Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fewer International Adoptions in the United States

From the Telegraph:

In 2004, American families adopted almost 23,000 children from around the world, but by 2010 that figure had more than halved to 11,058, according to US State Department figures.

"We have stopped organising adoptions for overseas clients because it was just too hard to find good families," said Leah Kigutha, director of Maji Mzuri Children's Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

A surge in enquiries up to 2010 "attributed to publicity surrounding Madonna's case" had stalled as increased legislation governing adoptions was discussed by the US authorities, Ms Kigutha said.

The Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption entered into force in the US in early 2008, at the same time as Madonna's case to adopt David Banda, a Malawian toddler, was bogged down in a Lilongwe court.

Read more here.

March 26, 2011 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Divorce Good for You?

In The Atlantic, some interesting insights from a recent study:

One of our longevity myths is "Get married, and you will live longer." The data tell a different story. 

Marriage was health-promoting primarily for men who were well-suited to marriage and had a good marriage. For the rest, there were all kinds of complications. 

For example, women who got divorced often thrived. Even women who were widowed often did exceptionally well. It often seemed as if women who got rid of their troublesome husbands stayed healthy—most women, it seemed, can rely on their friends and other social ties. Men who got and stayed divorced, on the other hand, were at really high risk for premature mortality. It would have been better had they not married at all. 

Read more here.


March 25, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Saudi Women Driving Soon?

From Reuters:

RIYADH, March 9 (Reuters) - A senior Saudi prince questioned the need for a ban on women driving on Wednesday and said lifting it would be a quick first step to reduce the Islamic kingdom's dependence on millions of foreign workers.

The Gulf Arab state is a monarchy ruled by the al-Saud family in alliance with clerics from the strict Wahhabi school of Islam. Women must be covered from head to toe in public and are not allowed to drive.

But the ruling family has been facing calls from activists and liberals, empowered by protests across North Africa and the Middle East, to allow some political reforms in the absolute monarchy that has no parliament.

Using social media, activists have called on King Abdullah to allow women to participate for the first time in municipal elections expected later this year.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of King Abdullah and advocate of his reforms, said the kingdom could send some 750,000 foreign drivers home if women could drive.

Read more here.



March 24, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Shelly Kreiczer-Levy has posted "The Riddle of Inheritance: Connecting Continuity and Property" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Popular intuitions, scholarly works and legal doctrines reveal an embedded tension in property legal theory between testamentary freedom and family protection. The article works through this tension and offers a novel theory of property allocation after death. It introduces the value of continuity to property legal scholarship. This value is drawn from various disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, and anthropology. Continuity embodies a double perspective, combining two interests: the desire to be continued in the world, and the need for roots, to belong to a person or a group. Similarly, the law of inheritance today cannot be correctly characterized solely by reference to testamentary freedom, which addresses only the interest to be continued in the world. There is not just one central focal point, the owner of property, I contend, but actually two focal points, which correspond with the two dimensions of continuity. These two focal points are not independent interests that should be correctly balanced one against the other. Rather, the interests of the owner and her receivers are intertwined, co-dependent, and guided by the same rationale. This argument is supported by a legal analysis of American inheritance law.


March 23, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Three-year glitch"

From Yahoo! News:

LONDON (Reuters) – The "three-year glitch" has replaced the "seven-year itch" as the tipping point where couples start to take each other for granted, according to a new survey.

Weight gain, stinginess, toe-nail clippings on the bathroom floor and snoring are a few of the passion-killers that have led to a swifter decline in relationships in the fast-paced 21st century, said the study commissioned by Warner Brothers to promote the release of comedy film "Hall Pass" in UK cinemas.

The survey of 2,000 British adults in steady relationships pinpointed the 36-month mark as the time when relationship stress levels peak and points to a new trend of "pink passes" and "solo" holidays away from partners and spouses that many Britons resort to in order to keep romance alive.

Read more here.



March 23, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Caster: "Why Same-Sex Marriage Will Not Repeat the Errors of No-Fault Divorce"

Austin Caster has posted "Why Same-Sex Marriage Will Not Repeat the Errors of No-Fault Divorce" (38 West. S. L. Rev. 43 (2010)).  Here is the abstract:

Because so many negative ramifications resulted from changing marriage laws through no-fault divorce legislation, it is understandable that those who rightfully feared no-fault divorce would also fear any additional changes to the definition of marriage. Those fears are unfounded as applied to same-sex marriage legislation, however, because the same consequences resulting from no-fault divorce do not apply to same-sex marriage. Whereas changing marriage exit rights through laws such as no-fault divorce legislation resulted in an increased divorced rate throughout the world, the opposite has happened in countries that have allowed same-sex marriage laws by changing marriage entrance rights. Society has suffered many negative health consequences as a result of no-fault divorce, but those, too, would not result from same-sex marriage. Additionally, the negative economic consequences brought on by no-fault divorce would also not result from same-sex marriage, but rather it would bring more economic stability. Children would not be negatively affected by same-sex marriage the way they were affected by no-fault divorce because same-sex marriage would bring families together rather than tear them apart. Finally, the same public policy reasons that make opposite-sex marriage favorable to society also apply to same-sex marriage. Therefore, it is unreasonable to fear same-sex marriage legislation based on the resulting harms of no-fault divorce legislation.


March 22, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Cahn: "Old Lessons for a New World: Applying Adoption Research and Experience to Art"

Naomi Cahn (GWU School of Law) has posted "Old Lessons for a New World: Applying Adoption Research and Experience to Art" (24 J. Am. Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (2011)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This article suggests that knowledge derived from adoption-related research and experience can be used to improve law, policy and practice in the world of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), particularly with respect to sperm, egg and embryo "donations." While there are numerous and significant differences between adoption and ART, the article identifies several areas in which adoption's lessons could be useful. These include secrecy and the withholding of information; a focus on the best interests of children; the creation of "nontraditional" families, particularly as more single, gay and lesbian adults use ART; the impact of market forces; and legal and regulatory frameworks to inform standards and procedures.


March 22, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April Conference from Foundation for Male Studies

Only 16 days away, The Foundation for Male Studies is holding their 2nd Conference on Male Studies: Looking Forward to Solutions, to be unveiled to participants at the New York Academy of Medicine as well as a growing conglomerate of Internet-connected participants from 16 universities - organizations and individuals, professionals and students - from countries including Germany, Australia, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Italy, India and the U.S.

The Program:

The male's shortfall in education and its impact on male employment prospects
Tom Mortenson

The Future of Fatherhood
Gordon E. Finley, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Florida International University.

The Current Muddled State of Gender Affairs and the Future
Michael Gilbert, Senior Fellow at the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future / University of Southern California, and author of The Disposable Male

Why Men Die First
Dr. Marianne Legato

From Primeval to Postmodern Man: A Revolutionary Theory
Paul Nathanson, PhD, Senior Researcher
Katherine Young, PhD, James McGill Professor of the McGill Faculty of Religious Studies;
Co-authors of a four volume series on misandry, the hatred of men.

Advertising: Past and Current Depictions of Males and their Consequences
Matthew Willcox and Matthew Palmer, Draftfcb.
Mr. Willcox is a Director of Strategic Planning at the agency and was instrumental in helping Levi
Strauss and Company brand Dockers, develop the "Wear the Pants" campaign that dealt with male roles and image. Mr. Palmer is the lead strategist on the Miller Lite brand and a member of the team responsible for producing its "Man Up" ad campaign.

Register for the conference here.


March 22, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Delayed Gratification Leads to Better Marriages

The Economist recently ran an article singing the virtues of abstinence:

Their report, just published in the Journal of Family Psychology, suggests that people who delay having sex do indeed have better relationships, on four different measures (see table). That result applies to both men and women.

Read more here.


March 21, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nassau: "How to Split the Tax Baby: What Would Solomom Do?"

Robert Nassau (Syracuse Univ. School of Law) has posted "How to Split the Tax Baby: What Would Solomon Do?" (61 Syracuse L. Rev. 83 (2010)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

For as long as taxpayers have been able to claim deductions or credits for their children, separated parents have argued over which of them is entitled to those benefits. In 1967, Congress enacted legislation to resolve these disputes. That legislation did not accomplish its objectives, so Congress revised those rules in 1984. With a minor tweak those rules remain in place today.

Under the current statute, the parent having custody for the greater portion of the year is generally entitled to the tax benefits. However, that “Custodial Parent” can transfer some of those benefits to the “Noncustodial Parent” by signing a written declaration, in such manner and form as the Treasury Department prescribes, stating that he will not claim the benefits.

For twenty-five years, the Treasury Department allowed an unconditional divorce decree or separation agreement to serve as the written declaration necessary for transferring tax benefits. Abruptly, however, in 2008, the Treasury Department issued new Regulations under which divorce decrees and separation agreements are no longer acceptable. Now, the Noncustodial Parent must obtain a signed Internal Revenue Service Form from the Custodial Parent in order to qualify for the tax benefits – even in cases where the decree or agreement – binding under State law – provides that the Noncustodial Parent is entitled to the benefits.

This Article will explain why there was no reasonable justification for changing the Regulations, and why the Regulations will create unexpected, unnecessary, unreasonable, and difficult-to-surmount problems for Noncustodial Parents. The new Regulations are plain bad and should be repealed.


March 20, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)