In September 2013, Judge Mary Jacobson ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marriage is unconstitutional and ruled in favor of approving same-sex marriage in the state of New Jersey beginning October 21, 2013.
This ruling ends a court battle in which 6 same-sex couples in civil unions brought suit against the state of New Jersey alleging they were being denied the same legal protections as same sex couples in civil marriages.
The State of New Jersey appealed this decision to the supreme court of New Jersey filing for a “stay” in order to stop the October 21’st order permitting same-sex marriage from going into effect in order the let the battle “play out”. However, after the Supreme Court denied the states application for stay, pending appeal, finding that the State of New Jersey had failed to prove it would supper irreparable harm if the lower court order were not stayed. The Supreme Court further stated, “…the State’s domestic partnership laws failed to bridge the inequality gap”. Since it became clear by the courts ruling that the State of New Jersey would not likely prevail on appeal, Governor CC withdrew the States appeal on Monday, October 21st, making the lower court ruling final if no other appeal is taken.
This is the first time in history, since the Supreme Court ruled DOMA as being unconstitutional, that the court system in a state made a court ruling on same-sex marriage instead of the state’s Political leaders.
Sunday night, at one minute past 12am, the first same-sex couples were legally married at the Newark Court House and were officiated by Senator-elect Corey A. Booker.
On January 25th, Governor Christie passed a bill that protects Military men and women from loosing custody of their children due to being deployed/ receiving treatment post deployment.
The law protects these men and women from having the court make changes to their custody agreement while they are away, and up to 90 days after they return. They are not allowed to deem these men and women as unfit parents just because they are/ were away serving out of the country as long as they have a written notice of deployment or post-deployment treatments. The temporary guardian, of these children, must legally set aside time for the children to interact with their mother or father, such as over the phone or by video messaging.
However, this new law does not stop the court from changing the agreement, and potentially taking away custody, if it comes to the attention of the court that the child, or children, are considered in danger.
To Prosecute, or Not To Prosecute, That is the Question:
Should there be legal consequences for women who use either alcohol or illegal substances while pregnant? This question is still extremely controversial, and due to varied opinions, will continue to be for years to come.
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently reached a unanimous decision that the state may NOT consider a newborn to be abused or neglected based solely on evidence of prenatal drug exposure. There has to be substantial evidence showing that the drugs and or alcohol ingested while pregnant will have lasting effects on the infant and his/ her health in order for there to be a case. This evidence can come in the form of actual physical or mental impairments at birth etc.
According to the article, many states have already prosecuted women who have abused drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. These convictions were mainly overturned because of the fear that it would discourage women, who are pregnant while suffering from substance problems, from seeking out the help they need.
Congress has already responded by authorizing grants, which will be used to set up drug treatment programs targeting pregnant drug/ alcohol users.
Here at the Law Offices of Toni Ann Russo, we look at each year as a new beginning with vast opportunities. Opportunities to change with the times, to better ourselves as individuals, and to help those who truly need it the most. To us, the family unit is one of the most important parts of life and that is why we FIGHT to protect it.
This blog is a way for our firm to reach out to those who we generally do not come in contact with due to space, place and location. We are deeply passionate about being able to spread knowledge dealing with all aspects of family law, and what is going on in today’s world in regards to that. Being educated about your rights as an individual is key, and only with this knowledge can we protect ourselves as well as those who we care most about.
We invite you to join us on this new and exciting journey, and hope that you stick around and learn as much as possible.
God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement. – Marcus Garvey
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Proclaming the Word of God ever more fully as the heart of Felician Sisters commitment to justice and peace and the best means to raise the dignity of the human person, especially women and children in the whole world, esp. Haiti