Weekly Links

New TX Supreme Court Opinion on Grandparent Access
http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/historical/2010/nov/091072.htm
The supreme court granted mandamus on a temporary order that awarded grandparent possession and access.  The court held that “understandable sadness resulting from losing a family member and missing their grandparents” is not enough to meet the “hefty statutory burden” that denial of access would “significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being.”  The opinion also addresses the trial court’s appointing an expert to serve both as guardian ad litem to the children and as an expert psychologist to examine the parties and children to make recommendations to the court.

Two People Cooperate Intuitively; Larger Groups Need to Make a Conscious Effort to Communicate
http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2010/october/research-shows-that-two-people-can-learn-to-cooperate-intuitively-but-larger-groups-need-to-communicate
Two people can learn to cooperate with each other intuitively – without communication or any conscious intention to cooperate. But this process breaks down in groups of three or more.  Larger groups need explicit communication and planning. Mechanisms need to be put in place to facilitate it. Intuitive cooperation is really a case of two’s company, but three’s a crowd.

“Well” is the Poor Man’s Polygraph
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/let-their-words-do-the-talking/201011/poor-mans-polygraph-part-1
When you ask someone a direct Yes or No question and they begin their answer with the word “Well,” there is a high probability of deception. Beginning an answer to a direct Yes or No question with the word “Well” indicates that the person answering the question is about to give you an answer that they know you are not expecting.

Concern for Wisconsin’s Domestic Partnership Registry
http://www.thenorthwestern.com/article/20101108/OSH0101/11080357/Gay-rights-advocates-fear-lawmakers-will-repeal-Wisconsin-s-domestic-partnership-registry
I’m posting this not so much for the story itself, but because Wisconsin has an interesting family law history.  They were a common law property state until 1984, when they decided by statute to become a community property state.  Most of the other community property states are western states where Spanish law was more of an influence.  Interestingly, Alaska is an opt-in community property state:  property is separate property unless both parties agree to make it community property through a community property agreement or a community property trust.
In other civil union news:
http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/we_want_what_they_have_says_straight_couple_suing_for_civil_union_rather/
A straight couple in the UK is suing for the right to have a civil union instead of a marriage.

Huffington Post – Divorce Section
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/divorce/
This blog has a whole section devoted to divorce stories, example:
The Case for the Starter Marriage
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/09/starter-marriage_n_777375.html

What Alcohol Actually Does to Your Brain and Body
http://lifehacker.com/5684996/what-alcohol-actually-does-to-your-brain-and-body
Some science on how alcohol affects humans.

Supreme Court to Address Old Law Discriminating Against Fathers in Citizenship
http://www.slate.com/id/2274095/

Rules for Writing Useful Emails
http://lifehacker.com/5687586/email-writing-values-keep-it-relevant

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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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