Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nannies or Sister Wives?

From the HuffPost Blog, an intesting article, though discussions like these seem to imply that women should/do take on 100% of the child-rearing, instead of sharing this responsibility with the children's fathers, who, studies consistently show, are important to children:

What do you call the people you pay to take care of your children?

Nannies? Babysitters?

Julie Bowen calls then "sister wives." That is the term she used from the she accepted the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy and thanked "Alba and Amelia" who are taking care of our children when I'm not around to do it."

Read more here.


September 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Firm Advertising

Jennifer Smith writes for Family Law Prof Blog:

Using the Web to Generate Traffic to Your Firm

Over the last decade, the internet has all but replaced traditional phone book advertising for a variety of businesses. As such, there are certain adaptations that must be made to keep your brand in the eyes and the mind of potential clients and customers.

Law firms are no exception, as many people use search engines as one of the first (and sometimes only) criteria on which they base their legal decisions. For this reason, there are things you must do to improve your visibility on the world's largest search engines.

Write Engaging Content

The first thing you need to do is drive traffic to your website. This is most effectively done through the writing of timelessly relevant content. A lawyer who maintains a website with a frequently updated blog is much more likely to receive meaningful traffic than one who uses only static pages with contact information. There are plenty of frequently asked questions within your legal area of expertise. If you can find a way to briefly answer them in a general way, that will direct people to your site.

Be Mindful of Search Engines

If your first goal is to write content that brings people to your site, your next should be to write in a way that can be easily recognized and cataloged by web search crawlers. This includes optimizing your content with words relevant to your law firm, its location and its primary service areas. Keep in mind that "keyword rich" does not mean the same thing as "keyword saturated". Do not sacrifice quality content in an effort to stuff your articles with keywords.

Go Social

The internet is more than just creating content. You need to share it as well. Use social media to your advantage and create a free page advertising your business. Use calls to action to encourage your audience to visit and "like" you social media pages. You can then cross-market your content on both sites and encourage further connection with your audience.

Hire an SEO Professional

The idea of optimizing your site for search engines may seem daunting, or maybe you simply don't have the time to do all the work yourself. You should consider hiring someone to do this for you. Law firm SEO services from LexisNexis are a great place to start. They specialize in marketing for legal professionals, so you'll get catered service based on your specific needs.

Whatever you do, make sure your website is doing more than providing contact information for your firm. If you are not gaining meaningful traffic, you should consider changing your approach.

September 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cohabitation in UK

From the Guardian:

Cohabiting couples are for the first time as likely to have children as those who marry, according to a report on changing family relationships in the UK published on Thursday.

Cohabitation is increasingly seen as an alternative for long-term relationships and raising children, rather than as a "trial run" before marriage, the study commissioned by the Co-operative's new family law service suggests.

Read more here.


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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Daddy-Daughter Dances Violate State's Gender Discrimination Laws?

From NBC News:

The school system in Cranston, R.I., announced it is banning traditional father-daughter and mother-son activities, saying they are a violation of the state's gender discrimination law, the Providence Journal reported late Monday.

Superintendent Judith Lundsten told the newspaper the decision was in response to a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a single mother who said her daughter was not able to attend a father-daughter dance.

Read more here.


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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sex Selection

From Slate:

Just over a decade ago, some doctors saw the potential profits that could be made from women like Simpson—an untapped market of young, fertile mothers. These doctors trolled online forums, offering counseling and services. They coined the phrase “family balancing” to make sex selection more palatable. They marketed their clinics by giving away free promotional DVDs and setting up slick websites.

These fertility doctors have turned a procedure originally designed to prevent genetic diseases into a luxury purchase akin to plastic surgery. Gender selection now rakes in revenues of at least $100 million every year. The average cost of a gender selection procedure at high-profile clinics is about $18,000, and an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 procedures are performed every year. Fertility doctors foresee an explosion in sex-selection procedures on the horizon, as couples become accustomed to the idea that they can pay to beget children of the gender they prefer.

Inside a fourth-floor office suite off a palm-tree-lined street in Encino, Calif., in an embryology lab, two men wearing maroon scrubs peer into high-tech microscopes. The men are fertilizing human eggs with sperm samples collected earlier that day. After fertilization and three days of incubation, an embryologist uses a laser to cut a hole through an embryo’s protective membrane and then picks out one of the eight cells. Fluorescent dyes allow the embryologist to see the chromosomes and determine whether the embryo is carrying the larger XX pair of chromosomes or the tinier XY. The remaining seven cells will go on to develop normally if the embryo is chosen and implanted in a client’s uterus.

Read more here.


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

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gossett: "If Charity Begins at Home, Why Do We Go Searching Abroad? A Call to Sunset the Portion of the Federal Adoption Tax Credit that Subsidizes International Adoptions"

DeLeith Duke Gossett (Texas Tech University School of Law) has recently posted her article If Charity Begins at Home, Why Do We Go Searching Abroad? A Call to Sunset the Portion of the Federal Adoption Tax Credit that Subsidizes International Adoptions, Lewis & Clark Law Review (forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Unlike the media frenzy that surrounded Angelina Jolie’s and Madonna’s international adoptions, noted director Steven Spielberg’s adoption of two African American children from the Los Angeles foster care system received very little fanfare. Spielberg went on to establish the Children’s Action Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding permanent homes for the thousands of children stuck “in the system” of foster care. He documented their stories and their hopes of someday being adopted. For many, however, adoption is a dream yet to be realized. 

Currently, nearly half a million children reside in United States foster care, some “aging out” without ever having been adopted. Beginning in the 1980s and carrying through the 1990s, Congress passed a series of legislative measures aimed at helping those children in the system. As incentive for placing children in permanent homes, and as part of the Adoption Promotion and Stability Act of 1996, a tax credit was made available for those who adopted children. Since that time, the federal adoption tax credit has risen to as high as $13,360 per child, some years as refundable and other years as non-refundable. 

On June 28, 2012, in a controversial 5-4 opinion, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act healthcare legislation championed by President Obama. A little known part of that legislation was the extension, expansion, and enhancement of the adoption tax credit provided by the federal government. Even though the act withstood judicial scrutiny, the high numbers are scheduled to sunset in December 2012, and revert to levels of $6,000. Petitioners are already lobbying Congress to renew it at the increased level for 2013. In fact, legislation was introduced earlier this year that would expand the credit and make it permanently refundable. 

In recent years, international adoption has become the new social trend, fueled by celebrity and evangelical circles alike (although arguably for different reasons), even though a large number of children remain in the foster care system. Children from other countries are now being imported to form the new American families, and those who adopt internationally, whether they receive $13,360, or even $6,000, are receiving the same tax benefits as those who adopt domestically. And while this may add to the diversity of our culture, and provide those adopting with a sense of fulfilling a higher purpose, the very ones who were the intended beneficiaries of the legislation, those “lost in the system,” remain there and are not being helped as the statute originally intended. Because the tax credit should be used to reclaim children from the foster care system — not to subsidize international adoptions — it is time to let the international portion of the tax credit sunset and focus taxpayer resources on those whom the tax credit originally sought to help.


September 24, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)