"There shall be a presumption, rebuttable by a preponderance of evidence, that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child. If a deviation from equal parenting time is warranted, the court shall construct a parenting time schedule which maximizes the time each parent or de facto custodian has with the child and is consistent with ensuring the child's welfare." ...
"When determining or modifying a custody order pursuant to Section 1, 2, or 4 of this Act, the court shall consider the safety and well-being of the parties and of the children. If domestic violence and abuse as defined in KRS 403.720 is alleged, and the court finds that it has been committed by one (1) of the parties against another party or a child of the parties within three (3) years immediately preceding the custody hearing in question, the court shall not presume that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child."
2018 Va. family law legislation: Alimony, court reporter reform, abuse prevention, child support, inheritance, violence, legalized adultery?
UPDATED APRIL 10, 2018
MODIFICATION BY THE GOVERNOR
- HB 1351 Joint legal or physical child custody; custody and visitation decisions, communication to parties. Governor added: In any case or proceeding involving the custody or visitation of a child, to enable the child to apply for a state or federal benefit and upon the request of any party, the court shall make any finding of fact required by state or federal law in order for the child to receive such benefit. The existing language, which the Governor did not change, is: "The court shall consider and may award joint legal, joint physical, or sole custody, and there shall be no presumption in favor of any form of custody." The bill's original text, completely replaced as it went through both houses, was, "The consideration of "joint physical custody" means the court shall consider custody and visitation arrangements that are reasonably constructed to maximize a child's time with each parent to the greatest extent possible in the child's best interests." At least the statute still says, "The court shall assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents, when appropriate, and encourage parents to share in the responsibilities of rearing their children."
ENACTED, SIGNED BY GOVERNOR
- HB 613 Child and spousal support; access to case files.
- SB 101 Erin's Law, having schools educate children to recognize, resist and report molestation
- SB 78 Trust decanting; authorized fiduciary must be disinterested, may be appointed by court, majority of trustees may act
- HB 743 Judges; maximum number in each judicial district and circuit
- HJ 132 Judges; election in circuit court, general district court, etc. [Governor has no role in this]
- HB 754 Elective share claim; calculation of the augmented estate, role of "separate property"
- HB 1142 Qualification of fiduciary without security; asset or amount with no monetary value, tightens bonding requirement that previously allowed $25,000 minimum. [Senate passed, but with amendments -- went into Conference Committee, both houses approved Conference Committee revision]
- SB 540 Spousal support; modification when person reaches retirement age.
- HB 262 Protective orders; cases of family abuse, cellular telephone numbers or other electronic device.
- HB 746 Wills and revocable trusts; eliminating certain inconsistencies so that living trusts, like wills, can be reformed by a court to achieve their intended goals in changed circumstances.
- HB 1360 Child support; guidelines for determination of obligation, child support orders.
- HB 1361 Child support; calculation of obligation, multiple custody arrangements.
- SB 545 Court reporters; prohibited actions, civil penalties: Regulates court reporters' dealings with lawyers and litigants [CONFERENCE COMMITTEE resolved differences between versions, both houses approved conference committee substitute]
- SB 614 Spousal support; modification. -- Makes it easier to change alimony. Any new agreements setting a nonmodifiable alimony amount must say, "The amount or duration of spousal support contained in this [AGREEMENT] is not modifiable except as specifically set forth in this [AGREEMENT]."
- SB 615 Spousal support payments; employer withholding allowed.
- SB 426 Victims of domestic violence; list of local resources. [House committee approved with an amendment removing lines 578, 579, and 580; Senate approved House amendment]
KILLED (incl. passed by, stricken, tabled, continued to next year ...)
- HB 599 Child support; nonpayment, amount of arrearage paid, suspension of driver's license.
- HB 1223 Erin's Law, having schools educate children to recognize, resist and report molestation
- HB 661 Assault and battery against a family or household member; enhanced, penalty. [Passed house, passed senate with substitute, each house insisted on its own version, time ran out for Conference Committee]
- HB 411 Assisted conception; gender-neutral as to same-sex.
- HB 998 Parental or legal custodial powers, temporary delegation of; child-placing agency. [Passed House, continued to 2019 in Senate committee]
- HB 807 Custody and visitation agreements; best interests of the child, violent abuse of other family members
- HB 412 Marriage-related criminal laws; gender-neutral terms, adultery repeal, penalty.
- HB 413 Adoption; gender-neutral as to same-sex.
- HB 414 Same-sex marriage; marriage laws, gender-neutral terms.
- HB 478 Domestic violence-related misdemeanors; enhanced, penalty.
- HB 1237 Assault and battery against a family or household member; first offense, enhanced penalty.
- HB 149 Child support order payee; change in physical custody of child, orders involving DSS.
- HB 1331 Child support; review of guidelines federal compliance.
- SB 64 Custody and visitation decisions; communication to parties required in writing.
- SB 70 Custody and visitation; rights of parents with a disability.
- SB 178 Parental or legal custodial powers, temporary delegation of; child-placing agency.
- SB 596 Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course.
- SB 603 Same-sex marriage; gender-neutral terms.
- SB 612 Assisted conception; parentage presumption.
- SB 727 FOIA; exemptions for courts of record, courts not of records and Office of the Executive Secretary
- SB 938 Child support; withholding of income, contracts with an independent contractor.
- HB 216 Guardians, licensed physician, etc.; annual reports to include medical examination.
- HB 383 Missing-heir search firms; void contracts.
- HB 406 Guardianship; protects communication between incapacitated persons & others, notification of relatives.
- HB 406 Guardianship; communication between incapacitated persons & others, notification of relatives.
- HB 1403 Electronic wills; requirements.
- HB 1565 Presumption of death; missing person reports.
Compiled by John Crouch, updated by John Crouch and Sarah Araman
(And husband-beater.) I'm a divorce lawyer, so I should know. Masked Berkeley rioter Neil Lawrence makes the all-too-familiar argument that violence is OK when people don't shut up and obey even after you ask nicely:
"But when you consider everything that activists already tried — when mass call-ins, faculty and student objections, letter-writing campaigns, numerous op-eds (including mine), union grievances and peaceful demonstrations don’t work, when the nonviolent tactics have been exhausted — what is left? Of all the objections and cancellation requests presented to the administration, local government and local police, the only one that was listened to was the sound of shattering glass."
Carl Forsling repeats several often-heard, and quite true, observations about how the military is bad for marriage, plus some insights that are original but intuitively very convincing once he points them out. Which explain why it's also so hard on divorce.
"Divorce — it’s no stranger to those in the military. At the same time, the military is a very tradition-minded institution, so divorce is often treated like the family secret no one talks about. ... some commanders have very black and white attitudes in regards to marriage. ... surprisingly prevalent in an institution where divorce is commonplace. The military attracts strong personalities, and they tend to either be very religious with very traditional views of morality or very not."
Very true. I'm more familiar with the strong personalities who are very non-traditional about marriage -- well, they may be traditional and sentimental about it in some ways, but in ways that get them married five times and divorced four times, if they're lucky. And hopefully with a divorce between each marriage. Or divorced early and married never again. Sometimes getting taken advantage of royally, as they see it, in their first divorce, and then becoming determined that next time, and every next time, they will be the ones in the relationship with the power, the knowledge, the leverage and the manipulation. Whether that's in a divorce or in devoutly unwed cohabitation.
On the other hand, there are many who are honorable and generous to a fault. Or who want what's best for their kids even if it isn't best for themselves.
Many, whether honorable or manipulative, are gung-ho and unashamed of whatever course they're pursuing, in divorce, adultery or whatever. If they're war veterans, they usually have a sense of entitlement, understandably. The military rightly tells them that they and their jobs are important, and that the civilian world should accommodate them. They may see divorce and other family breakups as just part of the petty civilian-life BS that the military requires them to take care of, but that could never be compared in importance to their mission or their careers.
And yet again, there's another side of this: Timid careerists who are always looking over their shoulders. Junior officers who are expert at creating paper trails to shift blame and responsibility to others, and who think that will work for them in family court.
I've only recently begun to see the very religious and neo-traditional officers and servicemembers the author talks about, but I know they have been out there for quite a while now.
He has a refreshing point of view on a practice that is widespread, widely advised, encouraged by regulations, but which also can make civilian courts get really mad at spouses and treat them like stalkers who are trying to destroy the careers they have benefited from:
"On top of that, some hurt soon-to-be former spouses have in the past called up commanding officers and sergeants major, and in today’s “pro-family” military, those leaders usually picked up the phone to an earful of often highly exaggerated drama. Sometimes those senior leaders rightfully take it with a grain of salt. Other times, service members get chewed out or worse based on the spouse’s account of events that may or may not have happened as described. ... Many units now have “human factors” or “commander’s safety” councils, wherein members’ personal lives are aired out in the name of “safety.” Guess who gets talked about in those? In today’s environment, where the phrase “perception is reality” is too often said without irony, too many service members end up with their reputations tarred."
(That's not just "in the past", by the way.)
As for two well-known factors that weaken military families, he describes them freshly and eloquently:
"Service members often marry young. Part of that is the rapid maturation the military forces on people, part of it is undoubtedly bad decisions based on housing allowance rates, and part of it is ironically likely the military’s old-fashioned views on marriage. Whatever the reason, marrying young is not a good indicator of matrimonial success."
"Add in the deployments, long hours, etc., and things don’t bode well for military couples. There are some marriages that thrive despite the challenges — as those in the military are fond of saying, 'What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.' For others, though, what doesn’t kill them severely damages their relationships."
Another factor Forsling doesn't mention: The continuing reluctance to seek mental health treatment for reputation and career reasons. That has been a huge problem in many of my cases.
The military has made a big push to be more family friendly in recent years. ... As it tries to be better for traditional families, it needs to improve the culture for non-traditional ones, as well."
That's so true. Our society needs to understand that being pro-family means strengthening intact nuclear families, but also honoring all family bonds and strengthening what's left of "broken" families too.
Washington, DC and Fairfax, Virginia trial lawyer Trey Mayfield brought this New York Post item to my attention. There may be major facts missing from the article, but it makes it sound like Mr. Zipper filed for a restraining order because he couldn't quit making up with his ex-girlfriend and ending up sleeping with her. He did that as late as September, shortly before filing for the restraining order, and the only allegation that sounds anything like domestic violence is the lady's threat to burn his boat, back in July. On that occasion "she began throwing vases and ashtrays and all kinds of nice stuff in the pool" -- but not at him. (He was running away in his pajamas at the time, so he wasn't in the pool.)
But there are men -- and women -- every day who get hit with at least temporary restraining orders based on claims like these, which range from at best borderline to downright absurd.
The only truly actionable behavior (the threat to burn his boat, assumably but not expressly with him perhaps on board, although he wasn't on it at the time, because he was running out of the house in his pajamas) was long before the repeated makeup sex, and the filing. That kind of delay does, in my experience, discourage judges from being so alarmed by it that they will grant a permanent restraining order. But they still could and often do. After all, we hear very often, and quite legitimately, about women who are afraid to leave their abusers and only do so long after the actual, and very severe, violence has been temporarily replaced by threats which are bone-chilling even when unspoken.