Family Law Prof Blog

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

Monday, January 15, 2007

Domestic Violence Among Refugee and Immigrant Women

"An Ethiopian-born physician works to prevent domestic violence among refugee and immigrant women in Boston. If you want to help these women escape abusive relationships, she says, you need to understand the old country's ways, as well as the new." By Meqdes Mesfin, National Public Radio Link to Listen (last visited 1-15-07 NVS)

January 15, 2007 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Child Brides in Ethiopia

"In the northern highlands of Ethiopia, there's a saying: The world is producing more children, but the land is not expanding. That's leading to a collision between the old world and a new one that is challenging age-old social customs about marriage and the rights of women and children.

The government is backing a series of new family-planning policies, including a ban on the practice of marrying girls while they're still children. In the village of Yinsa, Ethiopia, some women are indifferent to the change. Others are welcoming it." By Brenda Wilson, National Public Radio Link to Listen

January 15, 2007 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Words of a Former Child Soldier

"Sometimes I feel that living in New York City, having a good family and friends, and just being alive is a dream, that perhaps this second life of mine isn’t really happening. Whenever I speak at the United Nations, Unicef or elsewhere to raise awareness of the continual and rampant recruitment of children in wars around the world, I come to realize that I still do not fully understand how I could have possibly survived the civil war in my country, Sierra Leone. Most of my friends, after meeting the woman whom I think of as my new mother, a Brooklyn-born white Jewish-American, assume that I was either adopted at a very young age or that my mother married an African man. They would never imagine that I was 17 when I came to live with her and that I had been a child soldier and participated in one of the most brutal wars in recent history." By Ishmael Beah, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 1-15-07 NVS)

January 15, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

International Adoption Host Programs Suspended?

"During the two weeks that Marino and Debbie Prozzo welcomed a Ukrainian orphan in their home, they fell head over heels for a 7-year-old child they may never be able to adopt. While the Prozzos were giving Alona Malyovana her first bubble bath, teaching her to use the remote control, and buying her a pink velvet dress trimmed in bunny fur, the chaotic system of adoption in Ukraine was growing more chaotic. The director of Ukraine’s new Department for Adoptions resigned, leaving the fate of the nation’s 90,000 orphans in limbo. A new application process required foreign families to quickly update security clearances and other time-sensitive information. Prospective parents anxiously scanned the State Department’s Web site and bulletins from the embassy in Kiev for clarification of rules and rumors.

Hosting programs, like the one that brought Alona to an American family this Christmas, showcase older children, generally from orphanages in former Soviet bloc nations. The programs have long been hailed as an effective marketing tool by adoption experts, who say 8 of 10 families would not adopt these children without a trial run. In the largely unregulated world of international adoptions, these programs often lead to happily-ever-after, but sometimes end painfully. Ukraine and Russia place formidable obstacles in the path of parents, among them inaccurate information about children’s availability and health status. Multiple families can wind up competing for the same child. And children themselves know they are auditioning for what the industry calls their “forever families.” Then there is an entrenched system of favors — requests for cash or gifts from facilitators, translators, judges and others who handle the mechanics of adoption overseas.

Conditions in both countries have grown so unsettled, some agencies have suspended hosting programs, and the debate is growing about the ratio of risk to reward. Do the many success stories for older orphans make up for the heartbreak when adoption is thwarted?" By Jane Gross, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 1-15-07 NVS)

January 15, 2007 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Foreign Adoptions Decline

"After tripling over the past 15 years, the number of foreign children adopted by Americans dropped sharply in 2006, the result of multiple factors which have jolted adoption advocates and prompted many would-be adoptive parents to reconsider their options. The consequences could be profound for the ever-growing numbers of Americans interested in adopting abroad. Already, some have had their hopes quashed by tightened eligibility rules in China; adoptions from Africa, where millions of children have been orphaned by AIDS and wars, could increase if those from China and Eastern Europe continue to decrease.

Declines were recorded last year in nearly all countries that recently have been the top sources of adopted children -- China, Russia, South Korea and Ukraine among them. Increases from less familiar alternatives -- Ethiopia, Liberia, Haiti and Vietnam -- partly offset the drop, but some experts believe the era of constantly surging foreign adoption has ended." Associated Press, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 1-10-07)

January 11, 2007 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legislatures Turn to Children's Issues

"Governors and legislators return to work this month with renewed interest in the needs of their youngest citizens, bringing a slew of ideas on health insurance and education.

Expanding health coverage to all children is emerging as a goal in many states, even as debate continues over how to provide care to all the uninsured, adults and youngsters alike. ''This is not only an economic crisis. It's a human crisis and it demands action now,'' Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, said last week. He promised to reduce the cost of care for families and businesses, and is pushing hard to expand the state's health insurance program to cover all children. Similar expansions are being proposed in Minnesota and California, where Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday called for health care for all children, including illegal immigrants, as part of a sweeping expansion of coverage to nearly all the state's 6.5 million uninsured.

Demands for more emphasis on education, already one of the biggest chunks of state budgets, are getting louder. Courts in Arkansas, Illinois, New Jersey and many other states have ordered legislators to craft more equitable funding systems. And parents and educators are pushing for greater early education, including kindergarten and pre-kindergarten classes." Associated Press, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 1-10-07 NVS)

January 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Afghan Bill Aimed at Forced Marriage

"Seeking to escape cultural oppression and economic hardship, an alarming number of Afghan women are taking their own lives. The trend has prompted a bill aimed at ending such practices as forced marriages." By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, National Public Radio Link to Audio (last visited 1-10-07 NVS)

January 11, 2007 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Law Review Articles: Bankruptcy and Family Law

Daniel A. Austin, For Debtor or Worse: Discharge of Marital Debt Obligations Under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005,  51 WAYNE L. REV. 1369 (2005). This article provides an overview of the connection between divorce and bankruptcy including an analysis of the impact of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (2005) changes to the 1978 Bankruptcy Code. The author predicts how the revisions are likely to be applied with respect to marital debt discharge. Link to Article

Jackie Gardina, The Perfect Storm: Bankruptcy, Choice of Law, and Same-sex Marriage, 86 B.U. L. REV. 881 (2006). This article analyzes choice of law issues likely to arise when bankruptcy courts consider property interests arising from same-sex marriages and civil unions. The author concludes that bankruptcy courts are not mandated to apply a forum state’s choice of law rules and that bankruptcy courts should instead apply the state law most consistent with underlying Bankruptcy Code policy. Link to Article on Westlaw

Anthony Michael Sabino, Violence of Action: the Bankruptcy Code, Domestic Relations Law, and the New War with State Probate Law, 19 QUINNIPIAC PROB. L.J. 264 (2006). This article discusses the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 focusing in part on automatic stay and dischargeability of debts arising from domestic relations proceedings. Link to Article on Westlaw

Last visited 1-8-07 NVS

January 9, 2007 in Bankruptcy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 1, 2007

Father's Journal to Son

"He drew pictures of himself with angel wings. He left a set of his dog tags on a nightstand in my Manhattan apartment. He bought a tiny blue sweat suit for our baby to wear home from the hospital.Then he began to write what would become a 200-page journal for our son, in case he did not make it back from the desert in Iraq.

For months before my fiancé, First Sgt. Charles Monroe King, kissed my swollen stomach and said goodbye, he had been preparing for the beginning of the life we had created and for the end of his own. He boarded a plane in December 2005 with two missions, really — to lead his young soldiers in combat and to prepare our boy for a life without him. Dear son, Charles wrote on the last page of the journal, “I hope this book is somewhat helpful to you. Please forgive me for the poor handwriting and grammar. I tried to finish this book before I was deployed to Iraq. It has to be something special to you. I’ve been writing it in the states, Kuwait and Iraq.

The journal will have to speak for Charles now. He was killed Oct. 14 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his armored vehicle in Baghdad. Charles, 48, had been assigned to the Army’s First Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, Fourth Infantry Division, based in Fort Hood, Tex. He was a month from completing his tour of duty." By Dana Canedy, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 1-1-07 NVS)

January 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)