Family Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Evidence of Viagra Use Disproves Constructive Abandonment in New York Divorce

New York state's fault-based divorce laws continue to give us glimpses of what divorce actions used to look like throughout the country.  In a news report from Mark Fass of the New York Law Journal, we find this interesting evidentiary victory: "In New York, a state that requires aspiring divorcees to prove grounds -- and that also provides ample economic incentive for their spouses to contest those grounds -- defendants in divorce proceedings can find themselves needing to establish that they have not constructively abandoned their partners by denying them sex for over a year.  But how?  For one Westchester, N.Y., man, the proof was in the pill box: G.W. elicited as evidence of his and his wife C.W.'s lovemaking his physician's testimony that he had taken Viagra and, purportedly, that it had worked."

To read the entire article on (last visited May 16, 2006 bgf)

May 16, 2006 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Try the National Data Analysis System

"The National Data Analysis System (NDAS) provides access to all states' child welfare and related data for the most recent years available. Because of various reporting cycles and data processing requirements, these data typically do not reflect the current year and may be one or two years behind. Users of NDAS can develop their own tables and graphs for a state or group of states in a single year or across years. Data sources and notes are included in these tables and graphs. . . Data topics include:

  • Administrative Data
  • Adoption
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
  • Child Care Services
  • Children's Health
  • Fiscal Data
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Outcomes
  • Out of Home Care
  • Population Data"

By Child Welfare League of America, National Data Analysis System. Link to Webpage (last visited 5-14-06 NVS)

May 15, 2006 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards Extend Restraining Order

"Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards agreed to extend a temporary restraining order requiring the actor to stay away from his estranged wife. A judge issued the order in April after the 35-year-old actress alleged in court papers that Sheen pushed, shoved and threatened her and her parents.Sheen, 40, has denied the allegations. On Friday, the restraining order was extended to July 13 so a psychologist can evaluate and make a determination regarding a custody arrangement for their two young daughters, Sheen's publicist Stan Rosenfield said." FindLaw Link to Article (last visited 5-14-06 NVS)

May 15, 2006 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mother Attacks Child's Teacher

"A woman convicted of beating and kicking her daughter's teacher in front of the girl's seventh-grade class was sentenced to six months in jail. Paulette Baines, 45, was convicted Wednesday of felony assault on a public servant. At her sentencing Thursday, she also was fined $800 (€629) and ordered to pay $14,000 (€11,000) restitution to Mary Oliver.

Baines, a high school teacher, walked into Oliver's science classroom, grabbed Oliver's hair and dragged her across the room while punching her in the face and kicking her, Oliver testified. The April 2005 attack occurred because Baines was angry about Oliver confronting her daughter for being in the hallway without permission, Oliver testified. Baines was fired after the incident." AP, FindLaw Link to Article (last visited 5-14-06 NVS)

May 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Daughter of Three Mothers

"I am the proud daughter of three mothers: My biological mom, Susan; her partner, Kimmie, and my dad's second wife, Chrissy. It might sound overwhelming, but having four parents is all I have ever known. Kimmie entered the picture after my parents' divorce in 1987, when I was 2. My dad met Chrissy when I was 5, and they got married two years later. For most of my life, "normal" has consisted of two houses, three moms, one dad, an older sister and a wonderful joint-custody dog. My four parents gave me and my sister the most wonderful gift when they decided to co-parent. Immediately after the divorce, my mom and dad agreed to focus on raising me and my sister together, putting their problems with each other on the back burner." By Cassie Limpert, Link to Article (last visited 5-14-06 NVS)

May 15, 2006 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Child Missing for Thirty Years Located

"A woman whose father was charged with kidnapping her as a child 30 years ago has been found living in Arizona, her mother and sheriff's officials said. On Mother's Day weekend in 1976, Laura Gooder's estranged husband, Eric Douglas Nielsen, picked up 21-month-old Genevieve Rachel Nielsen for an overnight visit. They never returned.

This Mother's Day weekend, a police officer arrived Saturday at Gooder's home in Frederic, Mich., with news that her daughter — now 31 — had been found, the Detroit News reported. Gooder's daughter had been raised under another name and grew up believing her mother had been killed in an auto accident. Law enforcement officials declined to release her other name. "It is pretty surreal,'' Gooder, 53, said. "I am keeping my fingers crossed and waiting for her to call.''" Associate Press, Link to Article (last visited 5-14-06 NVS)

May 15, 2006 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Case Law Development: Florida Supreme Court Suggests Changes to Paternity Law – Says Man Married to Woman at Child’s Birth is Indispensable Party

The Florida Supreme Court suggested in an opinion this week involving establishment of paternity for child support purposes that the Legislature may want to consider changing a law that keeps some paternity cases from being resolved because an indespensable party could not be found.  The court framed the issue as whether a legal father (i.e., a man married to the child’s mother at the time of birth) is an indispensable party in a paternity action brought by the State to establish that a man other than the legal father is the child’s biological father and, as such, is obligated to provide child support.

The court held that the state’s presumption of legitimacy requires a holding that the legal father is an indispensable party in an action to determine paternity  unless it is conclusively established that the legal father’s rights to the child have been divested by some earlier judgment.  It observed that “A child born during marriage is presumed to be the child of both the husband and wife. This presumption of legitimacy is “one of the strongest rebuttable presumptions known to law. . . . This presumption grants legal fathers an `unmistakable interest’ in paternity actions brought by the Department.”

The court also observed that Florida’s service of process statute does not permit constructive service of process in paternity cases, and there is no express provision in Florida law to authorize constructive service or to ensure that a legal father’s interests are appropriately protected. It said that “Whether the statutes should be modified to address this dilemma is a policy decision for the Legislature to decide.”

(For a  discussion of the presumption of legitimacy and the dilemmas Florida courts confront when faced with children born during marriage but fathered by someone other than the mother’s husband, see Chris W. Alternbernd, Quasi-Marital Children: The Common Law’s Failure in Privette and Daniel Calls for Statutory Reform, 26 Fla. St. U.L.Rev. 219 (1999)). For a copy of the slip opinion of the Florida Supreme Court in T.D., et. al. v. Florida Department of Children and Families, et. al., please click here (last visited May 14, 2006, reo).

May 14, 2006 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ohio Court Sentences Father Who Earlier Escaped Procreation Ban To Six Months In Jail For Nonsupport

In 2004 the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a trial judge could not order a deadbeat dad to not procreate as a part of his probation for not staying current on child support payments.  The trial judge had imposed as a condition of probation that the obligor make “all reasonable efforts to avoid conceiving another child” during his five-year probationary period.”  The Ohio Supreme Court said that the antiprocreation order was overlybroad.  However, this week the man was given six months in jail for continuing to fail to pay child support.  He has fathered seven children by five women.  Source. AP, To read the complete story, please click here (last visited May 14, 2006, reo).  A copy of the 2004 opinion from the Ohio Supreme Court, State v. Talty, 103 Ohio St.3d 177 (2004), can be found by clicking here (last visited May 14, 2006, reo).

May 14, 2006 in Child Support Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kansas Legislators Toughen Penalties for Deadbeat Parents

Kansas legislators toughened penalties on deadbeat parents this week. Under provisions passed and sent to Governor Kathleen Sebelius for signature, the state can pull hunting and other recreational licenses issued by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks from parents who have fallen behind in child support payments. In addition, the legislation would allow the state to suspend driver's licenses from parents who repeatedly fail to financially support their children.  The governor is expected to sign the measures into law. Source.  Sarah Kessinger, Harris News Service, To read the complete story, please click here (last visited May 14, 2006, reo).

May 14, 2006 in Child Support Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Minnesota Takes Away Fishing Licenses for Failure to Pay Child Support

To the surprise of some fishing license applicants, Minnesota suspends or revokes the fishing licenses of obligors with outstanding child support payments.  It is reported that about 220 people have lost their fishing licenses since the state Department of Natural Resources began the program, which also encompasses hunting licenses.  At least 120 persons received notice within the last six months that if they don’t pay up outstanding child support, they will not be eligible for a fishing license.  Source. To read the complete story, please click here (last visited May 14, 2006, reo).

May 14, 2006 in Child Support Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Federal Court Rules Foreign Grant Recipients Need Not Sign Anti-Prostitution Pledge Prior to Seeking Assistance

A federal district court judge in New York ruled Tuesday that the United States government cannot require foreign AIDS grant recipients to pledge to oppose commercial sex work. The pledge requirement was implemented in June 2005 and has as its origin a 2003 amendment to federal law that prohibits funds from going to a group without an explicit anti-prostitution and sex trafficking policy.  The judge ruled that such a requirement violates the groups' First Amendment rights.  Source.  UPI, To read the complete story, please click here (last visited May 14, 2006, reo).

May 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)