9.18.2019

Can Discovery in Litigation Assist Family Restoration?

This guest blog post is offered by Regent Law 2L Rachel Barron –

 

The discovery process in family law litigation is often contentious and costly; however, it is essential that the parties and attorneys involved in family law matters understand exactly how important the process is. More important than simply engaging in the process is the proper utilization of discovery tools. Prior to attending Regent University School of Law, I was a paralegal in Texas for six years. Most of that work was centered in family law.

In my time working with family law clients I have had countless conversations with clients to attempt to help them understand the importance of discovery in relation to Court.  Clients, however, often refuse to utilize discovery tools simply to save money.  That decision can be the proverbial nail in the coffin of an otherwise good case. I have written my law school thesis on this critical matter, and you can read it here

Although this piece reviews the Texas rules of discovery in relation to family law, the importance of the process communicated in the article rings true in any state. And knowing, understanding, and utilizing excellent discovery strategy can lead to not only a winning case, but toward restoring your family.

 

Rachel Barron is a 2L at Regent University School of Law and Board Certified as a Paralegal in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. When she is not busy with school, Rachel enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. After graduation, Rachel plans to practice Family Law in Texas.

9.10.2019

Can Your Marriage Help Solve Marriage Decline in America?

Why is marriage in decline in our culture?  Commentator Ben Shapiro discussed this issue in a recent podcast where he focused on a new study.  The Cornell University study offered up its explanation for the decline – there just are not as many economically-attractive men for unmarried women as there used to be.  That could be the case, as additional research shows that women still consider a man's financial stability to be one of the most important factors in their determination of his marriageability. 

Ben Shapiro, however, made the claim that the marriage decline is due to a general decline in religion across economic demographics – which certainly may be true also, as Americans survey faith in decline as well. 

In our recent article Solving Millennial Marriage Evolution, which you can read at https://ssrn.com/abstract=3293263, Kathleen Akers and I think, however, that he may have missed the wider point that we made in that piece - that people on the lower end of the wage and income gap are incentivized not to marry due to government benefits. 

Instead, we argue that marriage can enhance personal responsibility which causes partners to rise to the challenge that a commitment to marriage requires – and they benefit from that choice – and so do their children.  Getting married makes a big difference.

Read Solving Millennial Marriage Evolution today to understand what is really happening with marriage, and how you can be a part of reversing the marriage decline toward family restoration.



8.28.2019

Parental Responsibility and Family Restoration: Was it Worth it??

This guest post is provided by Rebecca Kelly, former Family Law student at Regent Law

“Was it worth it?” A question many people will be asked multiple times in their lives. For Toni Anderson, 73, I am sure she would say no amount of money is worth having your husband abandon you to raise your daughter alone.

Not only did her husband, Donald Lenhart, abandon his family physically, but financially as well. They did not know to where he had relocated, although later it was found he no longer resided in the country, but had left them in California and moved to Canada with his girlfriend.

Ms. Anderson struggled to provide for her daughter during her childhood as she was working multiple jobs and raising her daughter alone. The finances were tight, and Ms. Anderson struggled to make ends meet, even to the extent of accepting government assistance.

Unfortunately for Mr. Lenhart, California does not have a code that contains a statute of limitations for back child support. The abandoned parent has the right to collect the funds due until all support has been collected. “The State of California allows for interest to be charged on missed support payments at a rate of 10% per annum. Interest accrues from date installment is due if payable in installments, or from date of entry of judgment. (Code of Civil Procedure §685.010, 685.020, and 685.030) California also charges interest on retroactive child support at a statutory rate of 10% per annum. Interest accrues from date installment is due if payable in installments, or from date of entry of judgment. (Code of Civil Procedure §685.010, 685.020, and 685.030)”[1]

The principal amount Mr. Lenhart owed Ms. Anderson totaled more than $160,000 with interest and penalties combined. The amount due, had he paid when owed, would have been $35,000.  Mr. Lenhart has two years to pay off this full balance before other penalties and measures kick in.

Even fifty years after the incident, and $150,000 due to her, Ms. Anderson would agree that the loss of a husband and a father for her daughter was not worth it.

[1] “California Child Support: California Child Support Enforcement.” Support Collectors, www.supportcollectors.com/resources/california-laws-and-resources/.  

To learn more about how father absence affects children see Lynne Marie Kohm and Ashley Michelle Williams, The Tragic Tapestry of Father Absence and National Strength, 13 Liberty U. L. Rev. 1 (2018), https://ssrn.com/abstract=3326881; and C.S. Lewis and the Father Wound, https://ssrn.com/abstract=3419099 (2018).

 

 

 



[1] “California Child Support: California Child Support Enforcement.” Support Collectors, www.supportcollectors.com/resources/california-laws-and-resources/.

 

8.06.2019

Eros Isn't Enough - We Need all Four Loves

This post is from the Colson Center's Breakpoint Daily with John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris: 

In a recent opinion piece at Business Insider, Shana Lebowitz proclaimed, "Divorce isn't a failure...In fact, it could mean your marriage was a success!" According to the relationship experts cited by Lebowitz, the goal of marriage isn't that two people become one flesh, or create a family, or even share lifelong love. No, the purpose of marriage, these so-called experts claim, is that we grow as individuals. Even marriages that end in divorce can accomplish that goal!

If the goal of marriage is looking out for number one rather than two becoming one, then it makes sense that calling it quits could be a success story. But, I doubt that the abandoned spouses and children of even the self-improved would agree with that new way of thinking.

This sort of sad nonsense can only be written in a culture where marriage has been redefined and reimagined around an already redefined and reimagined idea of love.

Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims. Individual lives and entire cultures are devastated whenever love is reduced to something less than God intended, much less when it is redefined as selfishness. The love, or more accurately, the loves God created for us are way bigger than most of us understand.

Back in 2013 when Sean McDowell and I wrote our book on so-called "same-sex marriage," I asked a friend to write the epilogue about what he, as an individual who struggled with same-sex attraction, needed from the church. "Don't move the goalposts," he wrote, and pretend the Scriptures aren't clear on this issue. But, he added, if we are going to ask gays and lesbians to forgo sexual intimacy (which we should), we must not withhold friendship and family from them. 

Behind his remarks is C. S. Lewis' life-changing book, "The Four Loves"—a book I think is more relevant now than ever. In it, Lewis identifies four types of love: affection (or the Greek word, storge), friendship or brotherly love (Greek, phileo), sexual love (or eros), and sacrificial love (agape, what older Bible translations call "charity"). Of course, Christians believe that marriage is the only rightful place for eros, but Lewis also makes it clear that affection, friendship and especially sacrificial love—the kind Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 13—should define all of our relationships, including and especially marriage. 

This is why pornography is so devastating. Beneath this cultural epidemic is a terrible mis-definition of eros, which not only twists inward the good God-given eros that can define marital relationships, but it corrupts all other loves as well. 

I say "twist inward" because erotic love is intended by God to turn our attention outward, toward a captivation with the other. Think about it: Eros is literally life-giving. It's what creates babies and families. Thus it can be said that erotic love is personal, but it's far from private. By design it draws us out of ourselves, toward another person, toward her family, and Lord willing, toward new little lives who are the result of that love, who then take their place in the larger community. 

Pornography not only corrupts and twists eros, but also phileo and storge as well. When the relationship between men and women becomes as hyper-sexualized as it is in our culture, men and women can't be friends or show normal signs of simple affection and caring. Today, even the relationships between men and men, and women and women have been hypersexualized, which places a queer question mark over normal, healthy same-sex friendships that should be based on phileo and storge

Re-orienting sexual love so that it serves both phileo and storge, and is sanctified by agape as Scripture teaches, isn't just a recipe for a joyful and long-lasting marriage. It's a recipe for healthy communities, families and friendships. Not to mention, it aims for things so much higher than "personal growth." 

Every relationship we have calls us outside of ourselves and invites us to show forth the image of the God who not only chose love for His own name, but put so much of it in His world that one Greek word simply wouldn't do.

Learn More... C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

7.09.2019

Reflections on a Christian Perspective on Studying Family Law

One of the most conflict-ridden aspects of Christian lawyering may be family law. While challenging professionally, emotionally, personally, and spiritually, this area of law practice can provide compassionately positive opportunities for lawyerly ministry and service in family law practice. - even toward family restoration.

Describing a lawyer as a healer of human conflict - a professional to whom clients bring their brokenness and interpersonal struggles, needing help, begging for guidance, maybe even hoping for curative measures - this short piece posits that the state of family law in our culture today opens up incredible opportunities for the body of Christ to offer new hope to a struggling world, particularly in family law.   That happens right here at Regent Law where students learn how to integrate their faith with the law in traditional law school classes

To learn more about how and why this is so effective see  Reflections on a Christian Perspective on Studying Family Law.   


7.04.2019

Freedom & Family

Family and freedom is on display today all around our great nation.  Understanding the basics of God's design for the family is critical to our American freedoms.  
Families need hope and restoration, starting with our beautiful children, and Regent Law provides the benefit of understanding the importance of the family from a legal and biblical perspective, to restore the family to that complete design God originally intended.  
Enjoy family and liberty for the very special wonders they are!

6.27.2019

Do Contracts Matter in Family Matters?

This guest post is from Eleanor Brink Kersey, Regent Law rising 3L and recent Family Law student:

A person can make a contract for anything…literally anything, including one’s sperm or eggs.  This is exactly what an Arizona couple did upon the news they may never be able to have children together. When Ruby Torres received the diagnosis that she had breast cancer, her chances of conceiving and birthing biological children significantly decreased. Chemotherapy treatments, though crucial in curing cancer, can negatively impact other functions of the body, namely those needed to procreate. After some back-and-forth, Torres’ then-boyfriend, John Terrell, agreed to donate his sperm for in vitro fertilization (IVF). The couple eventually married. However, the marriage did not last long; two years later, the couple commenced divorce proceedings. During the couple’s time together, both dating and married, neither tried to do anything with the saved embryos.

What is most troubling about this situation is the subsequent litigation regarding the fate of the embryos. The trial court awarded the embryos to the clinic, which could, in turn, donate them to a third-party per the terms of the IVF agreement. As can be expected, Torres appealed the decision. The Appeals Court decided to ignore the express terms of the IVF contract and instead focus on Torres’ inability to biologically conceive children. She was awarded the embryos in express violation of the contract and the express wishes of her now ex-husband, who had no desire to have children or co-parent children. The clincher: because Terrell contributed to the creation of the embryos, he may be responsible for child support if Torres decides to use the embryos.  A contract completely agreed to by each party containing explicit provisions on how the parties would handle disputes on the fate of embryos goes unheeded and puts a responsibility on a man he did not consent to all to protect the woman’s desire to conceive children biologically. 

Family restoration works to value all the parties to a family, children and parents.  The Torres-Terrell case is an example of what a court might do with your contract depending on circumstances. 

6.21.2019

Teen Vogue Endorses Sex Work for Young Girls/Readers

Thanks to Joseph Kohm, III, previously a legal intern fighting human trafficking, for this important guest post:

On April 26, 2019, Teen Vogue published an article titled "Why Sex Work Is Real Work" by Tlaleng Mofokeng, MD, who is cited as the founder of Nalane for Reproductive Justice.  Teen Vogue retweeted a link to the article on June 16 with the caption, "Yes, sex work is real work!"  In the piece, Dr. Mofokeng argues that prostitution should be decriminalized, equates sex work to the work of a medical professional, and effectively markets the "profession" (I hesitate to even dignify it with such a term) of prostitution to Teen Vogue's target audience: pre-teen and 13 year old girls.  There's really very little a doctor could say to a teen girl that could be more harmful.


This comes at a time when more than half of sex trafficking victims are 17 years old or younger, according to a 2014 Department of Justice report.  That means that approximately half of all active sex trafficking victims came from a now-broken family.  Because prostitution is ultimately not a choice, but the engine that drives the billion-dollar sex trafficking industry, Dr. Mofokeng and Teen Vogue have encouraged pre-teen girls to part ways with their families, splitting that family apart, potentially irreversibly, and voluntarily embrace the shackles of the greatest wave of chattel slavery in human history. 

Furthermore, it is now more dangerous to be a sex worker than ever before, both at the interpersonal and microbial levels.  Gonorrhea has steadily grown resistant to every recommended treatment over the last 40 years, and according to the CDC, it is likely that it will soon be totally untreatable.  Devastating to one's health, contracting a sexually transmitted disease is just one consequence of prostitution.  Nature rebels against prostitution at every level.

What all this means is that the onus is now almost entirely on parents to protect their children from the influences of platforms such as Teen Vogue and ill-informed physicians like Dr. Mofokeng.  Such platforms and individuals have a duty to be better informed of the realities of prostitution and trafficking in persons, as espousing such deceptions make this kind of journalism irresponsible at best. 

Ultimately, however, God has given parents stewardship over their minor children.  They can still decide what influences they allow into their homes and into the lives of their children. Parents are the best and most effective device left to protect children from the lies which society can use to attempt to shape their young lives.  Parents, don't let your children be influenced like this; don't let your babies grow up to be sex workers.  Restore your family and your relationship with your kids by starting today.