Friday, June 26, 2009

Divorce, Tabloid News, and the First Amendment

The Connecticut Supreme Court has held that once someone with a "celebrity divorce" signs an agreement that gives away the right to blab about the divorce to the media, in exchange for money from her ex, that agreement will be enforced, and isn't an improper violation of the would-be-blabber's First Amendment rights.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Cup of Coffee on the Way, Part 3: Pre-Marital Agreements: Romance-Killer or Marriage Insurance?

Back in February, I started down a path of discussing what we, as a society and as a state, intended when we set up our "family law" and rules, and how, and whether, that should change. I've been contemplating those issues since then and talking to lots of people, about 'em.

One of the issues which has nagged at me is the relative ease with which we as a society let (some) folks undertake the "off-the-shelf" marriage contract, but for various reasons, make them jump through complicated hoops if they want to fine-tune and customize that contract (which is what a pre-marital agreement really does) , and refuse to let some other couples (that'd be the same-sex couples) enter into that contract at all.

Pre-marital agreements have finally made their way into popular song*, but they're still regarded by much of the public as something that only the celebrity rich need or want, and as a "romance killer" no matter who's considering them.

My view** is that they're exactly the opposite; they're a form or marriage insurance. I believe that the discussions which fiances have with each other in regard to the terms of a pre-marital agreement are the conversations which they should be having already if they're getting married. I'll offer the anecdotal observation, based on 30 years of family law practice, that the biggest cause of divorce isn't specifically sex, or money, or power, or boredom, it's that moment when one spouse says "This isn't the deal I thought I'd made when I signed up."

. . . and in other news, in at least one state, you can still get a jury verdict for "alienation of affection" (someone stealing your spouse) by someone who's engaged in "criminal conversation" (adultery).

*"If you aint no punk, holla 'We Want Prenup! WE WANT PRENUP!" Kanye West: "Gold-Digger"
** about which I rant and rave all the darn time

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

For Those Who Thought I was just Goofing Off In New Orleans

AFCC Annual Meeting, New Orleans Saturday, May 30, 2009, 9:15 am (now available for download)

"You Signed WHAT?"

Mental health professionals have an ethical obligation to provide an “informed consent” process to the families they serve and attorneys are obligated to advise parents and protect their rights. This includes reviewing consent forms presented bymental health professionals. This interactive workshop will identify problematic provisions in consent forms encountered in practice and present essential elements of any informed consent process. Risk management strategies for both attorneys and mental health professionals will be discussed.

  • Lyn R. Greenberg, Ph.D., Los Angeles, CA
  • Richard Gould-Saltman, J.D., Gould-Saltman Law Offices, Los Angeles, CA
  • Michael C. Gottlieb, Ph.D., ABPP, Dallas, TX