"Try not to be that high up to be friends, I want everything to be low, OK? Just try your best...I want you and my dad to be in a place that's settled and be friends." This very mature sounding quotes comes from the mouth of a young six-year old girl wearing a pink fuzzy bunny t-shirt in a recent viral video. This video was captured by Tiana's mother, who is currently engaged in a tumultuous family law proceeding with the child's Father. Cherish Sherry, Tiana's mother, said that this speech from her daughter brought her to tears and reminded her what was most important in all of this, her daughter. Though this video has now gotten tens of thousands of views on Youtube and other websites across the internet, for the family law practitioners amount us, it reminds us that despite how volatile divorce and custody cases can be, the kids are the most important part, and Pennsylvania law backs this up.
Recent psychotherapist, Dr. Ian Kerner, an expert couples counselor caused a stir by suggesting that couples "unfriend" each other on social media sites including Facebook in order to encourage face-to-face communication and maintain a sense of "mystery" in the relationship. This suggestion is contrasted with the therapists who argue that not only should couples be "friends" and follow each other on social media, but that they should go as far as to share a social media account. The argument here is that if she shares an Instagram account with me, she couldn't possibly be private messaging someone else, keeping secrets or engaging in an illicit affair via Twitter direct messaging (because that's what Ashley Madison is for). Regardless of the arguments on both sides, at the end of the day, despite their best efforts, couples do split up, and with custody, divorce, support, and property division cases pending, often family law litigants are left to wonder what to do with their social media now that their relationship has ended.
With the whirlwind of publicity surrounding Caitlyn (formerly "Bruce") Jenner's coming out as transgender, the often overlooked issue of transgendered individuals and transgender children in particular has become hot topic. Of specific importance in the family law community are issues including transgender children's access to resources, support and facilities they need. This can become especially trying for families going through divorce and custody litigation in addition to struggling to adjust to life with a transgender child.
Often the family law industry finds itself at offs with the Catholic Church, which has historically required a several step process and steep fees to have the dissolution of a marriage spiritually recognized by an annulment. Under Catholic doctrine, a marriage will not be formally recognized by the church as ended unless the parties seek an annulment. This would prevent either husband or wife from remarrying in the Church among other things and placed a large barrier in the way of the nearly 28,000 American couples who sought divorce last year. Though the Catholic Church still does not formally recognize divorce without a formal Catholic annulment, Pope Francis announced this week that he hopes to simplify and streamline the process allowing the more than 28% of Catholics whose marriages end in divorce to breathe a bit easier and putting a bit less strain on their pocketbooks as well.