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Do teens need parental permission to get sex-change treatments?

A Minnesota mother filed suit last Wednesday after her 17-year-old son began receiving sexual reassignment treatments without garnering her permission. The lawsuit names two governmental agencies, saying that the agencies and medical clinics have infringed upon her parental rights. She says that the agencies and medical service providers did not obtain a court order to emancipate her child prior to administering the sex-change treatments against her wishes.

In the lawsuit, the mother's counsel has highlighted the difference between the rights afforded by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Minnesota's child emancipation law that allows medical service providers to administer care to minors without first obtaining a court order. Her attorney argues that the right of due process offered by the 14th Amendment is violated by the Minnesota law.

University of Minnesota shares its gay marriage exhibit

The University of Minnesota created a special exhibit honoring America's first gay marriage, and now the exhibit is being loaned out for display in other states. The University of Minnesota Library's GLBT studies program was responsible for the exhibit, which is part of its Tretter Collection.

The exhibit honors the same-sex union of Jack Baker and Michael McConnell, who traded vows back in the 1970s in Minnesota. The same-sex love union is seen as the first legally recognized gay marriage in the United States. The display, which is now on loan at the Rochester Public Library in New York, includes photographs and other documents from the marriage of the two men, dating back to their marriage on Sept. 3, 1971.

Same-sex marriage: Should you tie the knot?

We all know about the many benefits of same-sex marriage, and simply from the standpoint of equality and civil rights, the fact that same-sex marriage is now the right of all gay couples is something to be celebrated. However, just because it is now legal for gay couples to get married, it is not a good reason for partners to run to make a beeline to their local churches and courthouses to tie the proverbial knot. There are benefits and drawbacks of being married and both should be considered.

Let's look two of the most important drawbacks of marriage in general that gay couples should keep in mind when weighing the pros and cons of legally solidifying their unions:

Cohabitation can be grounds for maintenance revisions

In Minnesota, a spouse may be told to pay maintenance during a divorce. Called both "alimony" and "spousal support" in other areas, this is simply money paid by one spouse to help support the other. It's often used when that spouse was expecting to be supported and can't do so alone.

For example, if one spouse had a job, gave it up to get married and start a family, and cannot get back into the workforce 10 years later, maintenance may be requested.

When did same-sex marriage become legal in Minnesota?

In the summer of 2015, a landmark case called Obergefell v. Hodges came to a close. The Supreme Court was overseeing the case, and they ruled on June 26 that same-sex marriage couldn't be banned on the state level. This led to a lot of changes to marriage law around the country as states that still made it illegal had to update their laws.

However, Minnesota wasn't among their number. This wasn't because there was any resistance to the federal ruling, but simply because Minnesota had been leading the way in same-sex marriage laws for years. These unions had been made legal in the state back on Aug. 1, 2013. The federal law simply fell in line with what Minnesota was already doing.

Why do those with divorced parents get divorced more often?

Many studies have come to the same conclusion: If your parents ended up getting divorced, the odds are higher than you will, too. This doesn't mean there are not examples that don't fit this model or that every person with divorced parents won't have a life-long marriage. But the studies simply show that it's move likely. Why does this happen?

It's hard to know for sure, but there are three main reasons that have been considered. First off, people whose parents stay together may look at marriage as something that should not end, no matter what, and they'll stay together longer because of this mindset. Those who have seen divorce are more likely to consider it an option and think about it when things get tough -- or even when they're going well.

Ironing out details for a faster divorce

For some in Minnesota, the biggest goal with a divorce is simply getting through it as quickly as possible. Both sides know they want the split, they're eager to get it done, and they're trying to avoid a long, drawn out process in the courts.

If that's your goal, you're often best to sit down with your spouse and your legal team to iron out some of the details in advance. You still then have to get parts of your agreement signed off on by the court -- such as the parenting plan -- but you can have everything in place when the case begins. Since you already know that your spouse is going to agree, it's just a mater of signing in the proper places and making it official.

Key adoption stats expose recent trends

If you're considering adoption, you may be very interested to see just how common this is and how it typically occurs. These key stats can help show you some of the more recent trends that could impact your decision.

First of all, adoptions made within the United States have been on the rise. In 2013, roughly 50,000 kids were adopted domestically, which was higher than 2012. That doesn't mean there aren't children in need of adoption, though, as about twice that many -- approximately 100,000 kids -- were still in the U.S. foster care system and waiting for someone to adopt them.

Consider legal counsel when addressing an adoption case

Adoption is a major moment in any parent's life, as well as the life of the adopted child. However, some people may not consider the legal proceedings that entail this loving moment. Adoption is, after all, the legal act of transferring the rights of a biological parent to the adoptive parent. As such, this is a very serious decision and one that should not be taken lightly.

Adoption can occur outside of the context of a divorce, but it certainly has its merits in the context of a divorce too. Sometimes an adoption occurs because the welfare of the child is at risk. Sometimes a grandparent or step-parent adopt a child due to extreme circumstances. Sometimes the adoption may take the child hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Every case is unique, and with adoption, that means the adoptive parents and/or the biological parents need sound legal advice.

On businesses and divorce: complex and valuable problems

Many people get married, and many of them eventually face the prospect of a divorce. For some couples, it may only take a few months before they realize that their marriage isn't right. For others, they may live many happy years together before irreconcilable differences make the marriage untenable. No matter the specifics of any particular divorce, our point here is this: there are many different people with many different feeling and responsibilities who may get a divorce.

Depending on the specifics, you should be prepared for certain steps to be taken during your divorce. If we could hone in on one specific set of circumstances for this post, let us consider the business owner.

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