Weekly Links

Federal Judge Rules that a Section of the Federal Defense of Marriage Amendment (DOMA) is Unconstitutional
Now that several states have adopted gay marriage, there is a situation where gay and straight marriages are recognized at the state level, but only straight marriages may be recognized at the federal level.  The judge held “By premising eligibility for these benefits on marital status in the first instance, the federal government signals to this court that the relevant distinction to be drawn is between married individuals and unmarried individuals. To further divide the class of married individuals into those with spouses of the same sex and those with spouses of the opposite sex is to create a distinction without meaning.”  If the cases make their way to the Supreme Court and are upheld, gay and lesbian couples in states that recognize same-sex marriage will be eligible for federal benefits that are now granted only to heterosexual married couples.  (States that don’t allow same-sex marriage still would not have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.)

Dodgers’ Fate Hinges on Owners’ Divorce
Central to this dispute is a document the couple had drawn up that states that their homes would be in her name, and the business assets in his. (Today, the equity value of the seven residential properties is estimated to be between $75 million and $100 million. The value of the Dodgers is estimated to be more than $700 million.)  Under California’s family laws, each spouse in a divorce has an equal interest in all marital property regardless of whose name it is held in, and any agreements signed are presumptively invalid if they give one spouse a disproportionate share of the marital goods. Further, a home-equity loan taken out on at least one home to help finance some of Mr. McCourt’s business concerns commingles the team and homes.

52 Incredibly Useful Sites
PC World’s collection of the best, most practical Websites, arranged by category. 

Evernote Essentials
Evernote is a great tool that can keep tasks and resources synced across your computer and your phone.  A lot of attorneys are using it, and this is a guide on how to maximize its usefulness.

Top 10 USB Thumb Drive Tricks

Accepting That Good Parents May Plant Bad Seeds
We marvel at the resilient child who survives the most toxic parents and home environment and goes on to a life of success. Yet the converse — the notion that some children might be the bad seeds of more or less decent parents — is hard to take.

Don’t Try to Frame Someone by Threatening Yourself via Prepaid Cell
A woman in California tried to get back at her ex-boyfriend and his sister-in-law, by sending harassing text messages to herself and then reporting them to the police. The victims went to the phone store, talked with the salesman and learned that the woman had bought the pre-paid phone. During a follow-up investigation, the detective discovered that most of the threatening text messages were sent when the pre-paid cell phone was in close proximity to the woman’s home or work.

Argentina Legalizes Gay Marriage
I wonder when/if this trend will get to Texas.  I guess as family lawyers, anything that increases the number of marriages is good for business.

‘Baby Mama’ Drama on Wisconsin Bench Reaches Resolution
A Wisconsin trial court judge used the term “baby mama” at the sentencing of an African-American defendant. He also made additional amusing quips — e.g., suggesting that “baby mamas” congregate at “a club” to find their unemployed, wastrel boyfriends. An appeals court, finding the judge’s comments to be inappropriate, held that the defendant was entitled to a new trial. But now the Wisconsin Supreme Court has reversed the appeals court, in a unanimous decision, holding the defendant needed to show by clear and convincing evidence that the judge based his sentence on such inappropriate factors.

Mel Gibson Can Keep His Life but His Freedom is Probably Going to be Taken Away
Someone addresses my question about California being an all-party consent state for taping conversations and whether that makes Mel Gibson’s baby-mama’s recordings illegal.

An Interview with the Alleged Father of LeBron James
An interview with the man claiming to be LeBron James’s father, a contract attorney from DC.

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Emily Miskel

Judge Emily Miskel was appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott as the first judge of the 470th family district court of Collin County, Texas. She graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Law School and she is board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Find Emily on Google+, Facebook, and other social media.

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