How the Supreme Court can continue to impact family law
The appointment and eventual confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court captured the attention of the media and the general public. Any new member of the court is capable of offering a great impact in the cases that he knows and the legal areas that concern them, capable of tipping the ideological balance of the court in one way or another.
From the election itself to health care and immigration, a wide range of issues have been at the center of most discussions of the Supreme Court and the new Justice Gorsuch. However, an overlooked area of note is actually family law. While most family law matters are handled at the state and local level, it shows that under certain circumstances, the court itself can affect matters such as divorce.
For example, the Supreme Court heard and ruled in Howell v. Howell, which dealt with a veteran’s retirement pay, of which his ex-wife was entitled to half. When he chose to forgo part of his salary to receive disability benefits, the Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that he was not required to pay his ex-wife the amount she lost because of that decision.
That case and the ruling illustrate how even divorce can be affected by the Supreme Court, and how the court’s decisions can affect almost any individual person and their case. There will surely be other family law cases coming to the Supreme Court in the near future as well. However, it is also important to note that family law can be affected on the periphery of many other important decisions.
For example, consider a couple with children who are divorcing. What happens if the immigration laws change and one of the parties obtains citizenship through marriage? How does that affect your divorce and issues like child custody?
The big hot topic of health care also comes into play. If current health care laws change and one or both parties lose insurance coverage as a result, that can also impact child custody, child support, and alimony issues.
How these issues intermingle and how the Supreme Court rules on them is, of course, quite complicated, and it is worth understanding the ways in which family law cases can be affected. It is always essential to work with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney in your local area who can help you understand such issues and offer you the proper advice on how best to proceed.