Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Movie Review

From Time:

When Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) clears customs at de Gaulle Airport, his estranged wife Marie (Bèrénice Bejo) speaks to him urgently on the other side of a glass partition. They communicate with sign language and words the audience can’t hear.

If The Past (Le Passé) continued in that fashion for the next two hours, it might be an elaborate tribute to Bejo’s performance in The Artist, the virtually silent comedy that swept the Oscars in 2012. But this is the new drama from Ashgar Farhadi, the Iranian writer-director of A Separation, winner of last year’s other big Academy Award: Best Foreign-Language Feature. It’s very much a reprise of that film’s themes: grownups who tear their marriages apart, and the children who suffer in their wake.

Read more here.


May 18, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Jones "Judges, Family Law, Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopedia"

Elizabeth N. Jones (Western State College of Law) has posted her article Judges, Family Law, Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopedia, pp. 626-629, Robert E. Emery, ed., 2013, on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This is a chapter in an encyclopedia put forth by Sage Publications. I am the sole author of this particular chapter; there are several hundred contributing authors to the encyclopedia as a whole. It is a multi-disciplinary work which details subjects related to divorce: legal, social, anthropological, religious, psychological, and historical. 

In this chapter, I describe the role of the family law judge in divorce proceedings. 

The role of the family law judge is a varied one. At its core, the position is one of authority. The lawyers, parties, and court staff all give the judge great deference in the courtroom, referring to the judge as “your honor.” This is further affirmed in the judge’s raised bench overlooking the entire courtroom, in the judge’s traditional gavel used to silence the courtroom and maintain order, and in the judge’s distinct formal clothing, usually consisting of long judicial robes. These formalities are designed to instill respect for the legal institution as a whole.


May 17, 2013 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

No-Fault Divorce

From the Washington Times:

No one can be happy with the high divorce rate in the United States, not even a family law attorney like me. Iowa legislators think making divorce more difficult by becoming the first state to prohibit no-fault divorce in cases with children would be a good first step.

Iowa House File 338 would require one of five conditions for a divorce to proceed in a marriage involving children: adultery, physical or sexual abuse, imprisonment, if one spouse is missing more than a year or if the couple has lived apart for more than two years.

Read more here.


May 16, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage in Foreign Jurisdictions

From Angelique Devaux, writing for the Jurist:

In a time when France has lost its fame for crusading for human rights, "marriage for all" has been the popular name given to same-sex marriage by the French Socialists' impetus in the pursuit of equality—France has waited 13 years after the Netherlands to address an issue in line with contemporary social reality. On April 23, 2013, President François Hollande signed the bill that legalizes same-sex marriage after the issue was previously reviewed by the Constitutional Council and approved by France's Parliament.

As in the story of Windsor v. United States, same-sex marriages performed in foreign jurisdictions often create difficulties in travel which include passport and short-term visa issues, as well as total refusal of entry into certain countries where same sex marriage is prohibited and even criminalized. In anticipation of potential traveling problems, French lawmakers have included language in the new bill which states that marriage performed in a foreign jurisdiction satisfy the legal requirements of marriage in France. It is the statutory confirmation of the rule locus regit actum. An example of this legal theory can be found when one acknowledges how a wedding performed in Canada between a Frenchman and a Canadian is valid in France if all the Canadian legal requirements have been fulfilled.

Read more here.


May 15, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage in Minnesota

From the Chicago Tribune:

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Governor Mark Dayton on Tuesday made Minnesota the nation's 12th state to allow same-sex couples to marry and only the second in the Midwest, signing a bill on the steps of the state Capitol before thousands of supporters.

The Democratic governor's signature came a day after state senators approved the bill, which made Minnesota the third state this month to approve same-sex nuptials after Rhode Island and Delaware.

Read more here.


May 14, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Guest Post by Christine Maddox: 5 Ways Family Law Attorneys Use Social Media in Court

Have you ever heard the saying, "What goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet?" In today's world, no words have ever been truly spoken. It's this persistent nature that has lawyers and law enforcement perusing social media websites in order to prove an individual's guilt or innocence. All too often, those trying to defraud the system don't take into consideration that information shared on sites such as Facebook, MySpace, or YouTube can wind up becoming incriminating evidence.

1. Mindset - The content of your posts on social media sites can be informative when determining your mindset during the time in question. Much like how psychologists are trained to read emotions of underlying meanings, this cyber-evaluation can be quite accurate in determining a person's motivations. Language, whether spoken or written, has tell-tale signs that can determine a person's frame of mind. This task is much easier to perform if a person blatantly posts information on social media sites pertaining to his or her actions, which happens quite often.

2. Time and Place - Establishing time and place is important in any alibi. If there is contrary evidence posted online, it could be easily condemning of your actions. It doesn't take a high-tech CSI investigation team to read the posted time and dates listed on nearly any piece of content you submit online. Some features of online activity can even stamp the very location you were in by use of GPS within a few meters. While this feature has great possibilities for other innovations down the line, it can also point a finger right at you in terms of determining your location at any given moment.

3. Personal Interaction - The very nature of social media sites is personal interaction with others. If you are trying to convince a court that you didn't or did have communication with an individual, your social messages could relate a different story. Twitter messages have incriminated a great amount of people from those committing criminal acts to those posting embarrassing statements that were created in the heat of the moment.

4. Actions - All too often, people will admit to committing particular actions without thinking of the ramifications of doing so. As cameras of some kind are prevalent in the pockets of four billion people around the planet, it is all too easy to simply upload a short video to YouTube and share it with everyone you know. In a matter of minutes, your actions can be seen by thousands of people. While you may appreciate the popularity this could bring you, it is also a great way to incriminate yourself.

5. Changing Laws - Precedents have been established that will allow a court to obtain usernames and passwords of those involved in order to establish grounds for cases. If there is probably cause that content within an individual's private account on a social media site can be used to base guilt or innocence, the court can order that information to be accessed by counsel. One such case of this happening was in 2011 as Stephen and Courtney Gallion was ordered to "swap" passwords and usernames of all social media sites they used to opposing legal counsel. 

If you post personal information on the Internet in any form, it is safe to assume that it will be there until the end of time. Never post information about yourself if you don't want everyone to read what it is your doing. Those fun and embarrassing stories and photos will follow you around for as long as you live.

Author Bio:

This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @


May 13, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 12, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)