Family and Dating Law 

Dating Violence, Sexting, and Relationships Basics

Relationships and the emotion of love and attraction that come with a relationship are very complex. These emotions can leave a person very vulnerable and sometimes unable to see the nature of the relationship objectively. Physical and emotional abuse and violence can and do occur too frequently. The incidents of teen dating violence and sexting continue to rise. It might be as simple as monitoring your partner’s social media posts to an extreme like hitting the other person. There is a broad spectrum of behavior and you might be the victim or the perpetrator. It’s crucial to learn about dating violence and how to take steps to make sure you’re in healthy relationships.

Sexting – The increasing number of smartphones has led to a similar increase in incidents of sexting. Sexting can take on various forms, but the two most prevalent are sending sexually explicit text messages that describe intimate acts or sending sexually graphic photographs. Sending sexually graphic photographs can be a criminal offense if the images are of a minor. DON’T take intimate images of yourself or let someone take images of you.

These are the usual outcomes when these pictures are taken;

1) the other person brags to friends about how “into” them you are and shows/shares the pictures,

2) you break up and the other person shows/shares the images to others to prove you are less of a person,

3) the other person threatens to show other people or your family to keep you from breaking up with them.

None of those options are good. Don’t take or pose for pictures. The anti-sexting laws and cases are still new so the courts are just beginning to issue opinions related to the new sexting laws, but if you are being victimized please report it to the police. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You were emotionally vulnerable because you thought you were in love and someone took advantage of that vulnerability.

Child Sexually Abusive Activity/Material – It is a crime to lure, entice, knowingly allow, or cause a child to become involved in sexually abusive activity or material. It is also a crime to produce child sexually abusive material. The activities forbidden can cover a wide range of activities; children posing for pictures, encouraging underage girls to perform sexual acts, and possessing child pornography. These offenses are felonies.

Rape(Criminal Sexual Conduct) – In most states there are different levels of rape/criminal sexual conduct. The levels will often vary depending on whether there was penetration or touching. In addition, the age of the victim, use of force, physical injury to the victim, use of a weapon, whether the victim was mentally incapacitated(drunk), or whether the person was in a position of authority(manager, teacher, coach) over the victim will be dictate at which level the assailant is charged. Most states will have a very detailed statute so check your state law for specifics. The more serious levels of criminal sexual conduct are felonies that can result in 20+ years or life in prison, while some of the lower levels of criminal sexual conduct that deal with inappropriate touching of a clothed person(girl groped in a bar) are sometimes misdemeanors.

Victims(Rape Shield Laws) – One of the biggest problems in rape/sexual assault cases is victims that don’t report that they have been raped/assaulted. Sometimes a victim doesn’t want people to find out she has been raped. Sometimes victims don’t want private information to come out about themselves during a trial so they don’t report the rape/assault. In some cases the victim tragically thinks they might be partially to blame because they allowed themselves to be taken advantage of. Most states have established laws that limit the defendant’s ability to bring up the victim’s reputation or past conduct. In many states there are exceptions that allow the defendant to bring up the victim’s past conduct with the defendant or the victim’s conduct with other people if it is used to show that physical evidence of sexual activity is from another person and not the defendant.

Personal Protection Orders(PPO’s)”Restraining Order” – A personal protection order(PPO),or it may be called a “restraining order”, is a court order that you can get to keep a person away from you who has been harassing or stalking you. PPO’s are used most often when there has been a dating relationship between the two people. PPO’s are normally handled in the civil division of the court. Contact your court because most courts have documents that explain the steps you must take to get a PPO. Some jurisdictions will grant a PPO without a hearing. All you need to do is complete the necessary forms and submit the forms and evidence to the judge. In other jurisdictions, it is necessary to have a hearing before the judge. The primary difference is that in a hearing system the person you want to stay away from you will be notified of the hearing and is allowed to challenge the PPO request. Evidence: The key element in getting a PPO from the court is making sure you have as much evidence of the harassing or threatening behavior as possible. The evidence might be police reports, letters or messages someone has sent, or witnesses who will testify. The key is to have all of that evidence with you. Hearing: In some jurisdictions, a hearing is conducted in front of a judge and the judge will determine whether or not to issue the PPO. It is crucial that you have all of your witnesses and evidence for this hearing. You don’t always need to have an attorney for these hearings, but it is helpful if you do. Notifying Police: Once a PPO has been issued, make sure to find out whether the court will forward the PPO order to the local police department or whether you need to take the PPO signed by the judge to the local police. The local police will enter the PPO into the LEIN system. This will enable the police to see that there is a PPO against the individual. If you call the police about any further problems you may have with the individual, the police will see the PPO in the system.

Abuse: Emotional & Physical

Many people who have been dating have been the victims of emotional abuse, but don’t realize they have been victimized. Have you been teased? Have your thoughts or opinions been criticized? Have you been told you’re stupid? Have they done things to embarrass you? Does your partner try to keep you away from your family and friends? Maybe you’re the perpetrator. Do you say nasty things to your girlfriend or boyfriend? Have you used emotional guilt to get them to spend time with you vs. other friends? All of those things are forms of emotional abuse and have a negative impact on your emotional health and well-being. If you are in a relationship and the other person engages in behaviors that are emotionally unhealthy, you should definitely discuss the behaviors with them. If they don’t stop and you are afraid or unable to end the relationship, please get help.

Physical Abuse – Have you been pinched, slapped, punched, or forced to do something sexually by someone you’re dating. Maybe you’ve been the person who has done the pinching or hitting? Why did you do it? Try to think about the reason why you would physically hurt or make your partner uncomfortable. All of these behaviors are examples of physical abuse. Physical abuse may begin as a pinch, but if the behavior is unwanted or makes you feel uncomfortable it is physical abuse. Whether it is a trusted friend, adult, or local social agency, don’t be afraid to ask or seek help. Far too often victims of abuse, feel that being a victim demonstrates some weakness on their part. This is absolutely WRONG. Abusers are very smart when it comes to their actions and the power their actions have over the other person. You aren’t weak!! You might be a caring compassionate person so they know how to take advantage of that wonderful loving characteristic. If you are the friend, be supportive!! Even if you have been telling your friend it was a bad relationship, this is not the time to play “I told you so”. it’s the time for you to be a resource for them. Help them get help. Whether it’s a caring ear, research assistant to find help, safe place to stay, or someone to rebuild their confidence, be there for your friend in whatever capacity they need you.

Problems: Emotional and physical abuse has been correlated to increased physical and emotional problems. Some are: depression, anxiety, suicide, digestive problems, low self-esteem, and social isolation. That is only a brief list. Victims of abuse have been found to engage in more high risk sexual behaviors, substance abuse, and develop eating disorders. The studies and evidence clearly demonstrates that dating violence can cause and lead to years of emotional trauma, physical abuse, and problem relationships. Please read the Getting Help section so you know what resources are available to get assistance.

Getting Help – There are numerous resources available if you are a victim of dating violence. If you type the following words into a search engine you should be directed right to the site.

“Centers for Disease Control Dating Violence” This search will take you to the U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has quite a few resources to help you.

“National Dating Abuse Helpline” or www.lovisrespect.org

“National Domestic Violence Hotline” or www.thehotline.org

“National Sexual Violence Resource Center” or www.nsvrc.org

Don’t be afraid to seek the help of friends and family. Dating violence is a very traumatic experience so it is perfectly normal to seek out others to help you fight and end the abuse.


What does the law say? If you have been following the news in recent years, you have heard quite a bit about what it means to be married and the issue of same-sex marriages. It will be interesting to watch in the upcoming years to see whether the definition of marriage is altered. For the purposes of this website, we will look at what has typically been considered a marriage “the voluntary union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.” Hyde v. Hyde, L.R. 1 P & D 130 (1866). Each state has also established requirements that must be met to be considered “legally” married. Most states require:1) a license, 2) the parties be married by an authorized religious figure, judicial officer, or civil official like a mayor or whoever state law establishes, and 3) most states require some type of blood test or counseling for sexually transmitted diseases. Usually marriage licenses can be obtained from your court clerk, city clerk, or county clerk. Normally, a marriage license has an expiration date and will only be valid for 15 – 60 days depending on the jurisdiction. In addition, most states have some type of waiting period to get a license. Many states don’t have a residency requirement so it is possible to be married in another state. Nevada has a very relaxed marriage law and that is why you see so many people getting married in Las Vegas.

What if we just live together?

In the past and still in fourteen states, it was possible to live together for a set period of time and it was considered a marriage. These were called common law marriages. All that was required for a common law marriage was that the two individuals intended to live together as husband and wife and met the time requirement.

What are the requirements to be married?

There are some requirements that need to be met in order to be married.

Age – Most states have set an age requirement for marriage. In most states the age to get married is 18 years old. However, in many jurisdictions minors age 16 or 17 can get married if they have some type of consent. Some states require parental consent, some states allow the court to approve the marriage. There are also some states that allow minors younger than 16 to be married but most require court approval.

Mental Capacity – All mental capacity means is that the two people getting married understand the nature of the marital relationship and all the responsibilities and duties that come with being married. For example, if one of the people were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage, they wouldn’t have had the mental capacity to understand the responsibilities they were taking on by getting married.

Physical Capacity – This means that both parties to the marriage have the ability to have sexual intercourse and if one of the parties is incapable of having sexual intercourse, it would be invalid unless they told the other person prior to the marriage.

Not Related – There have been laws prohibiting marrying relatives in our country since its founding. Each state has worded their law in their own way but you will find that most states have laws similar to Michigan’s , M.C.L. 551.3 Incapacity:persons a man prohibited from marrying – Sec.3 “A man shall not marry his mother, sister, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, stepmother, grandfather’s wife, son’s wife, grandson’s wife, wife’s mother, wife’s grandmother, wife’s daughter, wife’s granddaughter, brother’s daughter, sister’s daughter, father’s sister, mother’s sister, or cousin of the first degree, or another man.”

What if I’m forced or tricked into marrying someone?

There are times when a marriage might be considered fraudulent or entered into under duress (pressure). A fraudulent marriage might exist if the groom says he is the same religious faith as the bride but she later finds out he is not. A fraudulent marriage might occur if the couple agrees that they want to have 4 children but after the marriage it is found that the husband is sterile and can’t have children, but didn’t tell the bride. A marriage under duress occurs when an individual is forced to marry the other person. For example, a boy is forced to marry a girl that he gets pregnant. Marriages entered into fraudulently or under duress can be ended. Some will be considered void and some will be considered voidable. We look at these two terms next.

Is the marriage VOID or VOIDABLE?

A void marriage is a marriage that is illegal. That means that some legal requirement for a valid marriage was missing at the time of the marriage. It might be a bigamous or polygamous marriage, or an incestuous marriage. Bigamy is entering into a second marriage before the first marriage has been terminated. Polygamy is when a person has several spouses at the same time. Some states also classify underage marriages as void. In most states because void marriages are illegal, it isn’t necessary to annul the marriage. However, it is usually good to have an annulment to establish a legal record that the marriage was ended. A voidable marriage is a marriage that contains some defect that would allow the parties to have the marriage annulled if they chose to have it annulled. Typical voidable marriages are fraudulent marriages, duress marriages, and a marriage to someone who doesn’t disclose they are sterile. An example might be a boy who is forced by the girl’s father to marry her because he got the girl pregnant. Each state will probably have a similar statute but might include some unique language. If the one of the individuals decides to have the marriage annulled, the marriage will then be voided. However, you need to remember in a voidable marriage the two parties can always choose to ignore whatever flaw was present in the marriage and remain happily married.

Should I have a prenuptial (premarital) agreement?

With the high divorce rate in our country and the media coverage given to celebrity marriages and break ups, it is natural that people thinking of getting married think about prenuptial agreements. A prenuptial agreement is a contract that the two parties who are getting married make to lay out what will happen with their property(house, cars, jewelry, etc.) if the marriage does not work. Prenuptial agreements are usually used by people who have assets or things of value that they want to protect and make sure they keep if the marriage does not work. It might be a classic car your grandfather gave you, an investment account your parents created for you, or it might be money you’ve earned and invested wisely before you met the individual you are about to marry. Most states have established laws that describe what requirements must be met to have a valid prenuptial agreement. Usually the laws mandate that, the people must fully disclose all of their assets and the person who didn’t write the agreement must have their own attorney look at the agreement.

What if I mention a prenuptial agreement and they leave me? Will I get the ring back?

Engagement rings and other gifts you might give someone before you get married have their own sets of laws. If the gift is given with the belief that the person is giving the gift because they will be married, it falls into a special category of gifts. There are many interesting court cases on engagement rings and who gets the ring if the couple decides not to get married. There are some states where the woman gets to keep the ring if she breaks off the engagement because the man cheated on her. There are some states where he would get the ring back if he broke off the engagement because she cheated on him. The modern view in most states now is that the individual that gave the ring or gift gets it back if the marriage doesn’t happen.

Ending a marriage: Annulment and Divorce

Annulment occurs when the court at the request of both or one of the partners, determines that the marriage was void or voidable at the time the marriage occurred. Therefore, the marriage never legally happened. That is the easiest way to think of annulment. Bob and Mary are asking the court to make a ruling that because of some flaw at the time of the marriage it wasn’t a legal marriage. Therefore the marriage didn’t ever happen. Most states have enacted some type of statute of limitations in annulment cases. Therefore, there is some time period in which you must file for an annulment. The marriage just does not work and its time to get a divorce.

A divorce is the legal ending of a marriage. Each state will have its own laws on what must be done to have a legal divorce to end a marriage. There are many factors that must be considered in a divorce: the couple’s property, spousal support, child custody, child support, and visitation issues. There have traditionally been two types of divorce laws in our country. There were fault divorce laws and no-fault divorce laws. In a fault divorce system the party filing for divorce needed to prove that it was the other spouse’s fault that the marriage failed. It might have been cheating, alcohol abuse, criminal conviction, extreme cruelty, and other reasons. If the filing spouse couldn’t prove fault to the court’s satisfaction, the court didn’t need to grant the divorce. This led to many people just making things up to get the court to grant them their divorce. The problem was so large the states developed no-fault divorce. In a no-fault system all the couple needs to say is that there are irreconcilable differences or a irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship. These changes have made the divorce process much smoother than the strictly fault system.

Where should you file for divorce?

If the husband and wife have not moved to separate states it is usually no problem to file for divorce. However, if one of the people has moved to another state, there are a more issues that need to be discussed. The first is jurisdiction or “Can the state take the divorce case?” Typically, most states will have jurisdiction if one of the parties lives in the state. Most states have laws that mandate that you live in the state a certain period of time before you can file for divorce. A typical amount of time would be 6 months. Once you have decided that a particular state will have jurisdiction over the divorce, you will need to decide which court in the state will be the appropriate place to file the divorce papers. This is called venue. The venue might be the county where the couple live, it might be the county where the defendant lives, or it might be the county where the plaintiff lives. Many states have enacted Long Arm Statutes that make it easier to get personal jurisdiction over both parties in a divorce action. The long arm statutes allow the courts in the state to determine all of the spousal support, child custody and support issues even if the defendant and spouse no longer lives in the state.

Alternative Dispute Resolution(A.D.R.) and trying to keep things out of court.

There has been a movement in our country to try and solve problems with out going to court. These methods are called alternative dispute resolution or A.D.R. There are three types of A.D.R.:negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Negotiation involves two sides sitting down and trying to resolve a problem. In mediation, both sides present their arguments to a mediator who tries to help the people reach a settlement that will satisfy both parties. In arbitration, both sides present their evidence to an arbitrator who will make a decision. Arbitration can be binding or non-binding. In binding arbitration you must accept the decision of the arbitrator. In non-binding arbitration you can appeal the decision of the arbitrator. Mediation and arbitration are quite common in divorce cases because the court dockets (calendars) in our country are very crowded and the courts would like to take care of as many cases as quickly as possible.

Dividing the Property

One of the most talked about areas of divorce usually involves the division of the couple’s property. You often hear stories about one spouse taking something special of the other spouse’s. For example, the angry wife takes the husbands classic sports car. Therefore, an understanding of the basics of property division will help you understand what happens to the property when a couple decides to get divorced. A few of the terms that you will hear used in divorce and property division are: community property, marital property, separate property, and equitable distribution. Community property is a very old legal concept. In a community property jurisdiction all the property that is acquired by the husband and wife during their marriage is considered the property of both spouses and must be divided in some way. Most community property jurisdictions allow a husband or wife to keep property they came into the marriage with separate. In addition most community property jurisdictions allow a husband or wife to keep any money they inherit during the marriage separate. Equitable distribution is a term used by many states to describe their system of property division. In an equitable distribution system the court will first need to classify the property that the couple owns. Marital property is property that the couple acquired while they were married. Separate property is property that a husband or wife got prior to the marriage or during the marriage but it was used only for themselves. Some states have even created a category called mixed property. When a husband or wife has separate property but then begins to allow the other spouse to use that property or benefit from it in some way, it can be classified as mixed property and the will be included in the marital property that will be divided. What if I put my husband through medical school and then he left me? There has been a great deal of discussion in our country about whether professional degrees or licenses are considered marital property. The reason this happens is because someone with a medical degree or other advanced degree usually will make quite a bit more money over their working career. However, very few states have recognized professional licenses or degrees as marital property. Many jurisdictions allow the spouse who worked to put the other spouse through school to receive some reimbursement for tuition and other expenses related to getting the degree. Make sure you check with your attorney to determine what the courts have held in your jurisdiction.

What is spousal support?

Spousal support is the money one spouse might receive from the other spouse. It is also referred to as alimony. This is the money that one spouse will receive after the divorce. Most states have passed laws that indicate the factors or formulas that will be used to determine spousal support.

Some of the factors might be: past relations and conduct of the parties, length of the marriage, the parties’ ability to work, the source and amount of property awarded to the parties, the age of the parties, the ability to pay spousal support, the parties’ present situation, the parties’ needs, the parties’ health, the prior standard of living of the parties, and whether the parties support others.

When the initial divorce is filed, many states allow the spouse to file for temporary spousal support. This gives the spouse some money to live off of until the divorce and spousal support are finalized. When the divorce is finalized and the amount of spousal support is established it might take a variety of forms. It might be permanent spousal support where the spouse will receive the support periodically until remarriage, death of the spouse, or until a motion is filed and granted to end the support. Many states in our country are now giving spousal support for a limited period of time. The courts have increasingly done this because they feel spousal support should help the spouse get back on their feet financially and not give a lifetime paycheck. There are also some jurisdictions that allow the spousal support to be given in one lump sum. Earlier we mentioned the modification of spousal support. Most states allow either spouse to ask the court to modify the spousal support. Typically, the spouse asking the court to change the spousal support must show that there has been some major change in their circumstances that justifies an increase or decrease in the amount of spousal support. Many states allow modification if the former spouse is living with someone else.

What about the kids? Child Support, Custody, and Visitation

Children of divorce and children of people who were never married have a right to child support in most jurisdictions. In many states if a woman has a baby and is unmarried the information given at the hospital will be used by the state to begin the court process needed to make the father pay child support. The states have enacted child support laws that use formulas to determine how much child support must be paid by each parent. If your parents are getting divorced ask your parents’ attorney or a court official to explain how the formula works in your jurisdiction (state). Once your parents have decided to get divorced one of your parents can ask the court to award temporary child support. Many of the formulas include child care expenses and significant medical costs. Most of the formulas will allow the court to look at the parent’s earning capacity. They have done this because they want to protect children from a parent who may not choose to work or work at their ability level because they don’t want to pay support. The Federal Government has passed laws that mandate that the states establish procedures that make the process of establishing and enforcing child support as fast as possible. Children receiving child support will typically receive support until they are 18 years old. If a child is emancipated, joins the military, or are on their own in some way, they will have their support terminated. In some situations a child who is mentally or physically disabled may receive child support for a longer period of time. There are some states that allow children in college to receive child support, while other states mandate that child support ends at age 18. Just like with spousal support, it is possible to modify child support. If there is a significant change in circumstances, it is possible to ask the court to change the amount of child support. Two examples of significant changes might be if the child is diagnosed with an illness that will result in large medical expenses, or if the parent has a large increase in their income.

What if my Mom or Dad won’t pay the child support?

There has been a large problem in our nation with child support. As many children have experienced first hand, many parents do not pay the support they are required to pay. If the child support is part of the divorce agreement, it is usually considered a final judgment. Final judgments are legal rulings issued by a court that the court has the power to enforce. In the past decade there has been a move by most jurisdictions to make it easier to collect child support and hold parents that don’t pay their child support accountable. The first option that most courts have is contempt proceedings. When an individual fails to do what a court has ordered it is called contempt. There can be civil contempt and criminal contempt. Civil contempt usually involves paying money owed to the children or ex-spouse. It is also possible for the court to put the person in jail until they pay the money owed. Criminal contempt is punishment from the court for violating the court’s order. The court may impose fines or jail time for the violation. The states have also passed laws that have further expanded the courts’ ability to collect unpaid child support. They might be able to take money out of the parent’s pay check(garnishment). They might force the parent to put up other property of value to pay the support. Some states are now revoking licenses of parents that don’t pay support. For example, the court might revoke a professional license like a teaching certificate, or a builder’s license. Some states revoke driver’s licenses and hunting licenses. The process of collecting child support from parents who won’t pay and flee to other states was made much simpler by the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. All states were required to adopt this law by January 1, 1998 or risk losing federal money for their state’s welfare programs. This act makes it easier to collect from a parent in a different state and it makes it easier to enforce support orders in other states. There are a few ways that a child might receive their support but the two most common are to receive the support directly from their parent or receive their support from the court. Make sure you find out how your state’s laws are written. In some jurisdictions if you don’t use the court program to process your support you lose some of the enforcement programs available through the court. If you are entitled to child support and are not receiving the support, please contact your local family court, bar association, or a family law attorney in the phone book. The legislatures that make the laws in our country and the courts’ that deal with child support issues have grown tired of parents who avoid their duty to the children that they brought into this world. This is one area of the law where teens and children have the law on their side.

Honoring Divorces from other States

The Full Faith and Credit Clause Article IV Section 1 of the United States Constitution is known as the Full Faith and Credit Clause. This clause makes final judgments from one state enforceable in all the other states. Therefore, if you have a marriage, divorce, or child support order from Michigan, the State of Georgia where you moved must enforce the order issued by the court in Michigan.


Paternity, Adoption, and Abortion Paternity – Who’s the Dad?

The issue of who is a child’s father has always been important. However, in the last few decades it has taken on greater significance. In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Gomez v. Perez that it was the duty of both parents to support their child. 409 U.S. 535 (1973) In addition, there are federal laws that require mothers to cooperate with officials trying to determine who the father of the child is in order to receive help under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families programs. Many states have adopted the Uniform Parentage Act. This act states that a parent child relationship exists even if the man and woman are not married. It also establishes processes to use to establish paternity. With the advances in science it is easier to establish paternity. D.N.A. technology advances have made it much easier to definitively determine the father of the child.

Adopting Children

Adoption is the process where the parents’ rights to a child are ended and a new parent/child relationship is established with a new family. Parental rights might be ended in a variety of ways. Parents may choose to give a child up for adoption which will end their parental rights. The government might end parents’ rights because the parents are unfit. Unfitness might be based on abuse, abandonment because the parents have left the child, and neglect when the parents are not taking proper care of the child. There are two common types of adoption in our country. There are independent/private adoptions and agency adoptions. Not all states allow independent/private adoptions. These adoptions are not as highly regulated by state laws. In an independent adoption the people who want to adopt will go to a person(agent) who finds someone who wants to give up a child. Most states place a limit on how much the agent who arranges the adoption can charge for their services. This is to prevent agents from profiting in the adoption business. Agency adoptions are handled by agencies licensed by the state to handle the placement of children. The laws set very specific policies and procedures for the adoption of children. All states mandate that the mother give consent for the child to be put up for adoption. If the mother is married the father of the child must also give his consent. In most states the consent of the father is also required when the child was born out of wedlock. If the parent is a minor most states allow a minor to give consent to put their child up for adoption. In some states the minor having the child’s parents must give consent to put the child up for adoption. Many states also allow parents to revoke their consent to give the child up for adoption. If you are planning on placing your child up for adoption make sure you speak with a individual at a reputable state adoption agency or an attorney that has experience with adoption in your jurisdiction so you know all your rights.


Very few students who have spent any time in a government class that discusses controversial issues or famous U.S. Supreme Court cases have not heard of Roe v. Wade. Roe was the case that held that a woman’s right to have an abortion was a private matter and women have the right to choose to have an abortion. The Court did leave states the ability to pass laws that regulated abortions. Many states have passed laws that mandate that minors who seek abortions must have parental consent. The U.S. Supreme Court heard a few cases that involved these parental consent requirements. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that consent requirements are legal as long as there is some bypass procedure so a minor who doesn’t feel they can go to their parents can have an abortion. Typically, in most jurisdictions the by-pass procedure is handled by the court and a judge or other appointed judicial official will determine if it is okay to bypass the parental consent requirement. The U.S. Supreme Court opinions have also stated that a bypass procedure is needed for parental notification statutes.