Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Benefits of Marriage

A new study suggests that marriage does not necessarily provide more or better benefits than other romantic relationships.  From UPI:

"We found that differences between marriage and cohabitation tend to be small and dissipate after a honeymoon period. Also while married couples experienced health gains -- likely linked to the formal benefits of marriage such as shared healthcare plans -- cohabiting couples experienced greater gains in happiness and self-esteem," Musick and Bumpass said in a statement. "For some, cohabitation may come with fewer unwanted obligations than marriage and allow for more flexibility, autonomy and personal growth."

The study, scheduled to be published in the February issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, said marriage is by no means unique in promoting well-being and that other forms of romantic relationships can provide many of the same benefits.

Read more here.  The study is available in the February 2012 issue of Journal of Marriage and Family in the article "Reexamining the Case for Marriage: Union Formation and Changes in Well-Being" by Kelly Musick and Larry Bumpass. 

January 28, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Call for Papers: Hofstra Immigration and Family Law Symposium

Call for Papers: Nov. 2012 Immigration/Family Law Symposium

In November of 2012 Hofstra will be hosting a symposium on the interplay between immigration issues and family courts’ obligations to serve families and children. We are currently soliciting papers for publication in Hofstra’s Family Court Review, which will be publishing a special issue on the same topic. We are especially interested in submissions from clinical professors. The call for papers is embedded below. Please feel free to contact either of us if you have any questions.


Lauris Wren (

Theo Liebmann (

Hofstra Law School

Hempstead, NY 11549

Family Court Review

Call for Papers

Special Issue: Immigration and the Family Court

The Family Court Review seeks submissions for an upcoming special symposium issue dedicated to the complex interplay between immigration issues and the family court’s obligations to serve families and children. Family courts throughout the United States have explicit statutory duties to aid families in crisis, to maintain families whenever appropriate, to protect children and safeguard their well-being, and to provide children with permanency in their lives. These are not narrow obligations, and the judges, practitioners and agencies involved in family courts must constantly adapt to serve the individual needs of all the families which come before them. The purpose of this Special Issue is to examine the unique challenges presented by working with families and children who are immigrants – both documented and undocumented – and the complex interplay between immigration issues and the family court’s obligations to serve the families and children.

Contributions can be from scholars, practitioners, judges, public policy makers, and experts in all professional disciplines who work with children and families who are immigrants. We expect to publish a broad range of topics, including: whether immigration status should be a factor in basic family court legal standards; what responsibility family courts and related agencies have to tailor services for families with immigration-related issues; the duty of judges and attorneys to advise parties of immigration consequences of family court decisions; parental rights of detained non-citizen parents; the effect of undocumented immigration status on children’s mental health and overall well-being; and educating family court judges, attorneys and administrative personnel on relevant immigration issues. A symposium highlighting these topics will follow in November 2012.

To be eligible for publication, papers must be submitted by June 1, 2012. Submitted articles should be 15 – 20 double-spaced pages, including citations, notes, references, tables, and figures. Authors are requested to follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th edition) or the Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (19th Ed.). Publication decisions will be made shortly following the submission date and the publication of this special issue is expected to be completed in October 2012.

The Family Court Review is the quarterly research and academic journal of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), edited at Hofstra University School of Law and published by Blackwell Publishing. AFCC is an interdisciplinary association of approximately three thousand judges, academics, researchers, counselors, evaluators, mediators, attorneys and others concerned with the constructive resolution of family conflict.

Please direct all inquiries to Professors Theo Liebmann and Lauris Wren, Special Issue Editors, by email at lawtsl and


January 27, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

30-Year-Old Divorce Ends

From the Times of India:

NEW DELHI: They were together for less than a day yet fought a prolonged battle for over 30 years to get rid of each other. The Delhi High Court on Monday brought down the curtains on a three-decade-long divorce battle between a couple that had spent just half a day together after tying the knot in 1982. It granted the divorce decree to the husband who accused his wife of deserting him on the very day of the wedding.

Read more here.


January 27, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Baker: "The Failure and Promise of Equity in Domestic Abuse Cases"

Jeffrey Baker (Faulkner Univ. Jones School of Law) has posted "The Failure and Promise of Equity in Domestic Abuse Cases" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

In a generation, American law has experienced dramatic reforms in response to domestic abuse. Feminist activism prompted and has driven these reforms and a deeper cultural understanding of domestic abuse, and recent legal innovation has yielded more effective options for victims of domestic violence. Virtually all of these reforms built upon existing legal structures to afford specific process and remedies to victims of domestic abuse, but why were innovations necessary if existing legal structures could have intervened on their own extant authority? 

Customary, common law equity might have intervened effectively to interrupt violence in homes, to render injunctive relief for the protection of women and children, and to examine the dynamics of family violence. Despite this promise, equity failed for centuries as a means to protect victims of abuse in families. Now, equity has evolved, and society and culture are far better illuminated on matters of gender justice and the dynamics of intimate violence. Feminist reforms have taken root and flourished, and thelaw now empowers courts to intervene regularly in family matters. A persistent problem rises when lawmakers attempt to craft broad standards to address individualized, customized abuse. Equity can expand the tools available to courts to render justice for victims, especially victims who are not subject to physical violence. Equity can be an interstitial supplement when general law cannot accommodate unique, specific relationships that are abusive and violent. 

This Article considers why traditional, common law equity failed historically to address domestic abuse and examines how equity now intersects with other legal remedies for victims. It concludes with a call to refine and improve equity in light of an illuminated, modern understanding of domestic abuse and gender justice, while claiming the old moral demands of a good judicial conscience, one that will suffer no wrong without rendering adequate, preventative and moral relief.


January 26, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Divorce Linked to Earlier Death, Like Cigarettes

From MSN:

Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all? Er, maybe not. A new study entitled "Divorce and Death" appearing "Psychological Science" shows that broken marriages can kill at the same rate as smoking cigarettes.

Indications that the risk of dying is a full 23 percent higher among divorcées than married people surprised even the researchers, who didn't think life expectancy would be slashed to ages comparable with smokers, heavy drinkers, and the obese.

Read more here.


January 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Electronic Bracelets for Weight Control

From the New York Post:

A group of Long Island students will soon be wearing controversial electronic monitors that allow school officials to track their physical activity around the clock.

The athletics chair for the Bay Shore schools ordered 10 Polar Active monitors, at $90 a pop, for use starting this spring. The wristwatchlike devices count heartbeats, detect motion and even track students’ sleeping habits in a bid to combat obesity.

The information is displayed on a color-coded screen and gets transmitted to a password-protected Web site that students and educators can access.

Read more here.


January 25, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Seductive Damages in Zimbabwe

From the metro zimbabwe:

Zimmetro — A woman whose married lover lied to her that he was single is claiming US$2 000 in what she calls seductive damages. Eustina Marikiti has taken former boyfriend Moses Crater to the Harare Civil Courts seeking damages.

“I want US$2000 as seductive damages because I was in a relationship and we used to be intimate. He didn’t tell me the truth that he was a married man,” said Eustina.

Read more here.



January 24, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 23, 2012

British Courts on Adoption of Baby Resulting from Affair

From the Independent:

A Muslim man who had a baby with an unmarried woman has been told that his daughter must remain with an adopted family because there is too great a risk that his love child could become the victim of a so-called “honour killing”.

Three senior judges today ruled that a “desire to preserve the family’s honour” among the mother’s relatives meant placing the child with the father was simply too dangerous.

Describing the case as an “exceptionally difficult adoption proceeding”, the Court of Appeal ruled that a family court judge had been right to insist that the child be brought up by Muslin foster parents for her own safety.

Read more here.


January 23, 2012 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)