Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Parent Happy Hour

From Mail Online:

Now, ABC's Good Morning America says that mothers are combining social drinking with childrens' playdates, meaning that whilst sippy cups are handed to babies, mothers raise a glass of iced white wine.

And, while men have long taken their children to sports matches - combining childcare with a beer or two - eyebrows are being raised as to the dangers of mothers combining alcohol with minding the children.

Read more here.


August 13, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 12, 2011

On Marriage, Part II

June Carbone and Naomi Cahn authored an article in the Huff Post, commenting on this article in the Economist on marriage that we posted here.  Carbone and Cahn write:

A recent article in the Economist on the "sorry state of marriage in the United States" quoted Census data that show that, for the first time, married couples now make up less than half of all households. The article concludes:

Do not expect the Democratic Party, however, to make an issue of the marriage gap in next year's elections. Unmarried women voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. "You don't want to suggest to someone who isn't married and has children that they should be married," says [Isabel] Sawhill. "That is a denigration of their lifestyle."

 Ms. Sawhill is right that Democrats will not denigrate those on the losing end of the economic changes remaking America. And Democrats shouldn't suggest that single mothers get married for the sake of having a ring on their fingers. Marriage doesn't solve the underlying problems.

Because the "sorry state of marriage" in the United States isn't the declining number of married couple households. Instead, the sad truth is that just like access to health care, stable employment, and higher education, access to marriage has become a class-based affair. The Economist correctly observes that marriage and the two-parent family has become a marker of income level. According to the National Marriage Project, a half century ago, marriage rates did not vary much by education, and college educated women were less likely to marry than those without college degrees. Today, the likelihood of marrying, staying married, and raising children within marriage correlates strongly with education. Indeed, for white college graduates the non-marital birth rate has stayed at 2%; for African American high school dropouts, it's 96%. In between is a steeply slanted line that links family form to education, income, and race.

Read more here.


August 12, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Right to Know Parents

From the Independent:

The rights of a child to know its parents are written into international law, but in France that doesn't mean very much. 

Here is one of the few countries in Europe where children can be born without officially having any parents. The result is generations of Les Enfants X, and enough sorrow to fill the Seine.

Take Laetitia Buron, for example. When she gave birth, in Nice, on 7 November 1987, a sheet was put over her legs so that she would not see her child – then common practice for women giving birth sous X ("under X"), the law that allows women in France to have a baby and hand it over for adoption without disclosing their identity.


By the time she had emerged from the desolation and confusion of having gone through pregnancy, given birth, and yet had no baby, it was too late – the statutory two-month retraction period had passed and there was no way of contacting the child or of getting it back.

Read more here.



August 11, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fitzgibbon: "Parent, Child, Husband, Wife: When Recognition Fails, Tragedy Ensues"

Scott Thomas Fitzgibbon (Boston College Law School) has posted "Parent, Child, Husband, Wife: When Recognition Fails, Tragedy Ensues" (25 BYU J. Public L. (2011)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This article briefly notes some developments in the law and society of our present age regarding the understanding — the recognition — of marriage, fatherhood, motherhood, and the family. The article warns against a certain casualness, a confusion, perhaps even a certain promiscuity of thought, that has occasionally emerged in the law. Drawing on Sophocles‘ drama Oedipus the King and on the scriptural narrative of David and Bathsheba, the article investigates what might be called the "moral location" of the activity of recognition. It proposes that recognition of basic family forms is a process with a deep dimension. It apprehends that failure of recognition in such matters may sow the seeds of social tragedy.


August 10, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Study of Donor-Conceived People

Wendy Kramer and Professor Naomi Cahn recently published an interesting article in BioNews:

The largest study to date of donor-conceived people has just been published in Human Reproduction (1). Its findings show the need to address two different effects of anonymous donating: first, when should children find out that their parents used donor sperm or eggs; and second, should children ever find out the identity of their donors? The researchers, from California State University and the Donor Sibling Registry, provide definitive answers to these questions. The majority of the 751 respondents believed that early disclosure was important. Three quarters recommended that only 'known' or 'willing to be known' donors should be used.

Today, disclosure turns on the type of family. Study participants who grew up in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) or single-parent households were more likely to learn of their origins at an earlier age than those of heterosexual couples. They, in turn, had a healthier or more positive view of their means of conception. The study also found that children in LGBT households are more comfortable expressing curiosity about the donor than those of heterosexual parents, and that they are significantly more likely to express this interest at a younger age. For example, twice as many LGBT offspring expressed an interest in their donor by the age of 11.

Read more here.


August 10, 2011 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rittich: "Black Sites: Locating the Family and Family Law in Development"

Kerry Rittich (Univ. of Toronto Faculty of Law) has posted "Black Sites: Locating the Family and Family Law in Development" (Am. J. Comp. L. 1023 (2010)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

While the family as an economic institution has traditionally been sidelined in development policy, development institutions like the World Bank now promote a range of legal and policy reforms that touch on the family and the household. This Article considers how interventions designed to expand formal markets and to encourage participation in markets and investments in human capital might provoke change within the family and the household. Although they aim to increase welfare by increasing measurable economic growth, such interventions have both constitutive effects on the household itself and significant effects on the bargaining power of household members both at home and at work, effects that can be illuminated by attention to the legal reforms themselves.

Taking as its starting point the family as an economic entity, this Article taxonomizes the wide range of laws that effectively regulates the family and the household, and highlights properties of legal rules, such as their impact on the bargaining power of different social groups, that tend to be ignored or suppressed in regulatory and governance debates in the field of development. Aided by that expanded taxonomy, it investigates the impact on the family and the household of legal and policy initiatives in four areas: gender equality, social protection through conditional cash transfers, labor market formalization, and land titling. Tracing the effects of regulatory interventions across the market/household divide or continuum indicates how such reforms may induce households to adapt in ways that undermine as well as further welfare and equality objectives. But attention to the continual interactions between the household and the market not yet in view within general measurements and analyses of the economy, also indicate how and where they might sometimes undermine economic growth objectives as well.


August 9, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Facebook Breakups

From the NYT Magazine:

Late last month, 200 teenagers from Boston-area schools gathered to discuss the minutia of Facebook breakup etiquette. Should you delete pictures of your ex after splitting up? Is it O.K. to unfriend your last girlfriend if you can’t stop looking at her profile? And is it ever ethically defensible to change your relationship status to single without first notifying the person whose heart you’re crushing?

Read more here.


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

Monday, August 8, 2011

Drug-Addicted Babies

From CNN:

According to state health records, 635 Florida babies were born addicted to prescription drugs in the first half of 2010 alone. South Florida doctors and intensive care nurses report an dramatic uptick in babies born hooked on pills that their mothers abused while pregnant.

Read more here.


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