Landmark family law cases have a nationwide impact, affecting marriages, family dynamics and more. The following three cases all reached the Supreme Court, and their influential rulings have affected Phoenix family law and laws across the country. Here is a look back at decades-old cases and recent rulings that have greatly shaped the family law landscape.
Loving v. Virginia
In 1958, when Richard and Mildred Loving married, it was not uncommon for states to abide by laws which explicitly forbade interracial marriage. The state of Virginia was no exception, which is why the Lovings wed in the District of Columbia and were forced to live in exile until 1964. That year, the Lovings challenged the constitutionality of the Virginia law with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
In the landmark 1967 Supreme Court ruling, the Court voided Virginia’s law and 16 state laws in total that mirrored the Virginia law. As a result, interracial couples were afforded the same legal rights as other heterosexual couple, changing the dynamics of the country’s family laws and Phoenix family law as a result.
Chafin v. Chafin
Where does United States jurisdiction end when a custody matter is in dispute? This was the question the Supreme Court faced in the 2013 case of Chafin v. Chafin, and it has had a marked impact on Phoenix family law and the nation as a whole. In this case, an American father and Scottish mother were embroiled in a testy custody dispute. The mother, wishing to return to Scotland, secured a federal district court order that allowed the child to leave with the mother to Scotland.
This order was granted based upon the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The father appealed to no avail, until the case was taken by the Supreme Court. The Court held that jurisdiction of the federal courts does not end when a child has been returned to another country pursuant to the Hague Convention.
For Phoenix family law, this case is pertinent since no father or mother can flee to another country and escape state and federal courts and laws. As a result, if a parent snatched a child and fled to Mexico, for example, the parent remaining in the United States would not be left without legal recourse, which can play a pertinent role within the Phoenix family law system.
Obergefell v. Hodges
Last, this look into nationally pertinent family law cases ends with the recent 2015 case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which greatly affected the legal privileges afforded to American families. In a contentious 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that gay individuals had a constitutional right to marry under the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
With marriage rights guaranteed nationwide, same-sex couples in Phoenix and the rest of the nation now have the same legal rights and privileges as the rest of the country.
If you live in the Phoenix area and are in need of a family law representation for a divorce, custody dispute, adoption proceeding or any other family law matter, we are here to help. Contact May, Potenza, Baran & Gillespie for a legal consultation.
When you enlist the services of MPBG, you get an experienced, diverse team of advocates in your corner who work collaboratively, move quickly, and think differently.