Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, April 7, 2012


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


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.


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

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cross-Border Issues in England & Wales

From the Financial Times:

The number of cross-border legal disputes, including child abductions, dealt with by the UK’s top international body in the field of family law has more than doubled in two years, the organisation says.

The Office of the Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales said in its annual report that family litigation had led to a sharp rise in the number of case requests it handles, from just six in 2006 to 92 in 2010 and 180 last year. It predicts it will handle 240 cases this year.


In the report, Lord Justice Thorpe, head of international family justice for England and Wales, notes that 65 per cent of children born in London in 2010 had at least one foreign parent, and predicted that there would be further growth in these types of international dispute.

Read more here.


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

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

NY Property Division Case

From the Wall Street Journal:

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York's top court says a divorced Manhattan lawyer is stuck with his losses from an investment with disgraced financier Bernard Madoff that tanked two years after his divorce settlement.

The Court of Appeals has rejected Steven Simkin's argument that he and ex-wife Laura Blank made a mutual mistake in valuing the $5.4 million fund that was actually "nonexistent."

Read more here.


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

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Elements to Family Law Practice

The Texas Lawyer recently ran an interesting article called "Baker's Dozen: 13 Unique Ingredients of Family Law Practice."  Read it here.


April 3, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Privacy in UT Family Law Cases

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

In the days after Kristy Ragsdale’s husband gunned her down in a Lehi church parking lot, divorce filings provided a clearer picture of her killer and the couple’s deteriorating marriage.

Public court records also later detailed her mother’s custody battle for Ragsdale’s two young sons.

Now Utah state courts have closed off thousands of filings in family law cases from public view, with court officials citing privacy concerns as the state moves to exclusively electronic filing. But the change has some questioning whether the rule insulates judges from scrutiny and hurts the public at large.

The rule, approved by the Utah Judicial Council, went into effect April 1 but is retroactive and means most filings in divorces, protective orders and other domestic cases will now be available only to the parties involved. Judgments, orders and decrees will remain public, as will the case histories and hearings.

Read more here.


April 3, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rape Kits

From the Daily Mail:

One rape victim who was forced to wait 24 years for her rape kit’s results is now taking action to make sure other women in her predicament aren’t subject to the same backlog.

Carol Bart, 52, was kidnapped in 1984 – her assailant repeatedly raped her at knife point before letting her go. Though she got a rape kit, which took samples of her attacker’s DNA, the kit sat on a shelf collecting dust for nearly a quarter century. 

When it was finally tested, the DNA produced a hit, but the five-year statute of limitations had already come and left, leaving little justice for Ms Bart, who had suffered decades of anguish.

Read more here.


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