Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

VA Family Law Firm Sponsors Dogs for Christmas

Kudos to the Virginia family law firm of Shoun, Bach, Walinsky & Curran, P.C. for sponsoring, as a holiday gift, 132 homeless dogs at the Friends of Homeless Animals of Northern Virginia for 3 months while they await their permanent homes.  Animal shelters have been particularly suffering in this economy.  Read more here.


December 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 25, 2009




December 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Seinfeld Series to Give Advice to Squabbling Spouses

Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman…and entertainers, athletes and comedians, beginning on March 14, when Marriage Ref premieres on NBC.  Tom Papa will host the new series from Jerry Seinfield. On it, a panel of showbiz and sports celebs will give advice to squabbling spouses.

“This isn’t a therapy show; it’s a comedy show,” Seinfeld says. “After nine years of marriage, I’ve discovered that the comedic potential of this subject is quite rich.”

Most husbands and wives fight more than hockey players, so it’s about time the sacred institution of marriage (actually an asylum for the matrimonially insane) hired officials to break up the brawls.


As a Seinfeld fan, I, for one, cannot wait!


December 24, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Christmas Family Photos Barred on California Beach

You probably won’t be receiving a Christmas family photo card from a particular beach in California this holiday season:

APTOS — Howard "Boots" McGhee and his family felt like they had an encounter with the Grinch when they tried to take a holiday card photo at Seacliff State Beach last weekend.

Friday, a State Parks ranger told McGhee and at least two other holiday card photographers they were breaking the law by shooting photos in front of the pier at the state beach without a permit. The ranger stopped short of ticketing the photographers, but McGhee, a longtime Seacliff resident and professional photographer who regularly shoots at area beaches, said the interaction left [him] and his relatives confused.

For grinches in cold, snowy places this holiday season, that’s probably for the best. 

Read the full article from here.


December 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Brazilian Custody Case Finally Resolved?

The latest on the case from CNN:

It looks like the Brazilian relatives of a 9-year-old boy, caught in an international custody battle with the child's father, will not file any further appeals after the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled against them, their attorney told CNN Wednesday.

The family is just looking for a peaceful handover of Sean Goldman to his father, attorney Sergio Tostes said, and plan on starting dialogue to allow the transfer to happen immediately.

The chief justice of the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in favor of David Goldman, who had been battling the family of the boy's deceased mother for custody. The ruling by Chief Justice Gilmar Mendes will reunite Sean with his father. Last week, a lower court unanimously upheld a decision ordering that Sean Goldman be returned to his father in New Jersey.

David Goldman arrived in Rio de Janeiro to reunite with his son, but one Supreme Court justice issued a stay, ordering Sean to remain with his Brazilian relatives until the high court could consider the case. Mendes' decision lifted the stay.

Read perhaps the last story (I say this optimistically) on this case here and our previous blog post on the case here.


December 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Turkheimer: "Forfeiture after Giles: the relevance of 'domestic violence context'"

Deborah Tuerkheimer (DePaul University College of Law) has published "Forfeiture after Giles: the relevance of 'domestic violence context'." 13 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 711-731 (2009).  Here is the abstract from SSRN:

This contribution to Lewis and Clark's symposium issue on California v. Giles contemplates the future of domestic violence prosecution in a period of uncertainty. Giles, the United States Supreme Court’s most recent pronouncement impacting the prosecution of domestic violence, has exposed deep judicial ambivalence about the newly transformed Confrontation Clause. This Article endeavors to guide lower courts in the task of implementation and to chart a course for the evolution of prosecutorial treatment of battering, concluding that Giles represents a significant opportunity for those concerned about the constraints Crawford v. Washington and Davis v. Washington had seemed to place on the prosecution of abuse. For the first time, the Court has identified "the domestic violence context" as a relevant construct, thereby compelling lower courts to grapple with the particularities of violence between intimates. This is a remarkable shift in relatively short order, and it allows us to glimpse the possibility of a jurisprudence informed by the realities of battering.


December 23, 2009 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Slobogin & Fondacaro: "Juvenile Justice: The Fourth Option"

Christopher Slobogin (Vanderbilt University - School of Law) and Mark R. Fondacaro (University of Florida, Dept of Pysch and Levin College of Law) have posted 95 Juvenile Justice: The Fourth Option, Iowa L. Rev.__(2009), on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The current eclectic mix of solutions to the juvenile-crime problem is insufficiently conceptualized and too beholden to myths about youth, the crimes they commit, and effective means of responding to their problems. The dominant punitive approach to juvenile justice, modeled on the adult criminal justice system, either ignores or misapplies current knowledge about the causes of juvenile crime and the means of reducing it. But the rehabilitative vision that motivated the progenitors of the juvenile court errs in the other direction, by allowing the state to assert its police power even over those who are innocent of crime. The most popular compromise theory of juvenile justice - which claims that developmental differences between adolescents and adults make the former less blameworthy - is also misguided because it tends to de-emphasize crime-reducing interventions, overstate the degree to which adolescent responsibility is diminished, and play into the hands of those who would abolish the juvenile justice system, since it relies on the same metric - culpability - as the adult criminal justice system. This Article argues that, with some significant adjustments that take new knowledge about the psychological, social, and biological features of adolescence into account, the legal system should continue to maintain a separate juvenile court, but one that is single-mindedly focused on the prevention of criminal behavior rather than retributive punishment.


December 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hendricks: “Pregnancy, Equality, and U.S. Constitutional Law”

Jennifer S. Hendricks has posted a book chapter entitled “Pregnancy, Equality, and U.S. Constitutional Law,” on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This chapter will be part of a collection on international feminist constitutionalism, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. The chapter proposes a feminist theory of reproductive freedom grounded in U.S. Supreme Court precedent and applies the theory to abortion rights and to parental rights in the context of surrogacy agreements.


December 22, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Only the Lonely

From CNN:

New research suggests loneliness can actually travel from person to person, spreading up to three degrees of separation. That means if your neighbor’s cousin's friend is lonely, you may have a good chance of being lonely, too.


Loneliness spreads more quickly among friends than family, but this finding may be limited to older people, as the average age in the sample was 64 years old, the authors said. Cacioppo, though, said the pattern generally makes sense because the cost of leaving a friendship is less than cutting off a family member, so people are more likely to isolate themselves from friends than close relatives or spouses.

Read more about the study here.


December 22, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Byrn and Ives: "Which Came First the Parent or the Child?"

Mary Patricia Byrn and Jenni Vainik Ives have posted, ""Which Came First the Parent or the Child?" Rutgers Law Journal (forthcoming), on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

From the moment a child is born, she is a juridical person endowed with constitutional rights. A child’s parents, however, do not become legal parents until a state statute grants them the fundamental right to raise one’s child. The state, therefore, exercises considerable power and discretion when it drafts the parentage statutes that determine who becomes a legal parent. This article asserts that the state, through its parens patriae power, has a duty to act as an agent for children when it drafts its parentage statutes. In particular, the state must adopt parentage statutes that satisfy children’s fundamental right to legal parents at birth. This right derives from the Substantive Due Process privacy right to form intimate, familial relationships, as well as the right to intimate association and ensures that a child may develop the parent-child relationships necessary to preserve her liberty, protect her rights, and define her identity.

To guarantee children’s fundamental right to legal parents at birth, states must reform their current parentage statutes. This article argues that states must first replace all presumptions in parentage statutes with clear determinations of legal parentage at birth. Next, states must grant legal parentage of children conceived through sexual reproduction to the child’s genetic parents. For children conceived through assisted reproductive technology, states must grant legal parentage to the intended parents. By adopting statutes that assign children parents from these respective groups, states ensure that the persons who are most likely to act in the child’s best interest become the child’s legal parents. In so doing, the state fulfills its parens patriae obligation to guarantee every child’s fundamental right to legal parents at birth.


December 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

20-Year-Old Son’s Incarceration Not Full Emancipating Event in Illinois

So held an Illinois Court of Appeals, determining that a 20-year-old son’s  incarceration would not terminate his father’s obligation to contribute to his educational expenses.

The case is Baumgartner v. Baumgartner, No. No. 109047 (Ill. App. Ct. 2009).  See here for the opinion.


December 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Maravilla: "The other don't ask, don't tell: adultery under the Uniform Code of Military Justice after Lawrence v. Texas"

Christopher Maravilla has published "The other don't ask, don't tell: adultery under the Uniform Code of Military Justice after Lawrence v. Texas," 37 Cap. U. L. Rev. 659-680 (2009).  Here is an excerpt:

The U.S. military has a long standing prohibition, punishable by court martial, against adultery committed by service members whether it is between service members of the same rank, different ranks, or with civilians. [FN1] While the armed forces are a unique body in terms of constitutional jurisprudence and not necessarily subject to the same protections as civilians (generally with regard to the First Amendment right to free speech), [FN2] this doctrine is not absolute. The Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas opened the issue whether consensual sexual activity between two adults is protected under the Constitution, specifically in homosexual relationships. [FN3] The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in United States v. Marcum sidestepped the issue by finding that Lawrence did not apply to the specific facts in that case. [FN4] Subsequent military courts have misread Marcum in holding that Lawrence either: (1) is applied only on a case by case basis, [FN5] or (2) does not apply in the military context at all. [FN6]

Adultery covers a wide range of conduct from one night stands, relationships with a co-worker, to long-term romantic entanglements. [FN7] Adultery among members of the Armed Forces is considered common. [FN8] For example, condoms have been made available for both married and unmarried sailors going ashore. [FN9] There are no statistics available for the rate of adultery among members of the armed forces. There is, however, what is considered to be an informal amendment to the prohibition of adultery: “[D]o what you want, but don't do it blatantly and don't get caught.” [FN10] In other words, the policy is another form of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” [FN11]

In interviews with soldiers stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, the New York Times found one soldier who said, “But everyone is human. It's going to happen.” [FN12] Another married soldier spent forty dollars to spend five minutes with a prostitute in a Mexican brothel. [FN13] To prosecute any one of these individuals for their conduct becomes almost arbitrary. Critics also argue that the military prosecutors' willingness to pursue charges against adulterers varies depending on the service and the commanders. [FN14] Lawrence J. Korb of the Brookings Institute also argues that these prosecutions when they do occur are more aimed at a member of the Armed Forces already in trouble for something else. [FN15] He likens it to “getting Al Capone on income tax evasion.” [FN16]

However, as this article argues, Lawrence applies to the military, and the crime of adultery in and of itself should no longer be barred by the military because it serves to merely enforce a moral code. Rather, adultery between service members of different ranks should be brought under the *661 prohibition against fraternization. [FN17] While this article does not reach “Don't ask, Don't tell,” many of the arguments presented resonate with that issue. This article will: (1) discuss the military's criminalization of adultery in light of Lawrence and Marcum, (2) argue that this prohibition serves only to enforce a moral code, and (3) that such prosecutions should be brought as fraternization, not adultery.

The abstract is also on SSRN.


December 20, 2009 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)