Family Law Blog

About 8% of UK Fathers Unsure of Their Child's Paternity

Thursday, March 27, 2014

According to the results of a new British study, as many as 8% of fathers in the United Kingdom are not sure of their child's paternity. Additionally, 3% percent of mothers also admit that they have entertained doubts about the paternity of their child.

The study was based on a sample of more than 5,200 British parents above the age of 18. The survey was conducted by the DNA testing company, and also found that younger fathers aged between 25 and 34 were much more likely to be unsure about their child's paternity. These fathers had a doubt likelihood that was approximately 50% higher than the average. Fathers above the age of 55 were least likely to be unsure about the child's paternity. These persons had a doubt rate of just about 5%.

Among mothers, females between the age of 18 and 24 were most likely to entertain doubts about the paternity of their child, which was approximately 5 times more than the average rate. Older mothers above the age of 55 seemed to entertain the least amount of doubt about their children's paternity, with a rate that was just one- third of the national average.

Doubt seems to creep in more often in the case of homemakers. Mothers, who were not working, were more likely to be unsure of their child's paternity, compared to working mothers, with a rate that was as much as twice the average. On the other hand, mothers who had never been married were approximately 3 times as likely as the national average to be unsure about the paternity of their child.

Massachusetts Bill Could Ban Sex during Divorce

Saturday, March 22, 2014

An interesting bill that is pending passage in the state of Massachusetts could actually ban couples who are in the middle of divorce proceedings from having sex or even dating.

The legislation seeks to require that in divorce proceedings involving children, the party living in the home should not date or conduct a sexual relationship inside the home, until divorce proceedings are complete and all issues are settled. If the party does want to date, or have a sexual relationship inside the home, then he must seek the permission of the court.

The bill was originally filed in 2013, and must be considered by the state legislature by June 30. The bill was sponsored by State Senator Richard Ross who insists that he does not really support the bill, but has only sponsored it as a courtesy to one of his constituents. According to the constituent, he went through a bitter divorce, and believes that a bill like this would help protect children living in the marital home, during the divorce proceedings.

Obviously, this is just a bill, and for this to become law, it would have to be passed by the Massachusetts Legislature, and be signed by the governor. Whether the bill will pass the Legislature is anyone's guess.

However, this bill does raise one of the more important questions that people who are in the middle of a divorce often ask their attorneys - Does the divorce automatically put the brakes on dating, or are you free to see other people while the divorce proceedings have not yet been finalized?

The fact is that any personal or social relationships during a divorce can have a legal impact on your divorce case. For instance, it isn't uncommon for attorneys for the other party to spy on your activities to dig up dirt that can be used during the divorce proceedings, especially in child custody matters.

Teenager Who Sued Parents for Child Support Returns Home

Friday, March 14, 2014

It seems like a happy ending to a case that has provoking discussions on everything from child support to teen behaviour. A New Jersey teenager who filed a child-support lawsuit against her parents, demanding tuition as well as living expenses after being thrown out of her parental home, has now returned home. However, the lawsuit is still on, so this might not be the last we've heard of this matter.

18-year-old Rachel Canning had filed a lawsuit against her parents after they threw her out of the house last year. That action by her parents came as a result of her rebellious behaviour, including at least one case in which she was suspended from school. As a last resort, her parents ordered her out of the home. She filed a lawsuit against her parents, claiming living expenses as well as high school tuition expenses.

At the hearing in court which was widely publicized around the country, the judge called her “spoiled,” refusing to grant her request to order her parents to pay for her tuition and living expenses. Her father however, said that the doors of his home were always open for the rebellious daughter to return home.

As of now, it seems that Canning has returned back to her parents’ home, but her child-support lawsuit has still not been dismissed. This is a case that has strong potential for setting legal precedents, because under New Jersey law, non-divorced parents who are still living together, have never been ordered by a court to pay child support for a child. However, in cases of a divorce, child support agreements will include clauses for payment of tuition expenses and other expenses of the child he/she reaches the age of legal emancipation.

Hamm Divorce Finalized, Court Rules Tycoon Will Retain Controlling Interest

Monday, March 03, 2014

Billions of dollars’ worth of controlling interest in his oil empire was at stake as oil tycoon Harold Hamm, battled it out with his wife Sue Ann in their divorce case. Now, the judge has ruled in favor of Hamm, saying that he will not have to give up his controlling interest in the oil company as part of the settlement.

Hamm is the founder of Continental resources and a billionaire, and his controlling interest in Continental Resources was at the crux of the case. Hamm currently owns a 30% equity stake in Continental Resources, and news that he would have to give up his controlling stake as part of his divorce settlement, had rankled shareholders. Uncertainty loomed over the future of the company.

Now however, the judge has ruled as part of the order granting partial summary judgment, that the billionaire will retain as his own separate property more than 122 million shares of Continental. These are shares that he owned before he married Sue Ann. The judge has now ruled that those 122 million shares are considered premarital property belonging to Hamm.

Hamm’s marriage has been a volatile one. In fact, this is the third time that the couple has filed for divorce over the past decade. The couple has been estranged and living apart for the past 10 years, but so far, there has been no final statement on the kind of settlement that Sue Ann will receive. It is no doubt likely to be a very hefty settlement.

Next, the court will have to decide how to divide the value of the stock because it has grown exponentially over the course of their marriage. Until that decision is made, the tycoon must hold on to the shares, and will not be able to sell or transfer them.