Groundbreaking ruling recognizes same-sex common-law marriage in Utah | The Salt Lake Tribune

The best gift Nicki Bidlack got for Christmas in 2015 was a piece of paper.

It’s an amended birth certificate for her 2-year-old son that lists both Bidlack and the late Sara Clow as the boy’s mothers.

Source: Groundbreaking ruling recognizes same-sex common-law marriage in Utah | The Salt Lake Tribune

Attorneys Can Advise Clients to “Clean Up” Social Media Pages

The Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee said in a recent advisory opinion that attorneys may advise clients to “clean up” their social media pages ahead of litigation—including changes to privacy settings and removing information. FL social mediaThe advice is ethical as long as it is in compliance with substantive laws or rules and the information is preserved in some way—such as unlawful obstructive, alteration, or concealment of evidence. The opinion will become final unless commenting bar members seek review from the Board of Governors. The inquirer asked the following questions of the committee. Prior to filing suit:
  1. May a lawyer advise a client to remove posts, photos, and information from social media pages/accounts that are related to (and not related to ) the incident for which lawyer is retained?
  2. May a lawyer advise a client to change social media [profiles] privacy settings to remove pages/accounts from public view?
  3.  Must a lawyer advise a client not to remove posts, photos, videos, and information whether or not directly related to the litigation if the lawyer has advised the client to set privacy settings to not allow public access?
The ethics committee focused on Florida professional conduct rule 4-3.4(a) Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel and decided the question to ask is whether the information is relevant to a “reasonably foreseeable proceeding.” A recent decision in Root v. Balfour Construction, Inc. ruled discovery principles apply to social media information but it must be relevant to the case and admissible in court or lead to evidence that is admissible in court. 132 S.O.3d 867, 869-870 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2014). The New York County Lawyers Association also addressed the issue of pre-litigation social media scrubbing. The opinion is followed by other states including North Carolina and Pennsylvania, which conclude the practice is admissible as long as the removal does not constitute spoliation and to advise client if the information is relevant to the suit. Determining what information is relevant is a factual question and is determined on a case-by-case basis, the opinion stated. by

The National Advocates Expands Membership Options to Include Top 40 Under 40

As our organization continues to grow, we welcome all input and suggestions from our members and are constantly looking for ways to make the organization a continued success for many years to come. It is based on some of those membership suggestions that we are pleased to announce that The National Advocates will now include memberships for both Top 100 attorneys and the Top 40 Under 40 attorneys in each state or highly populated region. The National Advocates: Top 40 Under 40 is led by inaugural President Jim Mueller and Executive Committee members Thomas Dance, Spojmie Nasiri, Matthew Friedman, Ricky Palladino, T. Hunter Lewis, Jelena Kovacevic and Natalie Webb. If you know of any attorneys that are below the age of 40 and would be an excellent fit for The National Advocates: Top 40 Under 40 membership, please nominate them for membership by either emailing with the attorney’s name, state and firm website or submitting a Nomination Form here. We welcome your opinions and feedback. Please contact our Membership Director, Keri Skasick with any questions, comments, suggestions and nominations by email at or call 888-491-3885.

Same-Sex Spouses To Benefit Financially from Supreme Court’s Gay-Marriage Decision

Friday’s monumental ruling concerning same-sex marriage from the Nation’s highest court may give same-sex couples more cause for celebration than originally thought. In a vote of 5-4 on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled to allow same-sex couples the same rights to marriage as their heterosexual counterparts. The ruling forces all 50 states, including the 13 states that previously held out on allowing gay marriage, to legalize the marriages between gay and lesbian couples. Even more notably, it will force all 50 states to recognize the unions, making getting some benefits that were previously out of reach of gay couples easier to achieve. Before the announcement on Friday, a same-sex couple that was married in a state where the union is legal, but resides in a state where gay marriage is not, found themselves unable to receive some of the same financial benefits that were afforded to straight married couples. Since the state that they reside in did not recognize the marriage as legal, couples had issues with obtaining spousal Social Security and Military Veteran benefit payments. Both benefits are based on the state where the couple resides and married gay couples found that their requests for their spouses’ benefits were denied. Today’s ruling will now allow all married couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, the ability to receive the payments and benefits that they are now legally owed. Married gay couples may also see a financial gain at their workplace with potential changes to the taxes and benefits there as well. Many employers had to create separate systems to calculate taxes and benefit packages for their same-sex, married employees that were higher than those same benefits charged to heterosexual, married employees. This tax difference would cause the employers to have to raise the pay amount of the gay employee to compensate for the difference. It is estimated that the legalization of gay marriage may save employers up to $1.3 billion, an attractive perceptive to the 379 companies that wrote to the Supreme Court urging them to legalize same-sex marriage.   Let us know your thoughts on the Supreme Court’s decision and its financial benefits on our social media pages: Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn   Source:  

Collecting Child Support or Maintenance from an Out-of-state Ex

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It is hard enough to collect arrears and enforce an order when all the parties live in the same jurisdiction.

To enforce an out-of-state order for spousal maintenance, alimony, support or child support, you need to know about The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Parties often need a legally recognized forum to collect either child support or spousal maintenance when the parties to the agreement or order live in different states. People read the act and tend to panic. What on earth does it mean? It is really not too complicated – just like a basic jigsaw puzzle. Put together the different parts, and a complete picture emerges.

History and purpose of UIFSA

  [sws_pullquote_right]Thanks to the Modern Law firm of Mesa and Phoenix, AZ, for this informative post. [/sws_pullquote_right] UIFSA is a federal statute that applied to all the states. It is hard enough to collect arrears and enforce an order when all the parties live in the same jurisdiction. Imagine the legal nightmare if the parties engaged in endless battles over which state had jurisdiction. Parties could move, seeking a state that has more lenient or favorable laws. Enacting UIFSA prevented ‘forum shopping’ by out of state parties who owed payments Whenever a law mentions ‘non-residents,’ it is referring to something in the law known as “long arm jurisdiction.” This gives local courts jurisdiction or power over an out of state citizen, when that citizen has “minimum contacts” with the state. The theory behind long arm jurisdiction is a party has received benefits or has sufficient relationship within a state, resulting in that party being subject to that state’s law.

How the Interstate Enforcement Law works

  Issues may get complicated because two states are involved. Suppose a party obligated to pay support has missed several payments. A state maintains what is known as ‘continuing exclusive jurisdiction over the obligor to enforce’ the agreement or the order. The foreign state, where the obligor now resides, is known as the enforcing state. A state can transfer its support order to the enforcing state, so the enforcing state may obtain compliance. Once the support is transferred, the enforcing state has no power to modify the agreement, unless there is agreement from both parties. For more information, please read the entire blog post.

What to Expect During Divorce

This article is reproduced from the Pines Laurent, LLP website. For more information on what to expect during your divorce, or to discuss filing for divorce with expert Los Angeles divorce lawyers, contact Pines Laurent, LLP today.
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While you certainly do not have to argue with your partner, it may happen. Do not beat yourself up but know that the quicker you resolve the conflict, the better you will feel.

If you are considering filing for divorce, or have begun the process, it may be helpful to know what you can expect during this often emotional period of time. As your divorce lawyer can attest, every situation is different, but there are a few common insights that many divorced couples can share in regards to your road ahead. Foremost, it is crucial that you have trusted legal counsel at your side, particularly if your soon-to-be-ex has hired an attorney. Your divorce lawyer can provide you with additional guidance and expertise on what to expect when you’re divorcing.

What to Expect When You File For Divorce

  1. Time. Your divorce may take longer than you expect, especially if children or money is involved. If you and your partner signed a premarital agreement prior to getting married, many of these issues may have likely been addressed and therefore, your divorce may be finalized quicker than you expect. Either way, your Los Angeles divorce lawyer can provide you with an estimated time line for your divorce.
  2. Arguments. While you certainly do not have to argue with your partner, it may happen. Do not beat yourself up but know that the quicker you resolve the conflict, the better you will feel.
  3. Emotional Children. If you and your partner had children together, you can expect them to feel many of the highs and lows that you are feeling, but in their own way (such as acting out, crying, attention seeking, or other problematic behavior).  Encourage them to talk to you about how they feel and remind them that the divorce is not their fault. Perhaps counseling may be beneficial.
  4. Camaraderie. You’re going to meet other divorced men / women who remind you that you are not alone and help you get through this time. They may end up becoming some of the best friends you make in life.
  5. Shift in Family Dynamic. After you separate or file for divorce, the dynamic in your family and extended families will shift. For example, your ex’s family may not want to stay friendly with you.
  6. Dating. Your ex may start dating immediately. You may be hurt, disappointed, and/or angry over how quickly he or she moves on. It is important that you do, as well.
  7. Change in Friends. Some of your couple friends may not remain your close friends, perhaps because they were friends with your ex first or because they only like to spend time with couples. You may meet some new friends with whom you can relate and connect (see #4 above).
  8. Emotional Roller Coaster. Some days you will believe filing for divorce was the best decision you ever made, other days you won’t be so sure. Find someone you can confide in and share your true feelings with, whether it is a professional or close friend.