Family Law Prof Blog

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

Monday, January 30, 2006

Hofstra Law School Establishes LL.M Program in Family Law

"Hofstra Law School established the LL.M. Program in Family Law in response to contemporary family law practice's increased demand for specialization and need for an interdisciplinary focus for resolving family issues.  The only program of its kind in the eastern United States, and one of only three programs in the country, Hofstra's LL.M. Program in Family Law furthers the Law School's commitment to developing skilled and compassionate family lawyers who have a thorough grounding in the issues central to the field - divorce, family violence, child custody, abuse, neglect and support - as well as knowledge in related areas such as tax, contracts, real estate, and partnership law, child psychology and treatment options.

Hofstra's LL.M. program meets the needs of all students, whether they seek to concentrate on matrimonial issues - marital dissolution, child custody, and property distribution; child protection issues - child abuse and neglect and the child welfare system; or one of the growing areas of subspecialty - international family law, legislative reform, or representing gay and lesbian families."By Hofstra Law School Link to Website and Application (last visted 1-29-06 NVS)

January 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Real Life Like an Exam Question?

"He is 86 and she is 85. Married in 1940, they have not lived together since he moved out of the marital residence more than 33 years ago and had a child with his secretary. He insists the couple were divorced in 1984, but she claims that until six months ago he had tricked her into believing that they were still married. Now she is asking a Nassau County Supreme Court to vacate the earlier judgment and grant her a divorce on grounds of abandonment.

Confronted with a set of facts that one family law expert compared to an exam question conjured by "a really maniacal law professor," Justice Anthony J. Falanga, in A.S. v. A.S., 201697/05, refused to dismiss the wife's action and ordered the parties to submit additional evidence. Moreover, he said he would schedule a hearing to determine if the wife was served with the 1984 divorce action." By Andrew Harris, New York Law Journal, Link to Article (last visited 1-29-06 NVS)

January 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Family Letters Cover 200 Years

"Beginning more than 200 years ago, Mr. Cowan's family has kept the messages — people called them letters in those days — written to one another, as well as correspondence with eminent outsiders like Ralph Waldo Emerson, sermons given by preachers in the family and multipart essays sent home while traveling.

The collection, at least 75,000 documents totaling hundreds of thousands of pages filling 200 boxes, is one of the largest private family troves that has turned up in recent years, genealogy experts say. It has been stored in attics, sheds and storage lockers over the years, and most recently in the Cowans' home here in Boulder, where they were interviewed on a recent morning. Its contents cover the scandalous (a relative jailed for embezzlement), the intriguing (a runaway slave seeking refuge in the North) and the historic (the settling of Chicago)." By Kirk Johnson, New York Times Link to Article (last visited 1-29-06 NVS)

January 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

South Dakota Legislators Debate Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives

South Dakota legislators began a debate on Thursday over whether insurance companies in that state should be compelled to pay for contraceptives if those firms cover other prescription drugs. Those supporting the measure, argue that it is discriminatory for firms who provide drugs for male impotence to not provide coverage for contraceptives that women use. It was also argued that preventing pregnancies would cost insurance companies far less than paying for births.  Source:  Joe Kafka, AP, Rapid City Journal, For the complete story, please click here (last visited January 29, 2006,

January 29, 2006 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Germany Concerned over Birth Rate – One of Europe’s Lowest

German politicians are debating what to do to encourage reluctant couples to breed after newly released figures showed Germany with the world's highest proportion of childless women. According to European Union statistics from 2005, thirty per cent of German women have not had children. Forty percent of female graduates not have children. Germany’s family minister, Ursula von der Leyen, said that unless the birth rate picked up the country would have to “turn the light out”. Germany's birth rate is one of the lowest in Europe with an average of 1.37 children per woman, compared with 1.75 in Sweden and 1.74 in the UK. German mothers are also the oldest - with an average age of 30 for a first child - and most parents opt for only one or two children. Source:  Luke Harding, Guardian Unlimited, For the complete story, please click here (last visited January 29, 2006, reo).

January 29, 2006 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Case Law Development: Ninth Circuit Rules 2-1 that Americans Who Pay for Sex with Children in Foreign Countries may be Prosecuted in U.S.

Americans caught paying children for sex in foreign countries can be prosecuted in the United States, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Ruled Wednesday.  In its 2-1 ruling, the panel upheld a two-year-old law criminalizing such behavior.

The court was confronted with a question of first impression regarding the scope of Congress’s power under the Foreign Commerce Clause. At issue was whether Congress exceeded its authority “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations,” U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 3, in enacting a statute that makes it a felony for any U.S.citizen who travels in “foreign commerce,” i.e. to a foreign country, to then engage in an illegal commercial sex act with a minor. 18 U.S.C. § 2423(c). 

The defendant, age 71, did not dispute that he traveled in “foreign commerce,” nor did he dispute that he engaged in illicit commercial sexual conduct. He lived from 1998 to 2003 mostly in the Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia and had sex with between 40-50 boys there, by his own admission. Victims told authorities they had earned between two and five dollars for the sex acts.

He was extradited to the United States and was the first person charged under a 2003 law that made it easier to prosecute cases of commercial sex with children abroad. The defendant admitted his activities in a 2004 plea agreement that sent him to prison for 97 months, while leaving open the possibility to appeal the law on constitutional grounds.

The court held that the defendant failed to demonstrate “a plain showing that Congress . . . exceeded its constitutional bounds,” in enacting §§ 2423(c) and (f)(2). "Traveling to a foreign country and paying a child to engage in sex acts are indispensable ingredients of the crime to which the defendant pled guilty," said the court. "The fact that §§ 2423(c) and (f)(2) meld these economic and criminal components into a single statute does not put the conduct beyond Congress’s reach under the Foreign Commerce Clause. The rational nexus requirement is met to a constitutionally sufficient degree. Congress did not exceed its power `to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations in criminalizing commercial sex acts with minors committed by U.S. citizens abroad.” Source:  Adam Tanner, Reuters,  For the complete story, please click here (last visited January 29, 2006, reo). The opinion, U.S. v. Clark, filed January 25, 2006, may be found here (last visited January 29, 2006, reo).

Continue reading

January 29, 2006 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)