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March 2013 Archives

Bill disallows custody claims for rapists

After learning of a Missouri child custody lawsuit against a woman by the man who allegedly raped her, the Utah Senate voted March 13 to pass a bill that would disallow such claims in that state. While such lawsuits are still allowed in Missouri, Utah will no longer allow rapists to sue for child custody if the child was the product of the attack, nor will they be allowed to obtain visitation with such children. The bill was written after legislators heard of the Missouri case, in which the woman became pregnant after she was allegedly raped. The rapist later served her with a lawsuit demanding custody of the child that was born as a result of the sexual assault. This case sparked outrage among Utah's legislators when they realized that their own laws could also permit such a situation.

Gray divorces mean changes in property division

A recent study shows that 25 percent of divorces in 2009, or one in every four, occur between partners aged 50 or older. This is double the figure for that age group for 1990 and is likely to increase in coming years as the average age of the population continues to climb. Property division between long-time partners and those in their later years are generally different than those of younger couples in Missouri. Recovering financially from a "gray" divorce can be difficult. Spouses at this age are likely to have long-term investments that must be divided fairly, and both partners must have enough to live on as they enter retirement age. Gray divorces leave little room for miscalculation if both partners are to have sufficient funds to manage for the rest of their lives. 

Atlanta woman sues Michael Jordan for child support

A 48-year-old woman has filed a suit claiming that Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Bobcats and a member of the basketball Hall of Fame, fathered her 16-year-old son. The suit requests that Jordan comply with a paternity test and, if proven to be the boy's father, pay both child support and expenses such as medical and dental care. The suit also asks that the boy be given a new birth certificate and his surname be changed to Jordan. The boy's mother has asked that any trial or court hearing be closed to reporters to protect the teen's identity. However, the teen himself allegedly posted a video to YouTube claiming that Jordan is his father and that he wants him to be involved in his life. So far, the mother does not appear to have retained an attorney in the matter.

Missouri legislator introduces bill to change custody hearings

House Bill 566 would give fathers who have established paternity expedited hearings for violations of custody or visitation. A representative of Springfield, Missouri, who sponsors the new child custody bill, said that parental and marriage ideals of today have changed and that many couples share children without the benefit of traditional vows. For married couples, Missouri law provides expedited hearings in the case of disagreements or violations of custody and support agreements. However, that same protection does not currently extend to partners who are not married, meaning that a father may not be able to bring violations of agreements to the court's attention in a timely fashion.