NEWS AND UPDATES
JONATHAN INTERVIEWED ON DIVORCE SURVIVAL GUIDE PODCAST
August 31, 2023
Jonathan and his client “L” were the guests on an episode of Kate Anthony’s Divorce Survival Guide podcast (Episode 231: The Legal Battle for Women's Sexual Freedom) released today. Jonathan and L recount how L's ex-husband filed to modify custody of their child after he came across explicit material that she had posted online, while seeking such material himself. Jonathan and L recount the 17 month process from when L’s husband found the material and demanded she take it down, until a Magistrate finally ruled that the ex-husband’s efforts were not about the child, and rather were “the epitome of control."
JONATHAN WINS FIVE-CHILD IMMIGRATION CASE AFTER SIX YEARS
May 12, 2023
From Catholic Charities:
“Congratulations to Jonathan D. Lane of JD Lane Law for helping five minors receive SIJS status and work permit eligibility, and having their immigration cases dismissed.
The minors are siblings and half siblings who entered the United States in 2015 when their ages ranged from 8 to 14. The children were abandoned by their fathers, and their mother moved to the United States at their grandmother’s direction to support the family. Their grandmother would sometimes beat them with a belt. After their uncle was kidnapped for ransom, the grandmother was unable to protect the children from being kidnapped. So the children came to the United States, where they reunited with their mother in Maryland. Jonathan D. Lane of JD Lane Law took on this case in 2017 and prepared and completed the predicate custody case in Circuit Court. He then represented the children in immigration court for five years, including successfully having orders of removal rescinded in 2020. The children were all granted SIJS status, and in May 2022 were granted deferred status, allowing them to obtain work permits. All of the immigration cases were dismissed in May 2023, and the family is waiting for their turn to apply for legal permanent residence.
Thank you, Jonathan D. Lane for your dedication to this family’s cases and for all your hard work!”
ARTICLE CO-AUTHORED BY JONATHAN CITED IN ARTICLE IN MOST WIDELY READ US LEGAL PUBLICATION
April 27, 2023
The article co-authored by Jonathan which was published in the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy was cited and linked to in an article published by the ABA Journal, “Protecting Polyamory: Municipalities expand rights, domestic partnerships to include nontraditional relationships.” According to the American Bar Association, the ABA Journal is the most widely-read legal publication in the United States. You can read the ABA Journal article here:
LAW REVIEW ARTICLE CO-AUTHORED BY JONATHAN PUBLISHED IN CORNELL JOURNAL OF LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY
February 20, 2023
My colleagues Dr. Elizabeth Sheff and Kimberly Rhoten and I have published a law review article about how family courts may apply the best interests of the child standard to polyamorous families. The article was just published in the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, in a volume denoted by its intended publication year of 2021. The article is available here:
JONATHAN PRESENTS ON THE TOPIC OF LEGAL STATUS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MULTI-PARENT/MULTI-PARTNER FAMILIES IN THE US AT THE SEXUAL FREEDOM SUMMIT
August 5, 2022
I presented with co-author Dr. Elisabeth Sheff on the main stage of Woodhull Freedom Foundation’s Sexual Freedom Summit on August 5, 2022, on the topic of Legal Status and Recommendations for Multi-Parent/Multi-Partner Families in the US. The full recording of the presentation is viewable here, starting at 3:44.
This presentation provides a brief overview of social and legal issues facing multi-partner families, identifies some practical suggestions for these families inspired by the strategies LGBTQ families have used, and suggests policies that would benefit multi-partner, LGBTQ+, and other diverse families.
REPORTED MEMOIR CITING JONATHAN’S EXPERTISE IS RELEASED
January 25, 2022
Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy by Rachel Krantz was released on this day. The memoir combines the author’s personal experiences with extensive research on related subjects. The book repeatedly cites me as an expert in family law. You can read a review of the book on NPR’s website.
ARTICLE CO-AUTHORED BY JONATHAN PUBLISHED IN SOCIOLOGY JOURNAL
December 11, 2021
The article “U.S. Family Law Along the Slippery Slope: the limits of a sexual rights strategy for polyamorous parents” was published “OnlineFirst” by the sociology journal Sexualities, and will eventually be published in a special print edition of the journal focused on polyamory. The article was written by Kimberly Rhoten, Dr. Elizabeth Sheff, and Jonathan Lane. This paper reviews polyamorous parents’ efforts towards achieving legal and societal legitimatization, finding significant parallels with legal strategies LGBTQ parents utilized to seek legal recognition and protection prior to federal recognition of same-sex marriage. This paper highlights the inadequacies of such a formal sexual citizenship approach, finding that a limited strategy of accumulating specific sexual rights fails to address non-monogamy’s more radical cultural presence as well as the (non-legal) informal aspects of belonging needed to improve the livability of polyamorous parents’ and their children’s lives. This paper concludes with recommendations for improving the treatment of non-traditional families including LGBTQ, polyamorous, and other non-traditional families, both within and outside the legal institution.
JONATHAN WINS RARE DC FAMILY LAW APPEAL
May 13, 2021
Out of thousands of family law cases in DC each year, generally only one or two are successfully appealed. I won my first appeal, at the DC Court of Appeals. In this case a judge had ordered that the child was not to go more than 25 miles from the District of Columbia with anyone other than a parent. A three-judge panel unanimously agreed that the trial court abused its discretion in making this order. The panel directed the trial court to modify the child custody order to remove this provision, and a few days later the provision was removed, restoring to my client his right as a parent to give permission for his child to go camping, or go the beach, or to any other desired out-of-town activity, without my client actually being present.
JONATHAN CITED AS EXPERT IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
August 4, 2020
Jonathan Lane was cited as an expert in family law in an article published today by The New York Times, "The Challenges of Polyamorous Parenting." He is the only attorney cited in the article. Jonathan served as a source for the reporter on a variety of family law topics. He was cited specifically regarding co-parenting agreements and de facto parenthood:
These agreements are not legally binding, but they can help in situations like custody battles or if family members like grandparents object to the co-parenting agreement, according to Jonathan Lane, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who specializes in family law.
Lane also said that in custody and child-dependency cases, nonbiological parents may be able to apply for “de facto parenthood” depending on the state they live in and if they can show that they have a day-to-day caregiver role in the child’s life. If granted, de facto parenthood can allow for a person to file for custody of the child, even if they are not the biological parent or on the birth certificate.
The article is available at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/04/parenting/polyamorous-parenting.html.
THOUGHTS ON THE LGBTQ EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION CASES AND THE POLYAMORY COMMUNITY
June 15, 2020
As an attorney involved in advocating for the LGBTQ community and the polyamorous community, I have often been asked about employment discrimination in the LGBTQ and polyamorous communities in the United States. Though I primarily practice family law and don't do employment discrimination work, I address this as a big picture issue of concern to my clients and others I speak with.
Until today, many states have had no protections at all against workplace discrimination of the LGBTQ; this matter has been addressed on a state by state basis over time, as members of the LGBTQ community have lobbied state legislatures to protect them explicitly.
Many people in the polyamorous community have shared concerns about risks to their employment if they are out that are similar to those expressed by members of LGBTQ communities. The motivations for protections are similar: a belief that people should be able to openly live their lives without fear of discrimination, particularly in the realm of sexuality. There are many overlaps in the interests of the communities. (And of course, there are substantial overlaps in the communities themselves.)
There are currently in the United States no laws anywhere in the country which ban discrimination based on polyamorous relationship structure or orientation. The hard-fought wins of LGBTQ communities have been seen as the model for polyamorous communities seeking similar protections. So where do today's Supreme Court's rulings in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and its companion cases leave the polyamory rights movement? About the same place as they were yesterday.
The Court's decisions rely entirely on the Civil Rights Act of 1964's prohibition of employment discrimination "on the basis of sex." Sex here means male or female. The extension of this law's protections to the LGBTQ community were not intended when the law was drafted, but the logic is clear and compelling enough to win over two of the Court's five social conservatives: When you fire a man because he has or desires sexual relationships with a man, but you wouldn't fire a woman for doing the same, you discriminate based on sex. When you fire someone assigned male at birth for identifying and dressing as female, but you would not do the same for someone assigned female at birth, you discriminate based on sex.
Polyamory provides no comparable rationale to hook onto the existing protections of any of the classes of people protected by the Civil Rights Act. So this huge win for the LGBTQ community does not provide clear new opportunities to remedy discrimination against the polyamorous. Maybe someday a more liberal Supreme Court will extend discrimination protections on the basis of constitutional cases like Lawrence vs. Texas, which established a right to sexual privacy. But in the foreseeable future, the emerging polyamory rights movement will need to continue its initial steps on the path taken by the LGBTQ community up until today, gradually convincing city governments to ban employment discrimination, and eventually working up to state legislatures.
MIC.COM ARTICLE FEATURES QUOTES FROM JONATHAN
June 4, 2018
Mic.com has released an unfortunately-titled but information-rich article on polyamory, marriage, and alternatives to marriage which features extensive quotes from Jonathan Lane of JD Lane Law.
JONATHAN FEATURED ON PODCAST "MULTIAMORY"
April 17, 2018
The podcast Multiamory has released an episode titled Polyamory and the Law, which consists of an interview with Jonathan Lane of JD Lane Law. The podcast recording and a transcript are available on the Multiamory site.
JD LANE LAW SUCCEEDS IN THREE PARENT CUSTODY CASE IN MARYLAND
December 21, 2017
In December 2017 Jonathan Lane of JD Lane Law and co-counsel Jennifer Kent of FreeState Justice won custodial rights and legal recognition for the non-biological parent of a five year old girl in a rural Maryland county. The client, who was formerly in a romantic relationship with the child’s biological mother, had been an active parent throughout the child’s entire life, and as of early this fall had the child living with her five days a week. But the client was at risk of having her child taken away from her after the biological father filed a custody case against the biological mother in which he sought sole custody of the child. We intervened in the custody case on her behalf, relying on the Maryland Court of Appeals’s 2016 adoption of the doctrine of “de facto parenthood.” We were then able to negotiate an agreement with the biological parents that met our client’s goals. After the Judge entered an order adopting the terms of the agreement, our client was not only able to maintain her relationship with her child, but also was granted status as a legal parent, with joint physical custody and joint legal custody. This case represents a milestone in JD Lane Law’s advocacy for the rights of diverse families.
JONATHAN CERTIFIED IN DIVORCE MEDIATION AFTER EXTENSIVE TRAINING
November 19, 2017
Jonathan has now been certified as a divorce mediator. He completed two courses in divorce mediation this fall - a 40 hour general divorce mediation course, and a 20 hour follow-up course specifically on mediating financial issues in divorce. This training builds on his experience in divorce and separation mediation. He is now prepared to mediate cases which involve substantial financial disputes regarding issues such as property division and alimony.
JONATHAN BECOMES CERTIFIED IN COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE
September 16, 2017
Jonathan became certified in Collaborative Practice after a two day training. Jonathan can now offer representation to clients seeking divorce who want legal representation but want to avoid the great expense and emotional turmoil of litigation.
The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals explains the process briefly on their website:
"Collaborative Practice is a voluntary dispute resolution process in which parties settle without resort to litigation.
In Collaborative Practice:
1. The parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter;
2. The parties voluntarily disclose all information which is relevant and material to the matter that must be decided;
3. The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable settlement;
4. Each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding;
5. The parties may engage mental health and financial professionals whose engagement terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding; and
6. The parties may jointly engage other experts as needed.
Collaborative Practice provides you and your spouse or partner with the support and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Practice allows you the benefit of coaches, child and financial specialists all working together with you on your team.
In Collaborative Practice, core elements form your commitments to this process, which are to:
Negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution without having courts decide issues.
Maintain open communication and information sharing.
Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all."
Contact Jonathan if you might be interested in pursuing divorce through Collaborative Practice.
JONATHAN SWORN INTO MARYLAND BAR
June 20, 2017
Jonathan was sworn into the Maryland Bar on this day. He was previously sworn into the the District of Columbia Bar and the California Bar.
MILESTONE THREE PARENT CUSTODY CASE IN NEW YORK
March 13, 2017
A judge in New York state granted joint custody to a third parental figure involved in the child's upbringing, which was an exciting development. This case does not have direct impact on Maryland or DC cases, but could become influential. You can read the judge's decision here.
JD LANE LAW LAUNCHED
JD Lane Law was formally launched in March of 2017, building on my more than six years of experience as an attorney, including years representing pro bono clients in family law and other areas.
JONATHAN BECOMES LICENSED TO PRACTICE SOME PRO BONO CASES IN MARYLAND
In the fall of 2016, I became licensed to practice some pro bono cases in Maryland as an out-of-state attorney, under the supervision of the Montgomery County Bar Foundation. This has allowed me to build experience in Maryland courts while waiting to become licensed in Maryland. (I took the February 2017 Maryland Bar Exam and am waiting on results as of April.)