Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, June 27, 2016

Blogger’s Revelation About The Blended Family Journey

From The Huffington Post:

My blog has been quiet for a while. Partly because my professional life has been keeping me pretty busy, and partly because my mother always told me that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. On one hand, many of my readers simply relate more to the un-nice struggles divorce and post-divorce-life brings. On the other hand, with all of the turmoil being broadcast in our local, national and international news, my diatribes about the difficulties faced by divorced and blended families seemed petty and trivial.

These petty and trivial challenges have been the foundation for countless articles, books and seminars regarding divorce, step-parenting, blended families and all of the trials and tribulations people face when tearing down one relationship and rebuilding another. Looking back over the years, our family has weathered many storms. We’ve danced around the ring over the typical fights spawned from differences in child-rearing styles to disagreements over financial support. We’ve sneered, scowled and said nasty things about one another. We’ve put our children in the middle of arguments and made them feel uncomfortable. We’ve made our friends and family feel uncomfortable and forced them to choose sides. We’ve behaved badly. And time marched on.

As time marched on, our need to fight over every little thing started to wane. Somehow the energy required to find fault in the other parent was less important than channeling that energy into rebuilding our new lives. The metamorphosis was painstakingly slow, but the day did finally arrive, when we had all just learned to tolerate each other for the greater good. Our children were worth the effort to simply be civil and find common ground on which we could agree. Or at least agree to disagree.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my personal journey as a wife and stepmom in this blended family.

Read more here.

June 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Same-Sex Marriage Rate

From Bloomberg:

Three years after the U.S. Supreme Court forced the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages, and one year after the justices told holdout states to do the same, droves of LGBT Americans are taking advantage of their new rights.

A Prudential Financial Inc. survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans has found that far fewer are single—and far more are married—than four years ago. While the drumbeat of coast-to-coast legalization was undoubtedly a driving force, the speed of this nationwide sprint to the altar has been remarkable, the study showed. Overall, 30 percent of LGBT respondents said they were married, up from 8 percent in 2012. That's more than triple.

Read more here.

Hat Tip: NC

June 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

By Sharing Painkillers, Friends And Family Members Can Fuel Opioid Epidemic: Study

From Kaiser Health News:

As lawmakers grapple with how best to combat the nation’s prescription painkiller abuse crisis, a recent survey is shedding light on how patients who get these medications  — drugs such as OxyContin, methadone or Vicodin — sometimes share or mishandle them.

According to findings detailed in a research letter published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine about one in five people who were prescribed the highly addictive drugs reported having shared their meds with a friend, often to help the other person manage pain. Most people with a prescription either had or expected to have extra pills left after finishing treatment. And almost 50 percent didn’t know how to safely get rid of the drugs left over after their treatment was complete, or how to store them while going through treatment.

The study’s authors suggested that the results point to changes doctors could make in prescribing practices and counseling to help alleviate the problems.

Read more here.

June 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Quick Revenue for Desperate Times

From Divorce Discourse:

People don’t remember you. I’m sorry. They don’t.

It’s not that you’re unremarkable. I’m sure you’re about as interesting as they come. Personally, I find you irresistible, and I’m not likely to forget you—ever.

But other people suck. They have their own lives and their own problems, and they’re focused on themselves. They’ll forget you nine minutes after you finish paying for their lunch.

Seriously, they’ve got big problems. They have an unexplained rash, the cat keeps peeing on the sofa, and their spouse is screwing the barista. Not surprisingly, you are not at the top of the list of things to think about.

So you’re getting hungry during a slow month, and you need some new clients. You’d like those absent-minded referral sources to think about you. Actually, you’d like them to do more than think. You’d like some business sent your way. Ideally, the phone would start ringing, right now.

How do you remind them that you exist?

Read more here.

June 24, 2016 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Steep court fee rises are tax on justice, say MPs

From The Guardian:

Excessive court fees impose an unjustified tax on divorce, deny refugees the opportunity to establish asylum rights and prevent employees with legitimate grievances from obtaining justice, a report by a Conservative-dominated select committee has concluded.

The justice select committee called for some charges to be rescinded as it dismissed “superficial” government excuses for failing to provide evidence to justify successive steep rises.

The parliamentary group acknowledged that Ministry of Justice finances had not been ringfenced from austerity but warned that access to justice must be prevail [sic] over “cost recovery”.

The scathing comments from the committee, chaired by the Conservative former barrister Bob Neill, reflect fears within the legal profession that access to justice is in danger of being restricted to the wealthy and that commercial litigants will be deterred from bringing cases to UK courts.

Read more here.

June 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

As Childhood Diabetes Rates Rise, So Do Costs — And Families Feel The Pinch: Study

From Kaiser Health News:

Childhood diabetes rates are on the rise, and a report released Monday pointed to the impact that the cost of their care could have on families — even those who have employer-sponsored health insurance.

The study, conducted by the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), found that children as old as 18 with diabetes who were insured through an employer-sponsored plan racked up $2,173 per capita in out-of-pocket health care costs in 2014. That spending level was nearly five times higher than that of kids without the illness.

The HCCI researchers analyzed data from claims submitted from 2012 to 2014 through group, individual and Medicare Advantage insurance policies to analyze health care spending and utilization trends among people younger than 65 who had diabetes and employer-sponsored coverage plans.

Read more here.

June 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ohio lawyer who participated in sexting exchange with matrimonial client is suspended

From the ABA Journal:

An Ohio lawyer has been suspended from practice for a year by the state’s top court, with six months stayed, for participating in a sexually charged exchange of text messages with a matrimonial client.

The texts, which were “mutual, reciprocal and very explicit and graphic,” according to records in the case, violated an attorney ethics rule that bans a lawyer from soliciting or engaging in sexual activity with a client, except when a consensual sexual relationship predates the lawyer-client relationship, according to Civitas Media and the Toledo Blade.

Read more here.

June 21, 2016 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tiger Mom on Contracts with the Cubs

Yale Law Professor Amy Chua, writing for the Wall Street Journal:

I recently had a harrowing parenting experience, which I addressed through recourse to the law.

My daughters Sophia and Lulu are now 23 and 20, and they’re both working in New York City this summer. Their plan is to stay (for free) in our Manhattan apartment—the pied-à-terre that my husband, Jed, and I spent 20 years saving up for.

I was on the phone with one of my daughters. “I’m so excited to spend some time in New York this summer—so many of my friends are going to be there!” she said happily.

“Me too!” I said. “I can’t wait.”

Pause.

“Wait—what?” she said. “You’re going to be in the apartment too?”

“What do you mean am I going to be in the apartment? Of course I’m going to be in the apartment. It’s daddy’s and my apartment.”

“But you live in New Haven.”

My head started to explode.

I suddenly realized that I was on the verge of becoming a tenant farmer in my own life.

Fortunately, I teach contracts law at Yale, and I came up with a solution. I made my daughters sign a contract—totally valid and legally enforceable—the text of which is reproduced below.

Read more here.

June 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Germany Makes it Clear that Polygamous and Child-Marriage will not be Tolerated

From BBC News:

While Germany is allowing some refugees, it will not be recognizing polygamous marriage or child-marriage in the country. In some Islamic countries, men are allowed to take multiple wives, and there has been a growing concern about child-marriage; however, Germany has made it very clear that no one’s cultural practices or religious beliefs shall come before German law.

Read more here.

 

June 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Transgender Man's Name Change Denied in GA

From AJC.com:

A transgender man seeking to have his name changed from "Rebeccah Elizabeth" to "Rowan Elijah" has been turned down by a Georgia judge, who claims it is misleading and potentially dangerous for a person to shift from a female name to a male name and vice versa.

Attorneys for Rowan Feldhaus this week filed a brief with the Georgia Court of Appeals saying that Superior Court Judge J. David Roper had overstepped his authority and violated Feldhaus's constitutional rights by refusing to let him go by the middle name of "Elijah."

Read more here.

 

The text of the judge’s order is here:
 
 

Hat Tip: CR

June 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Indiana Abortion Law Spurs Argument Between ACLU and the State of Indiana

From Indiana Public Media:

Arguments ensued at federal court on June 14, 2016 because of a new Indiana law that aims to ban abortions performed due to a fetus’ potential disability, sex, or race. Additionally, the law requires that fetal remains be cremated or buried.

The ACLU of Indiana argues that the law is unconstitutional because a state cannot prohibit a woman for terminating a pregnancy prior to viability. Ken Falk of the ACLU states that the law violates the right to privacy.

The Indiana Solicitor General says that the law has been proffered with the goal of reducing discrimination and argues that the State has an interest in ensuring the dignity of the life of the fetus through burial or cremation.

Read more here.

June 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Grossman: "Nine to Five"

Fellow legal blog Concurring Opinions is doing a very interesting symposium on Joanna Grossman's book:  http://concurringopinions.com/archives/2016/06/nine-to-five-book-symposium.html

June 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Orlando Shooter has History of Domestic Violence

From Rolling Stone:

In Orlando, dozens of people lost their lives as gunman, Omar Mateen, entered a gay nightclub and opened fire on the crowd. Mateen was reported to have had anger management issues at work, especially when co-workers discussed “trigger topics—particularly, religion, women, and race.

Additionally, Mateen’s ex-wife stated that he had held her hostage and beat her throughout their marriage. Domestic violence and anger issues, however, were not seen as a red flag.

Read more here.

June 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pennsylvania Bill Proposed in Response to Sexual Abuse Allegations

From the Triblive:

In Harrisburg, legislation has been proposed that would expand the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. The law would increase the limit on the age of filing from thirty years of age to fifty. The bill would also prevent organizations from claiming immunity if the organization acts with gross negligence.

The bill was proposed in response to allegations of the Catholic Church’s involvement in approximately one hundred sexual abuse incidents.

Read more here.

June 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pope Waives Fee for Annulment--Providence Diocese Follows Suit

From the Rhode Island Catholic:

After Pope Francis expressed his wish to eliminate all fees charged for marriage annulment, the Diocese of Providence followed suit. The elimination of fees is in effort to streamline the annulment process as well as making the process less arduous for Catholics who wished to remain “in good standing.”

Being able to annul without fees will allow more couples to divorce and remarry without sacrificing their standing in the Church.

Read more here.

June 14, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Same-Sex Couples Still Face Roadblocks to Adoption

From NBC News:

There are currently thousands of children and youth in foster care, many of which are up for adoption; however, same-sex couples still face more hurdles to being approved as adoptive parents. Many agencies still discriminate against adoption by same-sex couples despite the nation-wide ability of same-sex couples to adopt children.

Alphonso Reyes and his husband, Melvin, detail the roadblocks to adoption that they have faced in order to become parents.

Read more here.

June 13, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

California foster parents continue fight for Indian girl

Foster Parents Continued Fight for Custody of Indian Daughter

From Fox News:

The scene was wrenching: A sobbing 6-year-old girl, clutching a stuffed bear as her foster father carries her away from the only home she has known for most of her life.

But Lexi's story didn't end in March when she was removed from a Santa Clarita home near Los Angeles. Her story isn't one of simple emotions but rather complex issues of ethnicity, government, and history.

Lexi, who is 1/64th Choctaw, was placed with distant relatives in Utah under a decades-old federal law designed to keep Native American families together, and under California's Juvenile Dependency Law.

Her foster parents, Rusty and Summer Page, have fought a yearslong battle to keep her.

Read more here.

June 12, 2016 in Adoption, Custody (parenting plans), Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Domestic abuse: Violence amid a life of luxury

Dodging Domestic Abuse in the Suburbs:

From BBC News:

When Lisa McAdams began her decade-long relationship with the man who abused her, she had a successful career and enough savings for a home deposit. She walked away a single parent, carrying debts that took a decade to reconcile.

"I was lucky he hit me", Ms McAdams confesses bluntly.

There's a bitter irony behind this statement. The physical assaults provided clear evidence of the abuse she was suffering. The mental and economic attacks were savage, but covert and subtle.

"The poverty pushes you into leaving, and then it is singularly the hardest bit to climb out of," she says.

Surviving on welfare was a far cry from the seemingly charmed life she had led, waving to celebrity neighbours as she spun the wheel of a luxury car through the gates of a lavish compound.

But amid the trappings of security, she was anything but safe.

Read more here.

June 11, 2016 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Self-represented litigants perceive bias and disadvantage in court process, report finds

Report Finds Pro Se Litigants Feel Bias and Disadvantages in Family Court

From the ABA Journal:

Self-represented litigants in family court have the onus of figuring out how to use the a system that wasn’t designed for their use, making them feel as if they are at a disadvantage or experiencing bias, a new study has found.

The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System interviewed pro se litigants in family court in four counties in Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee and Massachusetts to learn more about their experiences, according to a press release. The group interviewed 128 self-represented litigants and 49 court professionals.

 

Read more here.

June 10, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

After Obergefell: How the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage has affected other areas of law

Effect of Obergefell on Other Areas of Law

From the ABA Journal:

The word patchwork may be the best way to describe the layers of laws that governed the relationships of same-sex couples before June 26, 2015, the day the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a constitutional right to marriage for gay couples in Obergerefell v. Hodges.

Robert Stanley, a partner at the family law firm of Jaffe and Clemens in Beverly Hills, California, has personally navigated that patchwork. When he moved to California about 10 years ago from Georgia, he went from a state with no legal status for same-sex couples to one with domestic partnership status. Shortly after the California Supreme Court’s ruling that recognized same-sex marriage went into effect—in mid-June 2008—Stanley and his partner got married.

Then the state’s voters approved Proposition 8, the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. That left Stanley’s marriage legal but prevented additional same-sex couples from marrying. Challenges to Prop 8 sprouted, and same-sex marriages again became permissible under state law in 2013.

California was hardly the only state flopping around like a beached fish when it came to the legal status of same-sex couples. Obergefell brought a conclusive end to that thrashing, and in the first four months after the decision, 96,000 same-sex couples married, according to the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. Those unions added an estimated $813 million to state and local economies and $52 million in state and local sales tax revenue.

Read more here.

June 9, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)