Family Law Prof Blog

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

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Forget Bird Flu...Now There's Bird Marriage

From the New York Times:

Marriage, infidelity and divorce: These intimate matters are familiar to humans. But oddly enough, birds deal with them as well. Now researchers have found that avian infidelity is more common in severe or uncertain weather.

“Environmental conditions help shape reproductive decisions that seem incredibly personal and idiosyncratic,” said Carlos A. Botero, a biologist at North Carolina State University and first author of a study of mating habits among birds published in the current issue of the journal PloS One.

The sweeping report looks at data on more than 80 bird species, including swallows, chickadees, bluebirds, falcons, gulls and geese.

In birds, infidelity is measured through paternity tests comparing DNA from parents sharing an offspring in the nest. Divorce is measured by how birds pair off. When two birds are paired one year but seek new partners the next, they are considered “divorced.”

Read more here.


March 10, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Saudi Divorce Law

From Digital Journal:

A member of Saudi Arabia's Shura Council has proposed a new law to give greater protection to divorced women, necessitated by the increase in men divorcing their spouses without bothering to inform them.

In some instances the men continue to sleep with their ex-wives who are unaware that their true marital status is divorced. Under Saudi's strict sharia law, men who continue to have sexual relations with their ex-wife following divorce are considered to be commiting adulterous behaviour.

Read more here.

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

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Real Estate Market Complicating Divorce

From the Chicago Tribune:

Months after they agreed to split up, Jaimie and Michael Bolnick continued to live together as they tried to sell their house in Oakland, N.J.

"It was really hard," Jaimie Bolnick recalled. "You're living in the house and trying to stay out of each other's way. Mealtimes were awkward — are you sitting together as a family?"

The Bolnicks' house sale took a year, and is just one example of how a slow real estate market can complicate matters when a divorce forces a sale.
Read more here.

March 8, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wave of Alimony Changes?

From the New York Times:

MIAMI — In the waning days of this year’s legislative session, Florida lawmakers and advocacy groups are pushing to overhaul the state’s alimony law in a bid to better reflect today’s marriages and make the system less burdensome for the alimony payer.

Florida joins a grass-roots movement in a growing number of states that seeks to rewrite alimony laws by curbing lifelong alimony and alleviating the financial distress that some payers — still mostly men — say they face. The activists say the laws in several states, including Florida, unfairly favor women and do not take into account the fact that a majority of women work and nearly a third have college degrees.

The Florida House recently approved legislation that would make lifelong alimony more difficult to award and less onerous for the payer and, in the case of a remarriage, would place a new spouse’s income off-limits in awarding payments. Attention turns to the Senate, where the companion bill is less far-reaching. Florida had already changed some provisions in alimony law two years ago.

Read more here.


March 7, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lessons on How to be a Good Spouse

From the HuffPost Blog:

If we take classes to learn the skills we need to survive in the world at large, as well as the working world, should we take classes to learn how to be a good spouse, too?

About a week ago, Utah Rep. Dixon Pitcher introduced a bill that would require would-be spouses to wait at least three days after obtaining a license before getting married, unless they took premarital training first. Wyoming introduced a similar bill; couples that didn't attend three hours of marriage counseling would have to wait a year before getting a marriage license. Other states have tried to pass legislation that would require counseling before couples could divorce.

Read more here.


March 6, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Parented in U.S.A.

The Washington Post recenlty ran an entertaining piece defending American parenting--read it here.


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

Monday, March 5, 2012


From SFGate:

March 5 (Bloomberg) -- A controversy over divorce procedures in Texas is calling attention to a profound shift in the way Americans in all 50 states exit marriage: They're going to court on their own, without lawyers.

Few courts keep statistics, but small studies and local estimates suggest that self-divorcers now make up 40 percent to 70 percent of the total, depending on the jurisdiction, with the highest numbers in places with relatively large populations of poor people.

Read more here.

March 5, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Couples Therapists

From the New York Times:

WE’VE all had that horrible experience: you throw a party or invite a couple over for dinner, and they start fighting, right there in front of you — the character assassination, the barely controlled anger, the neurotic transference of their cooled sexual attraction onto, say, the hygiene of the family dog, all of which makes you want to fake choking and hide. Surely bearing witness to couples’ quarrels feels less bad to the pros, those credentialed and compensated marriage and family therapists whose job it is to help significant others work through issues and pain?

“Oh, no,” says Terry Real, one of a growing number of family therapists speaking out about how couples therapy feels from their chairs. “It’s so much worse.” At the dinner table, Mr. Real explains, you’re just a bystander, collateral damage. In a therapy office, he says, “You’re supposed to do something about it.”

The fact that couples therapy stresses out therapists has long been an open secret. The field, however, seems to have decided that now would be an appropriate time for its practitioners to address their feelings and vent. It started with the November/December issue of the trade magazine The Psychotherapy Networker and its cover package, “Who’s Afraid of Couples Therapy?”

Read more here.


March 5, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nigerian Tribal Law Used in British Divorce

From Forbes:

A wealthy Nigerian-born, British-based oil baron has been granted permission to use Nigerian tribal law to appeal a $21 million divorce payout to his former British wife....

Michael Prest, the 50 year-old founder of Nigerian energy trading firm Petrodel Resources, split from his wife in an acrimonious divorce in 2008. During a British High Court hearing on the divorce in October last year, the presiding judge ordered the tycoon to pay his former wife cash and assets worth over $20 million.

However, Prest has applied to appeal the court’s decision on the grounds that his Petrodel's assets do not belong to him, but are held in trust for his children, siblings, nephews and nieces in Nigeria, under Nigerian Itsekiri customary law.

Read more here.


March 5, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 4, 2012


The Telegraph describes a new academic article:

The article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life”. The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born.

Read more here.


March 4, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)