Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Supreme Court Decision in Chafin

From Margaret Ryznar, writing for Huffington Post:

In an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, the U.S. Supreme Court recently returned a decision in favor of an American father embroiled in an international custody dispute. In the case, Chafin v. Chafin, the Supreme Court held that the jurisdiction of the American federal courts does not end when the child has been returned to another country pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Michael E. Manely, who argued the case on behalf of the father, elaborated upon the decision in an interview for this post, "Thanks to the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, every child can rest a little better tonight. No one can snatch a child from her home, cross United States' boundaries and escape our State and Federal courts. I also have little doubt that the Scottish courts will return this little girl to the United States when asked."

Read more here.


March 9, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy International Women's Day!

The Economist celebrates with a chart ranking the countries with the worst glass-ceiling here.


March 8, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guest Post by Jenna Smith: The Financial and Legal Facts Behind Domestic Partnership

The domestic partnership is something that most believe is limited to homosexual couples who live in states where gay marriage is not yet legal. It is a legal contract that makes people, for lack of a better term, “married” without them being able to/having to call themselves that.

Over the last few years, the domestic partnership has stopped being solely for homosexual couples and has been adopted by heterosexual couples as well, effectively taking the place of a “common law” marriage.

There are lots of rumors swirling around the domestic partnership relationship. In the following paragraphs we are going to debunk some of the myths.

Myth #1 Any two people who live together are in a domestic partnership

No, you cannot simply declare yourself in a domestic partnership with your roommate because you want to mooch his health insurance. A domestic partnership is a true partnership. You are building a committed life with the other person, one that will look and feel just like a marriage but will simply have a different name. You might even need a so-called find lawyer direct service to help you ensure that your partnership is legal and binding before it is treated seriously by people outside of your social circle.

Myth #2 Only Gay People Can Have a Domestic Partnership

As we’ve already stated, domestic partnership protections have been extended to heterosexual couples now as well as homosexual couples. This is largely because most states have stopped recognizing “common law” marriages.

Myth #3 All States Recognize Domestic Partnerships

Not all states recognize the legality of a declared domestic partnership. Wyoming, for example, does not allow domestic partnerships either homosexual or heterosexual.

Myth #4 Domestic Partnerships Can’t Get “Divorced”

The common thought is that, if it isn’t a marriage, there cannot be a divorce. The truth is that the dissolution of a domestic partnership can be just as complicated and needs to be handled just as legally and intricately as a traditional marriage. There is the division of property and assets to consider and it is common for one or both parties to have to hire a lawyer or mediator to make sure all of the details are covered.

Myth #5 Domestic Partnerships Offer the same Benefits as Marriage

Many people believe that, to use one example, declaring yourself in a domestic partnership entitles you to one another’s health benefits. This isn’t true. It is largely up to the company to decide whether or not you qualify. Some companies still insist that domestic partnership benefits only apply to homosexual couples. Others refuse to recognize them at all. These are getting fewer and farther between, though, so there’s hope!

So, if you want to make sure that your relationship is recognized for the committed relationship it is but aren’t too keen on traditional marriage, a domestic partnership might be an option. In many cases, sadly, it is still the only option if your relationship is a homosexual one. Hopefully soon, both domestic partnerships and marriages will be universally recognized, respected and available regardless of the sexuality of your relationship.

March 8, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

New Guidelines in Delaware

Delaware public health officials are weighing new guidelines in screening newborn babies for metabolic, hematologic, endocrinology related, and certain structural disorders.  These potential new guidelines stem from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services’ adoption of a recommendation to add screening for congenital heart disease to newborn screening standards.

Read more here.


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

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bowen: “I Wanna Marry You: An Empirical Analysis of the Irrelevancy and Distraction of DOMAs”

Deirdre M. Bowen (Seattle University School of Law) has posted her article “I Wanna Marry You: An Empirical Analysis of the Irrelevancy and Distraction of DOMAs” on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This article offers the only empirical analysis to date of national data evaluating the claim that defense of marriage acts (DOMAs) preserve and stabilize the family. The article examines marriage and divorce changes in trends for every state over the last ten years for which data is available comparing changes, if any, before and after a DOMA was enacted or same sex marriage was permitted. After concluding that DOMA does not play a role in either divorce or marriage changes in trends or rates, the article explores what variables are, in fact, correlated with family stability. Given that poverty, religiosity, education, income, age of marriage all play a key role in family stability, the article explores moral entrepreneurism and moral panic as a theoretical explanation for DOMAs’ continued attraction for achieving family stability. Finally, the article offers pragmatic recommendations for achieving family stability. The article asserts that rather than advocate for one decreasingly relevant model of family formation, steps should be taken to mirror the characteristics and outcomes that are associated with stable families. Substance over form will lead to the goals that misguided legislatures thought DOMAs would achieve.


March 6, 2013 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pastor Sentenced

From the New York Times:

A Virginia pastor who said that his actions “flow out of my faith in Jesus,” was sentenced Monday to 27 months in prison for abetting the international parental kidnapping of a girl in a high-profile case involving a same-sex union and the condemnation of homosexuality by conservative Christians.

But in a victory for the pastor, Kenneth L. Miller, Judge William K. Sessions III of Federal District Court in Vermont said he did not have to start serving his sentence until higher courts decided on a planned appeal, which could take at least two years, according to Brooks G. McArthur, one of Mr. Miller’s lawyers.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Catherine Ross

March 5, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Baby Name Hoax

From Jacoba Urist, writing for Today:

The woman who claimed she won a $5,000 contest on a baby-name website to have an online vote determine her baby’s name is actually an actress, hired by the website’s founder to drum up publicity, the actress and website founder confessed.

Natasha Hill, a struggling single art teacher in Los Angeles, was named by the website Belly Ballot last month as the winner of an essay contest and the $5,000 prize for agreeing to let the Internet name her unborn baby.

Dozens of TV, online and print media outlets, including TODAY Moms and the TODAY and Weekend TODAY broadcasts, covered the story. “Saturday Night Live” even spoofed the contest. Hill, who said she was due in September, told TODAY Moms in a phone interview last week that she planned to use her winnings to pay off credit card debt and start her baby’s college fund.

Read more here.


March 5, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Same-Sex Marriage in IN

An increasing number of Indiana Republican state legislators want the Indiana General Assembly to step back on pressing for the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, citing factors such as rapidly changing public opinion on whether or not “the state’s current ban on same-sex marriage should be locked into the state’s constitution.”  Other representatives site the potential of the ban to limit business expansion in Indiana; Columbus-based Cummins, Inc. says such a ban would limit their ability to recruit top candidates.

Read more here.


March 5, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Birth Certificate with 3 Parents

From Yahoo! News:

A Florida judge has approved the adoption of a 22-month-old baby girl that will list three people as parents on her birth certificate -- a married lesbian couple and a gay man.

The decision ends a two-year paternity fight between the couple and a friend of the women who donated his sperm to father the child but later sought a larger role in the girl's life.

Read more here.


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

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Taxing Violent Video Games

From Jacoba Urist, writing for the Atlantic:

Guns, troubled young men, and violent video games. Together, they form a tragically familiar background story to America's recent shooting massacres in Columbine, Aurora, and Newtown. But the Constitution protects guns, and mental health is expensive and complicated to treat. So some lawmakers are responding to the latest tragedy by going after the third -- and possibly least consequential -- variable in this murky equation. There is a new push to tax violent video games.

Researchers are still trying to sort out what kinds of behaviors can (and can't) be attributed to playing games like "Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance" and "Killzone 3." And as it stands, the possible psychological link between digital aggression and anything on the scale of the Sandy Hook massacre is shaky at best. That's one of the reasons the president has called on the CDC to examine the potential relationship among video games, media images, and real-life violence.

Read more here.


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