Family Law Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Juvenile Justice and Direct File Laws

From NPR:

The moments inside a courtroom in Orlando in 2007 were quick and consequential for Marquis McKenzie. The 16-year-old stood handcuffed behind a lectern. A juvenile judge announced his charges, then apologized that he could no longer take up the case.

"You're being direct filed," he told McKenzie, who was accused of armed robbery over a cellphone and a wallet. "You understand what I'm saying? You're being charged as an adult now."

Read more here.

August 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ultra-Orthodox Judaism and Custody

From The Washington Post:

A very interesting decision handed down Wednesday by a New York appellate court (Weisberger v. Weisberger). Note that, of course, though this case involves ultra-Orthodox Judaism, similar stories could happen in Muslim communities, and for other religions as well.

Read more here.

August 22, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Same-Sex Marriage Vote in Australia

From CNN:

Australia could legalize same-sex marriage by as early as the end of this year, after the government announced an attempt to hold a national vote on the issue.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters on Tuesday he would "give all Australians a say" on whether same-sex marriage should be legal.
"I'll be voting yes, as will (my wife), I'm very open about that but the Australian people are never wrong when they vote, whether it's for governments or on matters like this, their vote will be respected," Turnbull said.
The governing Liberal National coalition failed Wednesday morning to pass legislation to hold a compulsory national vote, or plebsicite, on same-sex marriage. It had already attempted once in October 2016.
Read more here.

August 22, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Lebanon Repeals Marry-Your-Rapist Law

From The New York Times:

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Lebanon on Wednesday repealed a law that allowed rapists to evade punishment by marrying their accusers, the latest in a string of countries in the region to reverse such provisions under pressure from Arab women’s groups.

Read more here.

August 21, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Scarcity of Abortion Clinics Drive Up Healthcare Costs

From Reuters Health:

(Reuters Health) - The absence of a nearby abortion clinic drives up healthcare costs, a study of California's poor has found.

Women who seek follow-up care but who don’t have a local clinic often feel compelled go to an emergency room to confirm that their pregnancy is over, a practice that typically increases the abortion bill by 76 percent.

Read more here.

August 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Unmarried Couples and Inheritance Rights

E. Gary Spitko (Santa Clara University School of Law) has posted on SSRN Intestate Inheritance Rights for Unmarried Committed Partners: Lessons for U.S. Law Reform from the Scottish Experience Iowa Law Review (forthcoming).  Here is the abstract:

No U.S. state affords intestate inheritance rights to the unmarried and unregistered committed partner of a decedent. This omission has become more and more problematic in recent years as cohabitation rates in the U.S. have risen and marriage rates have declined. Indeed, the phenomenon of increasing cohabitation rates and declining marriage rates is observed across the developed world. Unlike in the United States, however, a significant number of foreign jurisdictions have reformed their law to afford intestate inheritance rights to a decedent’s surviving unmarried committed partner.

This Article looks to Scottish law to inform consideration of how U.S. states might best reform their intestacy statutes so as to provide intestate inheritance rights to a surviving unmarried committed partner. Examination of Scottish law should prove especially fruitful for U.S. law reformers. The relevant Scottish statutory provisions have been in effect since 2006 and have been extensively critiqued by Scottish courts, academics, and practitioners. Indeed, the Scottish Law Commission (SLC), whose recommendations led to adoption of the current scheme, has called for repeal of these intestacy provisions, and has offered a replacement scheme.

The Article evaluates the Scottish statute with respect to three major issues of principle that should be at the center of U.S. reform discussions: fulfillment of purpose, implications for certainty and administrative convenience, and implications for marriage. The Article similarly evaluates the SLC’s proposal to replace the current statute. Finally, the Article reflects upon the Scottish statute and SLC reform proposal in considering which elements of Scottish law a U.S. state might profitably borrow or should reject in an effort to craft a more inclusive approach to the intestate inheritance rights of U.S. unmarried committed partners consistent with the principles of U.S. succession law. The jumping off point for this discussion is this author’s previously published proposal for a model statute that implements an accrual/multi-factor approach to intestate inheritance rights for unmarried committed partners. After describing the significant features of this proposal, the Article considers how one might evolve the proposed accrual/multi-factor approach to incorporate the lessons learned from the Scottish experience.

August 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Divorce-Relocation Disputes

From U.S. News & World Report:

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey Supreme Court ruling reverses a decades-old law and sets a new standard in the interest of children in divorce-relocation disputes.

The court ruling Tuesday affects cases in which parents have divorced and one wants to leave New Jersey with a child against the wishes of the other parent, according to

The old law focused on whether the move would "cause harm" to the child. With the court ruling, divorced parents now must prove the move is in the child's best interest.

Read more here.

August 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Marriage Evolution

From U.S. News & World Report:

If you haven't read Icelandic Nobel Prize winner Halldor Laxness' book "Independent People," you need to pick it up right away and bring it with you to the beach. It is an unforgettable story about, among other things, how and why women and men live together as partners. The story revolves around a man fighting to make it on his own as a sheep farmer in the unforgiving climate of Iceland. He will accept no help or charity from anyone, except of course from his wife who is little more than a slave in his house.

Read more here.

August 17, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Oregon Expands Abortion Access

From The Washington Post:

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on Tuesday signed into law what advocates called the nation’s most progressive reproductive health policy, expanding access to abortion and birth control at a time when the Trump administration and other states are trying to restrict them.

Called the Reproductive Health Equity Act, the measure requires health insurers to provide birth control and abortion without charging a co-pay. It also dedicates state funds to provide reproductive health care to noncitizens excluded from Medicaid.

Read more here.

August 16, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fosters from Drug Addicted Homes

From CNN:

Dayton, Ohio (CNN) When Cyndi and Jesse Swafford were certified to become foster parents 10 years ago, they were told to expect to wait for a baby up to two or three years. Fast forward to today -- with a foster license, a new baby can be placed with them within a week.

"It blows my mind," Cyndi says. "There are babies in the hospital waiting because of this heroin epidemic for a family that will be able to take care of them."

Read more here.

August 15, 2017 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

LGBT "First Lady of Bourbon" Fired

From The Washington Post:

Bulleit, a Kentucky bourbon and whiskey distiller, is a family company. Even after the brand was bought by international beverage giant Diageo, founder Tom Bulleit employed his daughter, Hollis, who worked on the brand’s sales, marketing and innovation teams, acting as a global brand ambassador and earning herself the title “The First Lady of Bourbon.” Until December, that is, when she says she was abruptly fired.

In a scathing series of Facebook posts last week, Bulleit, a lesbian, alleged she was kicked out of the family business due to homophobia.

Read more here.

August 15, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Child Abuse Reporting Change in Indiana

From the U.S. News and World Report:

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana school employees are now required to report suspected child abuse or neglect directly to the Department of Child Services or local law enforcement instead of first notifying a school administrator.

Read more here.

August 14, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Marriage Rate Drops in China

From the BBC:

One of the greatest fears of Chinese parents is coming true: China’s young people are turning away from marriage. The trend is also worrying the government.

After a whole decade of increases in the national marriage rate, China witnessed its second year of decline in the number of newly registered unions in 2015, with a 6.3% drop from 2014 and 9.1% from 2013. This was accompanied by a rise in the age of marriage, which has increased by about a year and a half in the first ten years of this century.

Read more here.

August 14, 2017 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Prenups More Likely for Millennials

From the Washington Post:

Amanda Farris works in accounting and likes to “play things safe” when it comes to her savings and investments. Her boyfriend, Andy Salmons, owns a coffee shop and is a serial entrepreneur not afraid to take risks.

The two have been together for nearly four years and are talking about marriage. But before they vow to stay together for better or worse, they’ve agreed to come up with a plan for how they would protect their finances on the — slim, they hope — chance that their relationship should head south.

“I wanted to find some middle ground,” said Farris, 31, adding that a prenuptial agreement would separate her retirement savings from Salmons’s business and the debt he took on to launch that and other ventures. “It’s important for us to keep things separate,” Salmons, 32, said. “I don’t ever want my decisions to put her in jeopardy.”

As more millennials put off marriage until later in life than previous generations, they are more likely to have careers, businesses and property. And that, financial advisers say, has made them more protective of what they have built. As a result, the prenuptial agreement is starting to lose its taboo.

For generations, the agreements have proven a sticking point for couples who deemed them unromantic. In some relationships, the contracts can signal a lack of trust or suggest that one person is foreseeing an end to the union.

But over time, the equation for when and why two people should marry has changed. In the 1970s, about 8 in 10 people had married by age 30, according to a U.S. census report. In 2016, that same percentage wasn’t reached until age 45.

Millennials are also less inclined to get married while they’re young and broke. More than half of people in their 20s and 30s say it is important for them to be financially secure before they get married, according to a 2015 survey by Allstate and the National Journal.

Read more here.

August 13, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Smart Phones Destroy Young Generation

From the Atlantic:

One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. “We go to the mall,” she said. “Do your parents drop you off?,” I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when I’d enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. “No—I go with my family,” she replied. “We’ll go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where we’re going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.”

Those mall trips are infrequent—about once a month. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned. Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. “It’s good blackmail,” Athena said. (Because she’s a minor, I’m not using her real name.) She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”

Read more here.

August 12, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Texas Birth Rate

From MarketWatch:

Recent state policies restricting access to reproductive services in Texas have led to a decrease in abortions and an uptick in birth rates, according to a study circulated by the National Bureau of Economic research this week.

Effects of state policies targeting reproductive services in Texas starting in 2011 have been rippling across the state: In-state abortions decreased by 20% and births rose 3% in counties that no longer had an abortion provider within 50 miles between 2011 and 2015, the study found. Contraceptive purchases also rose by 8% during that period. This amounts to more than 3,000 additional births, including 2,562 caused by abortion clinic restrictions and 668 linked to lack of funding for non-abortion reproductive resources like centers that distribute birth control pills and condoms.

Read more here.

August 11, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Age Gap and Marital Satisfaction


Men and women both report greater marital satisfaction with younger spouses, but that satisfaction fades over time in marriages with a significant age gap between the partners, new University of Colorado Boulder research finds.

The findings, which examined 13 years' worth of longitudinal data from thousands of Australian households, also suggest that marriages with large age gaps are less resilient in the face of economic downturns relative to their similarly-aged counterparts.

Read more here.

August 10, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Australia Considers Same-Sex Marriage

From The New York Times:

SYDNEY, Australia — Unlike the United States, Canada and New Zealand, Australia stands out as a developed, English-speaking country that has not legalized same-sex marriage.

But a new survey shows Australian attitudes on the issue are rapidly changing, suggesting it is Parliament that is falling behind international peers in recognizing gay marriage.

Read more here.

August 9, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Child Molesters Caught Texting

From the New York Times:

On a flight from Seattle to San Jose, Calif., on Monday, a woman caught a glimpse of some text messages that alarmed her.

A man seated in front of her on the Southwest Airlines flight was “texting about sexually molesting young children,” the San Jose Police Departmentsaid in a news release.

Read more here.

August 8, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Conservative Chile and Abortion

From ABC News:

Chilean lawmakers have approved a bill that would legalize abortion in limited circumstances and end the socially conservative country's status as the last in South America with a blanket ban on the procedure.

The measure approved late Wednesday allows abortions when a woman's life is in danger, when a fetus is not viable and in cases of rape. President Michelle Bachelet, a physician and former head of U.N. Women, backs the bill and has said she will sign it into law.

Read more here.

August 8, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)