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Life News: My custody case in Florida against my rapist started in 2010 and went on for a little over two years. Though I had a restraining order and had pursued prosecution, he was not convicted of rape.
The Washington Post: When parents split up, and there is a dispute over who is to get primary custody, judges generally decide this based on what they see as “the best interests of the child.”
Life News: Shauna Prewitt, a Chicago-based attorney and rape-victim advocate has become a high-profile supporter of state legislation that prevents rapists from demanding custody of their victim’s children.
Religion Clause: “In Stancek v. Stancek, (MN App., March 10, 2014), the Minnesota Court of Appeals resolved a child custody dispute between separated parents as to their three daughters.”
Reuters: “About two dozen Iraqi women demonstrated on Saturday in Baghdad against a draft law approved by the Iraqi cabinet that would permit the marriage of nine-year-old girls and automatically give child custody to fathers.”
Washington Post: “A federal appeals court is making a rare appearance in Connecticut to hear several cases, including one involving a Virginia pastor convicted of helping a woman and her child flee the country and avoid a custody dispute with her former lesbian partner.”
Israel’s Supreme Court Issues Temporary Stay Of Rabbinical Court’s Order Requiring Boy’s Circumcision
Religion Clause Blog: As previously reported, last month Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Court upheld a lower court’s $140 per day fine imposed on a woman who is refusing to have her one-year old son circumcised.
Nebraska High Court: 16 Year Old Too Immature To Consent To Abortion, Despite Fear of Religious Foster Parents’ Reaction
Religion Clause Blog: In In re Petition of Anonymous 5, (NE Sup. Ct., Oct. 4, 2013), the Nebraska Supreme Court in a 5-2 decision ruled that a 16 year-old girl living in foster care had not established that she is sufficiently mature and well informed about abortion to have the procedure without the consent of a guardian.
Jimmy Sandlin at Al.com: The Alabama Supreme Court recently decided that children have very few individual rights relating to their associations. The Court’s decision in Ex Parte E.R.C., 73 So. 3d 640, 2011, grants that power almost exclusively to the parent or parents, and the trial court is forbidden from considering whether the decision is in the “best interests of the child.”
AP: In her order, Ballew explained the change by saying that “`Messiah’ is a title that is held only by Jesus Christ.”
Tennessean: Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee said that a Tennessee judge should not have barred a couple from naming their child “Messiah.”
Religion Clause Blog: AP and WBIR report on the decision of a Newport, Tennessee Child Support Magistrate who last week ordered that a 7-month old child’s name be changed to Martin instead of Messiah, even though Messiah was among the fastest rising baby names last year.
British Appeals Court Upholds Asylum Denial; Returning Boy To Be Circumcised and Rasied As Muslim Does Not Violate His Rights
Religion Clause Blog: In SS (Malaysia) v. Secretary of State, (EWCA, July 18, 2013), Britain’s Court of Appeal, upheld the denial of asylum to a Roman Catholic woman from Malaysia visiting England and to her 6 year old son. The woman, whose husband (still in Malaysia) had recently converted to Islam, objected to the fact that if she returned her husband would insist their son be raised as a Muslim and circumcised.
Christian Science Monitor: A judge has ruled that a North Texas lesbian couple can’t cohabitate — live together — because of a morality clause in one of the women’s divorce papers.
Volokh Conspiracy: I just ran across the Tennessee statute, Tenn Code Ann. § 36-6-404, that provides the factors that courts are to consider in determining physical custody as between two parents. Many states have such lists of factors, but the bold text seems to me to be unique to Tennessee . . .
MN: In 2-1 Decision, State Appeals Court Says Judge’s Reference To Biblical Passage Was Not A Problem
Religion Clause Blog: In In re Marriage of Sarah Peterson v. Adam Peterson,(MN Ct. App., March 25, 2013), the Minnesota Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, upheld a trial court’s award of sole physical custody of 3 minor children to the wife in a divorce action.
Topeka Capital-Journal: Citing a first-of-its-kind Kansas Supreme Court ruling made Friday, Topekan Angela Bauer on Wednesday sought the right to intervene in a case in which the state contends sperm donor William Marotta is legally the father of the daughter born to her former lesbian partner, Jennifer Schreiner.
SCOTUS: Hague Convention Appeal Not Mooted by Return of Child to Foreign Jurisdiction in Custody Dispute
The Supreme Court has issued a ruling in Chafin v. Chafin. SCOTUS Blog links to the opinion and provides more information here. Issue: Whether an appeal of a district court’s ruling on a Petition for Return of Children pursuant to the International Child Abduction Remedies Act and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction becomes moot after the child at issue returns to his or her country of habitual residence . . .
Pastor Jailed for Refusing to Testify in Prosecution Arising from Lesbian Custody and the First Amendment | Eugene Volokh
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy:Of course, under the Free Exercise Clause as interpreted by Employment Division v. Smith (1990), the pastor’s religious belief would likely be constitutionally irrelevant — the duty to testify would likely be viewed as a generally religion-neutral law of general applicability, and even sincere religious objectors would not be entitled to a constitutional exemption. (I generally think this is the right approach.) There are some possible counterarguments. One might argue that the law is not generally applicable because the duty to testify includes a religious exemption for clergy (of any denomination) who refuse to testify about confidential communications that they feel religiously obligated to keep confidential. One might also argue that this case involves a “hybrid rights” claim, involving a supposed combination of a Free Exercise Clause claim and a freedom-from-compelled-speech claim.
AP: Forty-seven-year-old Kenneth Miller was convicted last summer of helping Lisa Miller and her daughter leave the country in September 2009 to avoid sharing custody with her former partner.
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: Should American courts refuse to send the child back to the country of origin, because the judicial system in that country is biased against women and non-Muslims?
Damage Award Denied To Father Who Objected To Foster Care Placement That Violated Children’s Religious Training
Religion Clause Blog: In BK v. Toumpas, (D NH, Nov. 14, 2012), a New Hampshire federal district court rejected a Hindu father’s claim for damages against state child welfare officials for placing his 3 minor children in temporary foster care with families that disrespected the children’s religious upbringing by serving them beef and taking them to Christian religious services.
Volokh Conspiracy: What happens when divorced parents with joint legal custody disagree about whether their child should be given the routine childhood immunizations? That’s the issue in Grzyb v. Grzyb (Va. Cir. Ct.), decided in mid-2009 but just uploaded to Westlaw a day or two ago.
The Columbus Dispatch: A lesbian must share custody of her 8-year-old biological daughter with her former partner, a Franklin County magistrate has ruled.
Charles Toutant at the NJ Law Journal (subscription only), March 6, 2012: A state appeals court on Tuesday held that a surname picked by the primary custodial parent is presumed in the child’s best interests, creating a clash with a panel that found otherwise. The ruling in Holst-Knudsen v. Mikisch , A-3596-10, applied existing caselaw to reject the contrary holding on Jan. 20 in Emma v. Evans , A-2303-10, that the presumption in favor of the custodial parent should not apply to children born in wedlock. The Holst-Knudsen panel said it did not read two Supreme Court rulings on the issue “as making a distinction between children born out wedlock and those born to married parents.”
AP: But the Brevard County couple separated two years later, and the birth mother eventually left Florida with the child without telling her former lover. The woman who donated the egg and calls herself the biological mother finally tracked them down in Australia with the help of a private detective.
Volokh Conspiracy: D accused father of physically abusing her, and is now in foster care. The father says “D was lying about the physical abuse and was an ‘out of control’ teenager.” The father is awaiting trial on the physical abuse charges.
“She finally went over the head of the case worker, then over the head of a supervisor to the program director,” said Allen’s attorney Chris Branson. ” She was told in no uncertain terms that that was a bad move on her part and they were going to show her exactly what happens to people who make bad moves.”
Religion Clause: : In In re the Marriage of John and Angela Bell, (CA App., Nov. 18, 2011), a California appellate court upheld a trial court’s order in a marriage dissolution case preventing the father from continuing taking the couple’s young children to Mormon religious services and Sunday School without the mother’s consent.