the parents in most situations.

Social Security Benefits and Divorce

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 § Leave a comment

If your spouse was a higher wage-earner during your marriage, and you were married at least 10 years, you may be able to collect a higher Social Security benefit (up to 50% of your ex’s full benefit), if you meet certain requirements. Remarriage makes you ineligible for this benefit. If you are close to the ten-year marriage mark, and thinking about divorce, it is worth considering the potential benefits Social Security may offer.

Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses to Be Challenged

Sunday, 29 June 2014 § Leave a comment

On Wednesday, June 25, 2014, the St. Louis Recorder of Deeds office took the bold step of issuing marriage licenses to four same-sex couples. The weddings were then held in the private office of Mayor Francis Slay. In legal procedural terms, this move was a way for the City of St. Louis to challenge the constitutionality of Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage. Mayor Slay was prepared for the challenge, and notified the Missouri Attorney General of the marriage licenses, knowing that the AG would have no choice but to uphold Missouri’s Constitution and file a lawsuit against the City. The City will not issue any more same-sex marriage licenses, pending the outcome of the suit. And so the game begins!

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