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  Family Law - Legal News


The British government wants to make it easier for couples to divorce, spurred by the case of a woman ordered to stay in what she called a loveless marriage.

The Supreme Court ruled in July that Tini Owens must remain married to her husband of 40 years despite her wish to leave him. The judges called it a "very troubling case" but said their hands were tied by the country's divorce laws.

English law requires a spouse to prove unreasonable behavior, adultery, desertion or a five-year separation unless both parties agree to divorce.

BuzzFeed News reported Friday that ministers are due to open a consultation on reform. A government spokeswoman in the House of Lords, Charlotte Vere, confirmed that "we are looking at ways to reduce conflict in a divorce."


for a hearing in their divorce case.

They're due in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Thursday. Vanessa Trump filed for divorce in March. Afterward, they issued a joint statement saying they will "always have tremendous respect for each other."

The 2007 birth of the couple's first child made Donald Trump Sr. a grandfather a decade before he became president.

The Trumps were married in 2005 and have five children. Former Fox News Channel personality Kimberly Guilfoyle recently left the network amid news that she's dating Donald Trump Jr. She has joined a super PAC supporting the president. The divorce, initially listed as uncontested, is now contested.



Judicial authorities on Wednesday told the brother-in-law of Spain's King Felipe VI that he must report to a prison within five days in order to serve five years and 10 months for fraud and tax evasion, among other crimes.

Inaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball medal winner who has been married for two decades to the king's sister, Princess Cristina, is the closest person to the ruling family of the Bourbons to be convicted and imprisoned.

The case was seen as instrumental in prompting the abdication in 2014 of Juan Carlos I, who passed on the throne to Felipe. Public broadcaster TVE showed Urdangarin and his lawyer arriving Wednesday by car at the Palma de Mallorca court after landing on a commercial flight from Geneva, where the 50-year-old lives with his wife Cristina.

He left minutes later, without making any remarks to the crowd of reporters and cameras awaiting him. The provincial court ruled last year that Urdangarin embezzled about 6 million euros ($7 million) between 2004 and 2006 by exploiting his "privileged status" in the royal family to obtain public contracts related to sports events.

Spain's Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the lower court's decision, but acquitted him of forgery and reduced his prison sentence by five months. Cristina, who became the first member of the Spanish royal family to face criminal charges, was acquitted for aiding her husband's crimes and only fined as a beneficiary in the scheme. She had already paid a 265,000-euro fine ($311,500), but Tuesday's Supreme Court ruling on the appeal halved the amount.

It wasn't immediately clear where the former duke will serve the prison sentence, although in theory he has the right to choose any of the facilities in Spanish territory.

Urdangarin could still appeal to the Constitutional Court, but experts say that would be futile because the country's top court has not taken in any appeals for imprisonments beyond the five year mark in the past.


Five western nations have warned Kosovo against repealing or amending a law on a war crimes court, saying it would suffer negative consequences "in international and Euro-Atlantic integration."

A statement Thursday from the nations — the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Italy — said they were "deeply concerned by ongoing efforts to undermine the work of the Specialist Chambers." It called on Kosovo politicians and lawmakers "to abandon any thought of repealing or re-negotiating any aspect of the law ... (because that) calls into question Kosovo's commitment to the rule of law."

In December, a group of Kosovo lawmakers tried to amend the law, seeking to extend its jurisdiction over Serbs, their former adversaries in the 1998-1999 war for independence. The court now has jurisdiction only over potential war crimes suspects who were Kosovo citizens.

"(This move) puts the interests of certain individuals above the interests of Kosovo society. We condemn such a move," the nations said.

Kosovo detached from Yugoslavia following a three-month NATO air war in 1999 to stop a bloody Serbian crackdown against ethnic Albanian separatists. It then declared unilateral independence from Serbia in 2008, a move recognized by 114 states but not by Serbia.

The court law was passed in 2015 as a result of U.S. and European pressure on Kosovo's government to confront alleged war crimes that the Kosovo Liberation Army committed against ethnic Serbs.




A jilted husband's lawsuit against a doctor accused of stealing his wife's love can proceed after a North Carolina appeals court ruled Tuesday that the husband can continue suing the spouse's lover, seeking damages.

The state Court of Appeals decision resurrects a lawsuit that a trial judge had thrown out in Forsyth County, whose seat is Winston-Salem. The judge ruled that state law violates a person's constitutional free speech and free expression rights to engage in intimate sexual activity and expression with other consenting adults.

North Carolina is one of only about a half-dozen states that still allow lawsuits accusing a cheating spouse's lover of alienation of affection and criminal conversation.

"These laws were born out of misogyny and in modern times are often used as tools for enterprising divorce lawyers seeking leverage over the other side," Judge Richard Dietz wrote in the unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel. Nevertheless, such lawsuits "are designed to prevent and remedy personal injury, and to protect the promise of monogamy that accompanies most marriage commitments."

The court said Marc Malecek filed the lawsuit after his wife, a nurse, had an affair in 2015 with Dr. Derek Williams, a physician at the hospital where the woman works. Williams challenged the laws as unconstitutional, citing a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision voiding a Texas law outlawing homosexual acts because liberty meant allowing adults to make their own decisions about conduct.

Williams argued that the state laws "target extra-marital intimacy or sex because the State disapproves of expressing that intimacy while married to someone else," Dietz wrote.

The largest alienation award in state history was in 2011, when a Wake County judge awarded $30 million to the former wife of a Raleigh business owner. The ex-wife had sued the businessman's current spouse.

About 200 lawsuits alleging alienation are filed each year in North Carolina, but the potential liability is raised in virtually every divorce case that involves infidelity, Raleigh divorce attorney Lisa Angel said in an interview.

"People who are suffering a divorce as a result of an affair, there's a lot of economic damage. It's not that hard to make the case, as the court is making it clear here, that there's injury to a person when this happens," Angel said.




The New Jersey Supreme Court has reversed a decades-old law in a landmark decision that makes the child the focus of divorce relocation proceedings.

The law centers on divorced parents who want to leave New Jersey with the child against the other parent's wishes.

NJ.com reports the previous law focused on whether the move would "cause harm" to the child. After Tuesday's ruling, divorced parents now must prove the move is in the child's best interest.

The decision centers on a 2015 case where a father tried to keep his daughters from moving to Utah with his ex-wife. The attorney for the father says the ruling will make a large impact in future proceedings.

The attorney for the children's mother has not responded to requests for comment.



The same court that paved the way for same-sex marriage in the United States ruled Tuesday that an unmarried gay woman whose former girlfriend gave birth to two children through artificial insemination has the same parental rights as their biological mother.

The Supreme Judicial Court issued its decision Tuesday in a complicated case about the parental rights of a once-partnered, but unmarried, gay couple.

Julie Gallagher gave birth to the children, and her former partner, Karen Partanen, has helped raise them. They are now 4 and 8.

After the couple split in 2013, Partanen wanted to be declared a full legal parent.

A family court judge dismissed Partanen's request, finding that she didn't meet the requirements under state law because she and Gallagher were not married when the children were born, and Partanen is not a biological parent.

In overturning that ruling, the SJC found that a gay person may establish themselves as a child's presumptive parent under state law, even without a biological relationship with the child.

"The plain language of the provisions, then, may be construed to apply to children born to same-sex couples, even though at least one member of the couple may well lack biological ties to the children," Justice Barbara Lenk wrote for the court in the unanimous decision.

The SJC made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage through a landmark decision in 2003. Partanen was represented by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the same Boston-based legal group that brought the gay marriage case.

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