Month: September 2014

Will The Pope Allow Marriage After Divorce?

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Religious Divorces on Tuesday, September 30, 2014.

If you divorce, can you re-marry? Catholic bishops are gathering at the Vatican for a Synod, and may change Church doctrine on offering Communion to divorced Catholics who remarry.

The Washington Post notes that the changing nature of relationships – from marriage to divorce, cohabitation and gay unions – will top the agenda at the global Synod and also figure prominently at next year’s World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

“We are going to deal with realistic issues,” Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput told a media conference at the Vatican on Tuesday. “The issues of family life will be part of this.”

Pope Francis, the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, has expressed tolerance on a range of issues, famously asking “Who am I to judge?” about gay relationships.

In a worldwide survey earlier this year, bishops showed they were looking for new ways to deal with unmarried couples, divorced people and single parents disillusioned with the church, while opposing same-sex unions and abortion.

But for many Catholics, the question of Communion for the divorced remains the key issue and there is plenty of division even among conservatives.

While divorced Catholics, who have not remarried, are free to take Communion, divorced and remarried Catholics, in general, are forbidden from.

The only way around this problem is through it. Couples must go to a Marriage Tribunal, and if it’s determined that there never was a true marriage in the first place, and if there is repentance, permission may be granted to receive Communion again.

“The status quo is unacceptable. For the spiritual well-being of the divorced and remarried members of our Catholic family, for the salvation of their souls, we’ve got to do something!”

Religion often plays a big part of a civil divorce decision, as couples need to consider how to practice their faiths after a marriage is dissolved. The article can be read here.

Domestic Violence and Zero Tolerance: Is It Better Protection

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Domestic Violence on Monday, September 15, 2014.

The NFL has a “zero tolerance” policy for divorce. Will this increase reporting of violence or decrease it?

I’ve written on domestic violence issues before. The NFL’s new zero tolerance policy for domestic violence makes good commercial sense for the NFL. But what about football players’ wives?

If they call the police, and their football star husband is prosecuted, that likely means a loss of millions of dollars to the wife when they are suspended. A battered wife calls the police, and their husband is out of a job, can’t pay the mortgage, and the wife and their children are headed for the poor house.

The Ray Rice case is a good example of the problem. Because the Ravens terminated his contract, they no longer owe him a $3.529 million nonguaranteed salary for this year. Rice had remaining nonguaranteed base salaries of $3 million in 2015 and 2016 that have now been eliminated.

The Ravens don’t owe him any more money. In any other job and you get arrested for domestic violence, and you could get fired. In the NFL though, you could get blackballed.

Previously, an abused woman might be willing to expose abuse to obtain protection against domestic violence. But what if every time a spouse reported domestic violence it meant the loss of their husband’s career?

The husband’s job loss would mean that the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage would be over. And worse still, the husband would be unable to pay child support, or keep the wife and the children in the family home, or have the ability to pay alimony.

This policy places abused women in a difficult choice: don’t report abuse and continue to enjoy a wealthy lifestyle, or report abuse and suffer a dramatic financial loss.

There is a likelihood that some women may not be willing to make that choice, and won’t call the police or tell their attorney out of a fear that it will leak out.

Alternatively, a battered woman may not want to say anything when the abuse first starts. By the time they do call the police, the abuse has become so bad that they’d be willing to ruin their own financial success for protection it may be too late.

What if the zero tolerance policy makes abused wives unwilling to report initial or less severe abuse, out of a well-founded fear of losing their financial standing, until the abuse becomes so bad, they risk their very lives?

The Volokh Conspiracy post is here.

Same Sex Marriage Ban Upheld

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Same Sex Marriage & Divorce on Wednesday, September 10, 2014.

Favorable decisions in most courts over same sex divorce and marriage laws made you think all courts ruled the same way. A federal court in Louisiana shows that’s not true.

This lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage and its refusal to recognize same-sex marriages permitted in other states and follows other cases I’ve written about.

Jonathan Robicheaux married his same-sex partner in Iowa, but lives in Orleans Parish, Louisiana; he alleged that Louisiana’s defense of marriage amendment to the state constitution violated his federal constitutional rights.

As the New York Times reports, Judge Martin Feldman, of the U.S. District Court for the Easter District of Louisiana in New Orleans wrote the order that the regulation of marriage was left up to the states and the democratic process; that no fundamental right was being violated by the ban; and that Louisiana had a “legitimate interest … whether obsolete in the opinion of some, or not, in the opinion of others … in linking children to an intact family formed by their two biological parents.”

Judge Feldman’s ruling was the first to uphold a state ban on same-sex marriages since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year in the Windsor case.

Gay-marriage supporters had won more than 20 consecutive rulings overturning bans in other states. They said they would take the Louisiana case to the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which already has before it an appeal by the state of Texas of another federal judge’s ruling that struck down that state’s gay marriage ban.

While the Windsor decision found that the federal same-sex marriage ban was discriminatory, it left a tension between the constitutional rights of same-sex couples and the authority of states to regulate marriage.

Same-sex marriage is currently allowed in 19 states and the District of Columbia, as a result of court decisions, legislative action or referendums. In some other states, courts have struck down bans, but those decisions have been stayed pending appeal.

An appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth is assured. The Fifth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Florida used to be in the Fifth Circuit, But, in 1981 Florida was moved into the newly created Eleventh Circuit.

The New York Times article is here.

Are Same-Sex Divorces in Florida Legal Now?

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Same sex/GLBTA on Friday, September 5, 2014.

In Florida, same-sex marriages are not recognized. Last month a Broward judge granted a same-sex divorce, and the time to appeal passed without an appeal. This allows the judge to finalize the same-sex divorce. What’s going on?

As the Miami Herald reports:

Brassner and Lade entered into a civil union in Vermont. In 2010, according to Brassner, Lade cheated on her and disappeared. Brassner, who still doesn’t know where Lade is, has now partnered with someone else and would like to marry someday.

I’ve written on the problem we have in Florida with same-sex divorces before. Florida law forbids recognizing the Vermont civil union and therefore won’t permit a divorce. And Vermont won’t dissolve the union without a signed affidavit from the missing Lade.

On Aug. 4, Judge Cohen declared Florida’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional and that Brassner and Lade be divorced, but stayed his ruling until after the 30-day appeal period was over.

“This Court finds that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the guarantees of due process and equal protection under the laws,” Cohen ruled. “Florida’s prohibition on same-sex marriage denies some citizens, based on their sexual orientation, the fundamental right to marry, and does so without a legitimate state purpose. This Court finds these laws are unconstitutional and GRANTS the Petitioner’s Motion For Declaratory Relief, declaring Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.”

Now we know the state isn’t appealing. A hearing in the case, before Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen, is scheduled for the divorce to become final.

Although Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office offered a comment why the attorney general did not appeal the Brassner and Simpson decisions: “We were not parties to those cases,” Bondi spokeswoman Jennifer Meale said

The Miami Herald article is available here.

Divorce at 48

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

A writer at Huffington Post describes what a late-in-life divorce is like when her husband of 27 years sat her down on their new chaise lounge and told her he loved somebody else.

I’ve written on the phenomenon of gray divorces before. In 1990, 1 in 10 persons who divorced was 50 or older. By 2011, according to the American Community Survey, more than more than 1 in 4 were aged 50 or older.

Are women to blame? Women have long been more sensitive to – or less tolerant of – a mediocre relationship than men and are less willing to just ‘wait it out.

Men also share the blame, call it the Viagra Effect. With Viagra, men are able to satisfy younger women, and people are living longer and feel they can get out and still have a life.”

Several other factors include societal acceptance of divorce, increased economic autonomy of women and lengthening life expectancies.

What’s it like to divorce? The Huffington Post writer, Amy Koko, continues:

There were lawyers. . . There were accountants and mediators and a court-required class about parenting for this mother of four teenagers. . . And then finally, the dust settled and there were the two of us . . .

I went back to college and sat among young kids ready to graduate, in creative writing classes. They were amazingly talented kids, yet they were impressed with me! I had something to say and apparently did it in such a way that they wanted to read more. I was chosen to attend a writing seminar with well-known authors at Sarah Lawrence College. Me. A 48-year-old divorcée, living in a dorm room for a week, writing my little heart out.

There are special concerns involved when older couples divorce. As always, information is power, so make a point to seek out experts for guidance.

The Huffington Post article is here.