December 2010 News: The Phoenix Family Law News Blog

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December 2010 Archives

Heterosexual Domestic Partners In Arizona To Lose Healthcare Benefits

On January 1, 2011, the Arizona Republic reports that the state will be cutting off healthcare benefits to 600 heterosexual domestic partners of state employees. The change in benefits is part of Governor Jan Brewer's budget cut plan.

The initial plan was supposed to cut off benefits for all domestic partners, including adult children and gay partners of state employees. Yet the new federal health-care law and court ruling have forced the state of Arizona to cover adult children and same-sex partners. This means that heterosexual domestic partners are currently the only people that are impacted by the budget cuts. Last week, however, the Arizona Republic reported that the state is appealing the court ruling and looking to deny benefits to about 408 same-sex domestic partners of state employees.

When Grandparents Raise Their Grandchildren

If a family court judge finds a person to be an unfit parent, the grandparents will sometimes step in and take on the role of a legal guardian by adopting their grandchild. The Arizona Republic reports that this type of situation most often occurs when a son or daughter has been or arrested or somehow is no longer part of a child's life.

The Child Crisis Center in Mesa reportedly works as an organization that helps grandparents raise their grandchildren through the Relatives as Parents/Kinship Program. The program presents information to grandparents about the legal options that they can pursue when it comes to taking care of children with unfit parents. The program served about 300 families this year and offered support groups for children and their grandparents dealing with such issues.

Bristol Palin Buys Home In Pinal County

The 20-year-old daughter of 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin might be moving just South of Phoenix, as paperwork shows that Bristol Palin purchased a home in the town of Maricopa for $172,000. ABC News reports that the celebrity mom on "Dancing With the Stars" bought the home, which has five bedrooms, two levels, a landscaped front and back yard, and access to a community pool.

A move to the Grand Canyon state would mean that Bristol Palin and her son Tripp Johnston might be in the Arizona family courts, as she and her baby's father have had many legal disputes over the past couple years. Following the birth of their son, the two teen parents each had their own family lawyers to negotiate issues of child support, visitation, and child custody.

Kendra Holliday Could Lose Child Custody For Kinky Lifestyle

Sex Blogger Kendra Holliday, who writes for the blog The Beautiful Kind, might lose custody of her 10-year-old child because of her sexuality and kinky lifestyle. The Riverfront Times described Kendra Holliday as a "sex-positive, polyamorous, bisexual kinkster" that came out of the closet and started using her real name on her sex blog last October.

The blogger's ex-husband has reportedly filed for full custody of their daughter in St. Louis County, Missouri, listing reasons that Kendra Holliday believes are based on her sexuality. The mother says that she already has family lawyers involved in her case so that she can hopefully keep at least shared custody of the child.

Rates of Infidelity Drop While Marriage Rates Decline

Studies show that marriage in the United States is becoming obsolete. Yet at the same time, University of Virginia Sociology Professor states that rates of divorce and infidelity are also declining.

The Examiner reports that in general there has been a shift in attitude toward marriage. What exactly has contributed to this shift in attitude? Some people say that the economy is playing a large role in marital relationships. For example, a person might have few opportunities to cheat on their spouse when working multiple jobs. The Examiner also states that it can be difficult to support a mistress and a wife during such tough economic times.

CPS Takes Custody Of Mekailah Nieto's Baby

A 19-year-old mother allegedly tried to escape from police officers by jumping out the window of her second story Tucson apartment earlier this week. The worst part of this story is that police say that the mother had her 14-month-old baby in her arms when she took the leap out the window.

KVOA News reported that Tucson police came to Mekailah Nieto's home to investigate a call that they received about narcotics in the home. Authorities took the child, who reportedly suffered from head injuries, to the hospital for observation after the incident. The baby is now in the custody of Child Protective Services.

The Financial Aspects Of Divorce

Going from a two-income household to a one-income household can be difficult, especially when you have a family. For this reason, many people fear divorce and believe that their family will suffer a financial burden with such a split.

EVLiving.com reports that there are several budget considerations that consumers should consider when facing divorce. Once all financial matters are considered, there should be no reason to fear the financial costs of splitting up. Mike Sullivan, director of education for the non-profit credit counseling agency Take Charge America, specifically identified seven financial matters that should be assessed when going through the dissolution of marriage process. These financial matters include:

Teen Pregnancy Rate Decreases In Yuma County

While some people argue that certain movies and reality television shows are encouraging teenagers to get pregnant and become teen moms, the Yuma County Sun reports that the U.S. Census data indicates teen pregnancy rates in Yuma County are lower this year than in previous years. The country reportedly now has a pregnancy rate of 63 per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 19.

Ninth Circuit Hears Oral Argument In Prop 8 Case

The decision to uphold Proposition 8, California's voter approved ban on gay marriage, is now in the hands of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Huffington Post reports that the Ninth Circuit heard the oral argument in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger on Monday.

In this case, judges could decide that it is unconstitutional for state voters to take away same-sex couples' rights to marry in a state where same-sex couples previously enjoyed the right to marry the person of their own choosing. It's also possible that the judges of the Ninth Circuit could go one step further and rule that the U.S. Constitution protects a fundamental right to marry the person of one's choice, which means that same-sex couples should have the right to marry in every state of the country.

Cartoon Pictures On Facebook Raise Awareness Of Child Abuse

Facebook users may have noticed their friends replacing their standard profile pictures with images of cartoon characters. What exactly has sparked this trend? PC Magazine states that changing the profile pic to a cartoon character over the past couple weeks was part of a cyber-campaign to "support anti-child violence" as a common cause over the Internet.

The campaign began with a Facebook group titled "Campaign to End Violence Against Children -- Childhood Cartoon Faces," but some people have criticized the group, saying that there's no evidence that anyone who was unaware of child abuse before the movement is now better informed about the problem after seeing their friends as cartoon pictures. A columnist at LiveScience.com reported that very few of the over 150,000 people who participated in the Facebook cartoon event donated any money to the cause.

Seven Parents Arrested In Navajo County For Unpaid Child Support

Five fathers and two mothers in Navajo County were arrested last week on outstanding warrants for failure to pay child support or failure to appear at their court hearings regarding child support. According to White Mountain Independent, the seven parents collectively owed more than $53,000 in unpaid child support.

The arrests of the parents in Holbrook, Winslow and Show Low were part of a county-wide roundup by the Navajo County Attorney's Child Support Division and the Navajo County Major Crimes Apprehension Team (MCAT). The deadbeat parents that were arrested each allegedly owed thousands of dollars to their children. Perhaps the arrests will send a message to people in Arizona about the importance of paying court-ordered child support.

When A Parent Violates A Visitation Agreement In AZ

Once visitation arrangements are established through a court order, the visitation agreement can be enforced by family courts in the state and penalties can be imposed. Arizona Revised Statute 25-414 defines the penalties for violating visitation or parenting time.

Courts will hold a hearing or conference with a judge to review noncompliance with a visitation or parenting time order if a petition if filed for the violation. If the court finds that a parent has refused without good cause to comply with the visitation or parenting time order, the court can do any of the following under the law.

Drafting A Cohabitation Agreement In Arizona

The number of couples that live together as unmarried partners has been on the rise for several decades, according to the Huffington Post. Yet even when there's no marriage contract in place, there could be certain legal obligations for unmarried partners. This is why it's important for unmarried partners that are living together to consider entering a cohabitation agreement. Such an agreement can state how property is to be divided in the event of a break-up and can define the rights and obligations that each party owes each other.