Family Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Heartbalm Tort Action

From CNN:

In many states, there's no punishment for adultery. But in North Carolina, it can be a serious offense, as one man came to realize last Thursday.

A judge ordered Francisco Huizar III to pay $8.8 million to Keith King, whose wife he had been seeing for 16 months.
 
Why so much? Well, most of the money awarded consisted of punitive damages, solely meant to penalize the defendant. But about $2.2 million of it was in compensatory, or tangible damages.
 
King's attorney, Joanne Foil, said that after finding out about the ongoing infidelity of his wife, Danielle Swords, his company lost revenue and an employee --- his wife. The pair eventually separated.
 
Read more here.
 
 

August 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Unequal Pay Starts Young

From the New York Times:

It has long been true that women are paid less than men at work and do more of the labor at home. It turns out those patterns start as early as childhood.

Although there are a few signs that the gap is shrinking, a variety of data shows that girls still spend more time on household chores than boys do. They are also paid less than boys for doing chores and have smaller allowances.

One recent analysis, for example, found that boys ages 15 to 19 do about half an hour of housework a day, and girls about 45 minutes. Although girls spend a little less time on chores than they did a decade ago, the time that boys spend hasn’t significantly changed.

Shouldering more responsibilities at home is a big reason women are paid less than men and fall behind men in their careers, researchers say. Achieving equality, they argue, will require not just preparing girls for paid work, but also teaching boys to do unpaid work.

Read more here.

August 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Professor In Hiding By Death Threats Over Brazil Abortion Hearing

From The Guardian:

Days before a Brazilian supreme court hearing on a move that could eventually decriminalise abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, a leading feminist campaigner is in hiding after receiving death threats.

Debora Diniz, a professor of anthropology at the University of Brasília, who helped bring the legal action with bioethics institute Anis, is sequestered in an unknown location but will still appear at the two-day hearing, which starts on Friday.

“We are in a new moment,” Diniz, who will be escorted by police at the trial, told the Guardian by phone. “It could change the criminalisation of abortion in the country, and that is why it is so important.”

Read more here.

August 12, 2018 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Reunited Migrant Families Share Experiences

From USA Today:

At a sparkling mid-century office building in the heart of Phoenix's financial district, an unusual scene continues to play out.

A van pulls up multiple times each day and out climb several pairs of parents and children, each clutching their belongings in duffel bags or clear plastics bags stamped with the words Department of Homeland Security on the side.

Their arrival at the office building marks the last agonizing chapter as well as the start of an uncertain future for hundreds of asylum-seeking families separated at the border and now being quietly reunited in Phoenix before a fast-approaching, court-ordered deadline. 

Read more here.

August 11, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Charlie Sheen Can't Afford Child Support

From USA Today:

Charlie Sheen is claiming he can no longer afford child support after being "blacklisted" in Hollywood, according to court documents obtained by People and Us Weekly Thursday. 

The "Two and a Half Men" star, 52, filed requests to modify his child support payments to ex-wives Denise Richards and Brooke Mueller, the news sites report. Sheen shares twin sons, 9, with Mueller, to whom he was married between 2008 and 2011; and daughters Sam, 14, and Lola, 13, with Richards. That marriage lasted from 2002 to 2006.

The documents also reportedly reveal Sheen's reasoning behind his “dire financial crisis" with less than $10 million to his name.

Read more here.

August 10, 2018 in Child Support Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Same-Sex Divorce Has Some Complications

From CNBC:

Two years after the U.S. Supreme Court leagalized same-sex marriages, some couples who decide to call it quits are discovering that getting married was the easy part.

From divvying up assets to asserting parental rights, the details of divorce that can be more clear-cut with heterosexual marriages are creating complications for same-sex couples.

"The reality for many same-sex couples who are divorcing is that they had relationships in place prior to the marriage — some for many, many years," said Joyce Kauffman, principal of Kauffman Law & Mediation in Roslindale, Massachusetts. "The courts have broad discretion in these matters, and that discretion can go in your favor or not."

Read more here.

August 9, 2018 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Breastfeeding Laws: Know Your Rights

From USA Today:

August is National Breastfeeding Month. To spread awareness, All the Moms compiled a list of breastfeeding rights that nursing mothers should absolutely know.

Turns out, MANY mamas aren't aware of the protections put in place for them. 

And in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 83 percent of U.S. mothers tried breastfeeding at least once. 

So when the majority of mothers try breastfeeding but don't know their rights, it's time to lay out the laws. 

First off: You can breastfeed anywhere, anytime

Breastfeeding in public is legal in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. That happened recently when Utah and Idaho finally legalized it.  

Read more here.

August 8, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Divorce Now or Later?

From the New York Times:

Lawyers and accountants often push their clients to plan for unpleasant events. Better to be prepared now than to pay the consequences later. But the Republican tax law that took effect in January has added a new urgency for wealthy Americans contemplating divorce.

Several key changes in the law may determine whether it is better to complete or update a divorce agreement by Dec. 31 or wait until the new year.

One of the biggest changes affects alimony, which will not be a tax break for Americans whose divorce agreements are completed or updated after this year. The new tax law is also causing parting spouses to look more closely at benefits for their children and the values of privately owned businesses and partnerships.

There is a lot of money at stake for wealthy couples. Nearly 600,000 taxpayers claimed alimony deductions totaling more than $10 billion for the 2010 tax year, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Read more here.

August 7, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 6, 2018

Last Names After Marriage

From the Atlantic:

In the run-up to marriage, many couples, particularly those of a more progressive bent, will encounter a problem: What is to be done about the last name?

Some have attempted work-arounds: the Smiths and Taylors who have become Smith-Taylors, Taylor-Smiths, or—more creative—Smilors. But there just isn’t always a good, fair option. (While many straight couples fall back on the option of a woman taking her husband’s last name, same-sex couples have no analogous default.)

Read more here.

August 6, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Supreme Court Decision Gives Local Dads New Hope on Fighting for Paternal Rights

From WPTV (West Palm Beach):

Local fathers have been fighting a Florida law for years, and now they have the Supreme Court on their side.

A judge decided a Florida law can no longer keep biological fathers from trying to establish paternal rights in cases where the child was born to a mother married to another man. 

Christopher Farrell got to hold his son once months after he was born.

"It gets emotional; it hurts at times trying to think how far he’s progressing, what's his speech like? Is he saying different words? What's his favorite animal?" said Farrell.

Three years ago, he found out his then-girlfriend was pregnant, and he put together a nursery at his Loxahatchee home for his soon to be son. During her pregnancy, Farrell said she got back with her husband and cut off all ties with him. 

Read more here.

August 5, 2018 in Current Affairs, Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Migrant Children Face Threat of International Adoption

From The Intercept:

WHEN NEWS REPORTS first began to emerge that 81 of the migrant children recently separated from their parents had been sent into the care of one of the largest adoption agencies in the country, the response was swift alarm. Was the government planning on creating “social orphans” out of the children, then offering them up for adoption?

Horrified observers had already drawn parallels between the separation crisis and the blatantly assimilationist treatment of Native American children, starting with their mass removal to boarding schools in the late 19th Century and continuing through the Indian Adoption Project, which from the late 1950s to early 1970s removed 25 to 35 percent of all Native American children from their families. Or how U.S. slavery systematically broke apart families, selling children away from their parents. A number pointed out that the forcible transfer of children from one group of people to another fits the United Nations definition of genocide.

To adoption reform advocates, who monitor unethical and abusive practices in child welfare, it looked like any number of adoption crises in the past, like the airlifts out of Haiti in the wake of its cataclysmic 2010 earthquake. Then, masses of unaccompanied children were suddenly labeled orphans and became the focus of a deafening campaign in the U.S. to rescue them through inter-country adoption, even as Haitian adults were being warned not to try to come themselves.

Read more here.

August 4, 2018 in Adoption, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 3, 2018

Married Lesbian Couple Rejected From Senior Home

From The Advocate:

When Mary Walsh, 72, and Bev Nance, 68 applied to be residents at Friendship Village, a senior living community in St. Louis, they were rejected because they were married, reports theSt. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The couple, who had been together for nearly four decades, repeatedly visited the village and even dropped a $2,000 deposit. Their plans to move were cut short when an administrator sent them a letter that said, “Your request to share a single unit does not fall within the categories permitted by the long-standing policy of Friendship Village Sunset Hills.” 

In response, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and American Civil Liberties Union is representing the women in a federal court case that alleges the community discriminated against them based on their sexual orientation.

Read more here.

August 3, 2018 in Cohabitation (live-ins), Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 2, 2018

This Company Covers IVF Treatment for Employees

From People:

For more than 14 years, Tosha Pratt and her husband, Nick Pratt, had tried to conceive a baby without any luck. Unable to afford costly in vitro fertilization treatments, they wondered if they would have to give up.

Then, a few days after Thanksgiving in 2016, Pratt sat down at her desk at Ultimate Software in Dawsonville, Georgia — where she works as an implementation consultant — and opened a company email delivering some incredible news: Her employer had decided to cover IVF treatments for any worker who was struggling to have a family.

“I sat there and cried tears of joy,” Pratt, now 35, tells PEOPLE. “This was finally our channel to have the family we’d always wanted. It was the best early Christmas present ever.”

She and her husband, 38, are now parents to a 4 1/2-month daughter, Alayna Faith, born on March 5, 2018, after a successful IVF treatment done last June.

Read more here.

August 2, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

UK Supreme Court: Woman Can't Divorce Husband of 40 Years

From WISH TV 8:

The U.K. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a woman must remain married to her husband of 40 years after he opposed her request for a divorce, saying its hands were tied by the country’s divorce laws.

The justices upheld a lower court ruling that Tini Owens, 68, failed to prove “unreasonable behavior” by her husband, 80-year-old Hugh Owens, who she claimed was moody, argumentative and disparaging. English law requires a spouse to prove unreasonable behavior, adultery, desertion or a separation of five years unless both parties agree to divorce.

In issuing their ruling, the justices made their unease plain, noting that society’s expectations for reasonable behavior have changed since divorce laws were last updated in 1969 and marriage is now seen as a partnership of equals. The court then opened the door for lawmakers to rewrite the rules.

Read more here.

August 1, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Court Jails Mother Who Hid With Sons in Custody Battle

From BBC News:

A Spanish court has jailed a woman for five years for going into hiding with her two sons rather than hand them to the father, whom she accused of abuse.

Juana Rivas has also been stripped of custody rights for six years and told to pay hefty legal costs.

Spanish politicians and women's groups have criticised the verdict.

The long-running custody battle for the boys - now aged 12 and four - has become a rallying point in Spain's battle against gender violence.

Read more here.

July 31, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans), Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Courts for Addicted Parents Work, So Why Strip Funding?

From The Guardian:

The national unit that supports the family drug and alcohol court(FDAC), an initiative that aims to help addicted parents and their children, will close in September because of a lack of support from local authorities and funding from central government.

The unit, hailed by Sir James Munby, president of the family division of the high court of England and Wales, as one of the most important developments in family justice in the last 40 years, needs £250,000 a year to survive.

FDAC offers an alternative and, research suggests, a cheaper and more successful form of care proceedings for children at risk of significant harm by parents suffering substance misuse. Alongside a team of social workers, psychiatrists, substance misuse specialists and domestic violence experts, the court uses a problem-solving approach that works to enable parents to keep their children. Families involved are seen by the same judge every two weeks to monitor their progress.

Read more here.

July 30, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Buzz Aldrin Sues His Family

From Florida Today:

Buzz Aldrin's children, Andy Aldrin and Jan Aldrin, on June 23 released the following statement about their father's lawsuit:

"We are deeply disappointed and saddened by the unjustified lawsuit that has been brought against us individually and against the foundation that we have built together as a family to carry on Dad’s legacy for generations to come. When we established the current structure several years ago, it was done so at Buzz’s request and with his full support. If nothing else, our family is resilient and our ability to work together to solve problems and accomplish great things is strong. We love and respect our father very much and remain hopeful that we can rise above this situation and recover the strong relationship that built this foundation in the first place. We will not be commenting further on the lawsuit and ask your understanding and respect for our family privacy at this extremely difficult time.”

Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin has launched a legal battle against his children and family foundation, accusing them of abusing his trust and finances nearly 50 years after his historic moon landing.

Read more here.

July 29, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Couple Challenges New Rule for Families that Homeschool in Franklin County, VA

From The Martinsville Bulletin:

A Franklin County couple has filed a complaint against the local school board challenging its authority to ask for documents beyond what the state requires of families that wish to home-school their children.

Kirk and Kristen Sosebee, represented by an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association, filed the complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief in Franklin County Circuit Court in May. It argues that a policy adopted by the Franklin County School Board “alters state law by adding to the requirements of the home instruction statute.”

The Code of Virginia requires that parents who intend to home-school their children notify the division superintendent each year by Aug. 15. They must also provide a description of the curriculum and evidence of having met one of four criteria for providing home instruction.

Read more here.

July 28, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 27, 2018

Planning for Special Needs Children in Divorce

From The New Jersey Law Journal:

Unfortunately, the rate of divorce is exceptionally high—80-90 percent—among families of children with special needs. It is critical that family law practitioners understand the unique issues that arise in these cases. While all divorces are emotional and fraught with concerns about both short and long-term issues, divorce proceedings for parents of a child with special needs must be viewed through the lens of the long-term realities of disability. This is particularly true for children with complex or severe disabilities, who will require lifetime supports and services. Unlike “typical” kids, these children will never outgrow their need for assistance with basic decision-making, activities of daily living, self-care, etc. However, even children with mild disabilities may require specialized planning during a divorce due to their unique needs.

When a child is a minor, and custody or parenting time is at issue in a divorce, any special needs the child has must be considered when making final decisions. Children with autism or sensory processing issues, for example, may have a more difficult time transitioning between homes regularly. One home—or parent—may be better equipped to safely manage a child’s disability-related needs due to knowledge, work scheduling issues, other individuals in the home, etc. As with all custody discussions, the “best interests of the child” should prevail. Similarly, in terms of child support, additional expenses may need to be built in beyond the mandated guidelines to account for necessary therapies, private tutoring or education, specialized medications, items not covered by insurance, etc.

Read more here.

July 27, 2018 in Child Support (establishing), Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Should Your Family Be Able to Inherit Your Facebook Messages?

From Tech Radar:

A landmark court case in Germany has tackled the difficult reality of death in the age of social media, ruling in favor of parents who wanted to access their deceased daughter’s Facebook account and messages.

The country’s highest court ruled in favor of the parents whose daughter was hit by a train, as they wanted to determine whether her death was a suicide. If this was the case, the train driver would also be entitled to compensation.

While there are obvious privacy concerns involved in relinquishing a Facebook user’s private messages – particularly for the other recipients of said messages – the court ruled that such digital content is equivalent to diaries or letters and should thus be inherited by the owner’s legal heirs.

Read more here.

July 26, 2018 in International, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)