Family Law Prof Blog

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

Monday, September 28, 2015

New Website Promises to Handle Your Divorce and Filing Costs for $99

From TIME:

A new website aims to take much of the heartache and cost out of getting a divorce by conducting the whole process online.

Presented at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco on Tuesday,, founded by Sandro Tuzzo and Larry Maloney, aims to distill legal jargon into plain language and reduce legal fees from tens of thousands of dollars to base price of around $1,500. Initial filing costs just $99.

“Today, connecting is easy. There’s tons of software applications out there for that,” Tuzzo said onstage at the event. “But what if you need to end a relationship, where are the tools for that?”

After working as a divorce attorney for the past 15 years, Tuzzo said he knows too well just how arduous the process can be. aims to simplify the procedure by letting users complete, file and serve divorce papers online.

Read more here.

September 28, 2015 in Divorce (grounds), International, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Viral Rise of Divorce Selfies and The Death of Traditional Marriage

From The Washington Post:

In late August, Shannon Neuman and her husband Chris went to the municipal court in Calgary, Alberta, to get a divorce. They had already filled out the forms and taken the requisite seminars. They navigated the 24-story Courts Centre and dropped their papers off.

Then, on their way out, Chris and Shannon — no longer the Neumans — paused in front of a courthouse sign. They snapped a selfie, both smiling.

“Here’s Chris Neuman and I yesterday after filing for divorce!” Shannon wrote in a Facebook post that was shared 11,000 times within its first hours online. (Wrote Chris, in the comments: “I couldn’t have hand-picked a better ex-wife if I tried.”)

Er … what is going on here? This isn’t at all the type of dialogue we expect around divorce, particularly since we’ve been taught that marriage is the only viable type of adult relationship or family structure. But in the era of platonic parenting and conscious uncoupling, these sorts of friendly, even triumphant #divorceselfies have become increasingly common. If you search the hashtag on Instagram, in fact, you’ll find over a hundred of them.

There were Keith Hinson and Michelle Knight, the Florida couple who split with a grinning selfie after three years. Jessica Hrivnak, the violin teacher who captioned hers "welcome to coparenting!" Amber Ortega and ex-husband Mike, who gives a thumbs-up to the phone.

Read more here.

September 7, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Tennessee Judge Refuses to Grant Straight Couple Divorce Because...Gay Marriage

From The Washington Post:

It was the judicial equivalent of a high school student tearing up his term paper because he got a bad grade. Or, more accurately, throwing it back at his teacher and telling her to revise it herself.

Last week, a Tenn. judge refused to grant a straight couple a divorce because the U.S. Supreme Court allowed gay marriage.

Many readers may be scratching their heads right now, wondering how the legalization of gay marriage could possibly disrupt straight divorce proceedings.

But spare a moment to hear out Jeffrey M. Atherton, if for no other reason than that the judge’s argument is an increasingly common one as conservatives across the country claim the Supreme Court overreached with its June 26 watershed ruling.

Read more here. 

September 6, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

You Need To Tell Your Child's Teacher About Your Divorce

From LA Times:

The school year is just beginning, but grades are already in on parent-teacher communication: needs improvement.

There’s a crucial disconnect between parents and teachers, both vital players in a child's growth and development, according to the results of a new survey. VitalSmarts, a corporate training and leadership development company, surveyed 689 parents and 174 teachers from its national database of subscribers.  

The results: Teachers feel parents aren’t telling them about the major changes in the home that affect the students in their classroom. Parents feel teachers don’t share revealing details about their child’s behavior at school.  

But why would, say, an English teacher need to know that a student’s parents are divorcing?

"Teachers just sort of expect that they’re going to be told" about life-altering events in their students’ lives, said David Maxfield, vice president of research and one of the study's co-authors. "The teacher wants to get updated on that kind of information because that has such a profound impact" on the child."

Read more here.

August 29, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 28, 2015

New Study Shines Light on What Dooms Marriages

From CBS News:

A new study shines a light on how romantic relationships end.

Columbia University professor Heidi Grant Halvorson said for decades, researchers knew on average, women are more likely to initiate divorce, but data presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association shows that in very committed, non-married relationships, men and women are about just as likely to call it quits.

Halvorson said that has to do with differences between how men and women share responsibilities in the two types of relationships.

"In nutshell, there's even data that shows simply the division of chores is a major source of happiness and unhappiness in marriages and those predominantly go to women even when women work as long as men do," she said Monday on "CBS This Morning."

Sixty-nine percent of women in married relationships initiate divorce, according to the study's author Michael Rosenfeld. And according to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly half of all women in marriages perform daily housework, compared to 20 percent of men, according to the Department of Labor.

Read more here.

August 28, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How Your Spouse's Ashley Madison Account Can Impact Your Divorce

From Forbes:

Now that hackers leaked the email addresses of 37 million users of Ashley Madison, the dating service for married people in search of an affair, New York City divorce lawyer Morghan Richardson’s “phone lit up like a Christmas tree,” she says.

“People are struggling to deal with how this information may impact their divorce and their life — if at all,” says Richardson.

Here is how catching a cheating spouse can affect your split:

    1. Power. “I often hear from the wronged spouse: ‘I knew he was cheating! Now that I have proof I can get the house, the kids, the …’” says Richardson. The reality is that most states have no-fault divorce laws. That means that a judge doesn’t care why you are splitting up. Their job is to make sure that the money is split fairly and custody and visitation are in the best interest of the kids. In cases of infidelity, the “wronged” spouse is so hurt and angry, they assume that a judge will take that into consideration. They won’t.  On the other hand, it is common that the cheating spouse will feel so guilty, or won’t want the divorce, or be afraid of losing face to friends and family that they concede to their husband or wife’s demands.  Guilt is a powerful negotiating tool in divorce.

Read more here.

August 27, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Uganda Bride Price: One Woman's Battle for Equal Rights

From CNN:

Florence Musidika was a primary school teacher in an unhappy and violent marriage. In 2002 she asked her husband for a divorce. In response, as she bent over one morning to light a fire to make breakfast for her three children, a grenade planted by her husband in the charcoal exploded in her face.

Miraculously, the then 27-year-old from Mbale in eastern Uganda survived the blast, but was soon confronted by a new injustice: under customary law her marriage to her abusive husband could not be dissolved until her family had refunded the bride price he had paid by in exchange for her hand.

Musidika is just one of many women whose families knew of her suffering but, unable to return the payment -- often made in livestock -- they sent her back to her abuser, imploring her to "try and be a good wife," explains Atuki Turner, the founder of women's rights organization Mifumi.

Read more here.

August 21, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Is Divorce a Sin? Even in Cases of Adultery, Most Americans Say No

From International Business Times:

Breaking up is hard to do, but is it a slight against God? It turns out, a lot of people don’t think so. According to a new survey by LifeWay Research, most Americans believe divorce is not a sin if it is the result of adultery, abuse, pornography use or abandonment.

In a telephone survey of 1,000 Americans conducted last fall, 39 percent of respondents said divorce is a sin when an individual’s spouse commits adultery; 38 percent when the couple no longer loves one another; 38 percent when a spouse abandons the other; 37 percent when a spouse is abused and 35 percent when a spouse is addicted to pornography.

Another 37 percent of Americans said that none of the reasons listed above warranted the “sin label” in cases of divorce.

Read more here.

August 16, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Judge Strikes Down Divorce Order - Wife's Partying Not Mental Cruelty

From The Times of India:

The Bombay high court has in a marital dispute case ruled that a family court was wrong in granting divorce to a Navi Mumbai resident who had claimed that his wife used to party a lot and misbehave, which constituted cruelty. Justice M L Tahaliyani pointed to the fact that social mores and traditional roles were changing and upheld an appellate court's order overturning the divorce verdict. 

Rajesh Chawla, (42), a mariner, claimed that his wife Seema, with whom he has two children, frequently attended late-night parties, misbehaved with him on many occasions, had outbursts on small issues and made his life miserable. 

"Socializing to some extent in the present society is permissible," said Justice Tahaliyani, adding, "But there is no evidence to come to the conclusion that on a particular date Seema was drunk or had excess liquor and had come to the house at a particular time." 

Read more here.

August 4, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Social Media Fueling Rise in China's Divorce Rate

From Forbes:

China’s opening up in the post-Mao era has been one of the most important trends in the global economy in the past 30 years. Yet with prosperity has come social problems. The divorce rate in the world’s most populous nation has risen along with the country’s new wealth. The government reported last month that China’s divorce rate climbed by 3.9% to 3.6 million cases in 2014. That was the 12th consecutive annual increase, according to a report in the Beijing Youth Daily. For every four couples that married in China last year, there was one divorce. Embodying the trend, sports hero Liu Xiang said last month he would divorce his wife of only nine months, Ge Tian.

What is it about modern life that’s driving the increase? To learn more, I exchanged with Liu Lin, a divorce lawyer at Beijing Shuangli Law Firm.  One big factor, he said, is the growing use of social media such as Alibaba-backed Weibo and Tencent’s WeChat. “Social media is a catalyst for divorce,” Liu said. A deeper underlying cause for the increase, however, is that Chinese couples often don’t communicate well with each other.

Read more here.

July 24, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Iran Makes Divorce By Mutual Consent Harder to Obtain

From Times of Oman:

Iran has changed a law to make divorce by mutual consent invalid unless couples have first undergone state-run counseling, the country's latest move to tackle a rise in broken marriages.

The measures, reported by media at the weekend, are contained in a new family law that a top official said would be implemented by Iran's judiciary.

"A decree of divorce by mutual consent, without counseling, is forbidden," Parnian Ghavam, head of the judiciary's social work and counseling office, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

All Iranians filing for divorce would be obliged to go to a counsellor, she said. "From now on, without this it will not be possible to register divorces of mutual consent."

Read more here.

July 13, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Collaborative Divorce Saves Time and Money


While many associate the word divorce with painful and messy, a new emphasis on conflict resolution has led to a specialty known as "collaborative divorce." Gaining traction in Pennsylvania as well as being part of an international movement, collaborative divorce is saving clients time, heartache, and often thousands of dollars.

Under collaborative law, both parties retain separate, specially trained lawyers whose only job is to help them settle the dispute. All parties agree to work in good faith, combining legal representation with the strength of mediation. 

In January, a draft of the Pennsylvania Uniform Collaborative Law Act (UCLA) gained unanimous approval of the Family Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Last month, a resolution supporting the proposal was approved by the full board and the House of Delegates of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. A bill is expected to be introduced in the legislature later this year.

Read more here.

July 7, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Country's First Gay Divorce Firm Opens

From CBS Philly:

A Philadelphia attorney has opened what he says is the first LGBTQ divorce firm.

Philadelphia lawyer Conor Corcoran, who bills himself as the nation’s first gay divorce attorney, says he is ready to serve gays and lesbians that will need divorces following the Supreme Court’s ruling last week legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.

Corcoran says he celebrated the Supreme Court decision to have marriage equality throughout the United States, but he quickly realized it was unlikely all of the new marriages would end in bliss.

He says that is why he launched a new division entirely devoted to LGBT divorce.

Read more here.

July 6, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Divorce for Same-Sex Couples

From The Tampa Tribune:

A year after being denied by a judge, a lesbian couple in Tampa will be allowed to divorce, the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled Friday.

Although Attorney General Pam Bondi asked the appellate court to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriage, the court instead issued a terse opinion reversing an order by a Hillsborough Circuit judge who refused to grant a divorce to Keiba Lynn Shaw and Mariama Changamire Shaw.

“For the reasons expressed in this court’s recent opinion in Brandon-Thomas v. Brandon-Thomas ... we reverse and remand for further proceedings,” the order stated.

The Shaws, who were married in Massachusetts, agreed to their divorce and settled all issues through a process known as collaborative divorce, asking the courts only to issue a legal declaration dissolving their marriage.

Read more here.

June 11, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Divorce Parties...In Iran?

From the BBC:

The parties sometimes require extravagant preparations, complete with black roses and huge cakes, the conservative Jomhuri-ye Eslami newspaper reports. "You go to a florist to order a bouquet of black roses. Next you come to us to order invitation cards," one card shop owner tells the paper.

"I don't miss you at all," says one invitation, quoting the lyrics of a Persian pop hit.

Read more here.


May 30, 2014 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fighting Divorces

From the Washington Post:

For years, social conservatives have been fighting to prevent certain people from getting married. But they’re waging a parallel battle, too: Trying to keep married couples together.

In cooperation with the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, socially conservative politicians have been quietly trying to make it harder for couples to get divorced. In recent years, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have introduced bills imposing longer waiting periods before a divorce is granted, mandating counseling courses or limiting the reasons a couple can formally split. States such as Arizona, Louisiana and Utah have already passed such laws, while others such as Oklahoma and Alabama are moving to do so.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

April 14, 2014 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Same-Sex Divorce

From the New York Times:

Mr. Cardinal cannot remarry — to do so would make him a bigamist in states like Massachusetts or New York that recognize his previous nuptials. And although he and his husband did not combine their assets, the lack of an official document certifying the end of their marriage carries financial risks.

“I didn’t realize this could potentially be an issue, that we couldn’t divorce when we wanted to,” Mr. Cardinal said. “That was really upsetting.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling last week striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act has been hailed as a victory for gay couples who wish to marry. But it has also offered new hope to people like Mr. Cardinal who are stuck in a marriage they cannot dissolve.

In a highly mobile society, state bans on same-sex marriage have in many cases made untying the knot far harder than tying it in the first place. But the language in the court’s decision is broad enough, legal experts say, to provide a basis for challenges to state laws.

Read more here.


August 19, 2013 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce

From Huffington Post:

"He slept with his secretary." "Except for spending all of my money, she never did a thing for the kids or our marriage." "I'm taking everything, including the kitchen sink!" Emotional reactions like these are extremely common during a divorce. However, they have no place in the divorce proceedings where the need to prove fault has been eliminated, and the conduct of the other party is not a factor considered by the court when granting a divorce, dividing property or entering support orders.

Read more here.


May 8, 2013 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Second Marriages More Successful?

From the Marriage Foundation:

Second Marriages: Triumph of decision over hope?  It is often assumed that second marriages are riskier than first marriages - “The triumph of hope over experience” as popularised by Samuel Johnson in 1791. A new analysis of data commissioned from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) challenges this assumption. In fact, second marriages overall do consistently better than first marriages. Where one or both spouses are marrying for the second time, couples marrying today face an estimated 31% risk of divorce during their lifetime, compared to an estimated 45% risk of divorce amongst couples where both spouses are marrying for the first time.

Read more here.


May 1, 2013 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Divorce Causes

From the Huffington Post:

A growing number of Brits are citing alcohol as a contributing factor in their divorces -- and it's the wives who have the drinking problem in the majority of the cases, according to one divorce attorney.

Read more here.


April 12, 2013 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)