Family Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

Scharff & Herrick: "Navigating Emotional Currents in Collaborative Divorce: A Guide to Enlightened Team Practice"

The ABA is offering a new book entitled Navigating Emotional Currents in Collaborative Divorce: A Guide to Enlightened Team Practice by Kate Scharff, MSW & Lisa Herrick, Ph.D.  Read about it here.


February 11, 2011 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rasley “Bringing Progress to Paradise: What I Got from Giving to a Mountain Village in Nepal”

A new book, Bringing Progress to Paradise: What I Got from Giving to a Mountain Village in Nepal, by lawyer and adventurer Jeff Rasley looks into the meaning of philanthropy in far-away locales.  From the book’s description: “They had no running water, electricity, or anything that moves on wheels. Each family lived in a beautiful, hand-chiseled stone house with a flower garden. Beyond what they already had, it seemed all they wanted was education for the children. He helped them finish a school building already in progress, and then they asked for help getting electricity to their village.”  Check out the book here.


September 28, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

20 Books on Domestic Violence recently published a post entitled “20 Books to Help Women through Domestic Violence.”  Check it out here.


September 28, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The 4-Hour Workweek

I am late on the bandwagon, but I have just fallen in love with The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.  The point is not necessarily to work just 4 hours per week, but to become efficient and productive.  Anyone balancing many things in life and family, read a review of the book here, and check out the book here.  


September 15, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meers & Strober: “Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All by Sharing It All”

For working couples balancing parenthood, there is a new book by Sharon Meers & Joanna Strober: Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All by Sharing It All.  An editorial by one of the authors notes:

The Project for Attorney Retention at UC Hastings Law School last week released a report that shows the expense of allowing different norms for men and women to persist.

Researchers at UC Hastings have long collected data on the "Maternal Wall," the dramatic drop in career success when women (even those working full time) become mothers across all job types. But this new survey looks at women at the top: 700 female law partners, a highly talented and hard-working cohort. Guess what? On average, they earn 22% less than their male partners. Why?

The new report points to a host of "soft" social expectations with hard consequences.

Read more here.


August 11, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Quarter of Adult Women Don’t Like Being Around Their Parents

Released today, Tom Rath and James K. Harter’s book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements—a book on what makes people happy or unhappy—highlights some surprising statistics based on research done by Alan B. Krueger, Daniel Kahneman, David Schkade, Norbert Schwarz and Arthur A. Stone:

27.1% of women don’t like to be around their parents, as opposed to 7.2% of men

15.3% of women don’t like to be around their spouses, as opposed to 15.8% of men

17.7% of women don’t like to be around their children, as opposed to 10.2% of men

Read the blog commentary here, or check out the book here.


May 5, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Eichner: “The Supportive State: Families, Government and America’s Political Ideals”

Maxine Eichner (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill--School of Law) has recently published The Supportive State: Families, Government and America's Political Ideals, Oxford University Press (forthcoming).  The SSRN abstract is here:

There is broad agreement among politicians and policymakers that the family is a critical institution of American life. Yet the role that the state should play with respect to family ties among citizens remains deeply contested. This controversy over the state’s role undergirds a broad range of public policy debates: Does the state have a responsibility to help resolve conflicts between work and family? Should same-sex marriage be permitted? Should the state encourage marriage and two-parent families? Should parents who receive welfare benefits be required to work? Yet while these individual policy issues are endlessly debated, the underlying theoretical question of the stance that the state should take with families remains largely unexplored.

In The Supportive State: Families, Government, and America's Political Ideals, Maxine Eichner argues that government must take an active role in supporting families. She contends that the respect for human dignity at the root of America's liberal democratic understanding of itself requires that the state not only support individual freedom and equality – the goods generally considered as grounds for state action in liberal accounts. It must also support families, because it is through families that the caretaking and human development needs which must be satisfied in any flourishing society are largely met. Families’ capacity to satisfy these needs, she demonstrates, is critically affected by the framework of societal institutions in which they function. In the “supportive state” model she develops, the state bears the responsibility for structuring societal institutions to support families in performing their caretaking and human development functions. Meanwhile, families bear responsibility for the day-to-day caring for (or arranging the care for) family members with dependency needs. In this model, supporting families is as central to the responsibilities of the state as ensuring a competent police force to ensure citizens’ safety. Although not all family forms will further the important functions that warrant state support, she argues that a broad range will. Her vigorous defense of the state’s responsibility to enhance families’ capacity for caretaking and human development stands as a sharp rejoinder to the widespread conservative belief that the state’s role in family life must be diminished in order for families to flourish.


March 31, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gottman & Silver: “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert”

I recently ran across an interesting empirical study of marriage, originally published in 1999.  The book is John M. Gottman & Nan Silver’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert.  Interestingly, Gottman (emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington & co-founder of The Gottman Institute) says that it only takes him 5 minutes to predict—with a whopping 91% accuracy—which couples will eventually divorce.  He developed this skill after studying hundreds of couples in his “love lab,” sharing his insight and lessons in the book.

Check out the book here on Amazon, or a blog interview with Gottman here.

Interesting tidbits from the blog interview linked above:

Another puzzle I'm working on is just what happens when a baby enters a relationship. Our study shows that the majority (67%) of couples have a precipitous drop in relationship happiness in the first 3 years of their first baby's life. That's tragic in terms of the climate of inter-parental hostility and depression that the baby grows up in.


Science comes into the study of families and relationships because a scientist always admits to profound ignorance, doesn't presume to know about these things, takes this ignorance and goes to the people and observes them in situations that are vitally important — when people are having dinner, when they meet at the end of the day, when they are in the bedrooms cuddling, when they're having sex, when they're interacting with their babies — in these very important moments, a scientist without preconceptions observes and tries to understand — interviews people, measures their physiology, and tries to get at their inner experience. And then creates mathematical models that provide theoretical understanding of all these processes.


So far I believe we're going to find that respect and affection are essential to all relationships working and contempt destroys them. It may differ from culture to culture how to communicate respect, and how to communicate affection, and how not to do it, but I think we'll find that those are universal things.


Hat Tip: S.H.

March 11, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Teaching Lessons from Teach for America

The Atlantic has a great article about Teach for America (TFA), which aims to end educational inequity by recruiting recent college graduates to teach in low-income schools for 2 years. 

According to the Atlantic article:

Until now, Teach for American has kept its investigation [of teaching] largely to itself. But for this story, the organization allowed me access to 20 years of experimentation, studded by trial and error. The results are specific and surprising. Things that you might think would help a new teacher achieve success in a poor school—like prior experience working in a low-income neighborhood—don’t seem to matter. Other things that may sound trifling—like a teacher’s extracurricular accomplishments in college—tend to predict greatness.

Read the rest here.

TFA and its member Steven Farr have also recently published a book themselves on this topic: Teaching As Leadership: The Highly Effective Teacher's Guide to Closing the Achievement Gap, available on Amazon here.


February 28, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Divorce Attorney Tells All

A Massachusetts divorce attorney has co-authored a new book with a journalist, entitled Sex, Love, and Money: Revenge and Ruin in the World of High-Stakes Divorce. The book description is as follows:

In this riveting memoir, one of the nation's best divorce lawyers opens decades of case files, exposing salacious stories that make fiction jealous.

We all know the stereotypes of divorce: the cheating husband, the financially and emotionally broke wife. But after handling fighting spouses for nearly forty years, attorney Gerald Nissenbaum knows that the truth is even more outrageous and extraordinary than the characters on soap operas or courtroom reality TV.

From a money-hungry wife who emptied the entire house-from furniture to the light fixtures-before leaving her husband penniless; to a revenge-obsessed husband who delivered truckloads of documents to his wife trying to deceive her, Nissenbaum shares the best tales from his extensive, successful career. Commanding upwards of $700 per hour, he knows everything about his well-to-do clients: how much is in his bank account; what kind of sex she likes and how often; if they marred for money or power; how he cheated and with whom.

Based on the three elements that hold a marriage together and ultimately tear many apart, Sex, Love and Money examines the darkly humorous, ironic, cathartic, vindictive, sad and simply astonishing situations people go through to break asunder what a wedding put together.

In this compelling memoir, Gerald Nissenbaum and John Sedgwick shed a blinding light on the behind-the-scenes work of divorce lawyers with a comedic bang. Showing all sides of human nature, from the very best to the absolute worst, this compulsively readable tale is a true guilty pleasure.

For commentary on the book, see here and here.  Check out the book on Amazon here.


February 25, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Elizabeth Gilbert on Marriage

For fans of Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love), here’s a CNN interview with the writer on her new book Committed, which covers her view of marriage following a bitter divorce and (happy?) remarriage.  We’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future, with a movie version of Eat, Pray, Love coming out late this summer, starring Julia Roberts.

Here’s an interesting excerpt from the CNN interview, which can be accessed in its entirety here:

CNN: Marriage has often been portrayed as something that protects women. But you found in your book that it benefits men the most. Were you surprised by that?

Gilbert: It's surprising, though it shouldn't be. Looking at study after study, it becomes quite chilling to see how very much benefited men are by marriage. Married men perform in life exceptionally better than single men, they live longer, they're richer, they're happier.

CNN: And yet men are often reluctant to enter into marriage.

Gilbert: Which is the big irony. They have to be dragged kicking and screaming into something that will benefit them enormously in life. And the cruel irony is that the people who drag them kicking and screaming into it -- the women -- are the ones who often find that they've gotten the short end of the stick.

Women give more and as a result they give up more.

I think the other problem is that women go into marriage with such high expectations, really inflated romantic ideas about what this relationship is going to be. Men go into marriage with virtually no expectations whatsoever. Ten years later, the men are delightfully surprised to find out that it's actually kind of nice, and the women have sort of had to take a nose dive from what they thought it was going to be.


January 29, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why cant U teach me 2 read?

Read  Beth Fertig (senior reporter for WNYC Radio in New York and a regular contributor to National Public Radio) has published Why cant U teach me 2 read? (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 2009).  This book examines the American public school system, the right to education, and the legal facets to education.  From the publisher's description:


Why cant U teach me 2 read? is a vivid, stirring, passionately told story of three students who fought for the right to learn to read, and won--only to discover that their efforts to learn to read had hardly begun.

A person who cannot read cannot confidently ride a city bus, shop, take medicine, or hold a job—much less receive e-mail, follow headlines, send text messages, or write a letter to a relative. And yet the best minds of American education cannot agree on the right way for reading to be taught.  In fact, they can hardly settle on a common vocabulary to use in talking about reading. As a result, for a quarter of a century American schools have been riven by what educators call the reading wars, and our young people have been caught in the crossfire.   

Why cant U teach me 2 read? focuses on three such students.  Yamilka, Alejandro, and Antonio all have learning disabilities and all legally challenged the New York City schools for failing to teach them to read by the time they got to high school. When the school system’s own hearing officers ruled in the students’ favor, the city was compelled to pay for the three students, now young adults, to receive intensive private tutoring.

Fertig tells the inspiring, heartbreaking stories of these three young people as they struggle to learn to read before it is too late. At the same time, she tells a story of great change in schools nationwide—where the crush of standardized tests and the presence of technocrats like New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and his schools chancellor, Joel Klein, have energized teachers and parents to question the meaning of education as never before. And she dramatizes the process of learning to read, showing how the act of reading is nothing short of miraculous.

Along the way, Fertig makes clear that the simple question facing students and teachers alike—How should young people learn to read?—opens onto the broader questions of what schools are really for and why so many of America’s schools are faltering.     

Why cant U teach me 2 read? is a poignant, vital book for the reader in all of us.


October 12, 2009 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)