Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Family Law in Israel


Interior Minister Eli Yishai is expected to ask the cabinet today to extend by another six months an emergency order that significantly limits the possibilities for mixed Palestinian-Israeli couples to live together in Israel. In practical terms, the order prevents the unification of hundreds of families.

The cabinet is expected to approve the extension, despite the sharp criticism of it in the government and by the courts, according to which the order is not grounded in a particular law. The last time the interior minister asked for an extension of the order, the cabinet instructed the justice minister to finish passing legislation on the matter as quickly as possible. This was not done.

Read more here.


August 20, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Family Law in Austria

From Austrian Times:

Social Democratic (SPÖ) Minister for Women Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek has revealed plans of a significant family law reform.

The minister told magazine profil she wanted to change current regulations to help unmarried couples. Heinisch-Hosek said Austrian law should feature regulations considering how assets are shared if people break up. She added unmarried adults should have the right to obtain information on their partners’ condition if they are hospitalised. Medics are currently not obliged to disclose such information to people who are living together but are not married. Austrian family law means unmarried people have no general right to inherit their deceased partner’s possessions. It fails to feature a regulation regarding pensions too.

Read more here.


August 19, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ryznar & Stepien-Sporek: "Child Support for Adult Children"

Margaret Ryznar & Anna Stepien Sporek have posted "Child Support for Adult Children" on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Although family law requires parents to support their minor children, the question of post-majority support - or child support for adult children - is entirely different. Some states permit this type of child support, while others do not. Those affected by this divergence in approaches include college students, unemployed people, disabled people, and of course, their parents - at a time of financial difficulty for many. The approach of each jurisdiction to this issue rests on whether the family is viewed as a social support system and whether intergenerational obligations exist. To help analyze these questions, this Article uses a comparative approach, considering the relevant law and public policy of both Europe and the United States.


August 18, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Family Law in Japan

From the Japan Times Online:

Those focused on the government's stumbling efforts to protect the children of Fukushima from radioactive contamination may find this hard to believe, but Japanese family law just got more child-friendly — maybe. If Japan finally signs the Hague Convention on child abduction, as it appears it will, it could become even more so. There is a big "maybe" here too, so it remains to be seen whether these two steps taken by the Diet will steer the country away from its status as a black hole for parental abduction or leave it treading the same sorry path.

On May 27 a law was passed amending a number of provisions in the Civil Code relating to children and their parents. First, Article 766 of the code was revised to require parents seeking a cooperative (i.e., nonlitigated) divorce to decide upon visitation, child support payments and other matters relevant to their children's upbringing after divorce. Furthermore, the new provision says that the welfare of the children must be the primary consideration when these matters are decided.

Read more here.



August 18, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Divorce-Proofing A Business

From Entrepreneur:

For those whose marriage is in trouble or who are about to begin a divorce, a few strategies can help preserve a business. Once the divorce proceedings start, entrepreneurs won't likely be able to implement some other legal maneuvers that, if accomplished in happier times, could keep their business from landing in a soon-to-be ex's possession. 


Is your marriage headed toward a breakup? Here are seven strategies to consider if a divorce is threatened or already underway and your company is considered a joint asset.

Read more here.


August 17, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mental Illness & Parenting

From City Limits:

It's a common misconception, within New York City's child welfare system, says Lauren Shapiro, the executive director of Brooklyn Family Defense Project, where Marcus works. "There's a total lack of understanding of the difference between the two," Shapiro says. "They're really not equipped to deal with mental health issues."

Parents who actually do have mental illness sometimes get mishandled too, Shapiro says, by a system that assumes it's impossible for them to be fit parents simply because they have a diagnosis. "We see insensitivity toward our clients, laughing at behaviors that are a result of mental health issues," Shapiro says. "What we see is that parent's conditions also really deteriorate when they come into the ACS system."

Shapiro's perception is one that is shared by several child welfare advocates and echoed by a winter 2009 Child Welfare Watch report that documented systemic problems with the child welfare system's management of mental health issues. The report found that mental health evaluations "are requested far more often than necessary, even in cases in which there is no mental health allegation."

Read more here.


August 16, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sanders: "Where Sovereigns and Cultures Collide: Balancing Federalism, Tribal Self-Determination, and Invididual Rights in the Adoption of Indian Children by Gays and Lesbians"

Steve Sanders (VAP at Univ. of Mich.) has posted "Where Sovereigns and Cultures Collide: Balancing Federalism, Tribal Self-Determination, and Individual Rights in the Adoption of Indian Children by Gays and Lesbians" (25 Wisc. J. L., Gender & Soc. 327 (2010)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This article analyzes the complex interplay between adoption (traditionally a matter reserved to state family law) and the federal Indian Child Welfare Act in the context of adoptions by gays and lesbians.

As a federal statute that partially preempts state law for the benefit of Native Americans, ICWA implicates three sovereigns: the United States, the state where the adoption petition is brought, and the tribe whose child is the focus of the proceeding. This interplay of sovereigns in itself makes Indian child welfare law complicated and interesting. Beyond these sovereign interests, also to be considered are the interests and rights of individuals: the child, the birth parents, and the prospective adoptive parent(s). In cases where the petitioner’s sexual orientation is an issue, an Indian child adoption proceeding also holds the potential to become a clash of cultures. A tribe with a tradition of tolerance toward sexual or gender diversity might find its members in the courts of a state with a public policy that disapproves of gays and lesbians as adoptive parents. Or the opposite may occur: a tribe might object based on its cultural beliefs to a child’s placement in a gay or lesbian household, even though the state supports adoption equality. Prospective parents who are required to bring a petition in tribal court may find themselves in a legal world that subordinates their interests to those of the child or the tribe, operates by informal rules, and looks to cultural traditions in rendering legal judgments. These scenarios all arise at the tangled intersection of traditional state family law, Indian culture, federal Indian policy, and evolving principles of gay/lesbian equality. They implicate both practical and doctrinal puzzles, but so far scholars have had little or nothing to say about them.

When an adoption petitioner’s sexual orientation becomes an issue in an adoption proceeding under ICWA, the question will arise: do the federal policies embedded in ICWA ever determine, or at least influence, whether or not such an adoption must be granted or subsequently recognized as valid, taking into account the petitioner’s sexual orientation? Even though ICWA makes no mention of sexual orientation and, ostensibly, has nothing to do with gay/lesbian adoption, I explain the answer is yes: where a prospective parent’s sexual orientation is an issue in the adoption of an Indian child, sometimes ICWA will make a difference in whether the adoption is granted or recognized. Under certain circumstances, ICWA’s requirements might lead to a gay or lesbian individual or couple being denied an adoption in tribal court that they could have obtained in state court. In other circumstances, ICWA will require a state to recognize a gay/lesbian adoption finalized in tribal court even though that state would not have granted the placement itself.

I also discuss whether ICWA gives decisive leverage in a state-court adoption proceeding to a tribe’s views on homosexuality; I conclude it does not. Finally, and perhaps most controversially, I argue that ICWA should override a state’s anti-gay adoption policy if such a law would present a roadblock to the placement of an Indian child in an Indian home.


August 15, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Facebook Updates

From CNN:

Facebook is now letting parents-to-be list their unborn children on their personal profiles.

Among options that include daughter, son, wife and husband, the "Friends and Family" section under "Edit Profile" now allows the option "Expected: Child." Parents can add a due date and the baby's name.

Read more here.


August 15, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)