Monday, September 15, 2014
Courtney G. Joslin (UC Davis) just posted Federalism and Family Status, -- Ind. L.J. -- (forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The myth of family law’s inherent localism is sticky. In the past, it was common to hear sweeping claims about the exclusively local nature of all family matters. In response to persuasive critiques, a narrower iteration of family law localism emerged. The new, refined version acknowledges the existence of some federal family law but contends that certain “core” family law matters — specifically, family status determinations — are inherently local. I call this family status localism. Proponents of family status localism rely on history, asserting that the federal government has always deferred to state family status determinations. Family status localism made its most recent appearance (although surely not its last) in the litigation challenging Section 3 of DOMA.
This Article accomplishes two mains goals. The first goal is doctrinal. This Article undermines the resilient myth of family law localism by uncovering a long history of federal family status determinations. Although the federal government often defers to state family status determinations, this Article shows that there are many circumstances in which the federal government instead relies on its own family status definitions.
The second goal of this Article is normative. Having shown that Congress does not categorically lack power over family status determinations, this Article begins a long overdue conversation about whether the federal government should make such determinations. Here, the Article brings family law into the rich, ongoing federalism debate — a debate that, until now, has largely ignored family law matters. In so doing, this Article seeks to break down the deeply-rooted perception that family law is a doctrine unto itself, unaffected by developments in other areas, and unworthy of serious consideration by others.
Friday, September 5, 2014
Thursday, September 4, 2014
From ABC News:
A U.S. appeals court ruled Thursday that same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana violate the U.S. Constitution, in another in a series of courtroom wins for gay-marriage advocates.
The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago bumps the number of states where gay marriage will be legal from 19 to 21. Since last year, the vast majority of federal rulings have declared same-sex marriages bans unconstitutional.
Read more here.
From Margaret Ryznar, writing for Huffington Post:
Since last summer -- when the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor required the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages -- advocates have successfully challenged many states' bans against same-sex marriage. These challenges have swept through the federal district courts across the country, and are now working their way through the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. Several of these courts have already held that states cannot deny same-sex couples the right to marry, including the 10th Circuit and the 4th Circuit.
Late last month, the 7th Circuit took its turn hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans after consolidating cases against Indiana's and Wisconsin's bans. The panel included Judges Posner, Williams and Hamilton.
The arguments made before the 7th Circuit were the same arguments made in other federal courts, centering on whether denying same-sex marriage is a violation of the 14th Amendment's due process and equal protection clauses. The same-sex couples in the 7th Circuit argued that Indiana and Wisconsin were violating these constitutional provisions by regulating marriage in a way that prevented them from getting married.
Meanwhile, Indiana supported its same-sex marriage ban by arguing that marriage is an incentive for people who unexpectedly conceived a child -- a man and a woman by definition -- to get married. Wisconsin's argument deferred to tradition and the state legislature to determine the issue.
Read more here.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
From Clare Huntington (Fordham Law School), writing for the New York Times,
THE opening of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-kindergarten program this week will give 53,000 children access to free, full-day pre-K in New York City, compared with 20,000 enrolled last year. This is well worth celebrating, and other cities and states should follow suit. But this investment in school preparation is not enough. If we want to close the income-based achievement gap, we need to begin much earlier.
Families are the ultimate pre-pre-school. Research in neuroscience and other fields has established that parents and caregivers provide a crucial foundation during the first few years of life. Our public policies, however, make it much harder for families, especially families living in poverty, to lay this foundation.
In my research, I have cataloged government policies that undermine parent-child relationships during early childhood. Our legal system, for example, destabilizes low-income, unmarried families, distracting them from parenting. Forty-one percent of children are born to unmarried parents. These parents are usually romantically involved when the child is born, but these relationships often end. Rather than help these ex-partners make the transition into co-parenting relationships, the legal system exacerbates acrimony between them. States impose child support orders that many low-income fathers are unable to pay, creating tremendous resentment for both parents. And courts are not a realistic resource for many unmarried parents, leaving them to work out problems on their own.
Read more here.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
CALIFORNIA WESTERN SCHOOL OF LAW in San Diego invites applications for an entry-level, tenure-track faculty position to begin in the fall of 2015. Our curricular needs are in Family Law, Business Law, and Clinical Teaching. We are particularly, though not exclusively, interested in candidates who are interested in teaching in our Clinical Internship Program, as well as in one of the above-mentioned subject areas. Candidates who would contribute to the diversity of our faculty are strongly encouraged to apply. Interested candidates should email their materials to Professor Scott Ehrlich, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at email@example.com. California Western is San Diego’s oldest law school. We are an independent, ABA-approved, not-for-profit law school committed to producing practice-ready lawyers. California Western is an equal opportunity employer.
Monday, September 1, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
We would like to invite you to a working-paper conference that we are planning to hold in the days before the AALS mid-year family law conference in Orlando next summer. Our group, the Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference, has been known in the past as the Emerging Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference (EFLS). That group held an annual conference for the past eight years, but until now has been limited to junior scholars. This year we are opening the conference to scholars at all levels of seniority, and are hoping that many of you can join us.
The conference will take place on Monday, June 22, 2015, in Orlando, Florida—the day of the AALS workshop’s opening reception. Since our conference will be held earlier that day, these two events will not conflict. We will be hosted for the day by Florida A&M University College of Law, which is just a few minutes’ drive from the Doubletree Hotel that hosts the AALS workshop.
For those of you who are not familiar with the EFLS conference, the main purpose of the meeting is to allow family law scholars to receive detailed, constructive feedback on their work in a supportive, collegial environment. In addition, the meeting is a forum to meet others in the field and talk about teaching, service, developments in the law, and other relevant themes raised by participants. Scholars present their work—either in its very initial form (an incubator session) or in its more developed form (a work-in-progress session)—in intimate groups. We have a very strong norm that participants carefully read drafts of the papers in advance of the sessions, and there are no formal presentations. Many of us feel that this has been a very meaningful conference that significantly contributed to our development as scholars and teachers.
Although we have decided to open up the conference to scholars at all levels, we are still committed to preserving the conference’s intimate and supportive character. Therefore, we can accommodate only 45 participants, selected on a first-come-first-served basis. Additionally, although we will try to fulfill all requests for an incubator or work-in-progress session, if space is limited, we will give some preference to junior scholars. As always, there is no registration fee, and people only need to pay for their meals and accommodation. The Doubletree Hotel will give the discounted rate for rooms a couple of days prior to the conference.
We will open up the registration and submission, via TWEN, in February 2015. For now, if you would like to receive announcements about the conference, please sign in on our TWEN page. To do that, go to “Add Courses” and select “Family Law Scholars and Teachers 2015 Conference.” If you have already selected the course in 2014, we will migrate your e-mail automatically and you do not need to register again. You should expect to receive an e-mail with further information about submissions and registration in February 2015.
FLST Planning Committee
Anibal Rosario Lebron
Jessica Dixon Weaver
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
For years, researchers have observed a correlation between U.S. couples with daughters and their likelihood of divorce, which tends to be somewhat higher than for couples with sons. In both academic circles and in popular culture, this trend wasn’t simply considered a positive association, but a clear causal relationship: a notable portion of research held that daughters were actually the ones causing divorces, because fathers prefer boys and only want to stay married to women who give birth to them. But thanks to a new study on the roots of relationship conflict, this belief — which now seems not only reductive, but also blatantly sexist — might start to recede from view.
According to a study published in the journal Demography on Wednesday, the association between divorce rates and daughters might actually have less to do with what happens in a female child’s lifetime and more to do with what happens before birth. Researchers Amar Hamoudi and Jenna Nobles posit that because female embryos tend to be hardier than male embryos, daughters are more likely to come of relationships that are already in some sort of turmoil during pregnancy. Sons, on the contrary, would be less likely to be born into such relationships, because male embryos do not have the same robustness as their female counterparts.
Read more here.
Monday, August 4, 2014
DENVER – A Colorado man loses custody of his children after getting a medical marijuana card. The daughter of a Michigan couple growing legal medicinal pot is taken by child protection authorities after an ex-husband says their plants endangered kids.
And police officers in New Jersey visit a home after a 9-year-old mentions his mother’s hemp advocacy at school.
While the cases eventually were decided in favor of the parents, the incidents underscore a growing dilemma: While a pot plant in the basement may not bring criminal charges in many states, the same plant can become evidence in child custody or abuse cases.
Read more here.
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Raquel Fernández & Joyce Cheng Wong have a new paper entitled "Free to Leave? A Welfare Analysis of Divorce Regimes." Here is the abstract:
During the 1970s the US underwent an important change in its divorce laws, switching from mutual consent to a unilateral divorce regime. Who benefitted and who lost from this change? To answer this question we develop a dynamic life-cycle model in which agents make consumption, saving, labor force participation (LFP), and marriage and divorce decisions subject to several shocks and given a particular divorce regime. We calibrate the model using statistics relevant to the life-cycle of the 1940 cohort. Conditioning solely on gender, our ex ante welfare analysis finds that women would fare better under mutual consent whereas men would prefer a unilateral system. Once we condition not only on gender but also on initial productivity, we find that men in the top three quintiles of the initial productivity distribution are made better off by a unilateral system as are the top two quintiles of women; the rest prefer mutual consent. We also find that although the change in divorce regime had only a small effect on the LFP of married women in the 1940 cohort, these effects would be considerably larger for a cohort who lived its entire life under a unilateral divorce system.
Friday, August 1, 2014
From JDSupra Business Advisor:
We know how difficult it is to remain under the same roof with your spouse during a divorce. Generally, during an initial consultation, clients always ask us what is the quickest way to remove his/her spouse from the marital residence. Unfortunately, since generally neither party has a superior right to the home, the answer is that neither party can remove the other from the house. We know that this answer is often frustrating to hear.
Read more here.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
From the Atlantic:
In South Carolina, a 46-year-old black woman has been arrested for letting her daughter play in a nearby park while trying to earn a living. "The mother, Debra Harrell, has been booked for unlawful conduct towards a child," a local TV station reports. "The incident report goes into great detail, even saying the mother confessed to leaving her nine-year-old daughter at a park while she went to work."
Read more here.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
When Jamie Cooper-Hohn, the wife of the billionaire founder of The Children’s Investment Fund Management UK LLP, met Christopher Hohn at a dinner party while they were at Harvard University in the early 1990s, she asked what he wanted to do with his life.
“He said he wanted to make a lot of money,” she testified in their divorce case in London earlier this month. “I told him I wouldn’t date him if all he wanted to do was make money.”
Hohn convinced her that he wanted to “make the world a better place,” and the couple spent the following two decades building one of the world’s largest charitable foundations, fueled by his hedge fund. Now they’re fighting over how to divide $1.3 billion in marital assets.
Read more here.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
From the New York Times:
Two professors of family law, June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, have written a crisp and cogent account — rich with detail and utterly free of legalese — of America’s failure to invest in its children.
Their book, “Marriage Markets,” asserts that this failure lies not only in public policy but also in the private lives of Americans. Marriage, the time-honored way of fostering the interests of children, no longer works for many Americans. In an economy ruptured by increasing inequality, millions of men and women are deciding that marriage imposes obligations that they cannot meet. Nearly half of all marriages fail; more than 40 percent of American children are born to single mothers.
This is not a romantic book. Professor Carbone, who teaches at the University of Minnesota, and Professor Cahn, of George Washington University, describe picking a marriage partner as a high-stakes negotiation to find the most promising person, both emotionally and financially, for a lifelong commitment. It is a contract that comes with rights and responsibilities defined and enforced by law.
Read more here.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Now that June—currently the most popular month for weddings in the US—is over, we took a breath from attending matrimony-related rehearsal dinners, cocktail hours, ceremonies, receptions, and brunches to nurse our collective hangover and compare the fiscal damage of an American wedding today with a Depression-era celebration 80 years ago.
What we found is that the US has loved to spend a lot on wedding celebrations for the better part of a century (which may be why Steve Martin’s opening monologue in the highly enjoyable 1991 film Father of the Bride was nearly identical to Spencer Tracy's 1950 version—and still rang true).
Read more here.
Hat Tip: SH
Sunday, July 27, 2014
From the Wall Street Journal:
BEIJING—On an overcast June day, 20 women in white gowns stood in a row on a grassy field. They had spent the morning fussing with one another's hair and makeup, and now, for the big moment, smiled into the camera.
But this was a graduation celebration, not a wedding.
Here in China, college women are spurning caps and gowns and choosing to commemorate their graduations in white tulle, instead.
"Who doesn't like wedding dresses?" said Liu Xiangping, who was among those posing for graduation shots that day, along with nearly two dozen fellow classmates clad in white. (Their four male classmates wore suits.)
Read more here.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Nearly 300,000 U.S. couples will get married this month. With a $30,000 average tab, the highest since theKnot.com began its annual wedding survey in 2007, that’s north of $8 billion spent in June alone. If everyone projected to get married in 2014 splurged like that, the 2 million or so events would cost $63 billion.
Honeymoon not included.
Read more here.