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October 2015 Archives

State Department Ending Same-Sex Benefits

In the next few years, some State Department employees will be seeing some changes. The U.S. Department of Justice says that it will be phasing out benefits to some same-sex couples. Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June which legalized same-sex marriage, the department says it will now only grant benefits to married same-sex couples. The program which granted benefits to individuals in same-sex domestic partnerships will begin winding down in December. According to the government, benefits will fully stop in 2018.

Woman Charged for Leaving Kids in Hot Car

A woman was recently found guilty of child abuse by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office when she left her two children in a car this August. The mother, 30 years old, went inside a store while her 9-month-old and a 23-month-old remained in her vehicle. The mother lives in Mesa, Arizona, and said she was running a quick errand at a party supply store during this time frame. After some investigation, authorities found out she left her children in the car for 22 minutes. This November she will go to court for sentencing.

Arizona Argues Tribe Rights

In Phoenix, the Indian Child Welfare Act was up for debate in court as to its necessity after being in existence for 37 years. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and child services established this law in order to give preference to the Indian child's family when being placed for adoption. When Congress ruled on this decision several years ago, they agreed that "there was no resource more vital to the continued existence and integrity of Indian tribes than their children." Attorneys argue that violates the child's constitutional rights. Rather than automatically going to an Indian tribe, they want children to go somewhere that is in their best interest first and foremost. There are currently more than 1,300 Native-American children with non-Indian families.

Utah Woman and Son Missing

A 29-year-old mother and her infant son have been missing since October 5. Morgan Green took her son, Greyson, and have not returned to their home in Layton, police say. Green has had a history of drug problems, and recently did not cooperate with court orders in her custody hearing. She has warrants for endangerment of a child and felony drug possession. Her son is 18-months old, and may be seen with Green near Wasatch Front, UT or in Idaho. Anyone with information is asked to contact Layton police at 801-497-8300.

YMCA Helps Fathers Patch Relationships with Children

Fathers in Des Moines have been given the opportunity to reconnect with their kids and work on custody issues that arise when they become separated from their children. The YMCA of Greater Des Moines' Fatherhood Initiative began this year with the intention to work with dads who need this support. It's a 12-week-long class comprised of group discussions led by a pastor. The groups learn how to communicate with their families more effectively and build their relationship skills. One man who joined the group, Aaron Rodriguez, says he has learned to "be less selfish and to make sacrifices for family." It's even possible to work with the courts on custody rights and to have overdue child support forgiven. There were 124 men in the program this year so far.

Michigan Sheriff's Office Collect Millions in Child Support reported that there was a widespread effort to collect child support payments in Michigan. Macomb County Sheriff's Office conducted a sweep targeting those with outstanding warrants due to these delinquent payments and other Friend of the Court infractions. After the week-long sweep, 81 arrests were made and 37 people surrendered, combining to a total of $2.85 million in collections.

Same-Sex Texas Couple Asks for Common Law Marriage

A couple in Arlington, Texas decided they wanted to ask the court to grant them a common law marriage license after living together for over 20 years. Normally, this request wouldn't be a problem, but there is one detail about the couple that raised a few questions during this request: Jim Fritsch and Bill Parker are two men asking for a same-sex marriage license. Though the court said they could file the declaration of marriage, it would have to be dated sometime after the U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer. Fritsch, who wanted to make sure his partner would be his beneficiary upon his death, was upset after the Arlington-Sub courthouse told him the news. Shortly after their visit, the couple hired an attorney to fight this order, though they didn't need to use legal help for long. The Texas Department of State Health Services looked into it, and saw that the court could in fact, date same-sex license using any date that was appropriate. This was good news for the Fritsch and Parker, who did not want to have any false information on legal documents, which is a felony. They will still have to pursue this issue in Dallas, where Fritsch retired 6 years ago.

Louisiana Woman Found Guilty of Child Endangerment

Baton Rouge mother Leticia Brothers is under investigation after authorities discovered her children and their living conditions. All nine siblings were living in meager conditions with no beds, little food and extremely close quarters. One of the children told officers that she got a welt on her head after Brothers pushed her into an object and pulled her hair. The mother said she was in the process of applying for state benefits. The mother is in Parish Prison and her children were taken into custody by the Department of Children and Family Services.

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Katy, TX 77450

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