Friday, August 2, 2013
Hot Mid-Summer Action! (or something like it)
Custody and Dollars
In a somewhat troubling decision, the Illinois Appellate Court has reversed a trial court and ordered that a "move-away" be permitted, where the finding that re-location was in the child's best interest was built on the economic benefit Mom (the moving parent) would receive when she married her fiance.
L.C. has two parents who are too poor to support him. His mother, a part-time waitress, receives child support in the amount of $67 bimonthly from his father, who, it appears, lives in a basement room of his mother’s and stepfather’s house. We hasten to add that there is no correlation between money and human worth and that we do not intend the least denigration of either parent. Nevertheless, such economic hardship is not to be taken lightly. Poverty can be grim and corrosive, and social mobility in the United States is not what it used to be. We do not mean to subscribe to an iron-clad determinism, but the opportunities L.C. has during his childhood probably will determine the opportunities he has for the rest of his life.
All in all, it strikes us as unfair to L.C. to jeopardize his good fortune by diminishing the means by which [would-be step-father] can help him materially.
Since Illinois applies a substantially higher threshold requirement in out-of-state relocation cases for the "moving away" parent than California applies, it's not clear that the result would have ultimately have been different in California. The "economic realities" of the case were such, however, as to demand that the court disclaim doing exactly what they were, ultimately, doing, which was tying the court's custody decision to the as-yet-unrealized marriageability of Mom.
Same-Sex Marriage Dust-Up Continues
Meanwhile, the dust on same-sex marriage continues to swirl around local courthouses, and city halls (or wherever they issue marriage licenses these days). An Ohio Federal court seems poised to determine that whether or not Ohio is required to provide same-sex marriage, it cannot refuse to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in states in which such marriages are authorized, and in Kentucky Federal court, a suit has now been filed by a pair of same-sex spouses and adoptive parents, challenging that state's refusal to recognize the marriage, and to permit the Kentucky adoption to proceed as an adoption by a married couple.