Family Law Prof Blog

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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Divorce Law in Oklahoma

From the Wall Street Journal:

Oil wildcatter Harold Hamm spent decades at the helm of Continental Resources Inc. as it became the most powerful company in North Dakota's Bakken Shale.

But because of a quirk in Oklahoma divorce law, the success of the tiny oil-patch outfit he founded in 1967, which became a drilling powerhouse, may work against him as he splits from his wife of 25 years—and may even weaken his control of the company.

The judge overseeing the couple's divorce in Oklahoma City, where the company is based, deemed most of Mr. Hamm's 68% stake in Continental—122 million shares out of the 126 million he owns—as his premarital property. That means those shares, worth more than $14.6 billion, aren't directly subject to division with Sue Ann Hamm, a former lawyer for Continental who married Mr. Hamm in 1988.

But in Oklahoma and a handful of other states, splitting up marital assets isn't that simple.

State law gives Mrs. Hamm the right to half of the increase in value of Mr. Hamm's premarital shares if she can prove the company's stock price rose over the course of their marriage because of her husband's efforts.

Read more here.


March 27, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Suing Parents


Attorneys who specialize in family law say an 18-year-old Morris County woman faces an uphill battle in suing her parents for financial support after she moved out of their house.

But they say her chances of forcing her parents to pay for her private school and college tuition would be better if they were involved in a divorce case.

Read more here.


March 26, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Uncertain Paternity

From Family Law Week:

A survey for by YouGov suggests that 8% of fathers in the UK have been 'unsure that they are the biological father of their child'.

Fathers aged 25-34 were most likely to be unsure, at 15%twice as much as average. At 5%, fathers aged 55+ were least likely to be unsure.

Read more here.


March 25, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Report on Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements

From Family Law Week:

The Law Commission for England and Wales has just published its report on Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements. The project has seen, first, the publication of a Consulation Paper in 2011, dealing with marital property agreements, and, in 2012, following the extension of the project, a Supplementary Consulation Paper focusing on the additional areas of financial needs and non-matrimonial property.

Our key recommendations in the Report are for:

1. guidance to be produced by the Family Justice Council on the law regarding how financial needs should be met on divorce and dissolution; and

2. the introduction of binding nuptial agreements, to be known as qualifying nuptial agreements.

This article sets out the context of our recommendations before turning to a discussion of our key policy points, concluding by examining the benefits of our proposed reforms.

Read more, and read the report, here.


March 24, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Update: Same-Sex Marriage in MI

From the New York Times:

A day after a federal judge struck down Michigan’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages, hundreds of gay couples raced to clerks’ offices across the state on Saturday morning to exchange wedding vows before an appeals court challenge that could reinstate the ban.

But the euphoria of the day for the couples quickly turned to disappointment by late afternoon when the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, suspended the judge’s ruling until at least Wednesday, when the court is expected to decide whether to grant a longer injunction while it considers an appeal filed by Michigan’s attorney general. That means that same-sex weddings in the state were halted immediately for now.

The injunction ended a 24-hour emotional roller coaster and put those couples who were married earlier in the day in a legal limbo.

Read more here.



March 22, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Same-Sex Marriage in MI

From CNN:

A federal judge on Friday ruled that Michigan's prohibition on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution, ordering the state to stop enforcing the ban.

"Today's decision ... affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail," U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman wrote.

Read more here.


March 22, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Multi-Person Reproduction

From Professors Judith Daar and Erez Aloni, writing for the LA Times:

Since January, a new California law allows for a child to have more than two legal parents. But children are still limited to two genetic parents. That could change soon, if the Food and Drug Administration approves human clinical trials for a technique known as mitochondrial replacement, which would enable a child to inherit DNA from three parents.

News of the pending application has caused a kind of panic not seen since Dolly the sheep was cloned, raising the possibility of a single genetic parent. But far from being the end of the human race as we know it, the technique might be a way to prevent hundreds of mitochondrial-linked diseases, which affect about one in 5,000 people.

Read more here.


March 21, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The 12-Year Divorce

From CBS New York:

A Long Island man is claiming a crooked court system and an unrelenting wife are to blame for one of the longest-running divorce cases in New York State.

Joseph Yerushalmi of Great Neck has been trying to divorce his wife for the past 12 years, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.

Read more here.


March 19, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Military Parents' Rights in New Mexico

From ABC 7 Albuquerque:

A new law aims to protect the parental rights of members of the military while they are deployed.

Gov. Susana Martinez signed the Service Member Child Custody Act on Saturday. The law prevents any changes to child custody arrangements while either parent is deployed. Officials said they hope the law will make life a little easier.

Read more here.


March 14, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Child Custody in South Dakota

From the Capital Journal:

South Dakota lawmakers passed legislation that would change the state’s child custody laws on Monday.

SB 74 provides judges a set of guidelines when determining split custody between divorced parents. The bill was unanimously supported in the Senate in a vote last month. Members of the House of Representatives voted 68-2 in support of the bill Monday afternoon.

Read more here.


March 13, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bigamy in Jewish Law

From the New York Times:

LAS VEGAS — The wedding was a modest affair, held in a reception hall overlooking an artificial lake tucked behind a suburban strip. But just minutes after it ended, the bride and groom hurriedly scurried past dozens of protesters here who were chanting “Bigamist!” and “Shame on you!”

One of the wedding guests on Thursday evening glared at the demonstrators, repeatedly hissing: “Mazel tov. Mazel tov. Mazel tov.” The bride, in a lace and sequin floor-length gown, grasped the hand of her husband and looked at the crowd in silence.

Meir Kin, the new husband, has been divorced for more than seven years, under California’s civil law. But he has refused to give his previous wife the document known as a “get,” as required by Orthodox Jewish law to end a marriage. In the eyes of religious authorities, the woman he married in 2000 is what is called an agunah — Hebrew for chained wife. Without the get, the woman, Lonna Kin, is forbidden under Jewish law to remarry.

Jewish law prohibits men from taking multiple wives. But Mr. Kin, according to several rabbis here, apparently relied on a legal loophole, which says that if a man can get the special permission of 100 rabbis to take a second wife, he is able to do so.

Read more here.


March 12, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Money & Families

From the New York Times:

MARVIN BLUM, a lawyer from Fort Worth, flew to New York last week to visit his daughter, son-in-law and young granddaughter. Staying close to his family is crucial to him. The same goes for seeing his son, who lives in Austin.

“I’m at a point in my life where the things I want I can’t buy with money,” said Mr. Blum, 59. “I want relationships and memorable moments.”

As hokey as this might sound, like a sentiment scribbled on a Hallmark card, Mr. Blum takes it seriously. He has worked with his son, 31, and daughter, 28, on the family’s threefold mission: “We value relationships. We value productive work. We value meaning in our life, from spirituality or whatever else can offer you something in terms of meaning.”

In New York, Mr. Blum, who runs a large trusts and estates law practice in four cities in Texas, attended a symposium called “Successful Multigenerational Families,” hosted by Tiger 21, an investment club for people with more than $10 million to invest. The room was packed with dozens of very wealthy men and women, all focused on how to deal with wealth from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars so it would not divide their families.

Read more here.


March 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

1-Day Divorce

From NBC San Diego:

Filing for divorce can be a lengthy process, but a new program set to begin Saturday at the San Diego Superior Court is promising to help eligible ex-couples complete a simple divorce in only one day.

The “One Day Divorce” pilot program officially goes live Mar. 1 at San Diego’s Downtown Family Court.

Read more here.


March 8, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Paid Family Leave

From the New York Times:

Paid family leave programs spread the costs of time devoted to family care. The financial support they offer also nudges fathers to engage more directly with newborns, tweaking traditional gender roles.

Women pay a high price for family commitments. A Pew Research Center survey in October reports that 51 percent of mothers who have children under 18 and who have ever worked for pay have taken a significant amount of time off to care for a child or family member — but only 16 percent of fathers. Not coincidentally, 51 percent of mothers, but only 16 percent of fathers, say that being a working parent has made it harder for them to advance in their job or career.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: SH

March 7, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Divorce Classes

From the New York Times:

A few nights a week in Utah, rooms in courthouses typically reserved for deliberating juries fill up with parents looking to divorce. And among the first lessons they are taught is a simple, if not emotional, one: Keep the kids out of it.

"Cocoon your child," instructor Neal Gunnarson tells the group of parents.

Utah was the first in the nation in 1994 to require that couples complete what's now a two-hour, $55 seminar before courts will finalize a split. Now, a lawmaker is proposing to require that couples take at least part of the course earlier, hoping that it can reduce a divorce rate among those couples with children.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

March 6, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Same-Sex Adoptions Recognized in Idaho

From the Idaho Statesman:

In a unanimous opinion that sets a precedent for gay and other non-traditional couples, the Idaho Supreme Court cleared the way...for Darcy Drake Simpson to adopt two boys who until now have had just one legal parent, Simpson's same-sex partner Rene Simpson.

Read more here.


Read more here:

March 5, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

An Adoption Story

From Tony Gambino, the husband of GW Law Professor Naomi Cahn, writing for Slate:

The story of Philomena Lee and her son, told in the new movie starring Judi Dench, scorches me. Like her son, I was adopted. Like and unlike the story of Philomena and Michael (born Anthony), the story of my birth mother, Dorothy, and me, Anthony (born David), is filled with sorrow, mistakes, suffering—and profound, shocking joy.

Read more here.


March 4, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Chamberlin & Guiora: "Polygamy: Not 'Big Love' But Significant Harm"

 Julia Chamberlin and  Amos N. Guiora posted "Polygamy: Not 'Big Love' But Significant Harm," Women's Rights Law Reporter, Rutgers University School of Law (2014 Forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

In this article, we analyze the British Columbia Supreme Court decision, Reference re: Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada, 2011 BCSC 1588, which decisively found that polygamy as practiced by The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) constitutes a crime of harm. We focus on polygamy in the FLDS religion; to that end, we incorporate and analyze religious scripture, court testimony, interviews conducted with former FLDS members and relevant scholarship. In exploring the relationship between polygamy and the FLDS culture, we also examine child brides and lost boys; the former constitutes statutory rape and the latter is child endangerment and abandonment in the name of religious extremism. We concur with the British Columbia Supreme Court decision that polygamy constitutes a crime of harm, and in that vein we call on law enforcement officials, prosecutors and courts to recognize their responsibility to protect crimes victims. Polygamy is not abstract, but it is a concrete crime with clear consequences for those forced to participate in it.


March 3, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Divorces on Rise with Economy

From Bloomberg:

The number of Americans getting divorced rose for the third year in a row to about 2.4 million in 2012, after plunging in the 18-month recession ended June 2009, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Whatever the social and emotional impact, the broad economic effects of the increase are clear: It is contributing to the formation of new households, boosting demand for housing, appliances and furnishings and spurring the economy. Divorces are also prompting more women to enter the labor force.

Read more here.


March 1, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Divorce Musical

From New York Times:

The set designer Mitchell Greenberg’s proscenium for "Til Divorce Do Us Part: The Musical" nicely suggests the show: enlarged Valentine’s Day candies — those hearts inscribed with messages — surround the stage. But these pink morsels don’t offer words of love; they have expressions like “Really?,” “Scram,” “Bite Me,” “Buh Bye” and “Be Mine Not.” They look good enough to eat. Maybe revenge truly is sweet.

Read more here.


February 28, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)