I just finished reading the Winter Edition of the Family Law Quarterly (the "FLQ"), published by the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association. It contained an article critiquing "Parental Alienation Syndrome" by Dr. Janet R. Johnston, a professor of justice studies at San Jose University called "Children of Divorce Who Reject a Parent and Refuse Visitation: Recent Research and Social Policy Implications for the Alienated Child". It also provided a Review of the Year in Family Law which was dominated by the issue of same-sex marriage. Lastly, the FLQ provided a case digest of significant cases from all fifty states. Eleven Virginia cases made the case digest on a variety of topics. Here are the cases.
In Newman v. Newman, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that counsel for parties can sign an agreement for their clients and that there is nothing invalid or nonbinding about a consent order signed by counsel.
In Baldwin v. Baldwin, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that a Virginia Code amendment would not apply to all agreements or orders in cases regardless of age because such an application would impair the sacred obligation of contracts.
In Kane v. Szymczak, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled a trial judge erred in making a custody and visitation decision that simply enumerated the numbered statutory factors the judge utilized in rendering the decision. That was not "communcating the basis for the decision" as required by Virginia Code Section 20-124.3.
In Roberts v. Roberts, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that a trial judge did not violate a father's constitutional rights by reducing his in person visitation to a thirty minute telephone call once a week where the reduction was due to his excessively purtannical conduct.
In Sullivan v. Jones, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that a reversal of a prior order allowing a relocation did not act as res judicatea and trump the change in circumstances test so a mother could still petition for visitation and ask for a relocation which was permitted.
In Wheeler v. Wheeler, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that a reolcation by a mother to Florida was in the best interests of the child since such relocation would improve mother's deteriorating economic conditions, provide financial security, and would allow children to live with primary caregiver who could stay at home where Father's relationship would not suffer due to relocation.
In Hodges v. Commonwealth, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that holds that food stamps and Medicaid assistance were not “public assistance moneys” as contemplated in Code Section 63.2-1908; and that the legislature did not exempt noncustodial parents receiving those forms of public assistance from reimbursing DCSE for moneys expended on behalf of their children.
In Hatloy v. Hatloy, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that a father was entitled to a reduction in child support even though father was making $55,000.00 plus 2x that in stock options where he was laid off due to economic downturn.
In Princiotto v. Gorell, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that a father could pay bills directly to third party suppliers instead of paying the mother child support where strong and conclusive proof showed mother was financiall irresponsible and the child support money would not be used for the children's benefit.
In Spero v. Heath, the Virginia Supreme Court held the trial court properly refused to grant father's petition for name change after genetic testing showed that father was indeed the child's father.
In Hoebelheinrich v. Hoebelheinrich, the Virginia Supreme Court held that it was proper for the trial judge to appoint the wife's expert to give an opinion on valuation of the husband's medical practice and then to follow the appointed expert's opinion, since the husband had been invited to suggest experts and failed to do so.