Family Law Prof Blog

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

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Malta Legalizes Divorce

From ABC News:

A weekend referendum in the Mediterranean island of Malta found majority support for the introduction of divorce laws.

But it was a tight win for the pro-divorce movement, with just over 53 per cent voting in favour of the referendum.

The result was announced...by Malta's prime minister, Lawrence Gonzi, who had campaigned heavily against the introduction of divorce.

"The majority result in favour of divorce is not the result that I'd hoped for," he said.

"But the will of the people has to be respected and parliament should enact a law for the introduction of divorce."

The referendum asked whether divorce should be legalised "in the case of a married couple who has been separated or has been living apart for at least four years and where there is no reasonable hope for reconciliation between the spouses, whilst at the same time ensuring that adequate maintenance is guaranteed and the welfare of the children is safeguarded".

Read more here.

MR

 

June 13, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Video Games Causing Divorces

From Deseret News:

Last year, Divorce Online reported that men paying more attention to their video games than their spouse was the cause of 5 percent of divorces. The number jumped up to 15 percent this year.

Read more here.

MR

June 10, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Targets of Celebrity Divorce Battles

Forbes recently ran an article about the things at the center of celebrity divorce battles.  Read it here.

MR 

May 12, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Divorce & Taxes

Time recently ran 5 things you need to know about divorce and taxes.  Read it here.

MR

April 22, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Divorce for a Price

From Bloomberg Businessweek:

Divorce can be expensive, but in Romania you'd better hope you're not living in the town of Sangeorgiu de Mures when you decide to untie the knot.

Several months ago, a new law went into effect in Romania allowing some couples to be divorced by town hall officials. Each municipality can set the fee, and huge discrepancies have emerged.

Read more here.

MR

April 20, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Higher Divorce Rate for Military Women

From the AP:

For women in the military, there's a cold, hard reality: Their marriages are more than twice as likely to end in divorce as those of their male comrades — and up to three times as likely for enlisted women. And military women get divorced at higher rates than their peers outside the military, while military men divorce at lower rates than their civilian peers.

About 220,000 women have served in Afghanistan and Iraq in roles ranging from helicopter pilots to police officers. Last year, 7.8 percent of women in the military got a divorce, compared with 3 percent of military men, according to Pentagon statistics. Among the military's enlisted corps, nearly 9 percent of women saw their marriages end, compared with a little more than 3 percent of the men.

Like all divorces, the results can be a sense of loss and a financial blow. But for military women, a divorce can be a breaking point — even putting them at greater risk for homelessness down the road.

It has an effect, too, on military kids. The military has more single moms than dads, and an estimated 30,000 of them have deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Why military women are more burdened by divorce is unclear, although societal pressure is likely a factor.

"It's a strange situation, where there's a fair amount of equality in terms of their military roles, but as the military increasingly treats women the same as it treats men in terms of their work expectations, however, society still expects them to fulfill their family roles. And that's not equally balanced between men and women," said David Segal, director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland.

One speculation is that while more traditional men join the military, women who are attracted to military life are less conventional — and perhaps less willing to stay in a bad marriage.

About half of all married women in the military are married to a fellow service member, compared with less than 10 percent of military men. While it can be an advantage to be married to someone who understands military life, balancing two military careers poses challenges.

Read more here.

AC

March 10, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Montana Counseling Measure Fails

A Republican lawmaker wants to require couples with children under the age of 18 to undergo marriage counseling before getting a divorce.

Representative Tom McGillvray's bill would require couples to attend seven meetings with a counselor. He says divorce is ruining young children's lives and he wants parents to think twice before getting a divorce.

"I don't want you telling me what I can and can't do in my married life. I'm sure not going to tell anyone what they can and can't do in their married life. Last time I heard, we lived in a free country, people can make their own decisions," countered Rep. Edie McClafferty (D-Butte)

The bill died on the House floor in a 60-40 vote.

Read more here.

AC

February 24, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fight Styles Most Likely Leading to Divorce

From GoErie.com:

It's reasonable to assume that couples who scream and throw things at each other are the most likely to eventually divorce.

However, a study recently published by the University of Michigan reports that this is not necessarily the case. They studied 373 couples over a span of 16 years, beginning with the first year of marriage to see if they could determine risks of divorce based on fighting styles.

Toxic fighting styles

Contrary to popular belief, explosive fighting styles were not determined to be the most toxic style, according to this study. The most dangerous pattern is when one partner tries to calmly and objectively analyze a situation and the other partner withdraws.

When one partner tries to relate and sympathize with the other's point of view and that other partner withdraws, it is seen as a lack of interest in the relationship, which is very damaging. This pattern significantly lessens the longevity of a marriage.

This is not to say that yelling or throwing objects is a better method than withdrawing. The study found that lower divorce rates were found in couples who both employed constructive strategies to deal with conflict.

Read more here.

MR

 

February 21, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Home-wrecking Oscar?

From ABC:

It's easy to name stars who won the Oscar for Best Actress and went on to see their relationships go belly up.

Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Winslet and, of course last year's winner, Sandra Bullock, make it seem like some sort of Oscar Curse is going on

Scientists from the University of Toronto wanted to see if was scientifically legit or just paranoia. After crunching the numbers, they found that of the 265 married women who have been nominated for Best Actress from the beginning of the modern Oscars in 1936 to the present, 159 of them got divorced. That's a whopping 60 percent.

They compared the divorce rate of women who were nominated for Best Actress but didn't win against those who did take home the gold, and found that the winners were 1.68 times more likely to head to divorce court and have a 63 percent chance of having a shorter marriage than their fellow nominees.

And while they didn't have the data to compare, it's anecdotely much, much higher than the divorce rate at large.

Also interesting, the scientists compared the divorce rate for Best Actor winners and Best Actor nominees and they found there was virtually no difference there. In other words, the same effect isn't happening for men.

Watch a related clip and read more here.

MR

 

February 19, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 18, 2011

MS Bill on Abuse as Divorce Ground Fails

From the AP:

The Mississippi House has defeated a bill that would have given a spouse grounds for divorce if they have been away from an abusive situation for five years or longer.

The Commercial Appeal reports that the bill was defeated Thursday on a vote of 81-39. The bill had earlier passed the Senate.

Backers say the bill would have made it easier for spouses, usually wives, to file for divorce when that spouse leaves home to avoid abuse and the other spouse will not agree to filing for divorce.

State law already allows a spouse who is abandoned to file for divorce, but existing law does not address when one party leaves home and the other will not give them a divorce.

Read more here.

AC

February 18, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Millionaire Divorces Skew UK Law

From Bloomberg Businessweek:

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- A British millionaire was ordered to increase his ex-wife’s payout to 8 million pounds ($12.7 million) from 5 million pounds in a case where a judge said divorces involving rich couples are having an “unfortunate” effect on U.K. family law.

Gareth Jones, 58, was told to pay the money to his former wife Victoria Jones, 44, by the Court of Appeal in London today. The three-judge panel ruled that a lower-court judge had miscalculated the value of the assets accrued during the couple’s 10-year marriage.

Family law is becoming “dictated by cases which bear no resemblance to the ordinary lives of most divorcing couples,” said Nicholas Wall, one of the judges.

Read more here.

MR

 

February 17, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 28, 2011

E-Divorce?

Apparently it is the new rage in Australia:

Australian couples seeking divorce are now increasingly doing it through the Internet, with more than 250 people using an online service in almost 18 months.
The Federal Magistrates Court introduced its "e-filing" separation option in September 2009, allowing spouses to take the first step towards official separation over the Internet.

In South Australia, there were 3663 divorces last year, up from 3466 in 2008, and in the past 15 months, 268 have applied to end their marriage online.

Another service that has been flagged by the Federal Magistrates Court is an alert being sent via text message to men and women after their divorce has been granted.

Read more here.

AC

January 28, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dividing a Dog

A Canadian couple's property division had stalled over only one possession: the family dog.

From GlobalBC:

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Ted Zarzeczny, in his recently released written ruling, made it clear he was none too impressed with this dog fight.

"It is an unacceptable waste of these parties' financial resources, the time and abilities of their two very experienced and capable legal counsel and most importantly the public resource of this court that a dispute of this kind should occupy all in a one-day trial involving three witnesses, including an expert called by one of the parties," Zarzeczny said.

"It is demeaning for the court and legal counsel to have these parties call upon these legal and court resources because they are unable to settle, what most would agree, is an issue unworthy of this expenditure of time, money and public resources," he added.

See the terms of this property division here.

MR

January 13, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Top 10 Divorce Issues of Last Decade

One divorce attorney has created a list of the top 10 divorce issues of the last decade.  Read it in the Huffington Post here.

MR 

January 8, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Divorce as a New Year's Resolution

From WTOP.com:

WASHINGTON - While "lose weight" is probably on many people's lists of New Year's resolutions, some are vowing to shed more than a hundred pounds -- not in a gym, but in a divorce courtroom.

"A lot of people want to begin the New Year anew," says family law attorney Kathryn Dickerson of Vienna, Va.-based SmolenPlevy.

Unhappy couples often try to endure the Christmas holiday.

"They've resolved to themselves they're not going to spend the holidays next year as they did this year," Dickerson says.

Men are more likely than women to begin divorce proceedings early in 2011, Dickerson says.

Women "are tired, they're let down, the stress is over, and they just want to breathe for a little bit," says Dickerson.

"For men, they've gotten through the holidays. They've maintained the image of a family for as long as they could, and they're ready to move forward."

The winter weather often exacerbates tension in a struggling relationship.

"People stay indoors. When people stay indoors they tend to wear on each other faster."

Dickerson says she believes the bad economy has likely resulted in couples staying together longer than they'd like to.

Read more here.

MR

January 6, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New CA Divorce Laws

A new bout of California laws for the New Year includes changes to Caifornia divorce law:

From DailyBreeze:

The major change focuses on oral testimony in court.

"Previously, for most hearings before any trial, testimony is done in writing by declaration and submitted to the court," Fleischer said. "Starting on Jan. 1, all hearings require oral testimony unless both parties specifically waive that right or a judge finds good cause not to have oral testimony.

"The definition `good cause' is slated to come in another year. This will require everyone who previously signed declarations to testify, which can include the divorcing couple as well as all of the third party witnesses, which could be numerous."

Fleischer said the law is well-intentioned but will have unintended consequences.

"Sometimes people need to have their voices heard by the system, and their credibility during testimony needs to be observed and judged," Fleischer said. "But our courts are already bogged down and we cannot get hearings for months. Oral testimony takes time and this will only serve to cause more delays."

Fleischer said this will also make the use of attorneys more costly to the parties.

Read more here.

MR

January 5, 2011 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Marriage Gap

A new CNN article by Leah Ward Sears considers the "marriage gap":

Wilcox's study finds that over the last 30 years, among what the report calls "Middle Americans" (the 58% of moderately educated Americans who have a high school degree), the proportion of children born outside of marriage skyrocketed from 13% to 44% while the portion of adults in an intact first marriage dropped from 73% to 45%.

Meanwhile, among financially well-off Americans (the 30% who have a college degree or higher), the proportion of children born outside of marriage climbed only slightly from 2% to 6%, the divorce rate dropped from 15% to 11%, and intact first marriages dropped from 73% to 56%.

In sum, the relationships of Middle Americans increasingly resemble those of the poor, while marriages among upscale Americans are getting better in many respects.

Read more, including an analysis of this gap, here.

MR

December 30, 2010 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New EU Divorce Rules

From AFP:

BRUSSELS — Take a German and a Frenchwoman who marry in Italy, move to Portugal and then split up: under new EU rules on cross-border marriage adopted Monday the couple will be able to choose where to divorce.

The rules, to be applied by 14 of the European Union's 27 member states in mid-2012, will enable an Austrian-Bulgarian couple living in Slovenia, for example, or a Hungarian couple resident in Brussels to choose which country's rules apply in case of separation.

Of the more than one million divorces in the European Union in 2007, around 140,000, or 13 percent, concerned couples of different nationalities, the European Commission said.

The new legislation will enable couples with different nationalities, those living apart in different countries, or those living together in a nation other than their home country, to decide which country's laws apply to their divorce.

Read more here.

MR

 



December 22, 2010 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The History of Divorce Law

A fantastic historical look at the difficulty of obtaining a divorce in New York appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal.  An excerpt:

In the early 20th century, a number of young women hired themselves out as "correspondents" in divorce cases—essentially bait for philandering husbands. In 1934, the New York Mirror published an article titled, "I Was the 'Unknown Blonde' in 100 New York Divorces!"—featuring one Dorothy Jarvis, who earned as much as $100 a job. Ms. Jarvis had several tactics, beyond taking her date to a hotel room and awaiting ambush. There was the "push and raid" (where she would push herself into a man's room, dressed only in a fur coat, then whip off her outer garment), as well as the "shadow and shanghai" and the "dance and dope."

Read the piece here.

AC

September 8, 2010 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Divorce Insurance

From the NY Times online edition:

SafeGuard Guaranty Corp., an insurance start-up based in North Carolina, recently released what it’s billing as the first world’s first divorce insurance product. Here’s how its WedLock product works.

The casualty insurance is designed to provide financial assistance in the form of cash to cover the costs of a divorce, such as legal proceedings or setting up a new apartment or house. It is sold in “units of protection.” Each unit costs $15.99 per month and provides $1,250 in coverage. So, if you bought 10 units, your initial coverage would be $12,500 and you’d be paying $15.99 per month for each of those units. In addition, every year, the company adds $250 in coverage for each unit.

Then, if you get divorced and your policy has matured (see below for the maturation rules), you would send WedLock proof of your divorce. In return, you’d receive a lump sum of cash equivalent to the amount of coverage you had purchased.

So how does the company prevent people who know they are going to get a divorce from signing up? To prevent that kind of adverse selection, the policies don’t mature until 48 months after their effective date (though people can purchase additional riders to reduce that maturity period to 36 months and to get their premiums back if they happen to divorce before the policy matures).

AC

August 15, 2010 in Current Affairs, Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)