Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, May 26, 2012

WI Cases on Child Support

From the Wisconsin Law Journal:

On April 3, the state’s high court issued its opinion in May v. May, No. 10AP177, which affirmed the decision of Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi, on a certification from the Court of Appeals.

The issue was a follow-up from Frisch v. Henrichs, 2007 WI 102, ¶75, in which the court held that a ceiling on child support was against public policy. While I disagree on the public policy, at least it was a simple rule that was easy to follow: Courts always have the authority to increase child support.

In May, the state Supreme Court considered whether an agreement not to decrease child support for 33 months was valid and not against public policy.

After substantial litigation, Michael and Susan May agreed that child support would not be reduced during that period of time, in exchange for which Suzanne agreed to pay 100 percent of the child-care costs. About a year and a half later, Michael sought relief from the stipulation, alleging that he had lost his job. The court found that he was equitably estopped from seeking a reduction in child support.

Read more here.


May 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Center for Reproductive Rights & Columbia Law School Seeking Academic Fellow

The Center for Reproductive Rights is thrilled to announce an academic fellowship opportunity for recent law school graduates who are interested in careers in law teaching.

The CRR-CLS Fellowship is a two-year, post-graduate fellowship offered by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Columbia Law School. The Fellowship is designed to prepare recent law school graduates for legal academic careers in reproductive health and human rights. Fellows will be affiliated with the Center and the Law School and will participate in the intellectual life of both programs. Applicants do not need to be graduates of Columbia Law School to be eligible for this program.

After the successful launch of the CRR-CLS Fellowship in the summer of 2008, we are excited to begin the process of selecting a Fellow for 2013-2015. The deadline for this cycle is October 29, 2012.

For more information please see


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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Heartwarming Adoption Story...

...recently ran in the Baltimore Sun.  Read it here.


May 24, 2012 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tait: "A Tale of Three Families: Historical Households, Earned Belonging, and Natural Connections"

Allison Anna Tait (Gender Equity and Policy Postdoctoral Associate, Yale Women Faculty Forum) has posted A Tale of Three Families: Historical Households, Earned Belonging, and Natural Connections, 63 Hastings Law Journal (2012), on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Cases targeting family regulation in the 1970s turned, for the first time, on three contrasting and sometimes competing theories of the family – historical households, earned belonging, and natural connections. This Article introduces and defines these three theories and offers a descriptive account of how the theories were used by litigants and the Supreme Court alike to measure discrimination, evaluate the rights of individual family members and, often, increase household equality. The theory of historical households, developed with great success by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, invoked a Blackstonian family defined by gender hierarchy and the law of coverture, and posited that this model was in need of legal reordering. Earned belonging, offered by Ginsburg as a replacement for historical households, presented a new and more democratic family theory centered on ideas of conduct-based outcomes. The earned belonging theory proposed that an individual could earn her full place in the family through positive conduct and performance. The theory of natural connections, on the contrary, promoted received wisdom about family ordering based on biologic “truths” about sex-based differences. Courts operating according to natural connections theory privileged maternal rights, rejected many paternal claims, and affirmed laws promoting the nuclear, or natural, family. The work of this Article is to present a new and synthetic reading of cases about wives, illegitimate children, and unwed fathers that follows these three logics, revealing how they weave together and why earned belonging provides the strongest support for Ginsburg’s original vision of an equalized household.


May 23, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Separation & Divorce Statistics

From USA Today:

SAN FRANCISCO — About 79% of married couples who separate end up getting divorced, suggest new estimates of the incidence and length of separations.

"Separation is very common and is more common than immediate divorce," said researcher Dmitry Tumin of Ohio State University at a presentation at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, which ended Sunday. "Most separations last one year or less, but a few drag on a decade or more before ending in divorce. Other separations stay unresolved."

"The decision to separate is driven by time spent in the first marriage, and for women, by the presence of young children," Tumin said. He co-authored the research with sociologist Zhenchao Qian, also of Ohio State.

Read more here.


May 23, 2012 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Divorces

From PR Web:

The do-it-yourself divorce trend shows no sign of slowing, and that is probably good news for everyone except divorce lawyers. According to statistics released today by online divorce provider, during the first quarter of 2012, a record number of Americans filed for divorce without hiring divorce attorneys. The uptick in do-it-yourself divorce filings cuts across all geographic areas and income levels. Online divorce services now play a major role in the divorce process for many divorcing couples.

Read more here.


May 22, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Public Breastfeeding Laws

From Reuters:

The latest Time Magazine cover is stirring up some controversy over breastfeeding. While it's a practice that has gone on for ages, it hasn't always been on the right side of the law.


Public breastfeeding and public indecency laws have always gone hand-in-hand. Today, 45 states have laws that allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. And a majority of states exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. Federal law even requires employers to give break time for women to nurse their children.

Read more here.


May 21, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)