Sunday, February 23, 2014
Penn State Dickinson School of Law has frequently hosted visiting academics from Ukraine. I've had the privilege of working with very talented, engaged scholars on choice of law issues, conflicts of law, family law, and filial support questions. I've been thinking a lot about my friends as I follow the news about violence and change in Kiev during the struggles over the future for the country. We did not always agree on the law, but our debates were always spirited. I hope they are safe. Knowing how committed the lawyers I've met have been to modernization and the rule of law, I can only imagine how painful this period must be.
In 2012, I was invited to publish an article, "Filial Support Laws in the United State and Ukraine," for a Ukrainian journal on family law. I later expanded my analysis for the University of Illinois' Elder Law Journal, as an opportunity to compare domestic and international trends in use of such laws to compel adult children to pay for costs to care for aging parents. In this effort, I was guided by several people, including my Penn State colleague and noted Russian law scholar, Professor William Butler, in going beyond literal translations of Ukraine statutes and to examine case reports that shed light on the potential strengths or weaknesses of different systems of enforcement. As I wrote in my second article, the Ukraine cases "demonstrate the impact of poverty -- and the importance of even a few 'dollars' extra per month - for the elder parent" for any country struggling to create a viable economic system, including former Soviet block countries.
My thoughts go out to the families, including their elders, who face uncertainty during these challenging times and who deserve a brighter future.