Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Caylee’s Law

Our friends at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog are discussing Caylee’s Law, which is a proposed federal law that “would make the mother's failure to report her daughter missing a felony.”  Read the interesting discussion here.


July 9, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 8, 2011

700 Signatures

From the Daily Journal:

DELAWARE, Ohio — A judge in central Ohio must put his signature on paperwork for as many as 700 divorce cases where he had delegated the signing to magistrates.

That didn't fly with a state appeals court, which ruled late last month in a case from Judge Everett Krueger's court that a judge must sign the entries.

The Delaware County Common Pleas judge told The Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday that no divorces are invalid. But he says to be safe he's going through all the cases and signing off on the ones that magistrates had taken care of.

The newspaper says court employees are reviewing divorce files going back five years.

Read more here.



July 8, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Divorce Parties

From the Washington Post:

Jack White and wife Karen Elson have split up. Which is very sad. But it’s really okay with them, so they’re throwing a party to celebrate the demise of their marriage! Hooray?


The former White Stripes frontman and Elson are throwing a bash in Nashville on Friday to “celebrate their 6th anniversary and their upcoming divorce,” according to the invitation. But only people who actually know the couple are invited, meaning no “plus ones or dead beats.”

Read more here.



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

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

World Wedding Tour

From Mail Online:

The couple are planning to have ceremonies in 30 different countries on an epic two-year £50,000 round-the-world trip.

At the end of their journey, the couple will decide what their favourite destination was and return there for an official wedding.

Read more here.


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

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gay Divorce Part 2: The Permissibility of Same-Sex Divorce Nationwide

From the New York Times on same-sex divorce:

But Americans are a roving sort, and people who marry and move to places hostile to their union could find, in disunion, a legal limbo. A couple who marry in New York and seek a divorce in Texas could find themselves fighting not just each other but also Texas’ attorney general, Greg Abbott. He has tried to intervene in two same-sex divorces, arguing that if the state does not recognize the marriage it won’t recognize the divorce, either.

If blocked in Texas, the unhappy couple can’t head back to New York for a quick split either. New York’s same-sex marriage law does not require residency to wed, but the state does require residency of at least 90 days to obtain a divorce. A stay like that is out of the question for most people.

“Where can you get a divorce?” asked Tobias Barrington Wolff, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. “The answer might be nowhere, perversely.”

Do a little reductio, and it’s not a long way to absurdum.

Margaret M. Brady, a lawyer in New York specializing in family law for same-sex couples, said that even those couples facing no extraordinary obstacles to divorce would find it a very different experience from that of heterosexual couples. Under New York law, the automatic division of property covers only assets acquired after marriage, not “premarital contributions” to things like real estate. Yet some of her clients were together 15 years or more before marrying. “It will be interesting to see if the courts will be willing to take into consideration those premarital contributions made at a time that the couple could not avail themselves of the privilege of marrying,” she said.

Same-sex divorce, of course, is not new. Massachusetts first allowed same-sex marriage in 2004 (and Vermont allowed civil unions in 1999). Some of the pioneer couples in such states have realized that connubial bliss isn’t. But the addition of New York, which, with 19 million people, is the third largest state by population, will add many new cases and conundrums. “There have been only a handful of cases on the topic, but that is sure to change,” said William C. Duncan, the director of the Marriage Law Foundation, which provides legal resources for those supporting traditional marriage.

Today, denying divorce denies justice, said Allen A. Drexel, a family law expert in New York with a large practice among same-sex couples. “The right to obtain a legal divorce is one of the most important, if least celebrated, rights of marriage,” he said. The process of separation can bring out the worst in people, he said, and “the incentives to game-play and to engage in forum-shopping to take advantage of the inconsistent legal treatment exists.”

Read the full piece here.


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

Gay Divorces in NYC

From the New York Post:

Wedding planners aren't the only ones riding the gay-marriage gravy train.

Lawyers, too, are expecting a bonanza -- from gay divorce.


"The same issues present themselves with same-sex couples: How do we split assets? What do we do with the children?" Clement said. "The law doesn't change merely because you have same-sex partners."

Mere months after Massachusetts passed its same-sex marriage bill in 2004, gay couples began filing for divorce -- sometimes having to use outdated forms that still listed "husband" and "wife."

Read more here.


July 5, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!



July 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bachiochi: "Embodied Equality: Debunking Equal Protection Arguments for Abortion Rights"

Erika Bachiochi has posted "Embodied Equality: Debunking Equal Protection Arguments for Abortion Rights" (34 Harv. J. Law & Pub. Policy (2011)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Within legal academic circles and the general pro-choice feminist population, it is axiomatic that women’s equality requires abortion. Indeed, pro-choice legal scholars, foremost among them Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have argued that the Equal Protection Clause provides a far more appealing constitutional justification for the abortion right than the roundly criticized right to privacy offered in Roe.

This article seeks to systematically engage, on feminist grounds, the leading pro-choice feminist legal literature, detailing why sexual equality need not - indeed, should not - include a right to abortion. I critique popular scholarly equality arguments from both a constitutional perspective (i.e., why abortion ought not be protected by the Equal Protection Clause) and a philosophical perspective (i.e., how autonomy arguments fail to understand the actual biological dependency relationship that exists between mother and unborn child, and the affirmative duties of care that follow).

I thus challenge the assumptions underlying the idea that pregnancy and motherhood necessarily undermine equality for women. I argue instead that abortion rights actually hinder the equality of women by taking the wombless male body as normative, thereby promoting cultural hostility toward pregnancy and motherhood. In a legitimate attempt to get beyond the essentialist idea that women’s reproductive capacities should be determinative of women’s lives, pro-choice feminist legal scholars have jettisoned the significance of the body. In rightfully arguing that pregnancy is more than just a biological reality, they discount the fact that pregnancy is a fundamental biological reality. I will show that acknowledging this biological reality - that the human species gestates in the wombs of women - need not necessitate the current social reality that women are the primary (and, too often, sole) caretakers of their children or the social arrangements in which professional and public occupations are so hostile to parenting duties.

Easy access to abortion serves to further discharge men of the consequences that sometimes result from sexual intercourse and so places responsibility for unintentional pregnancies solely on pregnant women. Rather than making significant demands on men who sire children, current law encourages women to mimic male abandonment. Concomitant with the proclivity to view male sexual autonomy as the standard for human reproduction is an embrace of a male-centered sexuality that ignores the procreative potentialities inherent in the sexual act. I will conclude by outlining the contours of a pro-woman sexuality and an embodied equality that takes the male and the female body seriously and affirms their shared capacities for full human development.


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