On Valentine’s Day, a new policy to protect domestic-violence victims began in both Orange and Osceola counties.  The policy mandates the use of GPS tracking devices in high risk domestic violence cases. The policy only mandates the wearing of a GPS device in those domestic violence cases in which a permanent injunction has been issued.

Orange-Osceola Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., stated, “Those (victims) need to get some warning so they’re not just sitting ducks.”  Judge Perry sought legislative funding for the GPS equipment last year and said that he “knew of no other jurisdiction in the country that has employed the tactic” on domestic violence abusers.

Judge Perry added that after researching domestic abuse cases and talking with experts, they found that  in ten percent of the cases the abuser, despite an injunction being issued, will commit extreme acts of violence upon a victim, acts that at times result in the death of the victim.

The Orange County Domestic Violence Commission and other domestic violence advocates feel the policy is a huge step in the right direction for domestic violence victims.  In Orange County alone, twelve domestic violence murders have been committed since September.

According to Carol Wick, CEO of Harbor House, last year saw a 41 percent increase in the number of adult victims and a 36 percent increase in the number of children seeking shelter at the facility.  Wick also stated  92 percent of those individuals arrested for domestic violence receive no consequences for their actions and  Orange County alone spends $24 million a year to arrest domestic violence perpetrators just to turn around and let them go.

The new policy will require the offender to wear an ankle GPS unit which is monitored by an outside company.  When the abuser enters the restricted zone around the domestic violence victim, the victim will immediately be called, the local police or sheriff’s office will be contacted, and finally the wearers of the device will be called to give them the chance to retreat from the restricted area in case they mistakenly entered the area.

The pilot program will run through June and will cost the state $316,000.  Lawmakers will then decide whether or not to keep funding the program.

Original story can be found here.

Share

The Miami Herald reported  last week a Florida judge approved the listing of three people on the birth certificate of 23-month-old girl.

A lesbian couple, Maria Italiano and Cher Filippazzo, used professional fertility clinics in their effort to become pregnant, but all efforts failed.  They then asked a gay friend, Massimiliano Gerina, to donate sperm, and on March 10, 2011, Italiano gave birth to daughter Emma.

When the couple became pregnant, they planned that Filippazzo would adopt Emma after the birth.  However when Gerina was served with legal documents severing his rights as Emma’s guardian, he refused to give up those rights saying the lesbian couple had “claimed they sought a father for the baby as well.” Although Gerina is gay, he was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying, “It is kind of a modern family, but I’m old style.  I believe that kids should have both a male figure and a female figure.”

A two-year paternity battle that ensued after Gerina’s refusal to sign away his rights to Emma ended last week with the Florida judge’s ruling.  The ruling is seen as not only unique, but as what could be considered a landmark case in births of this type.

Although a number of reports are hyping this case as involving “three parents”, attorneys for both the couple and Gerina stated this is not the case.  Filippazzo and Italino are listed as the parents and Gerina as the father.  Gerina’s attorney praised the decision stating the ruling established an “entirely new concept” of a family. “There are three parties involved …. I agree that makes the case unique.”

Original story can be found here.

Share

A recent wedding trend that is occurring more often is weddings for two.  A wedding for two involves just the bride and groom, and according to Kelly Karli the owner of Frosted Pink Weddings, these type of weddings are popping up more and more.

Regardless of the fragile state of the economy, two people in love still want to get married.  To cut expenses, some couples are not cutting out the bride’s gown, the flowers or photographer, but they cutting out the guests from their wedding.

One bonus of having a wedding that only involves the bride and groom is the absence of stress in planning the wedding.  There are no seating charts, no bridesmaids dresses to choose, no worries of offending relatives or friends, and no catering of food.  The whole focus of a wedding for two is the bride and groom.  The couple chooses what to wear, where to get married and what to eat. 

One newlywed 35-year-old Las Vegas wedding planner Andrea Eppolito, stated it’s one of her favorite trends.  Andrea showed her fondness for the new trend by choosing a wedding for two for herself when she married last year.  “It’s about you, your life, your relationship, and what matters to the two of you.  At the end of the day, it’s what your marriage should be about.” 

Although this trend may be popular with many couples today, it isn’t always popular to those friends and family members who are left out of the wedding.  Many fathers want to walk their daughters down the aisle; mothers want to see their daughter or son married and have a big reception to celebrate their union.  Family members and friends may be hurt or resentful when a loved one opts for a ‘just us’ wedding.

Regardless of one’s opinion to this new type of wedding, wedding planners say the trend is becoming more popular and is here to stay.

Original article here.

Share

The advancements in reproductive technology have made it possible for infertile couples to fulfill their dreams of having their own child.  One method of reproductive technology that is gaining  popularity is that of in vitro fertilization (IVF). 

In this procedure,  eggs are extracted from the wife’s body, fertilized in a Petri dish, and then placed back into the womb.  This is an expensive procedure to undergo, and thus, many times fertilized eggs  will be frozen for future implantation in order to increase the couple’s chance of additional attempts at pregnancy.

Unfortunately, when a couple fails to address the issue of what to do with unused embryos at the time they are frozen, legal issues can arise in the future when the couple decides to divorce and cannot agree about what to do with the frozen embryos. Currently there are no federal laws that resolve disputes over the ownership of frozen embryos, although several states have enacted laws to deal with this problem. 

Florida law requires a written agreement between the couple seeking infertility treatment and their physician that provides for the disposition of the commissioning couple’s eggs, sperm and pre-embryos in the event of a divorce, the death of a spouse, or any other unforeseen circumstance.

If there is no written agreement and the couple disagrees on how to dispose of their frozen embryos, the decision is then passed down to the court.

Although IVF is a form of reproductive technology that has produced miracle births for many couples, the federal government will need to enact laws that address not only the status of unused pre-embryos, but the many other issues that arise from IVF and other methods of advanced reproductive fertilization.

Share