Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Make A New Plan, Stan

From the Mail Online:

It's supposed to be one of the most memorable moments in a woman's life. But a new survey has revealed that one in four women hated the way their husband proposed.

Twenty-six per cent of brides-to-be said that they wished the moment had been more romantic, original or personal.

Others would have preferred it to be more private or complained that it was too over-the-top, and a third said that the biggest faux pas was proposing without a ring.

Read more here.


April 9, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rabin: "Disappearing Parents: Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System"

Nina Rabin (Univ. of Arizona College of Law) has posted "Disappearing Parents: Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System" (44 Conn. L. Rev. 1 (2011)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This article presents original empirical research that documents systemic failures of the federal immigration enforcement and state child welfare systems when immigrant parents in detention and deportation proceedings have children in state custody. The intertwined but uncoordinated workings of the federal and state systems result in severe family disruptions and raise concerns regarding parental rights of constitutional magnitude. I document this phenomenon in two ways. First, I present an "anatomy of a deportation," providing a case study of an actual parent whose detention and eventual deportation has separated her from her four young children for over two years and threatens her with the permanent termination of her parental rights. Next, I present the results of empirical research I conducted of child welfare personnel to demonstrate that the case study is not an isolated occurrence. On the contrary, my analysis of the results of over 50 surveys and 20 interviews with attorneys, caseworkers, and judges in the juvenile court system in one Arizona county makes clear the concerns identified in the case study occur with alarming frequency. The analysis section of the paper provides a discussion of the constitutional and structural concerns raised by the case study and data presented. Finally, the article concludes with reforms that could be adopted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, child protective services agencies, and Congress to address the systemic failures described.


April 8, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Godwin: "Children's Oppression, Rights and Liberation"

Samantha Godwin (Georgetown Univ. Law Center) has posted "Children's Oppression, Rights and Liberation" (4 Northwestern Interdisciplinary L. Rev. (2011) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This paper advances a radical and controversial analysis of the legal status of children. I argue that the denial of equal rights and equal protection to children under the law is inconsistent with liberal and progressive beliefs about social justice and fairness. In order to do this I first situate children’s legal and social status in its historical context, examining popular assumptions about children and their rights, and expose the false necessity of children’s current legal status. I then offer a philosophical analysis for why children’s present subordination is unjust, and an explanation of how society could be sensibly and stably arranged otherwise by synthesizing Eileen McDonagh’s distinction between decisional autonomy and bodily integrity with Howard Cohen’s writing on borrowed capabilities and child agents. My first conclusion from this analysis is that age based classifications should not be presumed to be rational.

The paper then proceeds to apply these theoretical arguments to specific legal questions. I suggest an argument for treating children as a suspect class for the purposes of equal protection analysis, as well as recognizing that many of the ways children are legally disadvantaged implicate their fundamental rights, and that many (but not all) age based classifications should therefore be subject to strict scrutiny. I then go on to analyze specific legal issues such as voting rights, corporal punishment, runaway children, and due process in juvenile justice using this framework.


April 8, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Toddlers Not Wanted

A couple in Texas has been fined by a homeowners association for having too noisy of a toddler.  Read the details here.


April 8, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


From the

A Manhattan mom is suing a pricey preschool for dumping her "very smart" 4-year-old with tykes half her age and boring her with lessons about shapes and colors.

In court papers, Nicole Imprescia suggests York Avenue Preschool jeopardized little Lucia's chances of getting into an elite private school or, one day, the Ivy League.

She's demanding a refund of the $19,000 tuition and class-action status for other toddlers who weren't properly prepped for the standardized test that can mean the difference between Dalton and - gasp! - public school.

Read more here.



April 7, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Conservative VA Governor Weighs Gay Adoption

From the Washington Post:

Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is considering whether to try to derail proposed regulations developed by his Democratic predecessor that would for the first time allow gay couples to adopt children in Virginia.

McDonnell has less than two weeks to act on the regulations that would force state-licensed private and church-run agencies to allow unmarried couples — heterosexual or homosexual — to adopt children.

Conservatives, including Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), are lobbying McDonnell to ask the State Board of Social Services to kill the proposal because they do not think it is healthy for gay couples to raise children.

Marshall said that he considers the change part of a “radical anti-family proposal” and that he does not even think single people should adopt, which is currently allowed by law. “Children need a mother and a father,” he said.

Eric Finkbeiner, McDonnell’s policy director, said that the governor was considering his options but in general “supports and encourages” adoption of children by married couples and single parents.

McDonnell must make his recommendation to the State Board of Social Services, a nine-member panel in which all but four members are holdovers from his Democratic predecessor, by April 16.

Kaine, who is expected to run for U.S. Senate next year, proposed the change to the regulations in November 2009, less than two months before he left the office to become the full-time chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Currently, only married couple and single men and women — regardless of sexual orientation — can adopt in Virginia. The proposal, according to the governor’s office, would mandate that gay singles and unmarried couples be able to access faith-based groups, such as Catholic Charities and Jewish Family Services, to adopt children.

Read more here.


April 6, 2011 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dating Statistics

From WLS 890AM:

The survey [] found women, on average, kiss 22 guys, have six one-night stands and have their hearts broken five times before finding Mr. Right.  By comparison, men on average kiss 23 girls, have 10 one-night stands and have their hearts broken six times before finding their true love.

Read more dating statistics here.


April 6, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Joslin: "Searching for Harm: Same-Sex Marriage and the Well-Being of Children"

Courtney G. Joslin (UC Davis School of Law) has posted "Searching for Harm: Same-Sex Marriage and the Well-Being of Children" (46 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 81 (2011)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

For the past two decades, claims related to the welfare and well-being of children have been invoked by those defending same-sex marriage bans. This Article offers a new and fruitful perspective on why courts should seriously question the credibility of these asserted child welfare claims. Many assume that these repeated invocations of child welfare related concerns have remained constant, or at least consistent, over time. A closer examination, however, reveals that while children have remained front and center, the particular proffered interests have continued to mutate over time and that more recent claims are inconsistent or at least in tension with earlier arguments. Drawing upon employment discrimination law, this Article argues that this historical perspective should cause courts to be suspicious of these ever changing rationales for same-sex marriage bans.


April 5, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

What Are You Wearing?!

A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal asks why some mothers let their teenage girls "dress like that."  Read it here.


April 5, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 4, 2011

"When Lady Gaga Knows Your Name"

I just love this New York Times story about what happens when Lady Gaga asks fans to pressure legislators on same-sex marriage.


April 4, 2011 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Heavy Taxes on Traditional Families in the UK

From Mail Online:

Millions of families with one working parent get a worse tax deal in Britain than anywhere else in the world, a survey found yesterday.

Compared with other western countries a traditional family – a working husband and a wife who looks after the children full-time – pays a third more proportionally to the taxman than a single person without children.

Read more here.



April 4, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Student Essay Contest

The American Bar Association Section of Family Law is pleased to present its Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest. This contest is held annually to encourage interest in the field of family law, and it is my hope that you will promote this great opportunity to students at your law school. Not only does the contest encourage innovative thought in family law, but it also provides an opportunity for recognition and publication in the scholarly journal Family Law Quarterly.

Applicants may submit an essay on any aspect of family law and entrants are encouraged to write on subjects of national interest. However, if the law in one state reflects a significant development or trend, that too could be an appropriate subject for an entry. With the vast scope of family law, the possibilities are endless.

The breadth of originality and analysis of past winners is a great testament to the quality of our nation's law schools and educators. Past topics of winning essays include transsexuals and the legal determination of sex, same-sex marriages, federal responsibility for indigent elderly, interpretation of Islamic marriage contracts, the Indian Child Welfare Act, polygamy and marital counseling laws. We look forward to an outstanding pool of entries this year as we continue to marvel at the outstanding thought produced by future attorneys.

Additional information about the Schwab Memorial Essay Contest can be found at, and I am also attaching a flyer that you may wish to distribute. I hope you will share this with interested faculty and encourage students to participate. The deadline for entries is April 29, 2011. (Students must apply for an entry number by April 22nd.) 

If you have any questions regarding the essay contest, please contact Carrie Asalon of the ABA Section of Family Law at 312-988-5145 or e-mail  


Debra H. Lehrmann
Chair, ABA Section of Family Law

April 3, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)