A judge in Ohio granted a homosexual divorce even though Ohio does not recognize same-sex marriages.

One of the growing problems in the war over homosexual marriage is the status of gay divorces. The issue stems from the fact that a few states have begun to recognize and grant same-sex marriages. Most states, however, do not. As a result, same-sex partners frequently travel to a state that recognizes homosexual marriage, get married, and then return home. The problem arises when the couple decides to get divorced. Because their home states don’t generally acknowledge the marriage in the first place, those states often refuse to grant divorces of same-sex marriages. The fear is that granting a divorce would be to acknowledge the existence of the marriage. The couple typically can’t simply go to the state in which they got married to get a divorce, because most states have a residency requirement of anything from 6 months to a year. Thus the couple is stuck with the choice of maintaining a status that is valid in some states and not in others, moving to a state that recognizes gay marriage to get divorced, or simply ignoring the issue.

Ohio banned same-sex marriages and civil unions in 2004. So, Ohio residents, Jonathan Baize and Stephen Wissman went to New York to enter a homosexual marriage. But earlier this year, they filed for divorce.

The Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage submitted a brief in the case arguing that the judge could not grant the divorce because to do so would be to recognize the marriage.

In contravention, the couple’s attorney argued that the Ohio ban on same-sex marriage affects only marriages, and therefore does not prohibit a divorce.

After a hearing, Judge Donald Cox entered a divorce decree.

The result has been public outcry in Ohio about the judge’s actions. One man wrote to a newspaper, “unfortunately, there are and probably always will be a few rogue judges who are going to ignore the Constitution. For our part, we will continue to urge them to uphold it.” As of yet, there have been no additional indications of what the legal fallout may be.


During a disaster simulation, data storage devices related to the California Department of Child Support Services (CCSS) disappeared.

CCSS is responsible for ensuring and organizing child support payments between parents in California. This includes such duties as establishing paternity, enforcing child support orders, doing modifications, and much more. It serves approximately 1.8 million children and families.

In early March, DCSS was involved in a disaster recovery exercise. As part of the exercise, backup data cartridges containing personal information of parents and children in the DCSS system were being transported from Sacramento, California to Boulder, Colorado. The shipment was orchestrated by IBM and Iron Mountain, Inc. The goal was to see if IBM could run California’s child support system remotely.

After the testing was completed, the data cartridges were shipped back to California via FedEx. But four cartridges never arrived. Those four represented data on approximately 800,000 people.

Christine Lally, a representative of the California Office of Technology Services, said, “we believe that the container was not properly secured, thus allowing the container to open and then spill out.”

The state has sent notifications to all persons believed to be affected by the data loss. Officials do not believe that this incident will cause any disruption to services. They also believe that even if someone recovers the data cartridges, it is unlikely that they will know how to access them.


While domestic violence is an evil our present-day culture endeavors to eliminate, American history has not always viewed it that way. The 1868 case of State v. Rhodes illustrates our country’s previous attitude towards spousal abuse.

In this North Carolina criminal case, a man was prosecuted for using a switch to hit his wife three times. The woman’s crime: she said something the defendant didn’t like—something the defendant couldn’t even remember by the time he was indicted.

The trial court found the man not guilty because it believed that men had a right to whip their wives with a switch, provided that the switch was no larger than the man’s thumb. The state appealed to the state’s supreme court.

The Supreme Court agreed with the general philosophy, believing that men should be allowed to impose “corrections” on their wives and if this case were allowed, the courts would be flooded with trifles. The court also believed that it had no place in the domestic arena absent some significant cruelty.

In its opinion the court held, “[w]e will not inflict upon society the greater evil of raising the curtain upon domestic privacy, to punish the lesser evil of trifling violence.”

Accordingly, the defendant was acquitted.

Clearly attitudes about domestic violence have changed. Nonetheless, it continues to thrive. If you are the victim of a domestic violence situation, then seek help from an attorney trained to deal with domestic violence situations.


The Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, New York just hosted a Divorce Expo entitled, “Start Over Smart: A Modern Divorce Expo.”

The expo will have seminars, panels, and booths. Seminars will include such things as, “Moving on After Infidelity,” “Into the Fog-Becoming a Single Dad and Single Dude Again,” and “Parenting Through Divorce.” Booths will be manned by attorneys, financial planners, dating coaches, and hair stylists.

The event was organized by Nicole Baras Feuer and her mother, Francine, both of whom are divorce mediators. They told the press that the expo is about building a community to help divorcees, “transition into their new, post-divorce life.”

But the expo has its opponents. Mike McManus, founder of a church-based group that works to reduce divorce said, “we hardly need to promote divorce. A divorce expo is just laughable to me. What we need are better ways to help couples restore marriages.”

Nicole and her Francine disagree. Francine said, “we really feel this is a very important social message. Divorce is kind of coming out of the closet.” Nicole continued, “there’s never been before a building of the divorce community. Even after divorce people need a network of continued support . . . .”

Nicole and her mother hope to make this an annual event.


Recent reports indicate that Kris Humphries is refusing to sign off on a divorce settlement from Kim Kardashian in the belief that he can obtain more money.

Humphries made his fame playing NBA basketball for the New Jersey Nets. Kim Kardashian is famous for a range of reasons, including a television show entitled, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, her work as a model, and her sale of a series of clothing and perfume lines. Kardashian gained significant notoriety for her involvement in a sex tape. Subsequent litigation over the tape resulted in her winning $5 million.

In August of 2011, Humphries and Kardashian got married in Montecito, California. The ceremony was televised and heavily publicized. Shortly thereafter, in October of 2011, Kardashian filed for divorce. Their marriage lasted only 72 days.

An anonymous source recently told the press that Kardashian has made settlement offers to Humphries, but he has declined to accept. The source claims that Humphries is seeking approximately $7 million. Kardashian is unwilling to pay that amount for a mere 72 days of marriage.

Publicly, Humphries has denied making any demands. The anonymous source reported, however, “there is a fair offer on the table, but he just won’t sign it.”


In order to obtain a divorce, the parties must show that grounds for the divorce exist. Many years ago, a couple would not be able to establish grounds for the divorce absent some kind of fault. Today, every state allows a couple to obtain a divorce even if neither party can be blamed for some heinous act.

A fault-based divorce generally required that the person seeking the divorce prove that the other party had engaged in some action that would justify breaking up the marriage, such as adultery, abandoning the other spouse, extreme physical or mental cruelty, addictions to drugs or alcohol, or insanity.

Although abolished in most states today, some states allowed for defenses to any of the above. For example, if someone demonstrated collusion—such as manufacturing an affair so that the couple could get divorced—then the court would be prohibited from granting a divorce.

Today, every state in the United States allows for divorces without any required showing of fault. However, the parties must still establish grounds for the action. This usually requires that the marriage be “irretrievably broken” or that the parties have “irreconcilable differences.”

Florida has essentially eliminated fault-based grounds for divorce. Today, a divorce will be granted only if the marriage is irretrievably broken or if one of the parties is shown to be mentally incompetent.

Nonetheless, fault may be relevant for other purposes in a divorce proceeding. If you are concerned about the implications of a party’s fault in marriage, you should speak with a qualified family law attorney.


The Florida Family Law Section recently gave $75,000 to the Florida Bar Foundation to fund services for indigent children.

The Florida Bar Foundation currently funds 25 attorneys in legal services for children. Much of the organization’s funding comes from interest derived from attorney trust accounts. Because the economic collapse was accompanied by a significant drop in interest rates, the Foundation’s revenue has seen an 88 percent decrease since 2008.

This drop in revenue means that unless the Foundation receives additional funds, some of its attorneys will have to be laid off. This in turn means fewer legal aid resources for children.

In response, the Trial Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar contributed $75,000 to the Foundation in January. Now the Family Law Section has followed suit by making its own $75,000 donation.

David Manz, the Family Law Section’s Chair, said, “A core mission of the Family Law Section is to be at the forefront of efforts to protect children’s rights. It is the essence of who we are as a section. We are proud to be able to provide this contribution to the Foundation’s Children’s Legal Services Grant Program as a way to effectuate our mission.”

Scott Hawkins, the President of the Florida Bar has requested that other lawyers make contributions to the Foundation, in hopes that it can avoid cutting attorneys.


Maryland’s Court of Appeals will soon be hearing a case regarding homosexual divorces.

The battle over the prohibition or authorization of homosexual marriages has created a unique problem in the world of family law: homosexual divorce. A small number of localities have begun to recognize gay marriages. Many homosexual couples have traveled from states which prohibit gay marriage, to one of the states that authorizes it. They obtain a marriage certificate, and then return to their home state. The problem comes, however, when the couple seeks a divorce in their home state – a state which doesn’t recognize the legal validity of the out-of-state marriage.

The result is something of a legal limbo. Because most states don’t recognize gay marriages, such states won’t grant a divorce. Nonetheless, other states will recognize the marriage, leaving the marriage valid in certain locations. But if the couple hasn’t satisfied a residency requirement in such a state, they can’t obtain a divorce in those states either.

This is exactly what happened to Jessica Port and Virginia Anne Cowan. The same-sex couple went from their home in the District of Columbia to San Francisco in 2008. The two got married, then returned home. Later, after Port moved to Maryland, she filed for an uncontested divorce. The court refused to grant the divorce because Maryland does not recognize same sex marriages.

Maryland’s Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear an appeal of the case.


Hollywood stars, Peter Facinelli and Jennie Garth have told the press that they intend to get divorced.

Facinelli has had a number of screen credits, but is most famous for his work in the Twilight movies, as Carlisle Cullen. Garth made her fame in her role as Kelly Taylor in the television program, Beverly Hills 90210. The couple met while acting opposite each other in the 1996 television movie, An Unfinished Affair.

They later married in 2001 and had three daughters together. The children are aged 5, 9, and 14.

After 11 years of marriage, the two told the press that they were seeking a divorce. In a joint statement, they said, “while we have decided to end our marriage, we both share the same deep love and devotion to our children.”

They also responded to a flurry of Internet rumors regarding marital infidelity by saying, “there are rumors out there which are completely untrue and hurtful to our family. We just want to make it very clear – there are no third parties involved.”

Although the couple has not yet filed the divorce petition, it appears that Garth is planning to take the children. After the couple’s joint statement, Garth told the press, “being out here on my own with the girls is not going to be easy, but I know it’s the right thing for us right now. I feel it in my heart. I’m excited about what’s next.”


At age 86, Dick Van Dyke has just remarried.

Van Dyke was made famous as a result of his acting career. He appeared in such films as Bye Bye Birdie, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and many others. He also starred in the Dick Van Dyke Show.

In November of 2011 he got engaged to 40-year-old, Arlene Silver. On February 29, 2012, the couple married.

The two met each other at the Screen Actors Guild Awards 6 years ago. Silver worked as a makeup artist.

Van Dyke said, “I was in the green room and she passed through and I was bowled over by her beauty.” Shortly thereafter, he hired her to be his makeup artist.

The wedding took place in a small Malibu chapel near Van Dyke’s home.

Van Dyke was previously married to Margie Willet. He and Willet married in 1948, but divorced in 1984, having had four children. He then lived with Michelle Triola until she passed away in 2009.

Regarding his marriage to Silver, Van Dyke said, “I’m not a loner. I have to have a life partner. I found the perfect one.”

Publicist, Bob Palmer said, “I’ve never seen him happier. She adds a lot to his life.”