Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fired for Being an Attractive Female

From Huffington Post:

A dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant that he found attractive simply because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court ruled 7-0 that bosses can fire employees they see as an "irresistible attraction," even if the employees have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote.

Read more here.


January 12, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kansas Sperm Donor Case

From Margaret Ryznar, writing for the Huff Post Blog:

The media is abuzz with news that a man is being pursued for child support by the state of Kansas for a child resulting from his semen delivery to a lesbian couple's porch in response to an advertisement. The parties had signed an agreement that he would not to be held financially responsible for the child. Once the lesbian couple separated, the child's mother applied for state benefits.

What exactly is going on here, you might ask?

Read more here.


January 10, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Law Student Writing Competition

National Association of Women Lawyers®


Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition


The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) is a national voluntary legal professional organization whose mission is the advancement of women in the legal profession and women’s rights. Since 1899, NAWL has served as an educational forum and active voice for the concerns of women lawyers in this country and abroad.  NAWL continues to support and advance the interests of women in and under the law, and in so doing, supports and advances the social, political, and professional empowerment of women. Through its programs and networks, NAWL provides the tools for women in the profession to advance, prosper and enrich the profession.  NAWL has established the annual Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition to encourage and reward original law student writing on issues concerning women and the law. The rules for the competition are as follows:


Entrants should submit a paper on an issue concerning women’s rights or the status of women in the law.   The most recent winning paper was “All Things Being Equal, Women Lose. Investigating the Lack of Diversity Among the Recent Appointments to the Iowa Supreme Court” written by Abigail Rury, Michigan State University School of Law.


Essays will be accepted from students enrolled at any law school during the 2012-13 school year. The essays must be the law student author’s own work and must not have been submitted for publication elsewhere.  Papers written by students for coursework or independent study during the Summer, Fall or Spring semesters are eligible for submission.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, students may incorporate professorial feedback as part of a course requirement or supervised writing project.


FORMAT: Essays must be double-spaced in 12-point font, Times New Roman font type. All margins must be at least one inch. Entries must not exceed fifteen (15) pages of text, excluding notes, with footnotes placed as endnotes. Citation style should conform to The Bluebook – A Uniform System of Citation. Essays longer than 15 pages of text, excluding notes, or which are not in the required format may not be read.


JUDGING: NAWL Women Lawyers Journal® designees will judge the competition. Essays will be judged based upon content, exhaustiveness of research, originality, writing style, and timeliness.


QUESTIONS: Questions regarding this competition should be addressed to the chair of the Writing Competition, Professor Jennifer Martin at


SUBMISSION AND DEADLINE: Entries must be received by May 1, 2013. Entries received after the deadline will be considered only at the discretion of NAWL. Entries must provide a cover letter providing the title of your essay, school affiliation, email address, phone number and mailing address.  Entries must be submitted in the following format: email an electronic version (in Microsoft Word or PDF format) to


AWARD: The author of the winning essay will receive a cash prize of $500. NAWL will also publish the winning essay in NAWL’s Women Lawyers Journal in the summer of 2013.

January 10, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dowd: “Fatherhood and Equality? Reconfiguring Masculinities”

Professor Nancy E. Dowd has recently published “Fatherhood and Equality?  Reconfiguring Masculinities,” which was a Donohue Lecture at Suffolk University Law School, and is in 45 Suffolk University Law Review 1047 (2012).  In this article, Professor Dowd sets out the asymmetric pattern of men’s caretaking as compared to women’s caretaking, and raises the issue of why greater equality has not been achieved in care as women’s participation in the workforce has increased.  Professor Dowd argues that not only is this linked to the lack of institutional and structural supports for parenthood, which leads to gendered outcomes in who does care, but in addition, and perhaps most importantly, the barrier to care is cultural, linked to masculinities norms.  Professor Dowd sets out the barriers to care linked to masculinities, and suggests a further analysis linked to vulnerability and its connection to caregiving.  Changes in masculinities, therefore, are critical to changing the pattern of men’s caretaking, and Professor Dowd sets out ways that this might be accomplished.


January 9, 2013 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Parental Child Abduction Cases

This article discusses the 88% rise in parental child abduction cases the Foreign Office has seen in the last ten years.  The Office has also seen a rise in the number of countries reporting these cases, leading them to consider it a worldwide issue.  They also believe understanding of the topic is alarmingly low, with research showing about a quarter of people in the UK "do not think, or are unaware, that it is a crime for a parent to take their child overseas without the consent of others with parental responsibility."  The majority of those cases taken on by the Foreign Office deal with mothers taking the child, although the general population believes fathers would be more likely to engage in this act.  The article stresses the importance of increasing public awareness about this issue.

Read more here.


January 8, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Upcoming Supreme Court Cases

This opinion piece in the Washington Post discusses the options the Supreme Court could take regarding the upcoming two cases on same sex marriage—one on California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage, and the other on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which effectively denies federal benefits to legally same-sex couples.  Advocates of same-sex marriage, floored from the four recent outcomes in favor of gay marriage during the November 2012 election, hope to see a ruling from the Supreme Court “proclaiming marriage equality to be constitutionally guaranteed under the 14th Amendment.”  However, some are worried such an outcome would produce a backlash in socially conservative states.  The remainder of the article discusses possible rulings and the outcomes these rulings would have amongst these groups.

Read more here.


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