Family Law

U mad bro?

“To the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” — Every pissed off former partner ever.

Everything that ends, ends badly. That’s true of law partnerships as much as anything. Partners split up, somebody takes the high profile clients, somebody else ends up holding a fish and a box of Renée Zellweger DVDs.

Today, we’ve got a partner who had a falling out with his former colleagues and took his bitterness to his grave…

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Anti-abortion forces are winning. State by state, legislature by legislature, attempts to take away a woman’s right to control her own body have been wildly successful. At this point, only Oregon has no restriction on abortion rights. And liberals are afraid to challenge these laws at the Supreme Court because people like Antonin Scalia don’t even think women should be allowed to curse, much less control their own reproductive rights.

I know it’s futile to ask people who think that their religious beliefs should trump other people’s physical autonomy to engage in dispassionate logic. Otherwise they’d be making anti-abortion pills… sorry, I mean “birth control pills” free and readily available. But can’t they at least think through their anti-choice laws before they impose them on secular society?

For instance, a recent Nebraska abortion restriction forces minors to get the consent of a parent or guardian before getting an abortion. But what about people who don’t have a parent or a guardian? Can you believe that they literally didn’t think of that? And the state supreme court just stepped in to say that even though they have no clue how to deal with this situation, it’s totally okay…

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You gotta grow up sometime.

Quick question: when is your child no longer a “child,” so that you are not legally obligated to support the bugger when you are a non-custodial parent?

If you answered “over 18,” you might be wrong, depending on your state. Some states require you to pay child support for college expenses even after your kids are no longer minors. Sounds “enlightened,” doesn’t it? I’m sure it does if you are a university president who enjoys charging as much as possible for tuition. I’m telling you, birth control is the biggest bargain in the world.

A decision last week will take one state off the list of those with an extended definition of childhood. The decision can be looked at in a lot of ways: it’s a strike against the extended childhood of millennials, while at the same time registering as a shot to single parents trying to do their best for their children. And the decision is penned by a wackadoodle judge who probably thinks this will help Jesus in his eternal quest to keep people locked into loveless marriages.

It’s fun for the whole family…

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Does your law school ROI look like this?

* Victoria Espinel, chief IP counsel to the White House (better known as the “copyright czar”), has stepped down. A tech or trade company will snap her up in 3… 2… [Corporate Counsel]

* Child custody train wreck alert: Baby Veronica of SCOTUS fame was in the news after her father was arrested for refusing to return his child to her adoptive parents. [ABC News]

* Rather than watching people pump gas, BP is watching people pump out lawsuits against the company at a rather alarming rate as a result of its 2010 oil spill. [Businessweek]

* Cynthia Brim, the Illinois judge who was reelected despite the fact that she was legally insane, finally had a complaint filed against her by the state’s judicial board for being just a little bit too kooky for court. [Chicago Tribune]

* Your degree might not be worth a million dollars, but if you went to one of these schools, you probably got a good bank for your buck. We’ll have more on this later. [The Short List / U.S. News & World Report]

* The fight over attorneys’ fees in the antitrust lawsuits filed against BARBRI continues rage on, and class members still haven’t received a penny — which is all they’d really get, anyway. [National Law Journal]

* Congratulations to Newark Mayor and Yale Law alumnus Cory Booker! Last night, he handily won the New Jersey Democratic primary election for the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg’s seat. [CBS News]

At the risk of sounding like a legal academia groupie, I must declare: I love law professors. I love their big brains, their big ideas, and their big paychecks. This is why Above the Law treats certain law professors like bona fide celebrities.

But nobody’s perfect, and that includes legal academics. For example, law professors have an unfortunate tendency to overcomplicate matters.

Take divorce. Two formerly married law professors have been involved in a knock-down, drag-out legal fight that judges have called “frightening” and “appalling.” Who are the profs, and what are they fighting over?

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Dwyane Wade with his new girlfriend (ex-wife not pictured).

Love and marriage, love and marriage,
Go together like a horse and carriage.
This I tell ya, brother, you can’t have one without the other.

Less than a mile from the Buckingham Fountain, a woman plopped her butt down on the pavement, arranged her various cardboard signs and proceeded to hold court. Sitting mere feet away from a man who blows a loud whistle and holds signs accusing the FBI of rape and Obama of… something, the woman’s protest wouldn’t have registered here in Chicago if it weren’t for one thing: the woman was Dwyane Wade’s ex-wife.

A woman I work with announced it rather blithely Friday afternoon. “Dwyane Wade’s ex-wife is across the street protesting something about money.” Those of us who care deeply about basketball and freakshows and anything that will distract us from our awful jobs immediately ran to the window. And there she was (picture after the jump).

Siovaughn Funches was Dwyane Wade’s high school sweetheart. I imagine she had lived a fairytale life as her young beau climbed the rungs of basketball success and made his way to untold millions. Or maybe not. I can’t say I know exactly what Siovaughn Funches thought about her marriage. What I can say is that Siovaughn Funches sat on the ground and showed how powerless the law can be when it comes face-to-face with profound mental unbalance.

What if I told you Siovaughn Funches wasn’t the craziest story involving a basketball player’s love life this week? What if I told you about an abortion contract? Is that something you might be interested in?

Let’s talk sidewalks and abortions…

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For all of the unnecessary pomp and circumstance associated with the British monarchy, we sure are obsessed with it in America. Perhaps it’s because their gorgeous young royals are great at generating headlines, whether reputable or repugnant. First, there was the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, an eleventy-billion-hour extravaganza of elegance that our eyes were glued to for what seemed like all eternity. The family quickly dropped nobility’s veil, and just one year later, Prince Harry’s crown jewels and Duchess Catherine’s breasts were put on display in gossip rags for all the world to see. After recovering from tabloid infamy, we are now eagerly awaiting the birth of the royal baby, which is a very, very big deal.

The young royal couple does not yet know the sex of their child, and Duchess Catherine, who wanted to have a natural birth, has been in labor for more than 11 hours. At this point, she’s likely desperate to greet His or Her Royal Highness. Typically, British royalty would be crossing their fingers for a male heir to the throne, but thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act, all of that is going to change…

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* Though she be but little, she is fierce! Under Mary Jo White’s guidance, the Securities and Exchange Committee is now cracking down on financial fraud with a vengeance. [DealBook / New York Times]

* When a Biglaw firm’s chairman skeptically says, “Uh, OK, I mean, maybe,” with regard to a future increased demand for legal work, you know things are bad. We’ll have more on this later today. [New Republic]

* With Detroit’s downfall, vultures are swooping in left and right to snag clients. Firms retained thus far include Weil Gosthal, Arent Fox, Kirkland & Ellis, Winston & Strawn, and Sidley Austin. [Reuters]

* “I’m not a 100% sure this is legal.” Two law professors have come up with a revolutionary way for law students to finance legal education that sounds like it just might work. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Normally when Biglaw firms and legal departments go to court over contested litigation, something’s gone wrong, but this summer, they’re trying to do some good in the world. [National Law Journal]

* Soon, it’ll be known as Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, but even with a new name, you’re still going to be Cooley, and there’s no recovery from that. [Lansing State Journal]

* In Greenwich, Connecticut, the fact that people buy homes where they want their kids to go to school isn’t a “complicated concept.” The schools’ racial diversity, on the other hand, is. [New York Times]

I feel the last time we talked about a family court proceeding, it was horrible. Magistrate Patricia Doninger was caught on camera ignoring the pleas of a woman who was sexually assaulted by one of her court marshals.

It appears that Doninger has finally been relieved of her duties. With that out of the way, maybe we should focus on people who take a little more pride and concern when adjudicating family disputes.

The ideal family court judge should have one primary concern, and that is what is best for the children. Today we have a judge who intrinsically understands that “going to Disneyland” is always what’s best for the children…

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A disturbing video is making its way around social media today. It’s a six-minute family court video from August 2011 of a woman who complains that a marshal sexually assaulted her in a back room. The woman becomes increasingly agitated as the marshal, who is in the courtroom, then arrests her for “making false allegations about a police officer,” all while the magistrate plays with the woman’s child, at least until the child begs the arresting officer to not take her momma away.

It’s really tough to watch. Even I became emotional while watching the clip. And the marshal has since been dismissed. Most of the internet outrage is focused on the cop. Me, I can honestly say that after watching this I wish nothing but the absolute worst for Clark County Hearings Master Patricia Doninger. I think I’d rather see Edith Jones on the Supreme freaking Court than have this person “preside” over a game of Family Feud, much less be within shouting distance of a family court…

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