(Editor's Note: Some cases may be from May, as they were not posted to Westlaw until after I prepared the May update on June 10, 2022.)
AGREEMENTS - PREMARITAL AGREEMENT - OPPORTUNITY TO CONSULT COUNSEL
Spiegel v. Spiegel, Nos. 532401, 534512, 2022 N.Y. Slip Op. 03778 (New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, June 9, 2022)
The record reveals that prior to the marriage there was a pronounced financial disparity between the husband and the wife, who had no assets at the time of the marriage and was previously employed by the state. After cohabitating for approximately 10 years, the parties decided to get married and, at the husband's insistence, resolved to enter into a prenuptial agreement. The husband was referred to his counsel by a family attorney and, during the process of retaining his counsel, sought a recommendation on representation for the wife. According to the wife, she had no discussion or input on counsel of her choice, and simply was forwarded a retainer agreement and statement of client rights from her counsel's office, chosen by husband, which she was unable to open and never executed. “[W]hile the wife conceded that she had a single conversation with her counsel that lasted between 30 and 45 minutes, the record fails to definitively establish that she had any further meaningful discussions with counsel during the ensuing negotiations. After that discussion, the wife's counsel sent several proposed changes concerning the agreement to the husband's counsel. The record demonstrates that, after receiving an email from his counsel concerning the proposed changes, the husband responded to his counsel that he understood the role of the wife's counsel as one in which he would merely explain the terms of the proposed agreement, rather than serve as her representative in a negotiation on its terms. Specifically, the husband stated that he had hired the wife's counsel “to make sure [that the wife] fully understands the agreement,” and not “to create friction,” “re‑write the agreement” or “dig into issues he does not know about.” Held, not surprisingly, “We find that the foregoing facts, if established, raise issues concerning whether the wife was meaningfully represented during the abbreviated negotiations, and also raise an inference that the husband did not intend on engaging in a good faith negotiation of the agreement from the outset, which, if true, would be sufficient to establish overreaching on his part.”
AGREEMENTS - PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT - ENFORCEMENT AFTER DEATH OF PARTY
In 2007, the trial court dissolved the marriage between Husband and Wife. Along with the dissolution decree, the trial court entered the parties’ settlement agreement, which required Husband to execute a quitclaim deed transferring his interest in the marital residence to Wife after she paid him a sum of money. Although Wife claims she paid the sum, Husband failed to execute the quitclaim deed, and he subsequently passed away in 2021. Wife petitioned the dissolution court to appoint a commissioner to execute the quitclaim deed or to declare the judgment lien Husband held on the marital residence to be satisfied and released. The dissolution court denied the petition based on caselaw stating a general rule that when a party to dissolution proceedings dies, the trial court no longer has jurisdiction. Held: That rule does not apply here. The Wife merely seeks to enforce the agreed upon property settlement, which falls within the dissolution court's continuing jurisdiction “to complete the implementation of the division of property as ordered in the final decree.”
In September 2015, after 36 years of marriage, husband and wife separated. In October 2017, the parties participated in mediation and executed a five‑page, predominantly handwritten settlement agreement (MSA), dividing the couple's property and addressing other financial issues, including spousal support. The MSA was dated October 6, 2017, and it was signed by both parties and their respective attorneys. After some back and forth about the contents of the judgment, the wife died. Two weeks later, the trial court signed and filed the second proposed judgment dissolving the parties’ marriage and distributing their property. “The issue before us is whether, by entering the MSA, [the husband] waived the rights of a surviving spouse enumerated in section 141, subdivision (a). We hold that the MSA did effect a waiver of those rights. As explained below, based on our independent review of the MSA and the undisputed record evidence, the written MSA signed by Freeman and Patricia, each with the advice of counsel, constituted a “complete property settlement” within the meaning of section 145. Further, the MSA is an enforceable waiver of his rights as a surviving spouse, as Freeman fails to point to any evidence he was not provided with “[a] fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations” of Patricia, prior to signing the MSA, as required by section 143, subdivision (a).”
AGREEMENTS - PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT - MUTUAL MISTAKE
The parties purchased an apartment in Paris, France, during the marriage. Although the apartment was purchased with proceeds generated from the sale of jointly owned property, Husband unilaterally placed the apartment under the ownership of a French corporation named SCI Les Triples. Husband and the parties’ three adult children own interests in the SCI. As a result of mediation, the parties signed a property settlement agreement, specifying Husband “shall receive” the apartment in Paris, France, and Wife “shall receive” their Maine and Wyoming residences. Shortly after the mediation, Husband contacted Wife claiming the Paris apartment portion of the MSA had “enormous problems” under French law. He asserted the Paris apartment could not be transferred to him as his separate property without the consent of the parties’ adult children, and the children had informed him they would not consent to the transfer or sale of the apartment. He also alleged he would incur unanticipated tax consequences if the Paris apartment was sold. Because of these alleged problems, Husband refused to sign a final settlement agreement or a stipulated divorce decree. Husband asked the district court to vacate the MSA and find it was void due to mutual mistake, among other assorted reasons. Held: Tu as tort! Not a mutual mistake. “Husband cannot use a claimed mistake about the children's future consent to the transfer or sale of the Paris apartment to invalidate the MSA. Even if the parties were mutually mistaken about whether the children would consent to the transfer or sale of the Paris apartment, this was an erroneous prediction about a future event. It is not the type of mistake that would allow the district court to invalidate the MSA under the doctrine of mutual mistake.”
(Ed. Note: Come for the mutual mistake; stay for the fraud and impossibility.)
CHILD CUSTODY - HAGUE CONVENTION - RISK OF HARM - AMELIORATIVE MEASURES
In a 9-0 vote, the Supreme Court held that a court is not categorically required to examine all possible ameliorative measures before denying a Hague Convention petition for return of a child to a foreign country once the court has found that return would expose the child to a grave risk of harm. In this case, Narkis Golan (mother), a U.S. citizen, married Isacco Saada (husband), an Italian citizen in Italy. A son was born of the marriage in Italy. In 2008, the mother and son flew to the United States to attend a wedding. Instead of returning, the mother and son moved into a domestic violence shelter. The father filed a petition for the son’s return under the Hague Convention. In the district court, the court found a grave risk of harm to the child, but nonetheless ordered the child’s return to Italy under appellate precedent obligating it to “examine the full range of options that might make possible the safe return of a child to the home country.” The father’s proposed meliorative measures included providing the mother with $30,000 for expenses pending a decision on financial support, staying away from the mother pending resolution of the child custody dispute, beginning therapy, and waiving legal fees and expenses. On appeal to the Second Circuit, the court found that the measures were insufficient and remanded for consideration of other alternatives. On remand, the district court added additional measures, including that an Italian social services agency oversee the father’s parenting classes and therapy, and that visits between the father and his son be supervised. A protective order barred the father from approaching the mother for one year. The father would also pay $150,000 to facilitate his son’s return to Italy and to pay living costs while the mother and her son resettled. The Second Circuit affirmed, but on appeal to the Supreme Court, the high court vacated the ruling:
Nothing in the Convention's text either forbids or requires consideration of ameliorative measures in exercising this discretion. The Convention itself nowhere mentions ameliorative measures. Nor does ICARA, which, as relevant, instructs courts to “decide the case in accordance with the Convention” and accordingly leaves undisturbed the discretion recognized in the Convention.... The fact that a court may consider ameliorative measures concurrent with the grave‑risk determination, however, does not mean that the Convention imposes a categorical requirement on a court to consider any or all ameliorative measures before denying return once it finds that a grave risk exists.
To summarize, although nothing in the Convention prohibits a district court from considering ameliorative measures, and such consideration often may be appropriate, a district court reasonably may decline to consider ameliorative measures that have not been raised by the parties, are unworkable, draw the court into determinations properly resolved in custodial proceedings, or risk overly prolonging return proceedings. The court may also find the grave risk so unequivocal, or the potential harm so severe, that ameliorative measures would be inappropriate. Ultimately, a district court must exercise its discretion to consider ameliorative measures in a manner consistent with its general obligation to address the parties’ substantive arguments and its specific obligations under the Convention. A district court's compliance with these requirements is subject to review under an ordinary abuse‑of‑discretion standard.
The case now goes back to the federal district court to resolve whether to order a return under the legal standard laid out by the Supreme Court. “The district court should determine whether the measures in question are adequate to order return in light of its factual findings concerning the risk to [the child], bearing in mind that the convention sets as a primary goal the safety of the child.”
Ed. Note: Melissa Kucinski, counsel for Respondent, offers this commentary:
I think the court's opinion in Golan v. Saada provides strong direction for lawyers litigating Hague Abduction Convention cases in the future. The court, while not mandating a consideration of ameliorative measures, seemed to be strongly supportive of them, so long as they were effective to protect the child, did not cause delay, and did not tread into the custody case. Using suggestive language, the court implied that it could be an abuse of discretion for a trial judge to refuse to consider ameliorative measures that a party places before the court. I think we will likely see more petitioning parents put forth ameliorative measures, including voluntary undertakings and evidence of safety and protective measures in the habitual residence, early in their case. I think we will also see more preliminary motions by petitioners, seeking their Hague judge's interactions with the International Hague Network of Judges. Notably, the court did not even reference Ms. Golan's argument that domestic violence cases are almost never appropriate cases for considering ameliorative measures. Instead, the court reinforced the broad discretion available to trial judges in resolving these cases fairly and tailored to a specific family's unique circumstances. It is my genuine hope that, on remand, the court is in a position to expeditiously resolve this case.
Andrew Zashin, counsel for Petitioner, offers this:
With respect to Professor Kucinski's analysis of the Golan decision, I disagree with her conclusion that the Court was "strongly supportive" of ameliorative measures. First, the Court seemed suspicious of ameliorative measures and their application under the explicit language of the Hague Convention. In part, this suspicion arises from the time it takes to investigate and effectuate ameliorative measures. The Court noted in Golan, "it took the District Court took nine months to comply with the Second Circuit's directive on remand." Therefore, the logic behind ameliorative measures is "in tension" with the Convention's "focus on expeditious resolution" (citing the Blondin line of cases). Second, while the Court noted that a District Court has the discretion to implement ameliorative measures if such measures are appropriate, such measures must not be mandated, nor can they be issued on a "whim." Instead, they must be issued pursuant to "sound legal principles." Indeed, the District Court also has the discretion to decide that no ameliorative measures are appropriate, especially in cases where the risk is "so grave."
I believe that both the Monasky and Golan decisions indicate that the Court wants to "push" Hague Convention cases "down," that is, to limit their ability to climb "up" the Federal appeals ladder. In both Monasky and Golan, the Court emphasized the significant discretion of the District Court. In Monasky, the Court stated that the standard of review for habitual residence on appeal is clear error; in Golan, the use of ameliorative measures is subject to an abuse of discretion standard. Thus, appealing from a District Court has become extremely difficult, if not practically impossible, for an individual litigant. As many commentators have noted, including Professor Kucinski, the cost of Hague litigation is "increasingly expensive in the United States," if not backbreaking. This convention is merely a jurisdictional instrument and is not designed to make custody determinations. With little practical hope of appellate review and the expanded discretion of the district court, it is highly likely that an inexperienced district court judge may consider substantive custody matters, causing "best interest" factors to bleed into Hague Convention litigation.
CHILD CUSTODY - MODIFICATION - CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES
The superior court may not grant a motion to modify a child custody order unless it finds a substantial change of circumstances. However, conduct that interferes with a parent's rights under the custody order may establish a substantial change in circumstances even if there was similar conduct in the past. “If a parent ignores a previous custody order and then continues to ignore a new custody order, the parent's actions may justify modification — despite the fact that the parent's actions are nothing new.”
CHILD CUSTODY - THIRD PARTY - STANDING
Stepfather filed for divorce and petitioned for allocation of parental responsibilities (APR). The trial court dismissed the petition for lack of standing. Held: Reversed; stepfather does have standing. “[T]o meet the nonparent standing requirement under section 14‑10‑123(1)(c), Stepfather need only have shown that he had physical care of E.K. for a period of at least 182 days and that he filed the petition within 182 days after Father removed E.K. from his care. We conclude that Stepfather meets that standard under the circumstances of this case because we may, and do, consider the time he co‑parented with Mother in calculating the duration of his physical care. We also conclude that Stepfather need not have Respondents’ parental consent during that timeframe to establish physical care for purposes of section 14‑10‑123(1)(c) standing.”
A grandparent can establish standing under the Grandparents and Great‑Grandparents Visitation Act (GVA) by showing that the grandparent has a “sufficient existing relationship” with a grandchild. Given that the de facto parentage statute and the GVA have the same framework for determining standing, [out previous] holding that a single standard of proof—preponderance of the evidence—governs standing determinations under the de facto parentage statute applies with equal force to the GVA. The court correctly required the grandmother to prove standing by a preponderance of the evidence.
CHILD SUPPORT - CONTEMPT - HEALTH INSURANCE
B.D. v. E.D., No. 307484/13, 2022 N.Y. Slip Op. 22158 (New York Supreme Court, New York County, May 16, 2022)
The mother filed an order to show cause seeking to adjudge the father in contempt of the Judgment of Divorce which incorporated their stipulation. The father was obligated to keep and maintain for the children health and medical insurance plans greater than or equal to the coverage then provided by his employer until the latter of each child becoming emancipated pursuant to the Agreement or until “each child is no longer allowed by law to be covered under a parent's insurance”. Further, the parties agreed that in the event that the father was no longer able to maintain health insurance coverage for the benefit of the child through his employer or any subsequent employer, the father agreed that he shall be 100% responsible for securing and paying for the continued coverage of comparable health insurance for the benefit of the children, for as long as required hereunder. The nub of the disagreement: The mother contends that because their daughter is eligible for insurance coverage under the father’s insurance through the Age 29 Law, the father is required to secure and pay for such coverage. The father asserts that it was never contemplated that he would pay what he calculates would be over $100,000 in premiums for both children should they be eligible for Age 29 Law coverage. He states that it was custom and practice for health insurance coverage to end at age 26 and that it was his understanding that his obligation would end at such time since the children could not be dependents after age 26. Held: “The phrase until “each child is no longer allowed by law to be covered under a parent's insurance” does not have a clear and unequivocal meaning. For example, it could be read as for as long as the children are allowed by law to be dependents under the [father’s] insurance, which at the time of the agreement was age 26. Of course, it does not say so definitively. Nor does it specify a date or age until which [the father] would have to provide insurance coverage. For example, it could have said until age 26 or age 29 but did not do so. Nor does the disputed language specifically reference the Age 29 law which would have created an unequivocal obligation in line with [the mother’s] position....Thus, a practical and reasonable interpretation of the language is that [the fahter] would be obligated to maintain health insurance for the children so long as they could legally be dependents under his plan. Had the parties intended to obligate [the father] to pay the cost of a separate individual plan for the daughter potentially available to her from age 26 through age 29 (including the one she ultimately obtained through the Age 29 Law), the contract would have explicitly stated the same.”
CHILD SUPPORT - INCOME - EVIDENCE - IMPUTED INCOME
Father's submission of tax returns, domestic relations financial affidavits (DRFAs), bank statements, and other itemized income and expense statements did not preclude trial court from imputing income to him when establishing his child support obligation in post‑divorce child support modification proceeding, even if such documents were type of reliable evidence of income listed in child support guidelines pertaining to gross income. The father was unable to explain discrepancies in his various financial documents, he could not explain why certain income was included on some documents but not on others, or why deposits into his bank account far exceeded his reported income, and he attempted to portray one‑time expenses as ongoing expenses.
DIVORCE - GROUNDS - CRUEL AND INHUMAN TREATMENT
Montgomery v. Montgomery, Nos. 2020‑CP‑01135‑COA, 2017‑CP‑00632‑COA (Mississippi Court of Appeals, May 24, 2022)
A horse walked into a bar. The bartender said, “Hey, buddy, why the long face?” The horse answered, in this case, Glen testified that on the day of their separation, Mary threw things at him, threatened to kill him, and told him to leave. He testified that, with loaded guns in the house, he legitimately feared her, given the state she was in. Her conduct was so bizarre, he contacted her family who apparently tried to get her to seek medical or psychiatric help. Glen said he eventually signed paperwork to have her taken to the hospital. Glen called Tonya Lynd as his supporting witness to show the court that Mary's behavior had been unnatural on other occasions. Tonya testified about an incident where she had to call the police because of Mary's behavior and medication overdose. The chancery court was able to observe the demeanor of the parties during the trial and, from the testimony presented, granted the divorce. The chancery court was aware that the parties had been separated and had not cohabited together for five years, and that a prior court had determined that Mary had not proved any grounds for divorce. The chancery court determined that the evidence was sufficient to support a finding of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment and granted a divorce to Glen.”
(Ed. note: I wondered to myself why the husband didn’t sue on the grounds of mental illness, but I saw that Miss. Code § 93-5-1 has a very, very high bar for suing on those grounds; suing on the grounds of cruelty is the way to go when the other party has mental problems. E.g., Shannon v. Shannon, No. 2020‑CA‑00847‑COA (Miss. Ct. App. Feb. 15, 2022) (husband had Alzheimer’s).)
DIVORCE - FRAUD - MISREPRESENTATION
You don’t see many cases like this in federal court. “This diversity suit arises from the 2004 divorce of Lisa Neckritz Koral (“Lisa”) and Gregg Saunders (“Gregg”). In the divorce proceedings, they traded statements of net worth (among other disclosures), conducted an appraisal on several commercial properties fractionally owned by Gregg, expressed satisfaction that their assets were fully disclosed, and disclaimed further inquiry. They signed a stipulation of settlement in July 2004; their divorce was final within a month. Gregg died in a car accident nearly a decade later, and Lisa was deposed in connection with his wrongful death proceeding. During her 2016 deposition, Lisa was advised that Gregg's investments in commercial property may have been worth millions of dollars. She then became suspicious that Gregg had misrepresented the value of his real estate holdings, that the appraisal was inaccurate, and that the stipulation of divorce settlement was induced by fraud. A year after the deposition, Lisa commenced this fraud action against the Estate of Gregg Saunders and against Alsou Saunders, Gregg's widow, individually and in her capacity as administratrix. This appeal is taken from the judgment ... which dismissed the complaint on summary judgment, on the ground that the claims are barred by the statute of limitations. Notwithstanding that this suit was filed thirteen years after the divorce, Lisa contends that the suit is timely by virtue of the discovery rule or equitable estoppel. As the district court held, the discovery rule does not apply to Lisa's claims. However, the district court did not consider whether Gregg's alleged fraudulent concealment warrants tolling the statute of limitations. The evidence suggests that Gregg may have committed fraud in connection with the sale of one of his real estate holdings, and then concealed that fraud. Accordingly, we affirm in part, and in part vacate and remand so that the district court can determine whether equitable estoppel tolls Lisa's claims arising from Gregg's sale of that investment.”
MARRIAGE - BIGAMOUS MARRIAGE
In re Marriage of Elali and Marchoud, No. E075103 (California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Two, June 8, 2022)
While the husband was married to Wife 1 and resided with her in California, the husband went and married Wife 2 in Lebanon. After the husband attempted to terminated the Lebanese marriage to Wife 2, Wife 2 filed a petition in California for spousal support without dissolution against the husband. The trial court ruled the Lebanese marriage was bigamous and therefore void. Wife 2 appealed the judgment of nullity. She contends the trial court erred holding the Lebanese marriage was void. She also contends that the parties' pleading allegations admitting there was a marriage required the trial court to find the Lebanese marriage was valid. In addition, Wife 2 contends there was insufficient evidence to overcome the presumption that the Lebanese marriage was valid. She further argues that a ruling that the Lebanese marriage was valid precluded a different judge from subsequently ruling the marriage was void. Held: Nope. “We reject Mayssa's contentions and conclude the trial court did not err in ruling the bigamous Lebanese marriage was void under section 2201(a). We therefore affirm the judgment of nullity.” There are interesting discussions of issue preclusion, judicial estoppel, and choice of law if you are so inclined.
PARENTAGE - SEXUAL ASSAULT - EQUAL PROTECTION
Washington law, Wash. Rev. Code § 26.26A.465(2), provides: “In a proceeding in which a parent alleges that a person committed a sexual assault that resulted in the parent becoming pregnant and subsequently giving birth to a child, the parent may seek to preclude the person from establishing or maintaining the person's parentage of the child. A parent who alleges that a child was born as a result of sexual assault may also seek additional relief as described in this section.” In this case, the plaintiff filed a petition to determine the parentage of a child, R.V., asserting that he was the child's father. In response, the mother of R.V. claimed that R.V. was born as a result of sexual assault by C.V. and requested that C.V. be denied parental rights. After a fact‑finding hearing, the trial court found that R.V. was born as a result of C.V.’s sexual assault of H.S. and, therefore, C.V. did not have parental rights with regard to R.V. On appeal, C.V. argued that RCW 26.26A.465 violates his due process and equal protection rights in his his fundamental right to parent. Held: There is no absolute, fundamental right to parent. “The cornerstone of C.V.’s entire argument is the presumption that his biological role in the conception of R.V. automatically confers upon him the constitutionally protected fundamental right to parent. C.V. is wrong. The fundamental right to parent is not necessarily inherent in the fact of a biological relationship. Lehr v. Robertson, 463 U.S. 248, 261, 103 S. Ct. 2985, 77 L. Ed. 2d 614 (1983).” Citing cases from numerous other jurisdictions, the court concluded, “Rapists will not be rewarded for their crimes simply because they were successful in reproductive mechanics. Consequently, the perpetrator is not afforded the same due process rights of a person who is a parent to a child as a result of consensual sexual intercourse. ... We hold that RCW 26.26A.465 survives the rational basis review.”
PROPERTY DIVISION - CLASSIFICATION - APPRECIATION OF SEPARATE PROPERTY
Culman v. Boesky, No. 2021‑00392, 2022 N.Y. Slip Op. 03440 (New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, May 26, 2022)
Wife owned a pre-marital business, an art gallery, that increased in value during the marriage. ‘The record, including [wife’s] own testimony, supports the trial court's determination that the appreciation was due to [wife’s] active efforts and that there was “some nexus” between [husband’s] limited indirect contributions as a supportive spouse and active parent, at least in the early years of the marriage, and the success of [wife’s] business. Contrary to [wife’s] rgument, the nontitled spouse is not required to quantify the connection between the titled spouse's efforts and the increase in value of separate property during the marriage “with mathematical, causative or analytical precision”.
PROPERTY DIVISION - PRE-EMBRYOS
In re Marriage of Fabos and Olsen, No. 20CA1881, 2022 COA 66 (Colorado Court of Appeals, June 23, 2022)
“This case centers on a dispute between one spouse who wants to donate the pre‑embryos to another couple because of her religious belief that they are human lives and must be preserved and the other spouse who wants to destroy the pre‑embryos to avoid procreation. Therefore, this case presents an issue not addressed by Rooks [429 P.3d 579, 2018 CO 85]: how to account for one party's religious beliefs as part of the balancing test.” Held: The district court erred by considering wife's religious belief that the pre‑embryos are human lives when weighting the first Rooks factor — the intended use of the party seeking to preserve the disputed pre‑embryos.” In essence, the district court erred by elevating the wife’s religious beliefs over the husband’s constitutionally protected privacy rights. “Although it was appropriate to consider wife's religious beliefs, the district court did not comply with the fabos mandate not to weight those beliefs more heavily than husband's interest in not procreating.”
(Ed. Note: Would this case survive this Supreme Court’s elevation of religious expression as the most privileged of rights?)
LAW REVIEW ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Marisa S. Fein, An Inequitable Means to an Equitable End: Why Current Legal Processes Available to Non‑Biological, LGBTQ+ Parents Fail to Live up to Obergefell v. Hodges, 14 Drexel L. Rev. 165 (2022).
Sara Mi_kovi_, Fur‑Ever Homes after Divorce: The Future of Pet Custody, 28 Animal L. 47 (2022).
NEWS ITEMS OF INTEREST
In Canada, a recent case, Weaver v. Weaver, 2022 BCCA 79, held that the administrator of an estate of separated and deceased spouse may commence, not just continue, a claim for divorce and property division.
Schedule your next mediation for early morning or late afternoon - your client will be both tired and hungry! Jordan Rothman, Parties Settle Cases More Often When They’re Tired or Have Someplace to Be. (Above the Law, June 22, 2022)
April White, Escape From the Gilded Cage. (Smithsonian Magazine, June 2022)
(A history of divorce on the American frontier circa 1900
See also April White, Seeking the Last Remnants of South Dakota’s Divorce Colony. (Atlas Obscura, June 14, 2022)
And in these challenging times, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”