Family Law Prof Blog

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

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Persad: "What Marriage Law Can Learn from Citizenship Law (and Vice Versa)"

Govind Persad (University of Pennsylvania) posted "What Marriage Law Can Learn from Citizenship Law (and Vice Versa)," 22 Law & Sexuality (2013), on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Citizenship and marriage are legal statuses that generate numerous privileges and responsibilities. Legal doctrine and argument have analogized these statuses in passing: consider, for example, Ted Olson’s statement in the Hollingsworth v. Perry oral argument that denying the label “marriage” to gay unions “is like you were to say you can vote, you can travel, but you may not be a citizen.” However, the parallel between citizenship and marriage has rarely been investigated in depth. This paper investigates the marriage-citizenship parallel with a particular focus on three questions prompted by recent developments in law and policy: 

1) Should we provide second-best statuses? Some couples — in particular gay and lesbian couples—have been offered permanent statuses, like civil unions, that bear legal privileges but fall short of full marriage equality. In contrast, similar differentiations within citizenship are generally resisted. The history of citizenship may presage the increasing unacceptability of differentiations within status in the gay marriage context. Meanwhile, the history of marriage equality efforts may help present-day citizenship advocates choose legal strategies. 

2) Should statuses be a gateway to rights? Some early gay rights advocates unsuccessfully argued that advocates should challenge the primacy of marriage, rather than seek access to the institution. Advocates attempting to expand the rights of current noncitizens face similar choices: should they seek to give current noncitizens greater access to citizenship, or challenge the reservation of important rights to citizens? 

3) Can status relationships be plural? Many critics of dual and multiple citizenship argued that allegiance to multiple states was immoral, unadministrable, or both. More recently, polygamous marriage has become a topic of legal and political discourse, first as a foil in anti-gay marriage arguments and later as a political possibility in its own right. I will consider whether polygamous marriage advocates can profitably draw on arguments for multiple citizenship, and how multiple-citizenship advocates should responsibly respond to the analogy with polygamy.


May 9, 2013 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce

From Huffington Post:

"He slept with his secretary." "Except for spending all of my money, she never did a thing for the kids or our marriage." "I'm taking everything, including the kitchen sink!" Emotional reactions like these are extremely common during a divorce. However, they have no place in the divorce proceedings where the need to prove fault has been eliminated, and the conduct of the other party is not a factor considered by the court when granting a divorce, dividing property or entering support orders.

Read more here.


May 8, 2013 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Divorce in China

From Time:

Long queues of happy couples waiting to get married might be a common sight in Las Vegas. But lines of happily married couples waiting to get divorced? Only in China.

In major cities across the country last month, thousands of couples rushed to their local divorce registry office to dissolve their marriages in order to benefit from fast-expiring tax breaks on property investments for unmarried individuals. Local media reported long waits at registries in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and elsewhere as savvy investors sought to buy or sell a second home before the government introduced strict new regulations that would force married homeowners to pay hefty taxes on the sale of second properties.

Read more here.


May 7, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Kids' College After Divorce

From US News:

When Mary Thate and her now ex-husband divorced, she had no idea where her children would go to college. As a couple, they had put aside money for their three children's college education. Early on in the divorce process, they decided to stay in touch and save individually for the collegiate needs of their children.

Saving for college after a divorce is a process of communication. However, the communication is easier if a framework is set up during the divorce settlement, says Mike Fitzgerald, chairman of the College Savings Plans Network.

Read more here.


May 6, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sharia Law in Florida

From the Palm Beach Post:

Florida lawmakers are poised to pass a controversial law banning courts from using foreign law, after a split Senate committee signed off on the measure.

The bill (SB 58) would ban courts or other administrative authorities form using religious or foreign law in deciding matters related to family law, including divorce and child custody. The House approved a similar measure last year but it died on the Senate floor.

Read more here.


May 4, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Children's Rights in UK

From Family Law Week:

In a judgment which strongly upheld children's rights under the UNCRC, Lord Justice Moses (sitting with Mr Justice Parker) has held that the UK government's practice of treating 17 year olds as adults, the failure to inform the parents of their child's arrest and the failure to provide an independent, appropriate adult to 17 year old children when detained and questioned at a police station about alleged criminal offences is "inconsistent with the UNCRC and the views of the United Nations Committee of the Rights of the Child."

Read more here.


May 3, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Child Support in England

From Family Law Week:

The Child Support system has been in a state of continuous revolution since its inception, and this shows no sign of stopping. A somewhat telling example of this is the name. In 2008 the Child Support Agency (CSA) was re-branded as the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission (CMEC). One rather suspects that it was hoped that this would symbolise the beginning of a new more efficient era. However, rather like the Consignia/Royal Mail debacle, the change of name fooled nobody, but confused many. In Summer 2012 CMEC was abolished, and the name was changed back to the CSA again.

This article is about the new 'gross income' scheme. As will be seen, this is currently only in force for a tiny minority of new applicants ('the pilot group'). However, it is likely that the gross income scheme will be brought in for all new applicants at some future date. Therefore, practitioners have an element of choice: they could advise clients to wait for the gross income scheme to come into force for all applicants before they approach the CSA for a maintenance calculation, or, alternatively, they could advise clients to apply now in order to get into the current 'net income' scheme before it ends.

Read more here.



May 2, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Second Marriages More Successful?

From the Marriage Foundation:

Second Marriages: Triumph of decision over hope?  It is often assumed that second marriages are riskier than first marriages - “The triumph of hope over experience” as popularised by Samuel Johnson in 1791. A new analysis of data commissioned from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) challenges this assumption. In fact, second marriages overall do consistently better than first marriages. Where one or both spouses are marrying for the second time, couples marrying today face an estimated 31% risk of divorce during their lifetime, compared to an estimated 45% risk of divorce amongst couples where both spouses are marrying for the first time.

Read more here.


May 1, 2013 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)