Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

English Court's Ruling in Child Custody Case

From the Guardian:

The gay father of a two-year-old boy living with his lesbian mother and her partner has won the right to be involved in his life in a landmark ruling that could have significant implications for "alternative families".

Judges at the court of appeal ruled that the couple's desire to set up "a two-parent lesbian nuclear family" might be "essentially selfish and may later insufficiently weigh the welfare and developing rights of the child".

The decision to have a child can never be a matter of "dry legal contract" and the father's right to play a role in his son's life must be recognised, ruled the judges.

Observing that "human emotions are powerful and inconstant", Lord Justice Thorpe said the father was "seeking to offer a relationship of considerable value" to his son.

Read more here.


March 31, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Revisiting Divorce Settlements

From the Financial Times:

Estranged wives are having to adjust their expectations about their divorce settlements as a result of the trend for investment banks to reward their bankers with bonuses in deferred shares, rather than cash.

James Pirrie at Family Law in Partnership says many divorce settlements agreed at the height of the banking boom in 2006 may have to be revisited. Court orders that were fixed then assumed that cash bonuses would continue to be paid, but such arrangements became unworkable when cash was replaced by deferred shares.

Read more here.


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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Abduction for Adoption?

From Yahoo! News:

Last month, a Dan Rather Reports producer and crew were in Canberra, Australia as Parliament released the findings of an 18-month-long investigation revealing illegal and unethical tactics used to convince young, unmarried mothers to surrender their babies to adoptive homes from the late 1940s to the 1980s. And we interviewed some of the victims -- adoptees and mothers separated at birth.

Read more, and see a related video, here.


HT: Elizabeth MacDowell

March 29, 2012 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Privacy Tort in Ontario Case

From Law Times:

On Jan. 18, the Court of Appeal for Ontario released its reasons in Jones v. Tsige confirming that there does in fact exist a tort of invasion of privacy based on intrusion upon seclusion.

While this decision doesn’t actually relate to a family law issue, it has substantial implications in the family law context that lawyers and parties must now consider.

Family law, more so than any other area of practice, is one where parties often go through each other’s e-mails, banking records, and employment and medical documentation without the other person’s knowledge.

Read more here.


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

Monday, March 26, 2012

Premarital Agreements for Same-Sex Couples

From the New York Times:

WHEN Ellen DeGeneres married Portia de Rossi in 2008, people wanted to know two things: What did they wear? And was there a prenup?

Regarding the first question, the couple wore Zac Posen.

The second question — Ms. DeGeneres’s representatives did not respond when asked if she had a prenup or not — has become important for many other same-sex couples, who have discovered that all the new opportunities to marry are accompanied by a gloomy companion that hangs silently over every prospective newlywed: the possibility of divorce.

Read more here.


March 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Online Dating

From the WSJ:

And yet, a recent analysis led by the social psychologist Eli Finkel of Northwestern University shows there is little reason to believe that these websites are improving dating outcomes. In fact, they might be making things worse.

The problem is that the typical dating site is founded on two false premises. The first is that successful pairing is merely a matter of matching personalities, finding people with compatible temperaments and attitudes., for instance, promises to match people based on their neurochemical profiles, while attempts to measure applicants on 29 dimensions of personality.

In a 2010 study of 23,000 married couples, however, similarity of personality accounted for just 0.5% of spousal satisfaction. In other words, 99.5% of their success together was explained by factors typically excluded from online dating questionnaires. This finding suggests that most of the vaunted algorithms are no more effective than a chance meeting at a bar.

And this leads to the second false premise of Internet dating: that choosing a mate should be a rational choice, in which people carefully comparison-shop for partners. That's the advantage, after all, of having millions of profiles to choose from. Rather than being misled by our instincts on a first date, we can calmly sort through the alternatives and find the best possible spouse, the would-be soul mate who will maximize our romantic utility.

Read more here.


March 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Christopher & Christopher: "The Paradox of Statutory Rape"

Russel Christopher (Tulsa) and Kathryn Christopher have posted "The Paradox of Statutory Rape" on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

What once protected only virginal girls under the age of ten now also protects sexually aggressive males under the age of eighteen. While thirteenth-century statutory rape law had little reason to address the unthinkable possibility of chaste nine-year-old girls raping adult men, twenty-first-century statutory rape law has failed to address the modern reality of distinctly unchaste seventeen-year-old males raping adult women. Despite dramatically expanding statutory rape's protected class, the minimalist thirteenth-century conception of the offense remains largely unchanged -- intercourse with a juvenile. Overlooked is the new effect of this centuries-old offense -- a sexually aggressive seventeen-year-old raping an adult now exposes the adult rape victim to statutory rape liability. By being raped, the adult rape victim satisfies the minimal elements of the offense, lacks any defenses, and thereby commits statutory rape of her juvenile rapist. Therefore, the offense of statutory rape criminalizes being raped; that is, it criminalizes being the victim of rape. Paradoxically, while the offense of rape prohibits committing rape, the offense of statutory rape prohibits being raped. What the law of rape seeks to protect us from -- being raped -- the law of statutory rape punishes us for.


March 25, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)