How Supreme Court May Continue to Impact Family Law

The appointment and eventual confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court captured the attention of those in the media and the public at large. Any new member of the court is able to offer a huge impact on the cases they hear and the legal areas they concern, capable of tilting the ideological balance of the court in one way or another.

From the election itself to healthcare and immigration, a wide range of topics have been at the center of most discussions of the Supreme Court, and new Justice Gorsuch. One overlooked area of note though is actually family law. While most family law matters are handled on a local and state basis, it shows that under certain circumstances, the court itself can impact matters such as divorce.

For instance, the Supreme Court heard and ruled on the Howell vs. Howell case, which dealt with a veteran’s retirement pay, of which his ex-wife was entitled to half. When he opted to waive part of his pay 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 ruling illustrates how even divorce can be impacted by the Supreme Court, and how the court’s decisions can impact just about any individual person and his or her case. Surely there will be other family law cases that make it to the Supreme Court in the near future as well. However, it’s also important to note that family law can be impacted on the periphery of many other important decisions.

For instance, consider a couple with children who are being divorced. What if immigration laws are changed, and one party gained citizenship via the marriage? How does that impact their divorce and matters such as child custody?

The huge hot button issue of healthcare also comes into play. If current healthcare laws are changed and one or both parties lose insurance coverage as a result, that then may also ripple down into matters of child custody, child support, and alimony.

The way these issues intermingle and the way the Supreme Court rules on them is of course all quite complicated, and it’s worthwhile to understand the ways that family law cases can be impacted. It’s always essential to work with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney in your local area who can help you understand any such issues, and offer you the right advice on the best way to proceed.