Several months ago, I wrote about the concept of equitable adoption, in which an adoption may be ruled by the courts to be valid although adoption proceedings were not filed or completed. (http://danielreitman.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/adoption-without-the-paperwork-rare-and-hard-to-prove/) Two recent cases from the Washington Supreme Court discuss a related concept, in which a parent-child relationship between two people may be recognized even though none of the usual means for establishing parentage apply.
Yellow lights have different meanings in Oregon and Washington.
In Oregon, a yellow light means stop.
In Washington, a yellow light means that drivers are warned of the red light, and pedestrians should stop.
Washington is a community property state, which means that property acquired during marriage is generally considered the property of the couple as a unit, but property acquired before the marriage is separate. In a divorce, however, the court is required to make a fair division of all property, and separate property may be handed from one spouse to another. Although this rarely happens, a recent case from the Court of Appeals confirms that the court does not need to rule that the community property is insufficient to make a fair division before awarding separate property.
In recent decades, there have been many allegations that a large number of lawsuits have been brought to intimidate speakers on various public issues, who may not have the resources to defend against a “SLAPP” suit. (The name is an acronym for “strategic lawsuit against public participation.”) Most, if not all, states have responded to this trend by enacting anti-SLAPP laws, many of which are designed to weed out bad faith and unprovable suits by allowing early dismissal. A recent case from Oregon shows that the reach of the anti-SLAPP laws are often limited, as legitimate cases still deserve to be heard.
One of the first articles in Discussing the Law: The Online Edition discussed an international treaty that governs what country has jurisdiction in international child custody disputes. <http://danielreitman.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/the-goldman-case-tips-on-preventing-international-child-abduction/> In most cases, the child’s permanent residence controls. A new federal case addresses how this treaty applies to an unusual situation: what happens when the children are shuttled back and forth across a border.
In every state, the law strongly encourages people to settle their disputes. In nearly all situations, when a settlement is reached, it will be enforced. In Oregon, however, there is a very small loophole that allows a few settlements, in extraordinary cases, to be disregarded by the court. A recent case shows just how narrow the loophole is.
About half the states, including Washington, have laws commonly called “dead man’s laws,” which limit the ability of a person in a suit against a dead person’s estate (or successor in interest) to testify regarding transactions with the dead person. The basic concept is illustrated by a statement by the Washington Supreme Court in 1917: “Death having closed the lips of one party, the law closes the lips of the other.”