Family Law Blog

Native American Man Loses Child Custody Lawsuit

Friday, August 16, 2013

In a child custody case that Los Angeles family lawyers saw as a test of government laws that grant extra protections to Native Americans, a little girl who was handed over to her Native American biological father has now been handed back to her adoptive parents.

The 27-month-old girl, had been living with her adoptive parents since her birth, and was handed over to her biological father in 2011.The girl was born as a result of a relationship between her parents, a Native American and non-Native American woman who were engaged. However, the woman broke off the engagement before the marriage, and asked the father if he wished to relinquish his rights as the biological father of the child, or pay child support. The father chose to relinquish his rights to the child.

The man changed his mind when he found out that the child had been placed for adoption, and had been given to a non-Native American in South Carolina. He then moved to sue for custody of the child from the adoptive parents.

A special federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act worked in his favor, and the man was given custody of the child in 2011. This was even though he had never met his child prior to being given custody. The law was enacted in 1975, after a study found that as many as 35% of Native American children were being separated from their homes, and placed in adoptive care because of the lack of culturally appropriate and sensitive child custody laws.

However, the Supreme Court recently overturned that decision, ruling that the language of the law protecting Native American custody refers to a parent who already has custody of the child, and loses custody of the child. In this case, the father never had custody of the child, and in fact, had never met the child before custody was granted to him.

Long Distance Couples Work Harder on Marriage

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Typically, long-distance relationships are believed to be more difficult, and more strained than normal relationships. However, that doesn't seem to be true at all. In fact, according to new research, persons in long-distance relationships are more likely to work harder on their relationship, and probably less likely to visit a Los Angeles divorce lawyer.

The research was published in the Journal of Communication, and finds that people in such long-distance relationship tend to work harder, and have much stronger bonds, and better communication. The wider geographical gap between the partners in the relationship tends to encourage them to engage in deeper communication, than persons in a normal relationship.

The researchers surveyed dating couples in long-distance relationship as well as normal relationships, and asked them to report their daily interactions with each other. The interactions were not just face-to-face, but also involved phone calls, video chat, text messages, e-mail and other forms of communication. The researchers found that persons, who were in long-distance relationships, had better communication and a deeper bond with each other.

The researchers believe that this is possibly so because these couples tend to idealize their partners behaviors, and are more likely to disclose themselves more in the relationship.

According to statistics, as many as 3 million married couples in the United States are currently in long-distance relationships. Traditionally, these relationships have been given a lower chance of success, because of higher levels of stress and jealousy, and a number of other negative issues that could possibly impact the marriage. How the study finds that this is just a misconception. Long-distance relationships could actually be more successful than relationships involving couples located close to each other.

Avoiding Conflict in Senior Years Contributes to Lower Rates of Divorce

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Overall, senior citizens above the age of 65 have lower divorce rates compared to younger persons. That could be because they are more likely to look at ways of diffusing conflict to settle an argument, as opposed to allowing the dispute to blow out of proportion.

Those are the results of a new study that was conducted by researchers at San Francisco State University. According to the research, as couples grow older, they are much more likely to settle disputes and resolve disagreements simply by changing the subject. This serves as a very effective way of defusing a potentially conflict state, and calming down a situation that has the potential to become very nasty.

In fact, the research only confirms the findings of earlier studies that have indicated that as couples age, they tend to avoid conflict and use more positive ways of handling conflicts. This could be partly because many older couples understand that they do not have many years together, and they want to make the most of the time that they do have together.

The researchers assessed the results when married couples used a type of technique called the “demand-withdraw pattern,” as they became older. In this kind of technique, one partner simply blames the other partner for the unresolved problems in the marriage, and pressures him or her to change. The other partner will simply avoid talking about the problem, and withdraws from the situation altogether.

Among younger couples, this kind of technique can be counter-productive, and could actually destabilize the marriage. However, the researchers found that older couples benefit from a situation when one person simply changes the subject and avoids discussion altogether.

Post-Recession Divorces May Improve the Economy

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The nation seems to have gotten through the worst of the Great Recession but the specter of unemployment, decreased property values and stagnant wages still haunts the country. The recovery will probably be ongoing for some time. During the height of the economic challenges, many sectors of American culture were impacted and may never be the same again: driving habits, vacation choices, eating in restaurants, purchasing new cars, moving back home with mom and dad and delaying marriage. The financial downturn seems to have impacted divorce rates as well.

For many people, a divorce may have been the appropriate move emotionally but the recession made going through the process prohibitive. From 2007-2010, as property values dropped, jobs were lost, tuition rose, and businesses shuttered, many Americans may not have been able to seek a life after divorce. In other words, they may have been stuck. This may be a reason why divorce rates actually declined slightly during the recession (NPR). This may soon change according to an article published on Slate.

Not only may divorce rates increase post-recession but this may be good for the economy says Slate writer Matthew Yglesias. He argues that divorce may be a sign of a stronger economy and that the new houses that are furnished and bought or rented will provide "An income boost" that "could create a wave of household formation that drives nationwide incomes even higher." Yglesia's article was published in January of 2012 and recent divorce data is still be gathered. Whether or not his prediction will come true remains to be seen. But, while it may seem cynical to root for marriages to falter, if a couple has been holding off on divorce for fear of economic uncertainty in their own household and in the nation at large, perhaps now is the time to take the leap.

Welcome To Our Blog

Friday, April 19, 2013

Welcome to Our Blog

In the coming weeks and months, we plan to utilize this blog to keep our clients informed of cases around the country that are related to the Practice Areas that we cover.  

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