Weekly Links

Texas Family Law Case to be Heard by US Supreme Court
Oral argument in the Abbott v. Abbott case is scheduled for 1/12/10
Summary: Father, a British citizen, and Mother, a U.S. citizen, married in England and later had a son in Hawaii. In 2002, all three lived together in Chile. In March 2003, they separated and litigated in the Chilean family courts where Mother was ultimately awarded custody and Father was granted visitation rights. At Mother’s request, the Chilean court entered a fourth order prohibiting the child’s removal from Chile by either the father or the mother without their mutual consent (the “ne exeat order”). The following year, Mother removed her son from Chile without Father’s consent. Father hired a private detective who found the mother and son living in Texas. Father filed suit in federal district court in Texas, seeking an order requiring that the child be returned to Chile pursuant to the Hague Convention. The court denied return of the boy to Chile, finding that the removal did not constitute a breach of the father’s “rights of custody” as defined by the Hague Convention. Last September, a three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding that only a parent who has custodial rights can invoke the treaty to try to get the minor child returned.
Issue: Does a clause that prohibits one parent from removing a child from a country without the other parent’s consent confer a “right of custody” within the meaning of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction?
Briefs: http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Abbott_v._Abbott

Texas Bar Journal Article – Dispelling the Myth of Community Debt
http://www.texasbar.com/Template.cfm?Section=Texas_Bar_Journal1&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=25998

Study Claims That Children Who Are “Smacked” Do Better Later In Life
Another interesting study on whether physical discipline is harmful to children:
http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article6974059.ece
The study, which took the lives of 2,600 subjects into account, determined that children who were physically disciplined before the age of six tended to do better academically and have more “optimism about the future” than those who were not physically disciplined during the same developmental period. However, children who were physically disciplined between the ages of seven and eleven were still more likely to be academically more successful, though they showed more negative behavioral traits.

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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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