Family Law Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, July 31, 2015

Paternity Leave for Single Military Fathers?

From Military Times:

Possible paternity leave for single sailor fathers is on the radar, according to a Navy spokeswoman.

Married service members are allowed 10 days of paternity leave that is not against their other leave under a 2008 law that stresses the word “married.”

Navy spokeswoman Lt. Jessica Crownover said requests for paternity leave from single service members have come in.

As such, “part of the Sailor 2025 initiative is to evaluate this law and consider how changes will improve work-life balance,” Crownover said.

Army, Air Force and Marine Corps officials say the idea is not being discussed within their services, although the Marine Corps does allow single Marine father to request paternity leave under limited circumstances.

For example, when appropriate medical facilities are not available for delivery of a child, the male Marine may be authorized paternity leave to accompany his spouse before and immediately following delivery. That particular authorization may be extended to unmarried male Marines in circumstances such as — but not limited to — when the unmarried male Marine has sole custody of the baby.

Read more here.

July 31, 2015 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Christian Schools Ask Supreme Court to Strike Down Obamacare Abortion Mandate

From The Washington Examiner:

A group of Christian schools wants the Supreme Court to strike down an Obamacare mandate that they provide health plans that enable access to abortion-inducing pills, the latest religious nonprofits to challenge the law's mandate.

The group of four universities petitioned the Supreme Court on Friday after a lower appeals court upheld the mandate earlier this month. The universities are Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Oklahoma Baptist University and Mid-America Christian University.

"The government should not force faith-based organizations to be involved in providing abortion pills to their employees or students," said Gregory S. Baylor. Baylor is senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the schools.

The petition is the latest from several religious nonprofits objecting to an accommodation in the healthcare law for birth control and the abortion drugs.

Read more here.

July 30, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How Cohabitation Affects Alimony Payments

From The National Law Review:

At the conclusion of many divorce proceedings, alimony is calculated by the court to be paid from the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse. The amount of alimony to be paid is calculated based on a variety of factors, including, among others, the length of the marriage and the martial lifestyle of the couples while married. Once calculated, alimony can typically only be modified by showing a “change in circumstances” that would warrant either the increase or decrease in alimony payments to be made. An occurrence that can be considered a “change in circumstance” is when the alimony recipient then cohabitates with another following the divorce while still receiving alimony payments.

Cohabitation situations can be frustrating to the alimony obligor (the spouse making the payments) because the alimony recipient cohabitating with another can mean two things: (1) the recipient may be using the payments to support their new partner, or (2) the recipient may be receiving financial support from their new partner in addition to the alimony received from their former spouse, essentially receiving monies from two different sources and concealing changes in their finances.

Read more here.

July 29, 2015 in Cohabitation (live-ins), Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Modification to Alimony Due to Retirement

From The National Law Review:

During the course of divorce proceedings, alimony from the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse is typically calculated based on a variety of factors. The income of the two spouses is a critical factor in determining the amount of alimony to be paid. However, some incomes are not guaranteed and can change over time. One of the most common scenarios in which the income of a spouse can change is due to retirement. Following one’s retirement, a spouse can petition the court to modify the alimony payments they either receive or pay. However, there are an additional set of factors the court must consider in permitting alimony payments to be modified if the parties were divorced prior to September of 2014.

The leading case in New Jersey addressing the modification of alimony is Lepis v. Lepis (1980), which states that “the party seeking modification [of alimony] must demonstrate that changed circumstances have substantially impaired the ability to support himself or herself.” Furthermore, the court will look at the party’s circumstances at the time of the divorce (when the alimony was determined) and at the time of application for the modification of alimony to see any differences in the circumstances between these two dates.

Read more here.

July 28, 2015 in Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Empowering Women

From the Des Moines Register:

When Raha Moharrak’s parents told her it was time for her to marry, she decided she wasn’t a toaster — as in “Ping! It’s ready” — the Saudi Arabian woman told a Drake University audience last week. “I wasn’t ready.” She was 25, and not interested in giving up her job, car or independent life in Dubai. Nor was she up for the demeaning ritual in which “You get all dolled up, get on stage and dance at a wedding, and wait for some Mom to see you and say, ‘She’s good for my son.’ ”

Instead, Moharrak climbed Mount Everest. There were smaller mountains first, but the indignation already smoldering in her caught fire after she heard a woman talk about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and said she wanted to do it, too. “But you’re Saudi,” someone replied.

Read more here.

MR

July 27, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lawyer Who Fostered 29 Kids Helps Hundreds More Find Permanent Homes

From NBC News:

Fostering 29 children is no simple feat, but for a lawyer in Kansas, providing a home for more than two dozen kids over the years was the relatively easy part.

He's also helped more than 1,000 kids find permanent homes by using his legal knowledge to help foster parents adopt — for free.

When Kansas City attorney Gene Balloun and his wife, Sheila Wombles, fostered their first child, David, they knew they were hooked. They eventually adopted David and the last child they fostered, Hannah. In between, they welcomed 27 other children into their home.

But the process of adopting David wasn't easy, and the couple joined a foster parent support group, where Balloun would often be asked for legal advice. That's when he realized there was a need that he could fulfill.

"My real joy in the law practice is not in winning some big case, but completing a final adoption," Balloun said. For that reason, he's represented foster parents in 1,035 adoption cases — pro bono.

Read more here.

July 26, 2015 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New Study Suggests the Perfect Age to Get Married

From Time:

A new study suggests that people should get married between the ages of 28 and 32 if they don’t want to get divorced, at least in the first five years.

The study was done by Nick Wolfinger, a sociologist at the University of Utah, and published by the generally pro-marriage Institute of Family Studies. It suggests that people who get married between 28 and 32 split up least in the ensuing years. This is a new development; sociologists formerly believed that waiting longer to get hitched usually led to more stability, and there was no real sell-by date.

Wolfinger analyzed data from 2006-2010 and the 2011-2013 National Survey of Family Growth. He found a sort of upside down bell curve. “The odds of divorce decline as you age from your teenage years through your late twenties and early thirties,” he writes. “Thereafter, the chances of divorce go up again as you move into your late thirties and early forties.” For each year after about 32, the chance of divorce goes up about 5% says the study.

Read more here.

July 25, 2015 in Resources - Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Call for Prof Survey Participants

 

From Professor Cynthia Bond  (The John Marshall Law School):

Greetings Law Teacher Colleagues:

I am working on an article this summer on uses of popular culture in the law school classroom. I am defining popular culture broadly to include mass culture texts like movies, TV shows, popular music, images which circulate on the internet, etc, and also any current events that you may reference in the classroom which are not purely legal in nature (i.e. not simply a recent court decision).

To support this article, I am doing a rather unscientific survey to get a sense of what law professors are doing in this area. If you are a law professor and you use popular culture in your class, I would be most grateful if you could answer this quick, anonymous survey I have put together:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QH3GBZK

July 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Social Media Fueling Rise in China's Divorce Rate

From Forbes:

China’s opening up in the post-Mao era has been one of the most important trends in the global economy in the past 30 years. Yet with prosperity has come social problems. The divorce rate in the world’s most populous nation has risen along with the country’s new wealth. The government reported last month that China’s divorce rate climbed by 3.9% to 3.6 million cases in 2014. That was the 12th consecutive annual increase, according to a report in the Beijing Youth Daily. For every four couples that married in China last year, there was one divorce. Embodying the trend, sports hero Liu Xiang said last month he would divorce his wife of only nine months, Ge Tian.

What is it about modern life that’s driving the increase? To learn more, I exchanged with Liu Lin, a divorce lawyer at Beijing Shuangli Law Firm.  One big factor, he said, is the growing use of social media such as Alibaba-backed Weibo and Tencent’s WeChat. “Social media is a catalyst for divorce,” Liu said. A deeper underlying cause for the increase, however, is that Chinese couples often don’t communicate well with each other.

Read more here.

July 24, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Alabama Hiring Family Law Prof

Assistant Professor / Associate Professor / Professor


The University of Alabama School of Law anticipates making at least two tenured or tenure-track appointments to its faculty, to begin in the 2016-2017 academic year. The Faculty Appointments Committee seeks applications from entry-level candidates with excellent academic records and demonstrated potential for exceptional teaching and scholarly achievement. We also welcome applications from lateral candidates who possess outstanding academic credentials, including demonstrated teaching ability and a record of distinguished scholarship. Although positions are not necessarily limited by subject matter, we are particularly interested in the following academic subject areas: business law, commercial law, employment law, family law, and labor law. Most candidates will have a J.D. degree from an accredited law school. Exceptional candidates who possess an advanced degree, such as a Ph.D., and who have scholarly interests related to the law involving interdisciplinary, jurisprudential, empirical, or social scientific work may be considered even without holding a law degree. The University of Alabama embraces and welcomes diversity in its faculty, student body, and staff; accordingly, the School of Law actively welcomes applications from persons who would add to the diversity of our academic community.


Salary, benefits, and research support are nationally competitive. The School of Law will treat all nominations and applications as confidential, subject to requirements of state and federal law. Interested candidates should apply online at facultyjobs.ua.edu. The positions will remain open until filled. Please refer any questions about the hiring process to Professor Julie A. Hill, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee for the 2015-2016 academic year (email: facappts@law.ua.edu).

July 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Battle Over Embryos

From LA Times:

A court battle between a divorced couple over the future of their frozen embryos began Monday with an attorney for the former husband accusing the woman of using the dispute to get money.

Dr. Mimi Lee, 46, a pianist and part-time anesthesiologist, married Stephen Findley, a wealthy executive, five years ago. Shortly before the wedding, Lee learned she had breast cancer.

Unsure whether the disease would make it impossible for her to have children, the couple went to a fertility center, where Lee’s eggs and Findley’s sperm created five embryos, now frozen.

Findley filed for divorce two years ago and wants the embryos destroyed. Lee, now infertile, wants to implant the embryos into a surrogate and have a baby. Without the embryos, she will never have a child who shares her genes.

The dispute — the final issue to be decided in the couple's divorce — went to trial in San Francisco County Superior Court on Monday. It will test the enforceability of consent agreements couples sign before obtaining reproductive technology and will probably make new law in California.

Read more here.

July 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Adultery Website Hacked

From CNN:

A dating website that helps married people cheat has been hit by hackers who threatened to release information about millions of customers. 

Ashley Madison, which uses the advertising slogan "Life is short. Have an affair," said Monday it had been attacked and some user data was stolen. 

So far, though, it isn't easy to find the exposed cheaters online. That could change soon if the hackers decide to publish the information on a public website. 

Brian Krebs, the blogger who first reported the breach, said the hackers were threatening to release all Ashley Madison's customer records if the website isn't shut down.

Read more here.

July 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Why America's Small Businesses Aren't Cheering Same-Sex Marriage

From Forbes:

While many across corporate America cheered the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling supporting same-sex marriage, small businesses have legal room to interpret the law a different way.

While large companies like Coca-Cola, Tide, American Airlines, and Kellogg Company hailed last month’s Supreme Court’s pro-marriage equality verdict, posting heart-infused Tweets and rainbow-laden ads on the Internet, not all have been celebrating. Small businesses, particularly in the wedding industry, are likely to lament the landmark decision in the name of religion. Think the baker. The florist. The photographer. The stationery maker. The wedding singer. Because the products they sell are arguably expressive and an artistic creation that communicates a message, the law may be on their side.

Read more here.

July 20, 2015 in Marriage (impediments), Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Alpaca Witnesses

From Yahoo!:

It’s usually considered bad taste to take attention from the bride on her wedding day. But in Japan, one wedding guest is stealing focus at the bride’s request.

The Epinard Nasu hotel in Tochigi, Japan now allows couples to hire an alpaca to serve as their witness.  No joke. The furry animals live at a local zoo next to the hotel, and simply stroll over to the hotel to complete their wedding duties. 

A trainer walks the animal down the aisle, and the alpaca spends the rest of the wedding standing next to the bride and groom. They are even available for photos after the ceremony.

Read more here.

MR

July 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Suit Accuses New York City and State of Keeping Children in Foster Care Too Long

From New York Times:

Elisa, 16, has been in foster care for more than two-thirds of her life, moving through so many foster homes that she has lost track of them all — including four in the past two years. She was sexually abused in one, punched by her foster mother in another and hospitalized for depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder after several more. 

Thierry, who is 3, has been in foster care for more than half his life, ever since his mother took out an order of protection against his father, who had choked her and threatened to kill her. But 21 months after New York City child welfare workers took him from his home while his mother was at work, the courts have yet to determine whether there was any cause to separate them.

After four years in the foster care system, Alexandria, 12, had already been shuffled between eight foster homes. Her foster parents for the past four years volunteered to adopt her, but the city did not legally free her for adoption in time, leaving her in limbo.

Running through these cases, according to a federal class-action lawsuit being filed on Wednesday against the child welfare agencies of New York City and New York State, is a common thread of delay, mismanagement and incompetence that keeps children in an often harmful foster care system for months or years longer than necessary.

The lawsuit alleges that the city’s Administration for Children's Services fails to provide the services, planning and caseworker training to help children find permanent families before they suffer irreparable harm — all part of a lack of urgency, child welfare advocates say, that permeates the system.

Read more here.

July 18, 2015 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ziegler: "After Roe The Lost History of the Abortion Debate"

From the book flyer:

Forty years after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision legalizing abortion, Roe v. Wade continues to make headlines. After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate cuts through the myths and misunderstandings to present a clear-eyed account of cultural and political responses to the landmark 1973 ruling in the decade that followed. The grassroots activists who shaped the discussion after Roe, Mary Ziegler shows, were far more fluid and diverse than the partisans dominating the debate today.


In the early years after the decision, advocates on either side of the abortion battle sought common ground on issues from pregnancy discrimination to fetal research. Drawing on archives and more than 100 interviews with key participants, Ziegler’s revelations complicate the view that abortion rights proponents were insensitive to larger questions of racial and class injustice, and expose as caricature the idea that abortion opponents were inherently antifeminist. But over time, “pro-abortion” and “anti-abortion” positions hardened into “pro-choice” and “pro-life” categories in response to political pressures and compromises. This increasingly contentious back-and-forth produced the interpretation now taken for granted—that Roe was primarily a ruling on a woman’s right to choose.


Peering beneath the surface of social-movement struggles in the 1970s, After Roe reveals how actors on the left and the right have today made Roe a symbol for a spectrum of fervently held political beliefs.


Mary Ziegler is Stearns Weaver Miller Professor of Law at Florida State University College of Law.

July 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

On Custody

From WNYC:

Jameelah lost custody of her newborn son in the delivery room after she tested positive for marijuana. The baby was returned four days later after the state determined he wasn’t in imminent risk of harm — that’s the standard the state is supposed to prove in order to place a child in foster care.

That intervention landed Jameelah in rehab, which she must attend three days a week in order to maintain custody of her son. The mom of six from Newark thinks the state is too quick to remove children from black parents.

“You’ll see a Caucasian person in a supermarket and let’s say their children don’t have on a hat or shoes and its cold outside,” Jameelah said. “Let that happen to an African American. Before you know it they’re reading your license plate and, boom, you have a social worker knocking at your door.”

Read more here.

July 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Judge Jails Kids for Refusing Lunch with Father

From Detroit Free Press:

Three Oakland County children who refused to go to lunch with their father, as part of a bitter divorce and custody battle between their parents, are spending their summer in the county's juvenile detention center, according to court records.

"We'll review it when school starts, and you may be going to school there," Oakland County Family Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca told the children during a June 24 hearing, referring to the center in Waterford Township called Children's Village, where authorities house as many as 200 juvenile offenders.

Gorcyca, who blamed their mother for poisoning the children's attitude toward their father, ordered the children be sent to the center for defying her orders — while in court — that they go to lunch with their father.

The children — ranging in age from 9 to 14 — were deemed in contempt of court last month by Gorcyca for disobeying her orders to "have a healthy relationship with your father."

Read more here.

July 15, 2015 in Visitation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Perfect Baby

From BuzzFeed:

Routh had already received a DNA test to see whether she carries genetic variants for about 100 major diseases. The new GenePeeks test, however, will match her DNA with the specific genetic information from the father’s sperm to calculate their combined risk of producing a child with any of more than 450 genetic conditions. If her eggs were shown to have some risk in combination with the sperm, then the couple in question would not be offered her eggs as an option.

The new service, launched last week, has so far been used by one couple at Pacific Northwest.

The test comes with a tremendous promise: that couples can have babies with a drastically lowered risk of genetic disease. According to the founders of GenePeeks, the hope is to eventually eliminate the possibility that babies will be born with genetic diseases altogether.

But, with a price tag of just under $2,000 per test, some say that the company is overselling its potential to concerned potential parents with the extra money to spend. They say the company is selling the ability to make advanced predictions when we don’t really understand the genetic roots of most complex diseases.

Some critics also worry about where to draw the line on a technology whose aim is to let us choose what types of babies we want — or don’t want — to make. What constitutes a genetic defect?

“It certainly gives prospective parents more knowledge than is currently available,” Naomi Cahn, a law professor focusing on reproductive technologies at George Washington University, told BuzzFeed News. “But there’s this quest to search for the perfect baby, and there’s no such thing as a perfect baby.”

Read more here.

July 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Iran Makes Divorce By Mutual Consent Harder to Obtain

From Times of Oman:

Iran has changed a law to make divorce by mutual consent invalid unless couples have first undergone state-run counseling, the country's latest move to tackle a rise in broken marriages.

The measures, reported by media at the weekend, are contained in a new family law that a top official said would be implemented by Iran's judiciary.

"A decree of divorce by mutual consent, without counseling, is forbidden," Parnian Ghavam, head of the judiciary's social work and counseling office, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

All Iranians filing for divorce would be obliged to go to a counsellor, she said. "From now on, without this it will not be possible to register divorces of mutual consent."

Read more here.

July 13, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)