Family Law Prof Blog

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

Iowa Child Support Case

From wtvr.com:

Joe Vandusen had to fight the state of Iowa for eight months to avoid paying court-ordered child support for a child that was not his – this week, he won.

"It's over," said Vandusen, of Davenport.

In February of 2016, he opened a certified letter that ordered him to pay support for a baby born to his long-estranged wife.

"I thought it was a joke," he recalled.

It wasn't. The couple hadn't seen in each other in more than 15 years, but had never divorced. By law in Iowa, and many other states, husbands are required to pay child support for any child born during the marriage.

Read more here.

September 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

New HBO Series "Divorce"

From the New York Times:

On “Sex and the City,” Ms. Parker famously played Carrie Bradshaw, an every-single-woman, serially dating and hotly pursuing ideal love. Perhaps because of that, Michael took the opportunity to launch into tales of his own love life, half-flirting, half-unloading: the girlfriend who recently dumped him, the new girl who might really be something. “You’re cute as a button,” his note read.

In spite of Ms. Parker’s age (51), her 19 years of marriage to Matthew Broderick, and her three children, her public image remains closely bound up with that of Carrie, a symbol of youthful possibility, forever available, forever adorable.

On Oct. 9, 12 years after the series went off the air, Ms. Parker is returning to HBO with a show whose very title — “Divorce” — suggests the bitter culmination of all that sex in the city. She plays Frances, a kind of anti-Carrie, someone long married, living (brace yourself) in the suburbs, and working as a corporate recruiter, her arty dreams subsumed by financial necessity. Her husband — though not for much longer — is Robert (Thomas Haden Church), a real estate entrepreneur down on his luck. Frances is far from a starry-eyed romantic: She has cheated on her husband; she is a narcissistic oversharer, a foul-mouthed accuser, a weak-kneed manipulator. She is also, as played by Ms. Parker, deeply real and somehow appealing.

Read more here.

September 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Trump's Divorce Records Still Sealed

From Politico:

A New York judge has rejected a media request to make public the contents of a 25-year-old court file on Donald Trump's divorce from wife Ivana, saying the courts have no business deciding what information could be useful to voters.

The New York Times and the Gannett newspaper chain filed a motion to unseal the records, arguing the move was needed to contribute to public debate over the real estate mogul and Republican nominee's fitness for the presidency.

Read more here.



September 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Divorce & Kids

From CBS News:

In the wake of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s divorce announcement this week, many may be wondering how their six children will weather the split. Divorce experts say children’s responses and needs after a marriage ends vary depending on their age and personality. But how parents continue to communicate with each other is the pivotal factor in a child’s post-divorce well-being.

Jolie, 41, and Pitt, 52, were married just over two years ago but had been together for more than a decade. ET Online has quoted sources saying the couple struggled with differences in parenting styles for their six kids – Maddox, Shiloh, Pax, Zahara, and twins Vivienne and Knox – who range in age from 8 to 15.

“A child’s age doesn’t affect how much they react but how they react,” divorce mediator Robert Emery, a professor of psychology and director of the Center for Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Virginia, told CBS News.

Read more here.

September 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Obergefell on Concurring Opinions

From Professor Jana Singer (University of Maryland), writing for Concurring Opinions:

The Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges marked a sea change in family law.  While the immediate impact of the decision is clear – same-sex couples now have the right to marry in every state – the implications of the decision for family law and for practicing family lawyers are considerably broader.  Recognition of marriage equality has created new issues for courts deciding divorce and parenting cases, and for lawyers advising clients about issues related to family formation and family break-up. This post will highlight the family law implications of Obergefell  and explore some of the issues that are likely to arise in future cases involving the rights and obligations of same-sex couples.

Read more here.

September 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Facebook Oversharing

From The Local at:

She claims that since 2009 they have made her life a misery by constantly posting photos of her, including embarrassing and intimate images from her childhood.

Her lawyer Michael Rami says that to date, her parents have posted 500 images of her on the social media site without her consent, and he believes she has a good chance of winning in court.

The shared images include baby pictures of her having her nappy changed and later potty training pictures. 

"They knew no shame and no limit - and didn’t care whether it was a picture of me sitting on the toilet or lying naked in my cot - every stage was photographed and then made public,” the 18-year-old said. The photos were shared on Facebook with her parents' 700 friends.

Read more here.

September 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Transgender Mexican citizen sues Indiana to change name to match gender identity

From The Indiana Lawyer:

A transgender Mexican man with asylum in the United States is suing the state of Indiana for a law that prohibits him from legally changing his name to match his gender identity as a man.

The plaintiff, John Doe, formerly and legally known as Jane Doe, filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana Tuesday over a state law that bars him from legally changing his name from “Jane” to “John” because he is not a naturalized U.S. citizen. Doe has also filed a motion to move through the legal proceedings anonymously.

Doe, 31, who was born female but now identifies as a male, moved from Mexico to Indiana with his family in 1990 and has lived here ever since.  He told his family in 2012 that he was transgender and identified as a man, and subsequently began using the name John.

Although Doe states in court documents that his family accepts him as a man, the United States granted him asylum from Mexico in August 2015 because he would be persecuted for being transgender in his native country. Doe’s court filing says he will apply for permanent U.S. residency this month, but will have to wait at least six years before becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Doe wrote in the court filing that he is recognized as male on all official U.S. documents, including his Indiana I.D. and his immigration documents, which both show the gender marker “M.” However, his name is still listed as Jane on those documents, a fact that he wants to change but cannot do so unless he legally changes his name from Jane to John.  Under Indiana House Bill 1047, which was passed and added to the state code in 2010, a person must prove that they are a legal U.S. citizen when seeking a legal name change.

Read more here.

September 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Property award to ex-girlfriend of longtime boyfriend affirmed

From The Indiana Lawyer:

A trial court correctly awarded certain property to a woman who filed a complaint against her longtime partner for unjust enrichment after the two broke up after a 17-year relationship, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.

Jeffrey McMahel and Mary Deaton met in 1996 and shortly moved in together in McMahel’s home. They have one child together, born in 1998. During their time together, both worked, with McMahel making substantially more than Deaton. He began receiving disability toward the end of their relationship, unable to work due to his multiple sclerosis. The two moved into a house McMahel later bought in his name only and the two purchased vehicles together, went on vacation together and shared a bank account.

After they broke up in 2014, Deaton filed the complaint alleging unjust enrichment. The trial court found sufficient evidence to support an equitable clam for recovery, as McMahel would be unjustly enriched if the court took the position that Deaton had no claim to any of the assets held in McMahel’s name alone or to the growth of his asset base that occurred during their cohabitation.

Orange Circuit Judge Larry Blanton awarded certain cars or other property to Deaton, her 401(k) account, as well as a $13,102.30 equalization payment from McMahel for a total award of $54,753.32.

McMahel appealed in Jeffrey L. McMahel v. Mary A. Deaton, 59A04-1601-PL-91, asking the appellate court to reconsider its holding inBright v. Kuehl, 650 N.E.2d 311 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995).

Read more here.

September 17, 2016 in Cohabitation (live-ins), Property Division | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Another Parentage Success Story

From Fred Silberberg writing for The Huffington Post:

You may recall the landmark Court of Appeal published decision obtained by our firm in 2014 known as Jason P. v. Danielle S. 226 Cal. App. 4th 167. That case created a change to decades old parentage statutes which barred a biological father who provided sperm to a physician for insemination into his unmarried partner from legal parentage status even where the father had a father-son relationship with his child. The decision allowed the biological father to obtain legal status as the child’s father where he could meet certain legal criteria. Prior to that time, statutes and decisional law precluded the biological father from obtaining such status, distinguishing them from fathers who were married to the child’s mother at the time of conception.

We are pleased to announce that another of our clients has now obtained legal parentage status by application of the principles set forth in Jason P. In a recent memorandum of decision, the court found that our client, a father who had a relationship with his son who was conceived through fertility procedures with a female friend, met the criteria set forth in the Family Code as modified by Jason P. The court declared that he would also be the legal father of his little boy over the mother’s objections.

Read more here.

September 16, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction, Attorneys | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Number of Post-Obergefell Same-Sex Marriages

From TheUpshot:

More than three years after a Supreme Court decision gave federal recognition to same-sex marriages performed in states that allowed them, the demographics of same-sex married couples largely remain a mystery.

In fact, no one has a definitive count of gay married couples in the United States.

One reason it’s hard to get a fix on the marriages is that detailed marriage records are not tracked at the federal level. They’re managed by counties and states, which report the count of marriages and not much else. The Census Bureau isn’t always a lot of help either. Methodological problems like sample size and false positives have long plagued census estimates of this relatively small group.

But a new research paper published by the Treasury Department on Monday has found an interesting way around these problems: tax records.

By linking the tax returns of same-sex couples who filed jointly in 2014 with their Social Security records, researchers are able to give us the most accurate picture of same-sex marriages to date. And their estimate is this: In 2014 there were 183,280. same-sex marriages in America, roughly a third of 1 percent of all marriages.

Read more here.

September 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Can I Serve Divorce Papers Myself?

From FindLaw: Law and Daily Life:

When you file divorce papers, the court clerk stamps all the copies, keeps a few, and gives one back to you with a stamped summons, and maybe a stack of other informational documents. Then what? Then, you actually need to have the papers served on your soon-to-be ex. This process is called Service of Process. But, can you serve the papers yourself?

Generally, when you serve initial court papers, you are not the person actually delivering the papers. Almost every state has professional process servers, who, for a fee, will deliver your documents and sign a proof of service form. While some states offer alternative methods of service apart from personal delivery, personal delivery is the best method to ensure receipt cannot be disputed.

Read more here.

When you file divorce papers, the court clerk stamps all the copies, keeps a few, and gives one back to you with a stamped summons, and maybe a stack of other informational documents. Then what? Then, you actually need to have the papers served on your soon-to-be ex. This process is called Service of Process. But can you serve the papers yourself?

Generally, when you serve initial court papers, you are not the person actually delivering the papers. Almost every state has professional process servers, who, for a fee, will deliver your documents and sign a proof of service form. While some states offer alternative methods of service apart from personal delivery, personal delivery is the best method to ensure receipt cannot be disputed.

- See more at: http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2016/09/can-i-serve-divorce-papers-myself.html#sthash.AOESZnaR.dpuf

When you file divorce papers, the court clerk stamps all the copies, keeps a few, and gives one back to you with a stamped summons, and maybe a stack of other informational documents. Then what? Then, you actually need to have the papers served on your soon-to-be ex. This process is called Service of Process. But can you serve the papers yourself?

Generally, when you serve initial court papers, you are not the person actually delivering the papers. Almost every state has professional process servers, who, for a fee, will deliver your documents and sign a proof of service form. While some states offer alternative methods of service apart from personal delivery, personal delivery is the best method to ensure receipt cannot be disputed.

- See more at: http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2016/09/can-i-serve-divorce-papers-myself.html#sthash.AOESZnaR.dpuf

When you file divorce papers, the court clerk stamps all the copies, keeps a few, and gives one back to you with a stamped summons, and maybe a stack of other informational documents. Then what? Then, you actually need to have the papers served on your soon-to-be ex. This process is called Service of Process. But can you serve the papers yourself?

Generally, when you serve initial court papers, you are not the person actually delivering the papers. Almost every state has professional process servers, who, for a fee, will deliver your documents and sign a proof of service form. While some states offer alternative methods of service apart from personal delivery, personal delivery is the best method to ensure receipt cannot be disputed.

- See more at: http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2016/09/can-i-serve-divorce-papers-myself.html#sthash.AOESZnaR.dpuf

September 14, 2016 in Divorce (grounds), Resources - Divorce | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

International Recovery of Child Support

From Jeanne M. Hannah writing for Updates in Family Law:

Melissa Kucinski, an American Bar Association colleague who practices in Washington, D.C., advises today that on this day, August 30, 2016, President Obama signed the instrument of ratification for the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.

The official statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on The Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance may be read at this link. While the United States has child support enforcement well in hand, the same has not been true in other countries. This Convention is intended to remedy non-support cases where the payer of support resides in a foreign country and fails to provide court-ordered child support. The Convention's purpose is to assist custodial parents in enforcement proceedings in their state courts for collection of financial support due from parents residing outside of the United States.

Read more here.

September 13, 2016 in Child Support (establishing), International, Resources - Child Support | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Legal Recognition of De Facto Parents

From Jane Murphy, writing for the Concurring Opinions blog:

The LGBT community is celebrating two recent decisions from the highest courts in Maryland and New York recognizing non-biological “de facto parents” as legal parents. The Huffington Post and other media outlets have described these decisions as “overwhelming” victories for gay parents. Commentators also see these cases as part of the “ripple effect” of recognizing of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges. After years of advocating for same-sex couples on a range of issues before both legislatures and courts, I am surprised at my reluctance to join the celebration. In questioning the wisdom of this trend, I tentatively and uncomfortably align myself with pro-marriage scholars and commentators who have long critiqued the recognition of de facto parenthood. I’m not pushing marriage but I think this new trend is unnecessary to protect same-sex families or other de facto parents and their children. I also worry that authorizing this kind of state intervention to overrule decisions of legal parents may have unintended consequences that should concern us all.

Maryland and New York join what is now a majority of states granting some or all parental rights to an adult who has acted in a parental role for some period of time but has not established legal parenthood through biology, adoption or marriage. Most states have also required that the relationship between the “de facto parent” and the child must be with the consent and encouragement of at least one legal parent. Both the New York and Maryland cases involved same-sex couples who had agreed to have a child together. The couples were unmarried at the time of the birth of their children, and the non-biological parents had not adopted the children. The relationship ends after some time in which both partners co-parented. After the break-up, the biological parents withheld access to the children and the conflicts ended up in court. Both the New York and Maryland courts reversed pre-Obergefell decisions and recognized “de facto parents.” Once recognized, de facto parents stand on equal footing with biological or adoptive parents in custody and visitation disputes.

Part of my skepticism about these decisions comes from questions about the continuing necessity of de facto parentage after Obergefell. Didn’t the Supreme Court’s establishment of marriage equality remove a major barrier to legal parenthood for same-sex couples, thereby making recognition of de facto parenthood less important? Indeed, one of the central arguments advanced by advocates and adopted by the Supreme Court was that allowing same-sex parents to establish families through marriage is essential to protect children. Justice Kennedy embraced these arguments in his majority opinion, finding that “Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, [the children of same-sex parents] suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate children of same sex couples.”

Read more here.

 

September 12, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Women’s Shelter Family Rescue Sees Miracles Daily

From The Huffington Post:

It came down to a matter of matching blinds.

Women, removed from shelters, lived in their cars, awaiting the opening of Family Rescue‘s Ridgeland Transitional Housing because the state objected to the fact that some window blinds did not match. After six long years of jumping through the state’s hoops and convincing private investors that Ridgeland and domestic violence was worth their money, Family Rescue found the only thing standing between 22 families in need of a home and the December elements was matching window blinds. So, housing center officials opened anyway, ready to face whatever fines the state would throw at them.

Read more here.

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

Women’s Shelter Family Rescue Sees Miracles Daily

From The Huffington Post:

It came down to a matter of matching blinds.

Women, removed from shelters, lived in their cars, awaiting the opening of Family Rescue‘s Ridgeland Transitional Housing because the state objected to the fact that some window blinds did not match. After six long years of jumping through the state’s hoops and convincing private investors that Ridgeland and domestic violence was worth their money, Family Rescue found the only thing standing between 22 families in need of a home and the December elements was matching window blinds. So, housing center officials opened anyway, ready to face whatever fines the state would throw at them.

Read more here.

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

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Men stage child custody protest on Jeremy Corbyn's roof

From The Guardian:

Police have been called to Jeremy Corbyn’s north London home, where two men are staging a protest on his roof.

The pair, from New Fathers for Justice, climbed onto the Labour leader’s house in Islington just after 10am and are refusing to move until he talks to them.

Police cordoned off the street as a large crowd gathered to watch the protest, which comes weeks after a similar demonstration on the roof od Labour MP Angela Eagle's office.

One of the protesters, Bobby Smith, told LBC radio he would not come down until Corbyn listened to their complaints about fathers’ rights.

Read more here.

September 10, 2016 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 9, 2016

4th Amendment & Civil Offenses

From Orin Kerr, writing for the Washington Post/The Volokh Conspiracy:

In a fascinating new decision by Judge William Pryor, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit answered an interesting Fourth Amendment question: Can a judge issue an order to arrest someone for violating a civil offense? In the case, United States v. Phillips, a Florida state judge issued an order that the suspect should be arrested because he had committed civil contempt for failure to pay his child support. The court ruled that the order was a valid warrant for Fourth Amendment purposes and that the arrest was therefore valid.

Read more here.

September 9, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Inheritance & Divorce

From Naomi Cahn and Amy Zeittlow, writing for Family Studies, the Blog of the Institute for Family Studies:

A recent court case caught our attention, and we’ll provide a slightly modified version of the case here (the names have been changed for privacy). Soon after “Charles” and “Dena” married, Charles’ father, “Frank” set up a trust to benefit his “issue,” that is, his “lawful blood descendants.” The purpose of the trust was the “comfortable support, health, maintenance, welfare and education” of the recipients. During a little more than two years of their more than 10-year marriage, Charles received $800,000 from the trust, money that “augmented” his family’s “upper middle-class lifestyle.” Once Charles filed for divorce, he received no more money from the trust because “the trustees deemed it too risky to distribute funds to [Charles] at a time when he might be required to share the funds with [Dena], a nonbeneficiary.” As part of the divorce, the courts had to decide whether Dena had any legal rights to Charles’ interest in the trust. The trial court judge valued Charles’ interest in the trust at more than $2 million, included it as part of the marital property to be divided, and awarded Dena with 60 percent of that amount. After several appeals, the Massachusetts Supreme Court determined that Charles’ interest in the trust was not “sufficiently certain” to be treated as marital property.

Read more here.

September 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

National Family Law Moot Court Competition

29th Annual Domenick L. Gabrielli

National Family Law Moot Court Competition

March 2 – March 4, 2017

The Gabrielli National Family Law Competition is held each year at Albany Law School focusing on current issues in the field of family law.  Last year’s problem involved a mother and her same-sex partner who contracted with a known donor to conceive their own child through artificial insemination.  The competitors’ arguments focused on whether a state’s artificial insemination statute should be read in conjunction with the state’s three-parent statute to allow a biological father to seek parental rights over a child conceived using artificial insemination.  Also, the competitors argued whether granting parental rights to the biological father under the three-parent statute would be in the best interest of the child.

Our final round panel of judges traditionally include state and federal judges, as well as, distinguished professors and practitioners in the area of family law.

Key Dates:

11/08/2016   Registration/Postmark Deadline

12/01/2016   Problem released (online)

01/17/2017   Briefs Postmarked

03/02/2017   Preliminary Rounds

03/03/2017   Octofinal & Quarterfinal Rounds

03/04/2017   Semifinal & Final Rounds

Costs: The registration fee is $300 per team and a law school may register up to two teams consisting of either two or three competitors.

Awards: The competitors and coaches will receive a t-shirt for participating in the event. All participants are invited to attend a formal dinner where awards will be announced for the teams who display excellence in oral advocacy, brief writing and overall team performance.

To learn more about this event, please visit http://www.albanylaw.edu/mootcourt/intraschool/family-law-competition

To register for this event please click here http://www.albanylaw.edu/mootcourt/intraschool/family-law-competition/registration

Please contact Kayla C. Champagne at kchampagne@albanylaw.edu with any questions.

September 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Student Scholarship Call for Papers: Sarah Weddington Writing Prize

If/When/How, in collaboration with the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Center for Reproductive Rights and Justice at U.C. Berkeley School of Law, is pleased to announce the Call for Submissions for the twelfth annual Sarah Weddington Writing Prize for New Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights. 

 

This year, the Writing Prize invites submissions on all reproductive rights and justice topics. The suggested theme is: Balancing Burdens and Benefits after Whole Woman's Health v. Hellertstedt. Please refer to the attached Call for Submissions for guidance on this theme, as well as additional requirements. 

 

The deadline for submissions is Monday, February 27, 2017.

 

Winning authors will receive cash prizes: $750 (1st place), $500 (2nd place), or $250 (3rd place). The first place winner will also have a chance at publication with the NYU Review of Law and Social Change. All winning authors will also receive copies of Melissa Murray's and Kristin Luker's Cases on Reproductive Rights and Justice

 

Please submit applications for the Sarah Weddington Writing Prize here:  http://www.ifwhenhow.org/resources/2016-writing-prize-call-for-submissions/

 

September 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)