Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wheel of Fortune

From the Seattle Times:

Scott Dole might have won $51,600 on "Wheel of Fortune," but the number dwindled to $25,800 on Wednesday, a judge decided.

Dole and his wife, Carrie, were embroiled in a contentious divorce battle over, in part, Dole's winnings on the hit game show. The issue was whether the money was community property, and, therefore, should be subject to the state's community-property law mandating equal separation of assets, or whether it was just Scott Dole's property.

Read more here.


July 16, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Divorce Costs College Money

From Desert News:

A recent study published in the Journal of Family Issues found that children of divorced parents contribute less to the college costs of their sons or daughters than married parents do.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that while married couples will fund about 77 percent of tuition costs of their children, divorced parents fund about 42 percent of their children's college cost. Even if a parent remarries and makes the same amount with their new spouse as they did before, the divorced parents will still only pay for about 53 percent of their child's tuition altogether.

Read more here.



July 15, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Child Sexualization Website in England

From BBC:

Parents will be able to highlight examples of child sexualisation on a new website, the prime minister has said.

The measure is among the proposals in a review on the commercialisation and sexualisation of children, from Mothers' Union boss Reg Bailey.

David Cameron also backed Mr Bailey's calls to make blocking web and mobile-phone pornography easier.

And he plans to hold a summit on progress on the issues, in October.

Retailers, advertisers, broadcasters, magazine editors, video games and music industry chiefs and regulators will be summoned to the event.

Under the changes proposed by Mr. Bailey's review, steamy pop videos would be restricted to older teenagers and later television slots and magazines featuring sexualised images covered up on shelves.

Read more here.


July 14, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kanoy: "The Effectiveness of the Internal Revenue Code's Adoption Tax Credit: Fostering the Nation's Future?"

From Paul Caron's Tax LawProf Blog:

Leah Carson Kanoy (LL.M. (Tax) 2011, Florida) has published Note, The Effectiveness of the Internal Revenue Code's Adoption Tax Credit: Fostering the Nation's Future?, 21 U. Fla. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 201 (2010). Here is the Conclusion:

The adoption tax credit was designed to further two congressional objectives: to reduce financial barriers to all adoptions and to encourage the adoption of special needs children, such as those in the foster care system. Unfortunately, the adoption credit of I.R.C. § 23 is expensive and has been unsuccessful at achieving the congressional goal of promoting adoptions from foster care. For the credit to successfully incentivize foster care adoptions, it must be structured in a way that it is accessible to lower-income taxpayers who do not have the requisite tax liability to claim the credit. This can be achieved by transforming the current credit into a refundable credit. With the sunset date quickly approaching, Congress must determine whether it should continue to allow millions in forgone revenue without the corresponding desired result, or whether it should consider implementing new spending alternatives that would effectively promote its objectives.


July 13, 2011 in Adoption, Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

RI Birth Certificate Access


PROVIDENCE — For the third year in a row, the House unanimously approved a bill to allow adults who were adopted to obtain copies of their original birth certificates, clearing the way for action in the Senate.

Read more here.


July 13, 2011 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Field: "Tax Elections & Private Bargaining"

Heather Field (Hastings) has posted "Tax Elections & Private Bargaining" (31 Va. Tax Rev. (2011)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Focal points for private bargaining occur every instance the tax law provides a tax election that directly affects multiple taxpayers. These elections explicitly enable, and actually incentivize, the taxpayers to cooperate in order to reduce their aggregate tax burden. For example, divorced parents of a dependent child can negotiate about which parent will be entitled to take the dependency exemption for the child. If the parents work together, they can identify the parent for whom the dependency exemption will have the most value. By electing to allocate the dependency exemption to that parent, they can reduce their aggregate tax burden and share in the tax savings. Yet transaction costs, cognitive biases, and sheer irrationality can impede taxpayers’ abilities to bargain effectively. Thus, in order to facilitate bargaining and reduce bargaining costs, this article analyzes how impediments to negotiation should affect the design of two key election parameters: (1) the allocation, among the affected taxpayers, of the power to make the election, and (2) the default rule that will apply if no election is made. As examples, this article examines tax bargaining focal points in three settings where the negotiating dynamic can differ significantly: divorce, employment, and corporate acquisitions. In addition to making a few specific proposals for modifying these elections, this article provides generalizable recommendations about how to design tax election parameters in order to facilitate effective and efficient bargaining.


July 12, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Premarital Agreements

From the Wealth Strategies Journal:

A premarital agreement is a contract between two persons who intend to marry that determines their financial rights at the end of the marriage by death or divorce.  It seems to be a fairly widespread belief that it is easy to challenge the validity of a premarital agreement in court.  In one sense it is easy:  A determined opponent will be able to find a lawyer who is willing to go into court and attempt to convince a judge to throw out a premarital agreement.  However, it is a myth that these challenges are often successful.  In fact, they rarely succeed.  

But, even when the party who wants the agreement to be upheld - the proponent - wins the fight over validity, he or she often pays a heavy price in legal fees, delay, risk and uncertainty.  When a proponent wins the fight over validity, often it is only after a trial and then an appeal.  

The thesis of this article is that it is not enough for a premarital agreement to meet the minimum standards for validity in the state where the agreement is to be signed.  Rather, the proponent's interests can be better protected if the process leading to execution and the text of the agreement discourage an attack by making it overwhelmingly difficult for an attack to succeed.   

Read more here.


July 12, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Clarke: "Beyond Equality? Against the Universal Turn in Workplace Protections"

Jessica Clarke (Univ. Minn. Law School) has posted "Beyond Equality? Against the Universal Turn in Workplace Protections" (86 Indiana L. J. 1219 (2011)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Sexual harassment law and family leave policy originated as feminist reform projects designed to protect women in the workplace. But many academics now ask whether harassment and leave policies have outgrown their gendered roots. The anti-bullying movement advocates taking the “sexual” out of harassment law to prohibit all forms of on-the-job mistreatment. Likewise, the work-life balance movement advocates taking the “family” out of leave policy to require employers to accommodate all types of life pursuits. These proposals are in line with recent cases and scholarship on civil rights that reframe problems once seen as issues of inequality as deprivations of liberty or dignity. I refer to this trend as the universal turn in workplace protections.

This Article urges caution with respect to the universal turn. Drawing on feminist legal and political theory, it provides a set of questions to ask in evaluating proposals to universalize protections. It concludes that anti-bullying and work-life proposals are likely to dilute feminist workplace gains and mask inequality. If the universal rule swallows the anti-discrimination rule, the transformative potential of requiring employers and the public to scrutinize the workplace for gender discrimination is lost. Personality conflicts are seen as no worse than sexual harassment, and recreational pursuits are supported to the same extent as caretaking responsibilities. The benefits of sexual harassment law and leave policy are likely to be diluted.

I therefore oppose universal approaches to harassment and work-life conflicts that would simply expand civil rights protections to cover harms other than discrimination. Instead of the universal turn, this Article proposes a hybrid approach focused on inclusivity that would expand protections incrementally without abandoning equality.


July 11, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


From the Wealth Strategies Journal:

IDIGT (pronounced: "I dig it") is another wonderful tax acronym for an Intentionally Defective Irrevocable Grantor Trust. Selling assets to an irrevocable trust has become the fav leisure activity of the ultra-wealthy, not only cause it makes great talk on the links, but it can provide an incredible array of tax and asset protection benefits. But rather than extol the benefits of this technique, let's look at what happens when Jr. gets divorced and Jr.'s ex wants to Dig It too. 

Read more here.


July 11, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Joslin: "Modernizing Divorce Jurisdiction: Same-Sex Couples and Minimum Contacts"

Courtney G. Joslin (UC Davis School of Law) has posted "Modernizing Divorce Jurisdiction: Same-Sex Couples and Minimum Contacts" (forthcoming Boston U. L. Rev.) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

There are tens of thousands of same-sex married couples in the United States. A significant number of these couples, however, cannot divorce. First, many same-sex spouses cannot divorce in their home states because the relevant state law precludes recognition of same-sex marriages. Second, an anomalous jurisdictional rule makes it difficult for these spouses to divorce elsewhere. In contrast to the rules governing other civil actions, one of the spouses must be domiciled in the forum for a court to have jurisdiction over a divorce.

This Article considers the second hurdle – the domicile rule. Previously, divorce jurisdiction was a subject of intense interest to the Court and to legal scholars. But despite an ever increasing disjunction between divorce jurisdiction and general principles of state court jurisdiction, critical examination of the domicile rule has largely disappeared.

This Article responds to recent calls to challenge the myth of family law exceptionalism by critically analyzing the domicile rule. After considering the domicile requirement in the context of state court jurisdiction doctrine more generally, this Article contends the time has come to abandon the domicile rule. Abandonment of the rule alone, however, does not fully resolve the problem. Accordingly, this Article advances a set of normative proposals to ensure that all spouses have a forum in which to divorce.


July 11, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)