Texas court is cautious on allowing gay divorce

AUSTIN — Texas Supreme Court justices raised pointed questions Tuesday over what happens if they allow gay couples wed elsewhere to divorce here – or if they close the door on the idea because of the state ban on same-sex marriage.

One highlighted the oddity of the court being asked to preserve Texas’ gay-marriage ban by preventing gay divorce.

“It would strike some people as odd that the state is advocating a view that would keep same-sex couples wedlocked instead of letting them split,” said Supreme Court Justice Don R. Willett. “It would seem to many that divorce would further the state’s public policy and not undermine the state’s public policy.”

The court could take months before ruling in the consolidated cases, which involve two gay couples who were married in Massachusetts and sought divorces after moving to Texas — one in Austin, and one in Dallas.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, now running for governor, opposes allowing Texas divorces in same-sex marriages. He said in court documents that Texas’ recognition of marriage as only being between a man and a woman prevents gay couples from divorcing here.

“There is no way to grant a divorce without recognizing a marriage,” James D. Blacklock, Abbott’s deputy attorney general for legal counsel, argued before the court Tuesday. Several justices raised questions about that issue during arguments.

Written by PEGGY FIKAC. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit http://www.xmgarcialaw.com


80% of 100 largest law firms now blogging

Large law firms who aren’t blogging are conspicuous by their absence. Thisper law firm marketing strategist, Adrian Dayton (@adriandayton).

Rather than blogging declining with the growth of over social media, blogging is growing faster than ever among the Am Law 100.

Why the popularity of blogs among large law firms? Per Dayton:

  • Blog posts are the fuel that feeds the social media engine. It is law firms’ blog posts that are shared widely across other social media.
  • There is no more powerful tool for search engine optimization (SEO) than the continuous creation of blog content. When clients and prospective clients search online as to an issue that your lawyers could address, is your my firm coming up in the Google search? If the answer is no, it may be time to start blogging.
  • Blogs generate high quality work for large law firms. Dayton recently spoke to a firm which has brought in more than 20 high quality engagements through its blogs.

Who are the 20 holdouts among the top 100 firms who are not blogging?

Written by Kevin O’Keefe. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit http://www.xmgarcialaw.com

Blogging democratizes publishing and expression for lawyers

I came away more convinced than ever that blogging, now empowered by WordPress, is the perfect fit for lawyers wanting to achieve more.

From Winter:

The enticing format and ease of use have given this mini-army its own path to expression: free, uncomplicated, and fueled by their own imagination and initiative. The result is perhaps one of the best examples of a democracy in action.


WordPress has empowered the blogging generation with a force that has changed not only the way we read and report news, but also how we create and market ourselves.

No longer are lawyers beholden to legal publishers and large legal marketing companies to establish a strong and broad reputation. We no longer need to network through associations and events, alone, to establish relationships.

Written by Kevin O’Keefe. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit http://www.xmgarcialaw.com

Gov. Scott, send a signal on alimony reform

Gov. Rick Scott will soon get another chance to fix Florida’s archaic divorce law and put an end to routine awards of permanent alimony. It’s an issue whose time has come. It deserves his support.

Florida’s law dates to a day when women didn’t work outside the home, divorce was uncommon and cohabitation was scandalous. It says that if you get divorced after 17 years or more of marriage, your ex may have to pay you a monthly award for life.

Think about that. If you marry at 20 and divorce at 37, you could be stuck paying alimony forever. There is no obligation that your former spouse try to become self-sufficient. And if they live with someone else, there’s a disincentive for them to marry because they would lose their gravy train.

As it stands, the law can force some ex-spouses into bankruptcy, keep them from retiring or force them to spend thousands of dollars on attorney fees to try to amend long-ago awards. Even those who believe permanent alimony is appropriate agree that payments should be lowered at retirement age when most incomes drop.

No one is talking about eliminating alimony. Many spouses need and deserve financial help after a divorce, particularly those in their 50s, 60s and older. Especially in need are those who have never worked outside the home and would have trouble finding a job.

But current law gives too much flexibility to judges and creates a lifetime yoke for working people whose marriages have come to an end.

Written by Sun Sentinel Editorial Board. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit http://www.xmgarcialaw.com

Next gay-rights battle: Divorce

Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham wants to force Mississippi, one of the America’s most conservative states, to recognize her same-sex marriage. She hopes to do so by getting a divorce.

She and Dana Ann Melancon traveled from Mississippi to San Francisco to get married in 2008. The wedding was all Czekala-Chatham hoped it would be, the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, dreams for a promising future. She wrote the vows herself.

The couple bought a house together in Walls, a town of about 1,100 in northern Mississippi’s DeSoto County in June 2009. But the marriage was tumultuous and, like so many others, it didn’t last.

Czekala-Chatham, a 51-year-old credit analyst and mother of two teenage sons from an earlier straight marriage, filed for divorce in chancery court in September. She wants to force Mississippi to recognize the same-sex marriage for the purpose of granting the divorce.

Written by Associated Press. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit http://www.xmgarcialaw.com

How can domestic violence survivors protect their privacy?

It is not often that we cover subject matter in a computer security blog that require a “trigger warning”, but today is one of those days. The following blog deals with potentially difficult information regarding protecting people who have been the victims of domestic abuse or stalking that could trigger an extreme reaction in people who’ve been traumatized by similar experiences.

Domestic violence is not something that gets discussed much in information security circles, for a variety of possible reasons, but there are few people that need advice on assuring their online safety more urgently than victims of stalking and domestic abuse. How exactly do the particular information security needs of people in these situations differ from the norm? What can people do to protect themselves when there is a known and persistent threat? After looking into this, I am left with as many questions as answers.

Before we get into the meat of this article, let me provide a frame of reference: I will be focusing on those victims of domestic abuse and stalking that have escaped the situation, and are now looking to avoid further contact with their abusers. The subtleties of getting protection while still in the environment in which domestic abuse is taking place go more into the realm of psychology than simple computer security concerns. And because there is so much more to be explored on this particular subject, think of this article less as something prescriptive, and more of an open-ended discussion. If you have experience on this subject, I welcome you to add your voice to the comments to help educate me as well as other readers.

Written by   . To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit http://www.xmgarcialaw.com

How to privatize child protection in six easy stages

Sometimes seeing the whole picture is difficult when the detail is drip-fed. But after a year of detailed announcements and changes, the education secretary Michael Gove‘s agenda to privatise child protection is becoming visible. Here are the government’s six steps to child protection privatisation.

1. Rubbish social workers by requiring that a serious case review into a child’s death is published in full and then describe it as “risible” if it does not deliver on a plate the heads of social workers, as happened last week when children‘s minister, Edward Timpson, criticised the SCR into the death of Hamzah Khan (pictured). Ensure there is plenty of critical comment to feed the press. And if there is any local reluctance to publish in full a review, to protect the identities and welfare of remaining children, have a national panel with no sharp-end experience in child protection to bully the local safeguarding children board into publication.

2. Take care that attention is not on the role and involvement of the police, doctors, health workers or schools.

3. Give the blame culture credibility by making sweeping statements aboutpolitically correct and naive social workers who are concerned about the increasing deprivation created by welfare cuts for a growing number of children and families they meet every day.

Written by . To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit http://www.xmgarcialaw.com