Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Turning 30 - Past, Present, and Future

In the past, when you turned 30 your were a nobody unless you had won the Nobel Prize in Physics.  Thirty was getting very close to when you had to have a mid-life crisis.

At present, the Baby Boomer cohort has made several changes as they pass through.  Life now begins after 40.  Levis have a scouch more room.

In the future, you will have to be 70 to run for President of the United States.  Franklin Roosevelt proved that you could be president for as long as you wanted.  Harry S Truman proved that anybody could become President.  Dwight David Eisenhower proved that the country didn't need a president until Barack Obama provided such a convincing counterexample.

At present, the United States Constitution is considered a living document.  The 35 years in the Founder's document should be reinterpreted as a mature adult.  Ronald Reagan was elected as a mature adult.  Donald J. Trump qualifies on age.  Senator Cruz should not be expected to be much more mature than Barack Obama.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Child Custody under SB 668

The child-custody provisions of SB 668 put parents on equal footing during child-custody determinations. Existing law declares a vague public policy that each minor child have “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents after they separate or divorce. What this public policy means can vary from judge to judge.

The bill replaces the vague policy, with a requirement that courts begin a custody determination with the premise that a child should spend “approximately equal time” with each parent. The court must then take into account a child’s best interest by considering 20 statutory factors that are based on current law. Finally, the bill requires courts to explain their child-custody determinations in writing.

The changes to the child-custody law are driven by well-known societal changes. For example, there are more two income households than ever.[1] Women are more likely than men to have a college degree, and women are pursuing more graduate degrees than men.[2] Forty percent of households with children have a female breadwinner, a dramatic increase since 1960.[3] Additionally, fathers have become more active in raising their children.[4]

Unfortunately, many incorrect statements and specious arguments have been made about what SB 668 says and how the bill will affect children and custody litigation. The remainder of this document identifies and responds to the common misstatements and specious arguments.

[1] Kim Parker, Pew Research Center, 5 Facts About Today’s Fathers (June 18, 2015) available at: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/06/18/5-facts-about-todays-fathers/.
[2] Executive Office of the President of the United States, Eleven Facts About American Families and Work 10-11 (Oct. 2014), available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/eleven_facts_about_family_and_work_final.pdf .
[3] Wendy Wang, Kim Parker, and Paul Taylor, Pew Research Center, Breadwinner Moms (May 29, 2013) available at: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/29/breadwinner-moms/.
[4] Parker, supra note 1.