Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Condolences, Er, Congratulations

There has been an increase in wedding ceremonies at funeral homes.  From Time:

Saying your vows alongside the recently deceased receiving their last rites? It's not as unusual as you might think.

In an attempt to branch out (and stay in business) funeral homes are offering their grounds for occasions other than memorials--namely, weddings. USA Today reports that in order to make full use of their property, 10 percent of funeral homes reported in a 2010 National Funeral Directors Association survey that they "owned or offered a community or family center in addition to traditional funeral facilities."

While the idea does initially seem, well, creepy, according to USA Today, a lot of brides and grooms-to-be don't seem to mind. One bride, Paulita Flores, who was married in the Center at Washington Park East Cemetery, said that after one tour of the funeral home, she was convinced.

"I fell in love and thought it was the perfect place," she said. "It was breathtaking, so it (the funeral home aspect) didn't cross my mind again."

Read more here.



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

Friday, February 4, 2011

Opium-Addicted Infants in Afghanistan


Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan (CNN) -- In a far flung corner of northern Afghanistan, Aziza reaches into the dark wooden cupboard, rummages around, and pulls out a small lump of something wrapped in plastic.

She unwraps it, breaking off a small chunk as if it were chocolate, and feeds it to four-year-old son, Omaidullah. It's his breakfast -- a lump of pure opium.

"If I don't give him opium he doesn't sleep," she says. "And he doesn't let me work."

Read more about this issue in Afghanistan here.



February 4, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

CA Fertility Ruling

From the Globe and Mail:

A long-awaited Supreme Court ruling that takes the business of regulating the clinical world of baby-making out of Ottawa’s hands has raised questions about the future of fertility treatments in Canada, and fears that the black market for human eggs and sperm will continue to thrive.

Judges found the power to regulate and license doctors and clinics offering fertility treatments belongs to the provinces, as an area involving the practice of medicine. But the ruling, released Wednesday, upholds other elements of the federal Assisted Human Reproduction Act, including those governing the use of human embryos in stem cell research.

Read more here.



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

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nanny-Sharing Among Couples

From the Chicago Tribune:

Nanny sharing, considered rare five years ago, has become a popular option for parents in the Chicago area. At Chicago Nannies Inc., a placement agency with offices in Oak Park and Lincoln Park, two of every 10 calls come from parents hoping their child can share a nanny with another child. On the Neighborhood Parenting Network online discussion board, dozens of parents post personal ads each day, hoping for a perfect match.

Sharing — which can save families about $300 a week by splitting a nanny's typical weekly salary in half — has expectant moms exchanging phone numbers after prenatal yoga, in parenting classes and at maternity clothing stores. And employees at nanny placement agencies say they feel like modern-day cupids.

Read more here.



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

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vroey & Sonobe: "Why Do Educated Mothers Matter? A Model of Parental Help"

Michel De Vroey (Catholic University of Louvain) & Tetsushi Sonobe have posted "Why Do Educated Mothers Matter? A Model of Parental Help" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This paper investigates the role performed by mothers in affecting their childrens' performance at school. The article develops firstly a theoretical model in which household (parent-child pair) is treated as an individual, whose utility depends both on the performance at school of the student and on consumption. The model focuses on the different possibilities through which help of mothers may affect pupil's performance both in terms of time devoted to supervision and spillover effects. Empirical evidence then, using PISA 2006 and focusing on Italian case, shows that education of mothers is an issue when interacted with her occupational status. Highly educated mothers have a positive impact on students' score only when they are highly qualified in the job market.


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

A Nurse-In

From AOL News:

Canada is up in arms about breast-feeding and whether it's really OK to do it in public. And with the help of blogs and Facebook, angry moms are taking it to the streets -- or to the mall, in this case.

About a hundred mothers in Montreal staged a "nurse-in" protest at a downtown shopping complex last week, breast-feeding simultaneously before a curious crowd of reporters, mall security guards and passers-by. The event was retribution, they said, for a store that had thrown out a mother for breast-feeding earlier this month. This week, they began a petition drive to protect the rights of women to breast-feed in public in the Quebec province.

Read more here.


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

DOMA No Longer Defended

From the New York Law Journal:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that he had written to House Speaker John A. Boehner that the administration could no longer defend in court the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.


The act absolves states and other subdivisions from the need to recognize, under the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution, same-sex marriages contracted in jurisdictions where they are legal. Its Section 3 defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

"[T]he President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional," Mr. Holder wrote.

If it chooses to defend the law, Congress will now have to hire its own lawyers. But the administration's stance will give added ammunition to opponents of the law.

Read more here.



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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Ratner: "Creditor and Debtor Windfalls from Divorce"

James Ratner (Univ. of Arizona College of Law) has posted "Creditor and Debtor Windfalls from Divorce" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

At the end of a marriage, marital debt must be allocated. Under most marital property regimes, a divorce allocation does not preclude a creditor of the marital community from seeking satisfaction from either spouse, community creditors receive a potential windfall when a couple divorces. As a consequence, the divorce enables a community creditor to obtain satisfaction from assets that are separate property assets of a non-debt-incurring spouse, while these assets are unavailable to the creditor during marriage. The current California statutory regime explicitly offers the potential for this windfall whenever the non-debtor spouse is allocated all or a portion of a community debt at divorce, because debts allocated to a spouse at divorce can be satisfied with all of the assets controlled by that spouse, without the need for tracing. At the same time, under the current California statutory regime the creditor can be harmed by the divorce if the non-debtor spouse is not allocated any of a debt at divorce, because none of the assets taken by the non-debtor spouse are available to the creditor, even though the creditor would have had access to them during the marriage. Both currently-existing approaches are undesirable. Windfalls for creditors needlessly impose on non-debtor spouses at divorce, and windfalls for non-debtor spouses create incentives for couples to divorce to minimize the assets available to creditors, place huge pressure on allocation of debt between the spouses at divorce, and lead in the direction of turning every divorce in which there is unpaid community debt into a bankruptcy-style procedure in which the needs of the creditors influence the allocation of debts and assets.

A simple solution will eliminate these windfalls from divorces and avoid the incentives created by such windfalls. A post-marital debt structure that is the mirror image of typical premarital debt structures should either be read into current statutes, or enacted, to remove the windfalls. The result would entitle creditors to only those assets that would have been available had there been no divorce. While this will necessitate tracing each asset that a creditor seeks to obtain from a non-debtor spouse, and may raise some difficult untangling matters, such tracing is a familiar activity, already undertaken in creditor/debtor contexts in community debt/separate debt regimes whenever a creditor seeks contested assets against a married creditor. Requiring such tracing will not be overly cumbersome, and the approach avoids the far more encompassing problem of hurting non-debtor spouses at divorce or involving creditors in every divorce in which there is unpaid marital debt.


January 31, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

CA Family Leave Program


California's landmark family leave program didn't turn out to be the costly "job-killer" that businesses initially feared and has produced significant economic, social and health benefits for both male and female workers, economic and labor researchers found in a study released this week.

Researchers at UCLA, City University of New York and the Center for Economic and Policy Research examined the effects of the state's Paid Family Leave law, which passed in 2002 and took effect for most workers in 2004. The program allows eligible employees to take up to six weeks off at 55 percent of their usual salary (with a cap adjusted for inflation) to care for a new child or a seriously ill relative).

Researchers Eileen Appelbaum and Ruth Milkman noted that, despite business opposition to the law, most employers they surveyed reported that the program had either a "positive effect" or "no noticeable effect" on productivity, profitability and performance, turnover and morale.

Read more here.



January 31, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wells Conference on Adoption Law

Seventh Annual Wells Conference on Adoption Law 
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Maintaining a Family:  Post Adoption Challenges for Families

Join us at this year’s Wells Conference, Thurs., March 17, to hear from nationally-recognized professors and practitioners on such timely issues as:

  • Procuring Pre-Adoption Safeguards to Secure Post-Adoption Success
  • Overcoming Health and Assimilation Issues Facing Adopted Children and Their Families
  • What Happens When an Adoption Fails?

The Wells Conference strives to include both academic ideas and practical advice for attorneys. 6.0 CLE and CEU credit hours are pending approval. 

For more information and to register, visit the Wells Conference website.  For questions about the conference, call Ashley Blackburn, Symposium Editor, at 937-418-8599 or e-mail her at

The theme for this year’s conference was inspired by the case of the young Russian boy who was sent back to Moscow after his adoptive mother in Tennessee became overwhelmed with his emotional problems.  Our hope is to focus this year’s conference on ways to prevent an adoption from going wrong, and to recognize potential issues early in the adoption process in order to prevent situations like what happened in Tennessee.

 Capital University Law School is home to the National Center for Adoption Law & Policy.  In light of the Law School’s strong focus and dedication to adoption and family law, the Capital University Law Review initiated the Wells Conference on Adoption Law in 2005, and, due to its success, is proud to announce the Seventh Conference on Thursday, March 17, 2011, at the Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio.


January 30, 2011 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)