Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Facebook Friend Request Results in Jail Time

From the Smoking Gun: “A Florida man was arrested last night after he allegedly violated a protective order by sending his estranged wife requests to ‘friend’ him on Facebook.”  Read more here.


August 28, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cohen & Chen: "Trading-Off Reproductive Technology and Adoption: Does Subsidizing in Vitro Fertilization Decrease Adoption Rates and Should it Matter?"

Glenn Cohen (Harvard Law School) and Daniel Chen (Duke University School of Law) have posted "Trading-Off Reproductive Technology and Adoption: Does Subsidizing in Vitro Fertilization Decrease Adoption Rates and Should it Matter?" (forthcoming Minnesota Law Review) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

For those facing infertility, using assisted reproductive technology to have genetically related children is a very expensive proposition. In particular, to produce a live birth through in vitro fertilization (IVF) will cost an individual (on average) between $66,667 and $114,286 in the U.S. If forced to pay these prices out of pocket, many would be unable to afford this technology. Given this reality, a number of states have attempted to improve access to reproductive technology through state-level insurance mandates that cover IVF. Several scholars, however, have worried that increasing access in this way will cause a diminution in adoptions and have argued against enactment of state mandates for that reason.

In this paper, which was selected for presentation at the 2010 Stanford-Yale Junior Faculty Forum, we push against that conclusion on two fronts.

First, we interrogate the normative premises of the argument and expose its contestable implicit assumptions about how the state should balance the interests of existing children waiting for adoption and those seeking access to reproductive technology in order to have genetically related children.

Second, we investigate the unexamined empirical question behind the conclusion: does state subsidization of reproductive technologies through insurance mandates actually reduce adoption; that is, is there a trade-off between helping individuals conceive and helping children waiting to be adopted? We call the claim that there is such an effect the “substitution theory.” Using the differential timing of introduction of state-level insurance mandates relating to IVF in some states and differences in the forms these mandates take, we employ several different econometric techniques (differences-in-differences, ordinary least squares, two-stage least squares) to examine the effect of these mandates on IVF utilization and adoption. Contrary to the assumption of the substitution theory, we find no strong evidence that state support of IVF through these mandates crowds out either domestic or international adoption.


August 27, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers: Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society

The Wisconsin Journal of

Law, Gender & Society


Announces our 2011 Symposium:


Gender, Justice, & Victim Rights:

A Gendered Perspective of Victims in the Criminal Justice System


February 25, 2011

University of Wisconsin Law School

Madison, Wisconsin



  We are seeking original scholarship, from both scholars and practitioners, that addresses the intersections of law and gender in the role and treatment of victims in the criminal justice system. Interested parties should send an abstract by October 31, 2010.  Those selected for the Symposium will be notified by December 2010. The Journal’s Symposium issue will be published in Winter 2011.


  Questions may be addressed to Symposium Editor Erin Welsh at 


August 27, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Call for Papers: Wells Conference on Adoption Law

Call for Presentation and Papers
Maintaining a Family:
Post Adoption Challenges for Families
7th Annual Wells Conference
on Adoption Law
March 17, 2011
Capital University Law School
Columbus, Ohio


The conference is seeking proposals for presentations and papers emphasizing the following themes:

  • Procuring Pre-Adoption Safeguards to Secure Post-Adoption Success

    Suggested topics include, but are not limited to: records disclosure requirements, Hague Convention pre-adoption safeguards, and public versus private adoption disclosure requirements.

  • Overcoming Health and Assimilation Issues Facing Adopted Children and Their Families

    Suggested topics include, but are not limited to: mental health issues common in adopted children, specific health issues associated with international adoptions, and assimilation issues surrounding interracial and international adoptions.
  • What Happens When an Adoption Fails?

    Suggested topics include, but are not limited to: the nature of wrongful adoption lawsuits, immunity and liability of adoption agencies, and support services available to adoptive parents.  

Participants are asked to lead a forty-minute discussion on one of the above topics.  Each topic will have three panel members who will give a presentation, followed by a discussion at the end.  In addition, participants are requested to prepare an article associated with their presentation for publication in the Capital University Law Review next year.  The article would be due on September 1, 2011.

Capital University Law School is home to the National Center for Adoption Law & Policy.  In light of the University’s strong focus on child welfare and adoption law, the Capital University Law Review initiated the Wells Conference on Adoption Law in 2005.  The First Annual Wells Conference was entitled “Illuminating the Child’s Perspective,” and highlighted speakers such as Barbara Bennett Woodhouse, Elizabeth Bartholet, and Martin Guggenheim.  Each year the Wells Conference attracts respected professionals and academics who are pioneers in the field of Adoption Law.  With your help, we expect to continue that tradition this year.  Thank you for your consideration.    

Please send your proposals by September 24, 2010 to the Capital University Law Review Symposium Editor, Ashley Blackburn (

Maggie Abbulone
Capital University Law Review

Ashley Blackburn    
Symposium Editor
Capital University Law Review

Denise St. Clair
Executive Director
National Center for Adoption Law & Policy

August 26, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Child’s Interests Paramount

An interesting family law case coming down from the Abu Dhabi Supreme Court:

From The National

ABU DHABI // The interests of a child must be paramount in decisions on custody disputes between divorced parents, the Federal Supreme Court has ruled.

The ruling is the latest in a number of decisions by the country’s highest court that experts say will influence the continuing reform of the family law system, under way since 2005.

Under current law, a divorced mother’s custody ends when a boy turns 11 and a girl turns 13. Judges can also follow the Islamic school of thought adopted by the UAE, Al Maliki, under which custody may be extended until a boy reaches puberty or a girl is married.

However, the Federal Supreme Court has now ruled that a court should look into the interests of the child before deciding on custody, regardless of the child’s age.

Read more here.


August 26, 2010 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dowd: "The Man Question: Male Subordination and Privilege"

Nancy Dowd (University of Florida School of Law) has just published a new book:  The Man Question:  Male Subordination and Privilege (NYU Press 2010).  Here is a description:

Among the many important tools feminist legal theorists have given scholars is that of anti-essentialism: all women are not created equal, and privilege varies greatly by circumstances, particularly that of race and class. Yet at the same time, feminist legal theory tends to view men through an essentialist lens, in which men are created equal. The study of masculinities, inspired by feminist theory to explore the construction of manhood and masculinity, questions the real circumstances of men, not in order to deny men’s privilege but to explore in particular how privilege is constructed, and what price is paid for it.

In this groundbreaking work, feminist legal theorist Nancy E. Dowd exhorts readers to apply the anti-essentialist model—so dominant in feminist jurisprudence—to the study of masculinities. She demonstrates how men’s treatment by the law and society in general varies by race, economic position, sexuality, and other factors. She applies these insights to both boys and men, looking at men’s experience of fatherhood and sexual abuse and boys’ experience in the contexts of education and juvenile justice, to examine how masculinities analysis exposes both privilege and subordination. Ultimately, Dowd calls for a more inclusive feminist theory, which, by acknowledging the study of masculinities, can broaden our understanding of privilege and subordination.


August 25, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


The Census Bureau has released statistics on singles in the U.S.  From CNN:

(CNN) -- There are 96 million people in the United States who have no spouse. That means 43 percent of all Americans over the age of 18 are single, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Single" is defined as adults who have never been married, are divorced or are widowed in the bureau's America's Families and Living Arrangements survey of 2009. 

Of the singletons, 61 percent of them have never said "I do." Twenty-four percent are divorced and 15 percent are widowed.

An increasing number of these single Americans -- more than 31 million -- are living alone, according to the census. They make up 27 percent of all households, up from 17 percent in 1970.

About 46 percent of all households nationwide are maintained by a single person. That adds up to 52 million singles.

And 11.6 million single parents -- mostly mothers -- were living with their children in 2009.

Read more here.


August 25, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shamir: "The State of Care: Rethinking the Distributive Effects of Familial Care Policies in Liberal Welfare States"

Hila Shamir (Tel Aviv Univerisity, Buchmann Faculty of Law) has posted "The State of Care: Rethinking the

Distributive Effects of Familial Care Policies in Liberal Welfare States" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The paper offers a new analytical framework for the study of the regulation of family relations. The framework builds on distributive models of the welfare state, and goes beyond the family-state dyad to include the market as a sphere in which the family is meaningfully regulated. The offered framework challenges the traditional boundaries of family law and suggests an understanding of the institution of the family as defined through its interaction with the institutions of the labor market and the welfare state. The framework is applied to welfare state regimes of familial care in the United States and Israel - child care in the United States (federal), and long-term care for the elderly in Israel. The comparative distributive analysis shows that viewing the family from outside traditional Family Law leads to a relaxation of some of the exceptional characteristics of the legal concept of the family, as well as to a realization that family regulation is intimately connected to broad social policy debates about citizenship, social status, labor market, and wealth distribution.


August 24, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mind Your Own Business?

That is the question posed by

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.America's latest folk-hero flight attendant may be the one on a Southwest Airlines jet who took a 13-month-old baby from her mother after the woman slapped the crying child for kicking her. 

The flight attendant's actions, however, set off an intense debate: When and how should bystanders intervene?

Read more here.


August 24, 2010 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Titshaw: "A Modest Proposal: To Deport the Children of Gay Citizens, & Etc: Immigration Law, the Defense of Marriage Act, and the Children of Same-Sex Couples"

Scott Titshaw (Mercer University School of Law) has posted "A Modest Proposal: To Deport the Children of Gay Citizens, & Etc.: Immigration Law, the Defense of Marriage Act, and the Children of Same-Sex Couples" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines the terms “marriage” and “spouse” for federal purposes, clearly prevents the recognition of same-sex spouses under U.S. immigration law. It might also have a tragic unintended effect on some parent-child relationships.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) employs terms like “born in wedlock” and “step-parent” to define parent-child relationships for various immigration and citizenship purposes. One could argue, therefore, that DOMA prevents INA recognition of parent-child relationships stemming from a same-sex marriage. Parent-child relationships determine whether a person can legally join her family in the U.S., be deported, or even qualify as a citizen upon birth abroad. Therefore, if DOMA affected parent-child recognition under the INA, it would have profound implications for the growing number of same-sex couples living with children in U.S. and foreign jurisdictions that recognize their marriages.

This article explores the language, context, legislative history, and purposes of both DOMA and relevant sections of the INA. In the absence of reported cases on point, it reviews opinions in related areas, such as the recognition of children born to concubines or second-wives in polygamous marriages. Finally, it analyzes each relevant section of the INA in turn, concluding that DOMA does not proscribe recognition of parent-child relationships resulting from same-sex marriages under most, or all, of the sections.


August 23, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stay in DOMA Case in MA

Last week, the DOJ and parties represented by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders agreed to a stay of the district court’s decision in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, which successfully challenged the denial of spousal protections in Social Security, federal income tax, federal employees’ and retirees’ benefits, and the issuance of passports to same-sex couples in MA under DOMA Section 3.  Read news coverage here and the district court opinion here.


August 23, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Child Spending and Taxation

The Washington Post recently ran on op-ed piece arguing for increased tax breaks for having and raising children.  The article reproduces some interesting new government data on the cost of raising children.

Among the government's most interesting reports is one -- published by the Agriculture Department -- that estimates what parents spend on their children. The latest version finds, not surprisingly, that the costs are steep. For a middle-class husband-wife family (average pretax income in 2009: $76,250), spending per child is about $12,000 a year. Assuming modest annual inflation (2.8 percent), the report estimates that the family's spending on a child born in 2009 would total $286,050 by age 17. A two-child family would cost about $600,000. All these estimates may be understated because they do not include college costs.

These dry statistics ought to inform the deficit debate, because a budget is not just a catalogue of programs and taxes. It reflects a society's priorities and values. Our society does not -- despite rhetoric to the contrary -- put much value on raising children. Present budget policies punish parents, who are taxed heavily to support the elderly. Meanwhile, tax breaks for children are modest. If deficit reduction aggravates these biases, more Americans may choose not to have children or to have fewer children. Down that path lies economic decline.

Read more here.


August 22, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)