The California Supreme Court heard oral argument earlier this month on the validity of Proposition 8, a measure banning same-sex marriage that California voters approved in November 2008. The televised closely watched session had people nationwide mass text-messaging on Twitter as if calling a sporting event giving moment by moment real-time updates and often colorful impressions on the Supreme Court hearing. The Supreme Court decision will be historic and have implications for decades to come determining the fate of same-sex marriage in the State as well as the validity of an estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages already performed in California.
A recent out of state court ruling may lead divorcing couples to rethink provisions in their settlements as it pertains to their children's college education commitments. The potential consequences of such a ruling fall on divorcing parents, who might now be reluctant to accept a commitment to fund a college education as part of their settlement, and their college-bound children who might face a more uncertain future.
An often overlooked but eminently important area of divorce is the changing of beneficiaries on retirement plans, insurance policies and other financial instruments or holdings. Upon final settlement and with legal guidance, people who have divorced should conduct an entire review of the beneficiaries listed on their various assets, and make changes where appropriate. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling underscored both the importance of changing beneficiaries, and the possible adverse consequences of failing to do so.
The gay marriage controversy in California continues this week. The California state Senate approved a resolution Monday calling Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage an improper revision of the Constitution because it failed to carry the approval of the state Legislature. The Senate essentially declared that the initiative was a fundamental revision to the California Constitution as opposed to merely an amendment. A revision of the state Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of both houses to put it on the ballot.
The hardships and repercussions that the current financial crisis is wreaking upon people's lives have now moved from the present and future, and reached back into the past. New revelations from the Bernard Madoff scandal have underscored the importance of both complete transparency, and valuation methods used, as they relate to equitable divorce settlements. Whether valuing businesses, real estate holdings, illiquid hedge fund investments or other financial stakes, divorcing parties should obtain multiple valuations from reputable and independent experts.