Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Marriage Advice

From the Wall Street Journal:

Want great marriage advice? Ask a divorced person.

People who lose the most important relationship of their life tend to spend some time thinking about what went wrong. If they are at all self-reflective, this means they will acknowledge their own mistakes, not just their ex's blunders. And if they want to be lucky in love next time, they'll try to learn from these mistakes.

Research shows that most divorced people identify the same top five regrets—behaviors they believe contributed to their marriage's demise and that they resolve to change next time. "Divorced individuals who step back and say, 'This is what I've done wrong and this is what I will change,' have something powerful to teach others," says Terri Orbuch, a psychologist, research professor at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research and author of the new book "Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship." "This is marriage advice learned the hard way," she says.

Read more here.


July 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Divorce Lawyers for Men

From the Wall Street Journal:

Divorce lawyers seeking an edge in a crowded legal marketplace have found a niche they say pays off in good times and bad: appealing to men who fear getting a bad deal.

With sports magazines in the waiting room and radio and TV spots that promise to put men first, "divorce for men" law firms position themselves as the best defense a soon-to-be-ex-husband could have in the struggle to keep his kids, his house and his money.

They say their expertise lends firepower in situations where other lawyers might cave, and they coach men on how to avoid certain snares. For instance, if you want to stay in your house, steer clear of confrontations—especially in front of witnesses—that could provide fodder for a restraining order.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

July 27, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (73) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Adoption from China

From China Daily:

Foreign families may be able to adopt orphans or abandoned children who are not under State care, a senior adoption official revealed to China Daily in an exclusive interview...

Children under State care have been eligible for adoption since the early 1980s, said Zhang Shifeng, who heads the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption. Regulations are being drafted to broaden the category for those eligible for adoption to include "children in plight".

The term refers to orphans who cannot receive basic care from close relatives and children whose parents, for whatever reason, were unable to provide due care, Zhang said.

Adoption by foreign families was an effective way to permanently resettle "children in plight", he said.

The Adoption Law, which was issued in 1992 and amended in 1998, stipulates that children aged 14 or younger are qualified for adoption if they have lost parents or were abandoned. They were also eligible if their parents were not in a position to raise them properly.

Read more here.


July 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Russia-US Adoption Agreement

From Associated Press:

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's parliament...ratified a long-awaited agreement with the United States regulating the adoption of Russian children by Americans.

The ratification by a 244-96-2 vote in the State Duma came a year after the two countries worked out the pact.

Read more here.


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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guest Post: Amy Zimmerman on How to Pick a Family Law Attorney

The below post has been sent in by Amy Zimmerman:


A family law attorney can perform wide range of services that may be necessary for safeguarding the interests and assets of your family. Whether you are interested in setting up a trust for your estate, a living will, or want to settle a marital dispute, you may have to consider several things before finalizing your family law attorney.

Here we are listing few things that you should ask about during your initial consultation with an attorney to find the most competent legal representative for your family.

* Experience

You must ensure that any attorney you want to work with has the requisite experience in all aspects of the family law. You should enquire whether attorney specializes in family law, and has worked on some cases in the recent past.

You can also ask which cases they are most passionate about, and number of years they have been in this profession. You can also ask for referrals from their past cases they've been involved with.

* Logistics

You must enquire whether attorney will handle your case pesonally, or will it be handed down to any junior in the firm.

In fact, you should try to get a feel whether attorney you are considering will give full attention to your case. Does he or she have necessary time to work on your case? This is really important for the success of your case.

* Communication

You should be clear about the ways to reach your attorney so that you can get quick response. This can help you in making best decisions for your family. Also enquire hour your attorney will keep you updated on the progress of the case. Ask the procedure to communicate with him regarding the case. You should be clear about the systems in place to ensure that you stay updated in a timely way.

* Correspondence

You should request copies of correspondence about your case. In this way, you will stay updated about the progress of your case. You should request your lawyer to send you a copy of all the messages received or sent regarding your case.

* Collaboration

You should ask attorney about his goals regarding your case. Ask whether he wants to work from a collaborative point of view, considering the needs of both the children and parents to handle your case in a better way. Most of the lawyers encourage mediation (wherever possible) in most of the cases.

* Payment

You should ask the payment schedule and terms from the attorney. Will he work on a retainer? What will happen once your retainer is depleted? Will there be any additional hourly rate? Will there be any rate for speaking to paralegals, secretaries, or other staff at the firm?

* Expectations

Finally, you should sum up your consultation with the attorney you are considering hiring by freely discussing your expectations. You should also ask the attorney if he can give you a estimate on the total cost of the fees. Ask what you should expect if you hire them for representing you in the case, and what he would expect from you as his client.

Amy Zimmerman provides a lot of great information to consumers concerning financial service companies online. Her review at Lending Tree scam will reveal to you exactly what you need to know about this service.

July 24, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Divorce Case & Campaign Contributions

From the Washington Post:

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Poker pro Phil Ivey’s divorce case has the Nevada Supreme Court considering whether judges should oversee cases involving people from whom they’ve accepted campaign contributions.

The state high court heard 45 minutes of arguments Tuesday in Carson City on a lawsuit by Ivey’s ex-wife, Luciaetta Ivey, alleging decisions by a Family Court judge who handled the couple’s divorce were tainted by a $5,000 campaign donation.

Justice Michael Douglas noted that Nevada judges are elected, and judges have to raise money to run, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported (

Read more here.


July 24, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Same-Sex Parents

From the New York Times:

Same-sex couples raising children must stand ready to prove to the world they are a family, just one that happens to have two mothers or two fathers.

This constant burden of proof is especially difficult for families like the Muzingos, who live in a state that doesn’t allow them to establish legal ties to each other. Michelle Muzingo was in the delivery room when her wife, Katrina, gave birth to each of their three children, who are now 7, 4 and 1. She cut their umbilical cords and was the first to hold the children, who call her “mommy.” Yet because they live in Ohio, a state that does not allow gay couples to adopt, she is unable to make that title official.

“We are always scanning the circle around us to see what we need to put in place to protect ourselves,” said Katrina, 37.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

July 24, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Child Support Due in Returned Adoptee Case

From CNN:

The American woman who sent her adopted son back to Russia must pay $150,000 in child support, a Tennessee judge reaffirmed Friday.

Torry Hansen's attorney, Ed Yarbrough, told CNN he will file a motion within a few weeks asking the court to modify or terminate the support, which was first ordered earlier this year.

The United States and Russia last year signed an agreement to strengthen procedural safeguards for adoptions following the 2010 incident.

Artyem Saveliev, adopted from a Russian orphanage, was put on a plane back to Moscow. The Shelbyville, Tennessee, family claimed they feared for their safety after a series of violent episodes from the boy, then 7.

Read more here.


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

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage & Tax

From the New York Times:

Today the question isn’t whether Thea and Edie could marry — as they finally did in 2007 — but how that marriage should be treated for tax purposes. It is a question that a phalanx of civil rights attorneys is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to answer in a case that they hope will alter federal law, specifically the much-debated Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

When Thea died in 2009, Edie was presented with a gargantuan tax bill — more than $360,000, a figure derived primarily from the vast increase in value of the two homes — an apartment in Manhattan and a small weekend place in the Hamptons — that they’d purchased long ago. In a heterosexual marriage, a surviving spouse can usually shield up to $5 million worth of assets from the estate tax (the limit was $3.5 million when Thea died). But that deduction is not given to married gay couples because DOMA defines marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman.”

Edie has already won the first round in her fight. A federal court in New York ruled last month that DOMA’s Section 3 — the portion that defines marriage — is unconstitutional and that she should be refunded the estate tax she paid.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

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