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What Overturning Roe v. Wade Can Mean For Your Divorce/Custody Case

As you may have heard, on Friday, June 24, 2022 the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe. v. Wade, the case that previously declared the constitutional right to an abortion. Regardless of where you fall within the pro-life/pro-choice debate, the overturning of this case will have far-reaching implications for men and women alike, and it is important to keep informed. Read on to see how this ruling may affect your family law case.

In the recent decision,Justice Alito wrote the 78-page opinion on behalf of the majority.The U.S. Supreme Courtheld that abortion is a matter to be decided by the individual states and their voters. Justice Alito wrote, “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion… the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

Interestingly, Justice Alito acknowledged the uncertainty this decision will likely cause when he stated “We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision…” Many legal experts predict that the decision will deeply divide the country on the issue of abortion, leaving many trial courts throughout the various states to deal with how to apply the specific language of the final ruling to their individual state laws. Since June 24, 2022, some states have acted swiftly to enact new legislation, banning abortion outright, while other states are positioning themselves to accept women crossing state lines in order to seek abortions in neighboring states.

For example, Kentucky has added a provision to their omnibus abortion law, allowing for the extradition of people from other states who illegally provide abortion pills to Kentucky’s citizens. On the other side of the coin, Connecticut has passed legislation, protecting abortion providers from out-of-state lawsuits.

Now that abortion is a state issue, states are gearing up for battle, which will inevitably give rise to numerous family law implications. For instance, if a woman in a pro-life state travels to a pro-choice state for an abortion, can that be used against her in her home state in a custody dispute involving their other children? If a pro-life state wants to deter abortions, could they bring actions against their citizens who seek abortions out of state, labeling them as unfitparents of their other children? All of these new issues will be played out in the local court systems based on the individual state’s legislation. Time will tell how the overturning of Roe v. Wade will play out in each state.

In California,legislators introduced SCA 10, a state constitutional amendment that would guarantee a right to abortion and contraception in California. This bill, passed by the California State Assembly on June 27, 2022,heads to the November 8, 2022 ballot to be voted upon by California voters.According to California law, women currently still have the right to an abortion.

What Does This Mean for You and Your Marriage or Custody Case?

  • Make sure you are informed about the abortion laws in the state(s) in which you reside.
  • If you live in a state that prohibits abortion and you are considering going to a pro-choice state to have an abortion, you should first discuss this with a knowledgeable family law attorney to become informed on how it could impact your divorce or child custody case in your home state; and,
  • Should pregnancy be an issue in your case, you immediately need the advice of knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney about issues you may face during the divorce.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with our office, please call us at (949) 234-8280 or visit our website at Divorce.Legal. Remember: Having the Right Attorneys Makes the Difference.

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