Family Law Prof Blog

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Does Surveilling Alleged Domestic Abusers Violate Their Rights?

From The Washington Post:

In the United States, about one in three women in intimate relationships experiences abuse, including rape, battery, intimidation and stalking. But those who report domestic violence to authorities or attempt to leave their abusers are at risk of experiencing harassment and separation assault, which can sometimes be deadly. They are also vulnerable to being coaxed by an alleged abuser into backpedaling their story. These are forms of witness tampering that interfere with a victim’s ability to testify.

In response to lethal cases of separation assault, a growing number of state legislatures have passed or are considering passing legislation that mandates or permits the electronic monitoring of domestic violence defendants — most recently with GPS tracking ankle monitors — to ensure they comply with judges’ stay away, protection or restraining orders. While most defendants comply with such orders, a minority of alleged abusers with a long history of violence regard them as a mere “piece of paper.” Requiring GPS monitoring is hence a way of giving the orders teeth.

Read more here.

September 13, 2018 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Colorado Family Struggled With Debt Before Murders

From CNN:

Chris and Shanann Watts detailed their life on social media. They shared photos of beach vacations to San Diego and screengrabs of lovey-dovey text messages. They gushed about their daughters and posted photos of the little girls' gap-toothed grins and funny dances.

"Happy Husband Appreciation Day! I couldn't imagine a better man for us," Shanann Watts wrote next to their photo in April.

"You spoil us with love an(d) attention! You put up with 3 impatient, demanding women in the house," she continued. "You work so hard everyday to provide for us. I love you so much."

Four months after Shanann Watts posted that photo, her husband sits in a jail in Colorado, suspected of killing her, along with their daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.

Read more here.

August 23, 2018 in Bankruptcy, Current Affairs, Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Draft of Teen Dating Violence Policy Presented

From WTTV4:

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A local student just took a major step in getting a domestic violence policy implemented in all IPS schools. She went before the board Thursday night to present the first draft of the proposal.

"We can accomplish this by becoming the first school district to implement a teen dating abuse prevention and response policy," said Maria De Leon, Domestic Violence Network Youth Advocate.

Maria has been a youth advocate for the past three years. A recent Crispus Attucks graduate, she was determined to finish what she started by getting IPS to adopt a teen dating violence policy.

"To be educated on what a healthy and an unhealthy relationship is. What domestic violence is in general. And what the difference between physical and emotional abuse is," Maria said.

Nationally 1 in 3 teens experience teen dating violence. And the problem is apparent in Indiana.

Read more here.

August 21, 2018 in Current Affairs, Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Court Jails Mother Who Hid With Sons in Custody Battle

From BBC News:

A Spanish court has jailed a woman for five years for going into hiding with her two sons rather than hand them to the father, whom she accused of abuse.

Juana Rivas has also been stripped of custody rights for six years and told to pay hefty legal costs.

Spanish politicians and women's groups have criticised the verdict.

The long-running custody battle for the boys - now aged 12 and four - has become a rallying point in Spain's battle against gender violence.

Read more here.

July 31, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans), Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Hoosiers Rally at Statehouse Demanding Resignation of AG Curtis Hill

From The Journal Review:

More than 75 Hoosier women and men rallied Saturday outside the Statehouse demanding the resignation of embattled Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill.

Holding signs reading "Power Is Not Permission," "Time's Up" and "Elect Feminists Now," participants said they came together to show support for the four women allegedly groped by Hill at an Indianapolis bar March 15, including state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, and to stand with the numerous state leaders who have called for Hill to leave office.

"Public servants and elected public officials of the state of Indiana should be held, and must be held, at a higher standard," said Kerry Hyatt Bennett, legal counsel at the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Read more here.

July 11, 2018 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 30, 2018

For Women In Papua New Guinea, Income From Selling Betel Nut Can Come At Heavy Price

From NPR:

The women are mostly in their early 20s. They have children at home. Selling betel nut — an addictive, natural chew — to passersby in mountain towns of Papua New Guinea is a good way to earn a living.

But the extra income sometimes comes at a heavy price: violent beatings by their spouses. Two out of three women in Papua New Guinea experience abuse at the hands of an intimate partner at least once in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization and aid groups.

Betel nut sellers in Goroka, the main city in the Eastern Highlands, say physical violence is particularly common in their marriages.

Read more here.

June 30, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Dangers of Divorce Law

From NBC News:

New York divorce lawyer extraordinaire Raoul Felder, who handled the celebrity splits of everybody from Rudy Giuliani to Christie Brinkley, kept a pistol in the desk drawer of his Manhattan office for many years.

His reasoning was simple: “Everybody hates divorce lawyers, sometimes even their own clients,” he said.

That animosity was on display earlier this week when police said an Arizona man — upset over his divorce nearly a decade earlier — went on a killing spree that left seven people dead, including himself.

Read more here.

June 13, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Fear of Deportation Keeping Immigrants From Reporting Domestic Violence

From The New York Times:

For years, she slept with a gun under her pillow, living in fear of a boyfriend who beat her, controlled her life and threatened to kill her and her children. Domenica, who came to this country illegally from Mexico in 1995 and became part of the booming immigrant community in Houston, said her partner was a United States citizen, and often reminded her that she could be deported if she went to the police.

“He told me nobody would help me, because I don’t have papers,” said Domenica, 38, who has a son and daughter with her boyfriend, and asked that her last name not be used in order to protect them. “I was with him like that for a pretty long time. I felt like there was no help for me.”

In August of last year, fearing for the safety of her children, Domenica decided to flee. She never called the police. She said she would rather go into hiding than appear in court and risk being separated from her children, or sent home to Mexico.

Read more here.

June 9, 2018 in Current Affairs, Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Women in Turkey Endure Culture of Violence

From The New York Times:

Video taken moments after Handan Askin was shot is shaky, but the scene is clear: Ms. Askin is sprawled out on her back on the cobblestone street, her legs splayed. Her arms are bent upward at her elbows, and she moves her hands while her neighbor asks, “What happened?”

Nine months later in her hospital room, she recalled what happened before her husband shot her: “Emre threatened me when I told him that I wanted to separate, and he used our children to try and prevent me from submitting the documents for divorce.”

She is now paralyzed from the waist down. But to some, Ms. Askin is considered lucky — she is still alive.

Read more here.

May 31, 2018 in Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Apps Used to Stalk Endanger Domestic Violence Victims

From ABA Journal:

There are hundreds of cell phone apps that can be used for stalking a current or former romantic partner—and they may be hard to access by attorneys who work with victims.

The New York Times reported Saturday on research that showed more than 200 apps available through Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store for monitoring someone’s location and activities. Many are ostensibly for finding a lost phone or keeping tabs on a child, the Times says—but are marketed for catching a cheating partner.

The research the Times reported on, from NYU, Cornell, Hunter College and Technion, also found apps that are overtly marketed for spying on a partner. Researchers called nine companies and asked about using their apps to track a husband; only one—TeenSafe—turned them down.

Read more here.

May 30, 2018 in Current Affairs, Domestic Violence, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Former Playmate Kills Self, Son, in Custody Battle

From The New York Post:

A former Playboy Playmate killed herself and her 7-year-old son in a murder-suicide leap from a Midtown hotel penthouse Friday amid a bitter custody battle with her estranged husband, sources told The Post.

The bodies of Stephanie Adams and her son, Vincent, were found on a second-floor balcony area by a guest at the Gotham Hotel, police said.

Adams, 47, had been battling with her husband, Manhattan chiropractor Charles Nicolai, in court, and the dispute had heated up Tuesday when he filed a motion for sole custody of the boy, said his lawyer, William Beslow.

Read more here.

May 24, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds), Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Seventh Circuit Holds ERISA Does Not Preempt Slayer Statute

From JD Supra, Holland & Knight:

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), pre-empts most state laws. However, there are certain types of state laws that are not pre-empted. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Laborers' Pension Fund v. Miscevic, 880 F.3d 927 (7th Cir. 2018), held that the Illinois slayer statute is one of those state statutes that is not pre-empted by ERISA. A slayer statute is a law that prevents an heir from receiving assets or other property from a decedent if that heir is responsible for the decedent's death.

In this case, a woman killed her husband. The husband was a participant in a union pension plan that provided survivor benefits to a surviving spouse or, if there were no surviving spouse, to a minor child. There was no dispute as to the facts. In a state criminal proceeding, the woman was found to be not guilty of killing her husband by reason of insanity. Her husband's pension fund, The Laborers' Pension Fund (the Fund), brought an interpleader action to determine the proper beneficiary of the husband's pension benefits because the couple had a minor child.

Read more here.

April 16, 2018 in Attorneys, Current Affairs, Domestic Violence, Jurisdiction, Property Division | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 5, 2018

Utah Step Closer to Changing Definition of Domestic Violence

From The Salt Lake Tribune:

After another record year of domestic violence in Utah, two bills aiming to shield victims from their abusers moved a step closer to being signed into law.

Eight members of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on Friday listened to — and unanimously approved — Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, and Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, as they pitched SB27 and HB165, respectively.

The bills were inspired by the death of Memorez Rackley and her six-year-old son Jase. The two were killed June 6 in Sandy when a man Rackley had dated shot them in the middle of the street. The man, Jeremy Patterson, killed himself shortly after.

Read more here.

 

February 5, 2018 in Child Abuse, Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Language Barriers in Domestic Abuse Cases

From The New York Times:

Arlet Macareno still gets choked up when telling the story about when the police arrived at her home in Staten Island nearly five years ago, responding to a 911 call from her niece, who found her lying at the bottom of the stairs.

Ms. Macareno, in an interview and a federal lawsuit, said she tried to tell the police that her husband had pushed her down, but instead of taking him to jail, the responding officers arrested her and carried her barefoot and badly bruised to the 120th Precinct station house.

She was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, according to the legal complaint, after pleading with the officers for an interpreter. The arresting officer said she had prevented him from writing his report, her lawyer said.

With little understanding of English or her rights, and in a hurry to return to her 7-year-old son, she pleaded guilty in criminal court to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and was released.

“I knew I needed an interpreter and had a right to an interpreter,” she said. “I was denied the right to speak. I was denied to the right to express myself. I felt destroyed,” she said in Spanish during an interview.

Read more here.

June 8, 2017 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Warnings issued as firearms permit bill signed into law

From Chicago Tribune:

A controversial new law that allows domestic violence victims to carry a gun without a permit will create greater risk for police and provide a false sense of security for victims, detractors say.

House Bill 1071 passed the Senate 38-12, after the House voted 74-26 in favor of it. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law last week.

The bill would enable domestic violence victims to carry a handgun, if they have an active protective order against their alleged abuser, without a permit for 60 days.

Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, who sponsored the bill, said this legislation will lend victims an extra measure of protection.

Read more here.

May 5, 2017 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Opening doors for women and children when domestic violence hits home

From The Guardian:

Homeless women need somewhere to live. Landlords need someone to manage their properties. Put the two together and the result is a solution to a significant social issue.

Melbourne’s Property Initiatives Real Estate manages apartments for investors and developers, and directs all profitstowards developing long-term housing for women and children in need.

Jeanette Large is the chief executive of the agency, which operates as a fixed trust under Women’s Property Initiatives (WIP), a not-for-profit company which develops and owns the properties. Large says most of the women housed have escaped family violence.

Indeed, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says one-third of the 520,000 people who sought help from Australian homelessness services between 2011 and 2014 did so because of domestic violence.

Launched in April 2015, Large says the real estate agency was created to overcome the funding limitations of philanthropy. WIP has always depended on donations and government grants and needed to find a way to become more self-sustaining while continuing to grow.

Read more here.

November 5, 2016 in Divorce (grounds), Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Evansville groups giving domestic violence survivors a voice

From The Indiana Lawyer:

A shirt hanging on the wall of the Evansville YWCA reminds visitors: "Your safety, love and happiness matter." Another cautions: "Build your home with love, don't break your home with hate."

Domestic violence affects more than 10 million people a year in the U.S., but almost half of those incidents go unreported. Organizations such as the Evansville YWCA and Albion Fellows Bacon Center are hosting programs throughout October — domestic violence awareness month — to encourage reporting domestic abuse.

The clothes hanging in the YWCA lobby are part of the annual Clothesline Project, which spotlights domestic violence with a gallery of shirts designed by survivors to represent their personal experience. Many carry messages of hope for the next person who leaves an abuser.

"People just create the most beautiful piece of art to express their journey," said Erika Taylor, CEO of YWCA Evansville.

Some shirts' messages are simple, with phrases like "love should not hurt" painted inside hearts. Others carry a reminder to the person who painted them: "I have a voice, I am worthy ... I deserve love."

More than one in three women and one in four men in the U.S. say they were physically abused by an intimate partner at some point in their life, according to a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey results, published in 2010, also showed almost one in 10 women in the U.S. have been raped by an intimate partner.

While domestic violence is common, victims do not always report it. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates only 56.1 percent of domestic violence incidents in 2014 were reported to police. That rate improves, though not by much, when it's restricted to intimate partner violence, committed by current or ex-spouses, girlfriends or boyfriends.

Read more here.

October 26, 2016 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Women’s Shelter Family Rescue Sees Miracles Daily

From The Huffington Post:

It came down to a matter of matching blinds.

Women, removed from shelters, lived in their cars, awaiting the opening of Family Rescue‘s Ridgeland Transitional Housing because the state objected to the fact that some window blinds did not match. After six long years of jumping through the state’s hoops and convincing private investors that Ridgeland and domestic violence was worth their money, Family Rescue found the only thing standing between 22 families in need of a home and the December elements was matching window blinds. So, housing center officials opened anyway, ready to face whatever fines the state would throw at them.

Read more here.

September 11, 2016 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Women’s Shelter Family Rescue Sees Miracles Daily

From The Huffington Post:

It came down to a matter of matching blinds.

Women, removed from shelters, lived in their cars, awaiting the opening of Family Rescue‘s Ridgeland Transitional Housing because the state objected to the fact that some window blinds did not match. After six long years of jumping through the state’s hoops and convincing private investors that Ridgeland and domestic violence was worth their money, Family Rescue found the only thing standing between 22 families in need of a home and the December elements was matching window blinds. So, housing center officials opened anyway, ready to face whatever fines the state would throw at them.

Read more here.

September 11, 2016 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 2, 2016

China wants to stop domestic violence. But the legal system treats it as a lesser crime.

From The Washington Post:

In a courtroom in the Chinese heartland, a defense attorney made his final pitch.

That his client, Zhang Yazhou, killed his wife was not in question. At 5:25 in the evening on Feb. 21,  Zhang walked into his wife’s hospital room. They argued. He strangled her, digging his fingers deep into the flesh of her neck.

By the time nurses entered the room, Zhang was gone and Li Hongxia, just 24, was dead.

Since Zhang confessed on television and in court, the issue at hand was the sentence. Li’s family and their lawyer asked for the death penalty, which is common in China, describing a year of escalating abuse that culminated in a brutal murder.

Read more here.

September 2, 2016 in Domestic Violence, International, Resources - Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)