Family Law Prof Blog

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

Monday, September 24, 2018

India Bans Talaq

From AP:

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s government on Wednesday approved an ordinance to implement a top court ruling striking down the Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce.

The government decision came after it failed to get approval from Parliament a year after the court ruled that the practice of allowing men to divorce by simply uttering the Arabic word for divorce — “talaq” — three times violated the constitutional rights of Muslim women.

Most of the 170 million Muslims in India are Sunnis governed by the Muslim Personal Law for family matters and disputes. The laws include allowing the practice, known as “triple talaq,” whereby men can divorce by simply saying the word three times — and not necessarily consecutively, but at any time, and by any medium, including telephone, text message or social media post.

The government will have another six months to get Parliament’s approval for the ordinance to become law. But in the meantime, those who violate it can be prosecuted under the ordinance.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that nearly 22 countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned the practice and appealed to the opposition to approve the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill.

Read more here.

September 24, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Romania Moving Closer To Banning Same-Sex Marriage

From The Independent: 

Romanian senators have overwhelmingly voted for a measure that could be used to change the country’s constitution so that it defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. 

Romania’s constitution currently defines marriage as a union between “spouses” and the latest vote could be the first step to limiting the definition of marriage in the country. 

If the definition is changed it would be very difficult for same-sex marriage to then be legalised.

Senators voted 107-13, with seven abstentions, to allow the referendum to go ahead. 

Read more here

September 23, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Boston Man Pled Guilty To Marriage Fraud


WORCESTER – A city man admitted in federal court Tuesday to entering into six sham marriages with foreign women over 10 years.

“I just want people to know I’m very remorseful,” Peter J. Hicks, 58, said outside U.S. District Court, where he pleaded guilty to one felony count of marriage fraud.

According to authorities, Mr. Hicks married six women from sub-Saharan Africa from 2003 to 2013 in exchange for money. He filed paperwork trying to get four of the women green cards as a result of the marriages, prosecutors said; he failed three times, court records show and attempted to withdraw the fourth application.

Read more here

September 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Moroccan Law Criminalizes Forced Marriage And Sexual Violence

From BBC News:

The law includes a ban on forced marriage, sexual harassment in public places, and tougher penalties for certain forms of violence.

It has been criticised by Human Rights Watch for not explicitly criminalising marital rape and lacking a precise definition of domestic violence.

A government survey found that 63% of women between the ages of 18-65 had been victims of violence.

Samira Raiss, one of the main Moroccan campaigners for a law criminalising violence against women, said: "We will not stop here. This law is an asset but it has shortcomings that we have to work on."

The law - known as the Hakkaoui law after Women's Minister Bassima Hakkaoui, who drafted it five years ago - has been criticised for requiring victims to file for criminal prosecution to obtain protection.

Read more here

September 21, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Landmark Ontario Court Decision Awarded Child Support For Adult With Disabilities

From The Star: 

It is the final chapter in a constitutional challenge that changed provincial legislation and gives new hope to single parents caring for children with disabilities.

An Ontario court judge has awarded Brampton single mother Robyn Coates monthly payments of $518.14 in child support for her disabled adult son for the rest of his life.

The support ruling, released by Justice William Sullivan last week, stems from a precedent-setting decision in July 2017 that prompted the provincial government to change the law and opened the door for unmarried mothers and fathers caring for adult children with disabilities to claim support from estranged parents.


Read more here

September 20, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Over 1,000 Rejected Asylum Seekers May Get Second Chance In Family Separation Cases

From The Washington Post:

As many as 1,000 asylum seekers whose claims were heard and rejected by the government under traumatic circumstances of family separation will get a second chance under an agreement announced late Wednesday. While the government did not agree to return parents already removed from the country, it said it would consider “individual cases in which plaintiffs’ counsel believes the return of a particular removed” class member “may be warranted.”

The agreement, which still needs approval by the court, was a significant development in the ongoing controversy over the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy, which resulted in the separation of thousands of parents from their children at the border starting in the spring. Some of the asylum seekers in question, according to a lawsuit brought on their behalf in August, were rejected by immigration authorities after interviews during which they were said to be “traumatized” by having had their children torn away from them.

The settlement between the government and plaintiffs in three lawsuits represents a major victory for the asylum seekers, children and adults alike. It gives them another chance to apply for asylum before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which will adjudicate the applications. Asylum seekers must show “credible fear of persecution or torture” if returned to their home countries.

Read more here

September 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Canadian Judiciary Steps Ahead In Family Law Reforms

From The Lawyer's Daily:

Manitoba’s judiciary is enacting its own “less adversarial” family court reforms to give options to couples who opt out of the mandatory mediation that is expected to be introduced as legislation, says a judge leading the charge.

Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal said while it remains a mystery as to what kinds of changes will be part of coming legislative reforms to family law in the province, the judiciary will implement its New Model for Scheduling and Case Flow Management in a bid to fix a slow, expensive and emotionally draining system.

This comes in the wake of a June report that called for sweeping changes to Manitoba’s troubled family law system, including a recommendation that mandatory couple’s mediation be used as a possible alternative to courtroom litigation.

Read more here

September 18, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 17, 2018

UK Courts May Do Away With Fault-Based Divorces

From Metro News:

Fault-based divorces could be scrapped in a major shake-up of family laws as ministers look to simplify the process.

A consultation is set to be launched on plans for divorce law reform after Justice Secretary David Gauke said he wanted a ‘less antagonistic’ system.

Currently, unless people can prove there was adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion, the only way to get a divorce without their spouse’s agreement is to live apart for five years.

In May Mr Gauke told The Times: ‘The more I look at it the more I am concerned that the current system does create a degree of unnecessary antagonism in an already difficult and sensitive set of circumstances.’

Government spokeswoman Baroness Vere of Norbiton told peers: ‘We are looking at ways to reduce conflict in a divorce, whether that can be no-fault, whether that can be under financial provisions, whether that can be for enforceable nuptial agreements.'

Read more here



September 17, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 16, 2018

New Law Will Require Insurers To Cover Egg, Embryo Freezing For Cancer Patients

From The Chicago Tribune:

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law Monday that, beginning Jan. 1, will require health insurance companies in Illinois to cover the preservation of eggs, sperm and embryos for patients with cancer and certain other diseases.

Those patients often have to undergo treatments that can leave them sterile. Yet, until now, not all insurers have covered the costs of preserving their fertility.

Sperm freezing can cost as little as a couple of hundred dollars, while the process of preserving eggs and embryos can cost more than $10,000.

About 5,800 Illinois residents of reproductive age — between 14 and 45 — are diagnosed with cancer each year, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Read more here.

September 16, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Kavanaugh Calls Birth Control Abortion-Inducing Drugs

From USA Today:

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, already vehemently opposed by abortion-rights advocates, further alienated that contingent during his Senate testimony Thursday when he referred to some forms of birth control as "abortion-inducing drugs." 

Kavanaugh made the remark after Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz asked him about his dissent in a 2015 case involving Priests for Life, a Catholic group that Kavanaugh said was being forced to provide health coverage for contraceptives "over their religious objection." 

He said they would have been required to fill out a form that would "make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs" that they objected to. 

Read more here.

September 15, 2018 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 14, 2018

Georgia Adoption Process Made Easier

From Politically Georgia:

A major overhaul of Georgia’s adoption laws went into effect this month, lifting some of the hurdles facing couples who want to adopt a child.

The adoption law, which took force Sept. 1, will ensure that Georgia residents can stay in-state rather than traveling elsewhere to adopt, said state Rep. Bert Reeves, the sponsor of the House Bill 159.

"It will make it easier for prospective parents to navigate the adoption process and adopt a child right here in Georgia,” said Reeves, R-Marietta.

“This law makes it easier for Georgia’s most vulnerable children to find permanent, stable and loving homes,” said House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. 

Read more here.

September 14, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Cahn: "Revisiting Revocation upon Divorce?"

Naomi Cahn (GW Law) recently posted to SSRN her article Revisiting Revocation upon Divorce?, Iowa Law Review (2018).  Here is the abstract:

In an increasing number of states, divorce presumptively renders an ex-spouse ineligible to benefit from the testator’s will. Divorce may also impact other revocable dispositions in favor of the ex-spouse and exclude the ex-spouse’s family members from benefitting in any way from the decedent’s death. Revocation upon divorce statutes have become more common as divorce itself has become more common, and courts have been quite rigorous in interpreting the statutes, creating an almost irrevocable presumption of revocation. By contrast, other countries vary in their approaches to the effect of a divorce on testamentary and nonprobate transfers to an ex-spouse and family members.

This Article challenges the utility of the presumption of revocation upon divorce. In raising questions about the appropriateness of the presumption, this Article traces developments in divorce law—from the purely fault system to the no-fault system to contemporary, and more collaborative, approaches to divorce—to show the historical shifts towards contemporary attempts to dissolve the acrimony often associated with divorce. This Article also explores the relatively limited sociological and empirical material on actual individuals’ preferences for disposition of their estates to ex-spouses and their families. And it examines the class, gender, and race aspects of wealth ownership as part of an effort to determine who is most likely to have probate and nonprobate assets affected by the revocation statutes. Finally, this Article discusses alternative approaches for states to consider.



September 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Does Surveilling Alleged Domestic Abusers Violate Their Rights?

From The Washington Post:

In the United States, about one in three women in intimate relationships experiences abuse, including rape, battery, intimidation and stalking. But those who report domestic violence to authorities or attempt to leave their abusers are at risk of experiencing harassment and separation assault, which can sometimes be deadly. They are also vulnerable to being coaxed by an alleged abuser into backpedaling their story. These are forms of witness tampering that interfere with a victim’s ability to testify.

In response to lethal cases of separation assault, a growing number of state legislatures have passed or are considering passing legislation that mandates or permits the electronic monitoring of domestic violence defendants — most recently with GPS tracking ankle monitors — to ensure they comply with judges’ stay away, protection or restraining orders. While most defendants comply with such orders, a minority of alleged abusers with a long history of violence regard them as a mere “piece of paper.” Requiring GPS monitoring is hence a way of giving the orders teeth.

Read more here.

September 13, 2018 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharing Paternity Truth

Read the dilemma in the New York Times here.

September 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Are "Swipe Left" Dating Apps Bad For Our Mental Health?

From BBC News:

Dating apps have taken the world by storm, but has the trend for swiping right or left to like or reject potential matches contributed to many people's unhappiness and low self-esteem?

Following the end of her last relationship, Kirsty Finlayson, 28, did what many people do - she turned to dating apps to find love.

But the incessant swiping and the stream of small-talk conversations that soon fizzle out left her feeling dejected.

Read more here.

September 12, 2018 in Current Affairs, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Oklahoma School Shuts Down After Parents Threaten Transgender 7th Grader

From Time:

A school district in southern Oklahoma was forced to shut down for two days after parents used a Facebook group to threaten violence against a transgender seventh-grade student.

Superintendent Rick Beene closed Achille Public Schools on Monday and Tuesday after parents posted claims on a Facebook group “Achille ISD Parents Group” that the student, who identifies as a girl, was looking over the stalls in the girls’ bathroom.

“Heads up parents of 5th through 7th grade,” parent Jamie Crenshaw said in a now-deleted post. “The transgender is already using the girls bathroom. We have been told how the school has gone above and beyond to make sure he has his own restroom yet he is still using the girls. REALLY… Looks like its going to be a long year.”

Read more here.

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

Monday, September 10, 2018

Couples Will No Longer Have To Prove Blame (UK)

From The Telegraph:

Couples will be allowed no-fault divorces in the first major change to UK marriage laws for 50 years.

David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, wants to abolish the current system of fault-based divorce and will announce a consultation on the matter as the first stage in the process of passing legislation.

Under a simplified system, spouses would lose the ability to block a divorce as there would be no need for their husband or wife to prove adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion in a contested divorce.

It comes weeks after the Supreme Court ordered a wife to stay in her “loveless” marriage after her husband of 40 years denied that he had behaved unreasonably.

Read more here.


September 10, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 9, 2018

How Canada's Abortion Policies Work

From HuffPost Canada:

Some Canadians don't seem to have a firm grasp on how abortion regulationsfunction in our country. Given that a vote on whether or not to reopen the abortion debate was only narrowly defeated at the Conservative convention in Halifax this weekend, and that anti-abortion groups are celebrating, it seems like a topic we should all be more informed about.

Enter Dr. Jen Gunter, a practicing gynecologist and professional thorn in Gwyneth Paltrow's side, who took to Twitter to let us all know how abortion actually happens in our country.

As Gunter explained in her Twitter thread, late-term abortions — which anti-abortion activists sometimes refer to as "partial birth abortions" — are extremely rare. The most recent statistics available from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, from 2016, state that only 616 of the nearly 23,000 abortions performed in Canada that year took place after 20 weeks — approximately 2.7 per cent. As Gunter points out, this generally occurs only because of a direct threat to the mother's life or a very serious birth defect detected in the infant. Gunter says risk factors include anencephaly, where a baby is missing parts of the brain and skull and usually dies shortly after birth; and Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder that often involves heart defects and severe intellectual disability, which kills nearly 90 per cent of infants before their first birthday.

Read more here.


September 9, 2018 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Sexism Furore

From BBC News:

The head of South Africa's civil engineering institution (Saice) has been sacked after he wrote that few women take up the profession because they are "more predisposed to caring".

Manglin Pillay said that women preferred to "raise children than to be at the beck and call of shareholders".

He later apologised but Saice said it had terminated his contract due concern from its members.

Read more here

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

Tunisian President Seeks Equal Inheritance Rights for Women

From Africa News:

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi on Monday announced his support for a bill that will ensure that men and women have equal rights to inheritance.

The draft inheritance equality bill has sparked controversy as it departs from a principle inspired by the Koran in many Arab countries.

In a televised speech to mark Tunisian women’s day, Essebsi said the law would allow the testator the possibility “to either apply the Constitution or choose freedom’‘.

‘‘I propose to make equality in inheritance a law.God willing, Mr. President [of the Tunisian Parliament], when this law comes to you, you will look at it with an open mind because it is a project for the future, for the future of Tunisia and I hope it will unite [people] “, Essebsi said.

Read more here.

September 8, 2018 in Current Affairs, International, Property Division | Permalink | Comments (0)