New Tax Law Eliminates Alimony Deduction

February 8, 2018


For divorcing couples, alimony was a deduction that the payor could deduct from his/her taxes.  However, with the new tax bill, starting in 2019, alimony will no longer be deductible.

The result of this change may make spouses reluctant to pay, and will hurt those spouses who depended on the income of the wage earning spouse. Another side effect will be timing – one side may want to rush the divorce before 2019 and the other side may want to delay.


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Sheltering our Kids?

January 21, 2018


Interesting articles in New York Times about sheltering our kids and avoiding conflict.



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New Surrogacy Law in DC

June 25, 2017


In April, a new law for surrogacy became law in the District of Columbia.

Prior to the passing of this new law, all parties to surrogacy agreements were subject to a fine up to $10,000 and a one year prison term. This ban had been in place for 25 years, and D.C. was the only jurisdiction making surrogacy a criminal offense.

Opponents of surrogacy argue that the practice is unnatural and exploits women.  Concerns in some western European countries have made compensation for surrogacy illegal. Supporters of surrogacy say that it represents a rare chance for to make families for some people.

The new D.C. law streamlines the process for would be parents, and allows them to be named on the birth certificate, so they can avoid filing for adoption after the birth. The law applies to any would-be parent, regardless of sexual orientation and biological relation.

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Florida Becomes First State to Issue Miscarriage Birth Certificates

June 12, 2017


From my guest blogger, Samuel Nicosia.


Partisan lines have been crossed as both Florida Republicans and Democrats support the Grieving Families Act (GFA). The GFA allows Florida to issue “certificates of nonviable birth” upon request by the parents for those women whose pregnancies end after nine weeks and before twenty weeks.

In Florida, pregnancies ending after twenty weeks are considered to be stillbirths, and are issued death certificates and a birth certificate upon request of the parents. Although numerous other states also issue death certificates in the instance of miscarriages, no state has anything equivalent to a birth certificate for these cases.

Both parties have widely supported the GFA, stating that it gives parents the opportunity to obtain a birth certificate in the wake of losing a child to a miscarriage. The only opposition comes from the National Organization for Women who believe the GFA is a tactic by those who oppose abortion to establish an earlier point at which the life of a child begins. However, both Republicans and Democrats have rejected this argument since the issuing of a “certificate of nonviable birth” is optional.

Do you believe the GFA helps families who lost their child due to a miscarriage? Will other states follow Florida’s lead in issuing “certificates of nonviable birth”?

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Kids Staying in House After Separation or Divorce

May 30, 2017


I have heard of a few people already doing this.  I thought it was an interesting idea – the kids stay in the home, while the parents move in/out based on the custody arrangement.

I wonder if more families will start looking into this option. Interesting article from the New York Times.


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Parental Burnout

May 17, 2017


An interesting article on CNN:



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Kentucky Judge Recuses Himself from Adoption Case

May 15, 2017


A judge in Kentucky has said he will recuse himself from adoption cases involving homosexual parties.  The judge stated that he will be doing so “as a matter of conscience” because he feels that under no circumstances would it serve the best interest of a child to be adopted by a same sex couple.

But does this violate ethics rules? Isn’t a judge sworn to uphold the laws of the land? If he cannot do so, how is he honoring his oath?  Interesting development in Kentucky – we will have to see how this plays out.

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Judge Orders Custody to Three Parents

March 25, 2017


An unconventional family had a child and then became involved in a custody battle in New York.   The parties involved are: (1) a married couple, man and wife, and (2) their neighbor, a female.  The three were reportedly involved in intimate relations and considered themselves a family.

The neighbor female gave birth to a boy, whose biological father was the neighbor.  The married couple eventually filed for divorce, after the two women moved in together.

The Judge in New York awarded shared custody to all three parents.  To read more of this interesting story, click here.

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Generous Family Law Leave in DC

November 30, 2016


I hope this passes and inspires other states.

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Parental Rights for Rapists?

May 12, 2016


Rape victims who have gotten pregnant have had the heart wrenching decision to decide whether to seek an abortion or to have the child.  If a rape victim decides to have the baby, in some states, she may have to fight with the rapist for custody.

Last year, President Obama signed into law the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act.  This law provides grants to states that allow women to petition for termination of parental rights based on clear and convincing evidence that the child was conceived through rape.

Many states have laws that restrict or completely terminate parental rights of rapists.  According to Virginia Code 63.2-1233(6), consent of the rapist is not required in an adoption case, where parental rights are terminated. However, if the mother wishes to keep the child, the rapist has options to seek other parental rights.

In the District of Columbia, there are no restrictions of the parental rights of rapists.  In Maryland, the state Senate just rejected a bill that would terminate the parental rights of rapists.  The resistance stems from the right to have and raise a family, grounded in the Due Process Clause.

So generally in this region, women who choose to give birth to a child conceived from rape will be tied to the rapist forever.  What should be the law?

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