Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Washington National Cathedral Performs Same-Sex Weddings

In what many people are calling a “gay marriage victory,” the Washington National Cathedral will begin performing same-sex weddings.  The church “will be among the first Episcopal congregations to implement a new rite of marriage adapted from the blessing ceremony for gay and lesbian couples that was approved last year by the Episcopal Church’s national governing body.”  However, official Episcopal law still defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, so the church will combine civil marriage ceremonies under local law with a blessing from the church; they will also use new language approved for same-sex couples rather than reciting the marriage ceremony from the Book of Common Prayer.

Read more here.


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

Friday, March 1, 2013

Child Abuse in Iowa

A private group called Prevent Child Abuse Iowa has launched a website with extensive information on preventing child abuse and how Iowans can report possible cases of child abuse.  The site aims to provide advice on situations ranging from what to do when a sex offender lives in your neighborhood to how to start a conversation with a person putting another person in an uncomfortable situation.  The site also "provides links to groups with counselors willing to talk to the public."  The website is

Read more here.


March 1, 2013 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

NJ's Family Leave Law

From CBS Philly:

A study by researchers based at Rutgers University takes a good, long look at New Jersey’s three-year-old Family Leave law, which provides paid coverage for up to six weeks to allow people to care for newborns or loved ones who get sick.

Read more here.


February 28, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Personal Auction for Alimony

Actor John Cleese is holding a personal auction of Monty Python paraphernalia in an effort to make alimony payments to his third ex-wife, American psychotherapist Alyce Faye Lichtenberger.  At the time of their divorce in 2008, Cleese was ordered to make annual payments of almost $1 million to Lichtenberger for a total of seven years.  Even though he launched a tour in 2009 called "The Alimony Tour" to help him afford these payments, he is struggling to make them again.  Cleese and Lichtenberger were married for 16 years, and last year (2012), Cleese married Jennifer Wade, who is 31 years younger than himself.

Read more here.


February 27, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

North Carolina Abuse Bill

Both Democratic and Republican members of the North Carolina House of Representatives have sponsored a bill that, if passed, will increase the maximum penalty of child abuse convictions from 15 years to 33 years.  The proposed bill, “Kilah’s Law,” is named after Kilah Davenport, who was only 3 years old when she was severely beaten and almost killed by her stepfather, Joshua W. Houser, in May 2012.  Her injuries were so severe that doctors had to remove part of her skull to help reduce brain swelling.  Kilah’s mother Kirbi said in an interview, “My baby’s a prisoner in her own body.  My baby’s going to get justice, but it’s not the correct justice.  And the next one will get the correct justice.”

Read more here.


February 26, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 25, 2013

How Divorce Clients Can Help Their Lawyer Effectively Represent Them

*This post was written by guest author Scott Morgan, a board certified family law attorney in Houston. In addition to their Houston office the Morgan Law Firm has an Austin office as well.

A divorce is an emotionally charged period in your life. Decisions must be made about child custody, support, the division of assets and a multitude of other issues while you and your spouse struggle with feelings of anger, guilt, betrayal or a desire for revenge. 

You’ve taken the right step by hiring an attorney to represent you. Now, what do you do? Do you sit back and let your lawyer handle everything? What is your role expected to be? Here are a few things you can do to help your lawyer represent you and, at the same time, help yourself.

Be Honest with Your Lawyer

This recommendation is listed first because it is the most important thing you can do. Tell your lawyer everything and be truthful when responding to questions. If you cheated on your spouse, tell the lawyer. If you work off the books, tell the lawyer. You never want your lawyer to be blindsided and find out something about you from your spouse’s attorney in the middle of the case, or worse yet, in the middle of a trial. What you discuss privately with your lawyer is protected by the attorney-client privilege, so feel free to speak frankly and honestly.

Write Down Your Questions

A lot is going on in your life during a divorce, so chances are you will not remember the question you thought of last night when you meet with your lawyer next week. The solution is to write it down and keep a running list. Nothing is wrong with walking into a meeting with your lawyer with a list of questions. It saves time for both of you and helps your lawyer know what to cover during the meeting that will be most helpful in keeping you informed.

Take Notes

It is easy to become confused or to forget something during your meetings with your lawyer. Taking notes will help you to remember about information or documents requested by your lawyer during the meeting. 

Make Appointments and Keep Them

You have the right to expect your lawyer to be focused on you and your case during meetings, but the only way a lawyer can do that is to block out uninterrupted time for appointments. Dropping in unexpectedly to “ask a quick question” is guaranteed to strain even the best lawyer-client relationship. Same thing goes for being prompt. Think about how irritated you would be if your lawyer kept you sitting in the waiting area long after the scheduled time for an appointment.

Get Your Documents in Order

Your lawyer will need documents and information about your marriage, the reasons for the divorce, assets and debts, and IRAs and retirement accounts. Ask the lawyer or a paralegal in the office to give you a list of what the lawyer might need and begin the process of gathering and organizing it. This will save you from paying for the time spent by the paralegal or lawyer sorting through a shopping bag stuffed with documents.

Getting the Help You Need

The emotions and stress that go along with the dissolution of a marriage might be more than you can handle on your own. A therapist or counselor who is experienced in working with people going through a divorce might help you through this difficult time. Seeking professional help will not be held against you and could make it easier for you to focus on working with your lawyer.


February 25, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Same-Sex Marriage in IL

A majority of Illinois Republicans admit (albeit off the record) they want to see the bill legalizing gay marriage to be passed as soon as possible.  This is mainly due to the growing support of gay marriage amongst state citizens, especially the high percentage of support amongst the public below age 45 (58% backing gay marriage).  Republicans also want it passed quickly so the "white-hot war will end and the quicker the party can move along to other, less divisive issues such as taxes."

Read more here.


February 25, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)