Monday, April 30, 2012

On Competition

David Brooks writes in the New York Times:

First, students have to jump through ever-more demanding, preassigned academic hoops. Instead of developing a passion for one subject, they’re rewarded for becoming professional students, getting great grades across all subjects, regardless of their intrinsic interests. Instead of wandering across strange domains, they have to prudentially apportion their time, making productive use of each hour.

Then they move into a ranking system in which the most competitive college, program and employment opportunity is deemed to be the best. There is a status funnel pointing to the most competitive colleges and banks and companies, regardless of their appropriateness.

Then they move into businesses in which the main point is to beat the competition, in which the competitive juices take control and gradually obliterate other goals. I see this in politics all the time. Candidates enter politics wanting to be authentic and change things. But once the candidates enter the campaign, they stop focusing on how to be change-agents. They and their staff spend all their time focusing on beating the other guy. They hone the skills of one-upsmanship. They get engulfed in a tit-for-tat competition to win the news cycle. Instead of being new and authentic, they become artificial mirror opposites of their opponents. Instead of providing the value voters want — change — they become canned tacticians, hoping to eke out a slight win over the other side.

Competition has trumped value-creation. In this and other ways, the competitive arena undermines innovation.

Read more here.

MR

April 30, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Child Labor on Farms under New Rules

From the Daily Caller:

A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.

The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.

Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”

Read more here.

MR

April 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Break-Up Letter Breaks Any Financial Obligations to Mistress

From NY Daily News:

HE FLEW HER ALL over the globe, gave her a black American Express card, bought her an apartment and showered her with cash.

But C.C. Wang — wedding-dress designer Vera Wang's widowed father — refused to make an honest woman out of his loyal mistress of 30 years, Betty Phillips. 

And when Phillips flew from her home in Singapore to Wang’s New York sickbed after his second stroke, she was cast off like a stained bridesmaid’s gown.

Instead of love, she got a cold-as-ice letter that outlined the terms of the relationship: no wedding, no money and, please, no visits.

Phillips signed the breakup letter — and a judge now says that means she isn’t entitled to the fortune C.C. left when he died.

“There is no proof she was forced to sign the letter,” the judge wrote Wednesday, ruling against Phillips’ claim she deserves $10 million and a hefty allowance.

Read more here.

MR

April 27, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Guest Post by Eileen McGovern: Think Debt Collection is Always Bad? Ask a Single Parent Who Isn’t Getting Child Support

Economic times are very difficult for just about everyone. But imagine if you were supporting a child, or multiple children, all on your own, without any financial help? It’s not an uncommon scenario to have a single parent supporting their kids by themselves because they are not being provided with child support payments from the disassociated parent. As times get harder these payments, which ordinarily may have been unreliable, tend to disappear. But some people are trying to help do the right thing.

A story was recently posted on CNN in their iReport section about the situation facing custodial parents, the parents who have custody of their child or children but receive no aid. These parents have been struggling on a single income to support their children, and in many cases, haven’t had any financial assistance. They don’t know who to turn to, and frequently cannot afford a lawyer to help them get that owed money.

The Custodial Support Foundation was founded to help get those custodial parents that assistance. They offer a vast range of resources and services designed to help custodial parents get the assistance that they need, including help with filing for child support, legal assistance, and a collection program. A number of these services, like collections and legal assistance, are provided at a greatly reduced cost, making it more affordable for someone who is already struggling financially.

Far from acting as a villain in this scenario, the collection agency helps to take legal steps towards getting money for the custodial parent. Too often, warrants for child support aren’t enforced and trying to get money from across state lines is nearly impossible. With a collection agency on the custodial parent’s side, these problems would no longer be an issue.

Some of the persistently negative associations that people have about debt collectors can be eased a bit. This is a perfect example of how a collection agency can help those who are really in need. When a custodial parent needs help on recovering money that they are due, they can have no greater ally than an experienced collections agency who will use their knowledge to help people who are doing the right thing by taking care of their kids.

April 26, 2012 in Child Support Enforcement, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gender Wage Gap

From US News and World Report:

Tuesday marked Equal Pay Day, a day established in 1996 to symbolize how long it takes women to earn the same wages that men earned last year. However, a new study shows that the concept the day was founded on hasn't yet caught on, even in fields where women are a majority of the workforce.

According to a study done by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, among the 20 most popular occupations for women workers, they only out-earn men in one field: bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. Among secretaries and administrative assistants, women make up 96 percent of workers but earn 86 percent as much as men. Likewise, women account for 85 percent of maids and housekeepers and make only 83 percent of what men in that profession earn. A majority of financial managers are women—54.3 percent—but they earn only about 66 percent of what men in that occupation make.

Read more here.

MR

April 25, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

VA Interference with Paternal Rights

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

The Supreme Court of Virginia on Friday gave new life to the legal battle over a child known as Baby Emma by ruling her father was "purposefully kept in the dark" about her Utah adoption and could argue in federal court that the proceedings interfered with his parental rights.

In a split decision, the justices said John Wyatt could pursue monetary damages in federal court for loss of companionship, mental anguish, loss of services and expenses incurred in his fight to recover his now 3-year-old daughter. Wyatt has a lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against Mark McDermott, a Virginia attorney; A Act of Love, a Utah adoption agency; Lorraine Moon, the agency employee who facilitated the adoption; Larry Jenkins, a Utah attorney; and the adoptive parents.

Read more here.

MR

April 24, 2012 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gay Parenting

From the Guardian:

When Patricia Moreno was pregnant with her first child, she went through the usual existential doubts about how life as a new mother would be. Moreno, a life coach and fitness trainer from New York, had been trying to get pregnant for well over a year. She had been through multiple rounds of IVF and suffered a miscarriage. When she did get pregnant, in December 2009, she and her partner, Kellen Mori, were over the moon, and then they started thinking.

The couple's marriage was not valid outside the US or in many of the more conservative states; the baby, conceived by IVF using Mori's eggs and donor sperm, would not be recognised federally as belonging to both of them. (Moreno, giving birth, would be recognised as the biological mother. Mori, who had provided the eggs, would have no automatic universal rights.) "I'm not the mum, but I am the mum," thought Moreno and wondered idly who the baby would identify with more. As well as a good obstetrician, she and her wife of three years would be needing a lawyer.

The two women faced a version of a problem that affects growing numbers of people. As the technology to create life outpaces the law's ability to provide for it, couples are having children whose legal status is, depending on where they are in the world, terrifyingly open to interpretation. By necessity, most of them are same-sex couples, although heterosexual couples in surrogacy arrangements can face similar problems: the failure of one jurisdiction to recognise the legitimacy of a birth certificate issued by another. As is permitted in New York, Moreno and Mori were both named on their daughter's birth certificate, but when they travelled, there was no guarantee that Mori, the "non-birth mother", would have any rights. She is the child's genetic parent but, on the advice of lawyers, was obliged to adopt her own daughter after Moreno gave birth.

Read more here.

MR

April 23, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Modern Day Adoptions

A new report shows far more open adoptions than closed.  Read more here.

MR

April 21, 2012 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gay-Marriage Law Case

From NPR:

BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for a gay and lesbian legal advocacy group have a told a federal appeals court panel that a federal law that denies benefits to married gay couples that heterosexual couples get is discriminatory.

Read more here.

MR

April 19, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Men's Delay in Sexual Relationships

The NYT recently ran a piece about why American young men are increasingly delaying their first sexual experiences, suggesting that they are being more cautious, in part out of fear of becoming fathers too early.  Read it here.

MR

HT: SH

April 18, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Negative Impacts of Cohabitation on Marriage

A very interesting article from the NYT:

Cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation. This shift has been attributed to the sexual revolution and the availability of birth control, and in our current economy, sharing the bills makes cohabiting appealing. But when you talk to people in their 20s, you also hear about something else: cohabitation as prophylaxis.

In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.

But that belief is contradicted by experience. Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.

Researchers originally attributed the cohabitation effect to selection, or the idea that cohabitors were less conventional about marriage and thus more open to divorce. As cohabitation has become a norm, however, studies have shown that the effect is not entirely explained by individual characteristics like religion, education or politics. Research suggests that at least some of the risks may lie in cohabitation itself.

Read more here.

MR

April 17, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Embryo Custody in PA Court Ruling

From Philly.com:

For the first time, a Pennsylvania appeals court has confronted the complex question of who gets custody of embryos, ruling this week in favor of a Chester County woman who hopes to give birth using frozen embryos that her estranged husband wants destroyed.

Read more here.

MR

April 15, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Revision of Divorce Payments

From the Wall Street Journal:

A Nassau County judge dramatically reversed himself in a decision about divorce payments that had been cited by an independent commission as an example of flaws in legislation passed to reform New York's matrimonial laws.

In March 2011, Judge Norman Janowitz ordered Jeffrey Goldberg to pay his wife Jill Goldberg more than $17,000 a month, though his monthly take-home pay as an investment banker was only $12,775, according to court documents. His wife, Jill, is employed as a guidance counselor, earning $103,000 a year. Mr. Goldberg was laid off in August.

Read more here.

MR

April 14, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Divorce Expo

From the Wall Street Journal:

This weekend's event at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea won't feature wedding-dress designs, sample bouquets or cakes. Instead, attendees can expect panels and seminars with such titles as "Moving on After Infidelity," "Into the Fog—Becoming a Single Dad and a Single Dude Again" and "Parenting Through Divorce."

The founders of what is believed to be the region's first comprehensive divorce expo hope it will become an annual event, and something they can eventually take on the road.

Read more here.

MR

April 13, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sources of Adoption Delay

From the BBC:

The most significant cause of delay for children needing adoption in England is the length of time taken by court proceedings, a report by Ofsted says.

The government wants to speed up adoptions, get more children adopted and cut the bureaucracy involved.

Read more here.

MR

April 12, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Meredith Johnson Harbach: "Outsourcing Childcare"

 Meredith Johnson Harbach (University of Richmond School of Law) recently posted her article "Outsourcing Childcare" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Existing discourse on childcare choice proceeds as if there were one right answer to the question of who should care for children. The law takes sides, too. But the reality is that parents, like businesses, make diverse, strategic decisions about which work to perform in-house, and when to collaborate with outside partners. This article uses the lens of business outsourcing to gain fresh perspective on childcare decision making, and the law’s relationship to it. 

The outsourcing framework provides three key insights. First, it enables us to better understand the diversity of childcare decisions and the reasons underlying them. Second, the outsourcing model rejects a one-size-fits-all approach to childcare, and instead respects and values a diversity of approaches. Third, the normative value in this diversity suggests a particular role for the law in interacting with childcare choices. The law should accommodate and support a variety of choices, rather than take position on the substantive content of those choices. Using this benchmark, this article critically surveys existing law impacting childcare decisions, and explores how it might evolve to better support the personal choices of families making these decisions.

MR

April 10, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 9, 2012

NC's Amendment 1 Defining Marriage

From the Huffington Post:

Next month, North Carolinians will vote on a constitutional amendment that its supporters say will simply define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Same-sex marriage is currently illegal in North Carolina. But the measure's proponents are hoping North Carolina will join the 12 other Southern states with a constitutional amendment formally defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

...

Amendment 1 prohibits state validation or recognition of “domestic legal unions,” a phrase never used before in North Carolina statutes, according to a publication issued by the state to explain the amendment.

"The problem is, we don't know what this language means or how courts would interpret this," said Maxine Eichner, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law. "If courts were going to interpret the constitutional amendment as invalidating any rights or protections for unmarried couples, it would invalidate domestic violence protections." According to Eichner's report on the potential consequences of the amendment, Ohio's history shows a possible downside for victims of domestic violence.

Read more here.

MR

April 9, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Landmark Divorce

From the Evening Standard:

A millionaire City analyst has won his appeal against a West End actor in a landmark gay divorce.

But equity expert Peter Lawrence must still pay his former partner Don Gallagher — who starred in the Priscilla, Queen of the Desert stage show — more than £1.4 million, £320,000 less than the settlement ordered by a High Court judge last year.

Mr Lawrence, 47, and Mr Gallagher, 54, lived together for 11 years before having a civil partnership, which lasted only seven months.

Mr Lawrence, who earns £390,000 a year working for JP Morgan, earned far more than the actor, who has also appeared in Les Misérables and on TV in Casualty and Taggart.

Read more here.

MR

April 9, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

CALL FOR AUTHORS

We are inviting academic editorial contributors to Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopedia, a 3-volume library reference to be published in 2013 by SAGE Publications.  We hope you’ll consider contributing to this exciting project.    

While the formal definition of divorce may be fairly concise and straightforward (the legal termination of a marital union, dissolving the bonds of matrimony between parties), the effects are anything but, particularly when children and other family members are involved. The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that “probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue." And outside the United States, there are markedly increased divorce rates across developed countries—divorce and its effects are a significant social factor in our culture and others. In fact, it might be said that a whole “divorce industry” has been constructed, with divorce lawyers and mediators, family counselors, support groups, etc. As King Henry VIII’s divorces showed, divorce has not always been easy or accepted. In some countries, divorce is not permitted and even in Europe, countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, and the Republic of Ireland only legalized divorce in the latter quarter of the twentieth century. This multi-disciplinary encyclopedia covers curricular subjects around the world ranging from marriage and the family to anthropology, social and legal history, developmental and clinical psychology, and religion.  Three volumes, including over 500 articles, illuminate what has become a culture of divorce and its impact on society.  

This comprehensive project will be marketed to academic and public libraries as a print and digital product available to students via the library’s electronic services.  Each article, ranging from 900 to 4000 words, is signed by the contributor. The General Editor of the encyclopedia is Robert E. Emery, Ph.D., University of Virginia, who will review all the articles for editorial content and academic consistency.  Payment for the articles are honoraria that range from a $50 book credit from Sage Publications for article submissions up to 1,000 words up to a free copy of the encyclopedia for contributions totaling greater than 10,000 words. More than this, your involvement can help assure that credible and detailed data, descriptions, and analysis are available to students of divorce issues.

At this time the project is almost completely assigned with the exception of the following  family law related topics (including proposed word counts): 

Custody of Children, Sole  2,200

Divorce Law-Comparative Perspective   3,000

Divorce Law-Hispanic Traditions   2,000

Gender Issues in Divorce Law  1,800

Government Enforcement of Child Support  2,000

Judges, Family Law  2,000

No Fault Divorce vs. Divorce Rates   1,800

Palimony    1,500

Property Distribution  3,000

The final deadline for submissions is May 21, 2012.  If you would like to contribute to building a truly outstanding reference with Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopedia, please contact me by the e-mail information below.   I will provide you with the complete article list, submission guidelines, and sample article for your review. 

Thanks very much,

Lisbeth Rogers

Author Manager

Golson Media for SAGE Publications

[email protected]

MR

April 7, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Seeking an Identity

From the Seattle Times:

Nobody knows when donor sperm was first used. Naomi Cahn, a George Washington University law professor who's written a book on the fertility industry, says there are vague references going back to the 1400s.

"It's also got a very, very long history of secrecy," she said.

The first known recorded case was in 1884, when a doctor at a Philadelphia medical school inseminated a woman, under anesthesia, using sperm from his "best looking" student.

It took 25 years before the story was reported in a medical journal.

"At that time the procedure was so novel, so peculiar in its human ethics, that the six young men ... who witnest [sic] the operation were pledged to absolute secrecy," the report says.

Read more here.

MR

April 6, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)