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March 2011 Archives

Gov. Jan Brewer Signs Abortion Bill HB 2443

As of Tuesday, Arizonians can no longer get an abortion in the state if the abortion is based on the race or gender of the fetus. Reuters reports that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the controversial HB 2443 into law, pleasing many pro-life advocacy groups.

Under HB 2443, women will not be penalized for getting an abortion based on the race or gender of their fetus, but instead the physician performing the abortion will face the consequences. As we reported in the Phoenix Criminal Law News blog, the law states that a medical professional who performs this type of abortion can be charged with a class 3 felony. Medical professionals who do not report known violations of the offense would also be subjected to civil fine of up to $10,000.

Lindsay Lohan Ditching Her Last Name?

Lindsay Lohan wants to drop her surname and be known as just "Lindsay" for right now. Meanwhile, family members Dina Lohan and Ali Lohan are planning on changing their last names as well to Dina's maiden name of Sullivan.

Why the sudden change? The Los Angeles Times reports that the Lohan ladies want nothing to do with father Michael Lohan anymore and claim that he has been an embarrassment to the family. Most recently, Michael Lohan was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence for allegedly pushing and shoving another woman.

Cheryl Maher: Criminal Charges for Breaking Child Custody Agreement

Cheryl Maher traveled from the state of Arizona to have a scheduled visit with her three children, who reside in New Hampshire, earlier this month. The time with the kids obviously did not end as planned, because the mother is now facing three counts of interfering with child custody for not properly following the terms of her child custody agreement.

WMUR News reports that the three children, a 10-year-old boy and a set of 15-year-old twin girls, were found safe in Salem, NH by authorities after the father of the children called police when they were not returned to him on time. The children were allowed to see their mother for the weekend, but they were supposed to be returned to the father by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Collecting Social Security Benefits After a Divorce

If you're 62 years of age or more and your marriage lasted at least 10 years, then congratulations, because you could be entitled to a portion of your ex-spouse's Social Security retirement benefit. reports that a divorcee can increase their Social Security benefit without reducing his her her ex-spouse's benefit.

In order to be eligible for an ex-spouse's Social Security benefits, the divorcee must not be re-married at the time of applying for the benefits. The ex-spouse must be at least 62 years of age in order to collect the Social Security money, but he or she does not have to be retired.

More Men Remarry After Divorce Than Women

The Huffington Post reports that 2007 U.S. Census statistics show that for those 25 and older, 52 percent of men and only 44 percent of women are likely to remarry after death or divorce. In fact, 2007 marked the year that for the first time more women were living without a husband than with one.

Perhaps women can be more independent than men. Nina Collins wrote in her blog that men can require a lot of care and could be in need of somebody to cook their food and do the laundry. Whereas, Collins writes, “Women don’t remarry as often because we’re not sure why we should, what’s in it for us?”

The Pet Custody War With a Divorce

Who gets custody of the family dog after a divorce? This is a question that pet owners and animal lovers often have on their mind when filing for the dissolution of marriage. According to an Arizona Republic article written in 2008, pets are for the most part treated as property in a divorce settlement.

Hence, a pet custody case is much different than a case involving child custody. For example, a judge will not usually determine what is in the dog's best interest when deciding on who gets to keep the pooch. This, however, doesn't mean that there are no bitter arguments in court on what should happen to the family pet.

A fling in Sin City could be costing one man a great deal of money. The Daily Mail reports that the ex-fiancé of Chicago resident Robert Leighton has filed a lawsuit against him, claiming that Leighton had sex with another woman at his Las Vegas bachelor party and that he called off their wedding just four weeks before they were set to walk down the aisle and live happily ever after.

This time, what happened in Vegas, didn’t stay there.

In this case, the suit alleges breach of the promise to marry and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiff, Lauren Serafin, now wants $62,814 from her ex-fiancé, which includes the money that was spent on her wedding dress, bridesmaid’s dresses, wedding invitations, a band reservation and non-refundable plane tickets to the planned honeymoon destination.

Modifying Alimony Payments in Maricopa County

Spousal maintenance payments, otherwise known as alimony, can be modified in court in a similar way to how child support payments are modified. The Maricopa County Superior Court Self-Service Center website provides instructions for how a person can petition to change a spousal maintenance order.

A petition to modify spousal maintenance in Maricopa County usually requires a filing fee and sometimes an appearance fee, so it's important to speak with an attorney before seeking alimony modification. A family law attorney can assess your case and determine if you have a strong case for a change in the amount of spousal support that you're paying or receiving.

Getting a Green Card in Arizona After Marriage to a U.S. Citizen

Some people say that marrying a U.S. citizen is the "fast track" to becoming a legal resident of this country. Yet an immigrant must usually prove that his or her marriage is legitimate before getting a green card for conditional residency or permanent residency.

FindLaw states that immigrants who apply for a green card based on their marriage to a resident of the United States will have to attend a marriage interview as part of their application. The interview is usually conducted within six months to a year from the time the green card application is filed. Preparation for this interview is important because the "wrong answers" can lead to the denial of green card application.

Yuma Used to Be Top Wedding Destination For Hollywood Couples

Many people may travel to the Grand Canyon state to get married and at one time the city of Yuma, Arizona, was a popular wedding destination for celebrities. The Yuma Sun recently dug up one of their newspaper articles from 1972, which revealed that Yuma used to be the marriage capital among Hollywood stars.

The first of the famous Hollywood couples to marry in Yuma was Loretta Young and Grant Withers, actors of the 1930s. The two were married by Justice of the Peace Earl A. Freeman, who later became known as the "The Marrying Judge" because of all the stars that he married who were in a hurry to be wed.

Adoption Laws: Senate Bill 1188 Moves Forward in Senate

A bill that would give preferential treatment to married couples when it comes to adoption is quickly moving through the state Legislature, as the bill was given preliminary approval in the Arizona Senate last week. According to The East Valley Tribune, the passage of Senate Bill 1188 would only let a single person adopt a child in Arizona if a married couple is not available for adoption.

Opponents of the bill say this measure could result in situations where the Department of Economic Security and adoption agencies are forced to reject the placement of a child with a single parent, even if it is a good placement and better option for the child.

Facebook Divorce: Site Listed as Reason For 20 Percent of Divorces

It may seem silly to end a marriage due to activity that a spouse engages in on or other social networking websites, but reports that a study conducted by The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that twenty percent of failed marriages are now in some way linked to Facebook.

Facebook-fueled divorces seem to be a growing trend across the United States. But what exactly is it about social networking websites that can lead to a divorce?

Arizona House Gives Preliminary Approval of HB 2384 and HB 2416

State lawmakers in the House of Representatives gave approval of two abortion bills earlier this week, which will put limits on the types of abortions that can be performed in the state, if passed into a law. Tucson Weekly reports that House Bill 2416 would require doctors in Arizona to perform an ultrasound at least one hour before an abortion and offer the woman an opportunity to listen to the heartbeat of the fetus. The bill would also outlaw doctors from administering an abortion by pill remotely.