Friday, October 24, 2008
"Multiple Families, Multiple Goals, Multiple Failures,"
32 Harvard Journal of Law and Gender ____ (2009).
The abstract posted on ssrn provides:
Current child support laws are based on false assumptions about families that fail to reflect family complexity and the realities of parenting. As a result, the federal goals of child support laws are not met. New federal child support goals should be centered on the needs of poor families and multiple families and should consider more of the resources available to the families.
Multiple families are families where at least one existing parent has a child with a different partner. Federal child support laws ignore the way that children in multiple families compete for the limited resources of their parents. States lack guidance about how to choose between the two policy ways to allocate child support among families, "first family first" or "equalization."
This Article argues that the federal government should provide guidance to the states in answering the question of who bears the cost of subsequent families; this article proposes a new theory of child support, "limited equalization," which makes an explicit policy choice in favor of existing families.
Limited equalization includes five new child support goals: (1) an explicit policy choice about supporting multiple families giving a preference to existing families; (2) attention to the demographics of the families that need child support; (3) an expanded definition of parenting and the duty of support; (4) attention to poverty prevention; and (5) attention to gender equality. Limited equalization re-envisions the goals of child support and provides a mechanism to examine all of the circumstances and realities of the families in calculating child support awards. This major structural change attempts to address the complexities of child support, particularly in multiple families, while giving preference to existing families.
Monday, October 20, 2008
In a new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the authors focused on families and found:
The internet and cell phones have become central components of modern family life. Among all household types, the traditional nuclear family has the highest rate of technology usage and ownership.
A national survey has found that households with a married couple and minor children are more likely than other household types -- such as single adults, homes with unrelated adults, or couples without children to have cell phones and use the internet.
The survey shows that these high rates of technology ownership affect family life. In particular, cell phones allow family members to stay more regularly in touch even when they are not physically together. Moreover, many members of married-with-children households view material online together.
People in families may "go their separate ways," the report says, but technology allows them to "stay connected."
The 44 page report is here as a pdf.
Nebraska's "safe-haven" law which allows parents to abandon children at hospitals without being prosecuted has been garnering lots of news. The reason? While other states have similar laws, other states also have an age-limit. Nebraska's law does not. So parents can abandon their teenagers - no need for a "person in need of supervision" or other proceeding.
Legislators are supposedly going to close the "loophole."