Family Law Prof Blog

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

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Global Marriage Trends

From The Economist:

MARRIAGE idealises permanence, and yet it is changing more rapidly than at any time in its history. Almost everywhere it is becoming freer, more equal and more satisfying. As our special report this week explains, wedlock has become so good that it is causing trouble.

The most benign changes are taking place in poor and middle-income countries (where most people live). Child marriage, once rife, is ebbing. So is cousin marriage, with its attendant risk of genetic defects, though it is still fairly common in the Middle East and parts of Asia. Relations between husbands and wives have become more equal (though not equal enough). As women earn more and the stigma of divorce fades, more men are finding that they cannot treat their wives as servants (or, worse, punchbags), because women can credibly threaten to walk away.

Read more here.

November 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Thanksgiving


November 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

NY Family Court's Jurisdiction Over Permanency Hearings

From New York Law Journal:

ALBANY—The state’s highest court overruled a lower court’s ruling Monday as to whether Family Court has jurisdiction to conduct a permanency hearing once an underlying neglect petition has been dismissed for failure to prove neglect.

The opinion by Associate Judge Rowan Wilson reversing the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, Matter of Jamie J., 2016 NY Slip Op 07424, asks whether the Family Court Act Article 10-a provides continuing jurisdiction if the underlying Article 10 neglect petition is dismissed.

The decision stems from a request from the Wayne County Department of Social Services to temporarily remove the 1-week-old child of a woman identified as Michelle E.C. In November 2014, the department placed the child, referred to as Jamie J., in foster care and a neglect proceeding against Michelle began under the Family Court Act Article 10, which alleged that the child was at imminent risk of harm because of the mother’s inability to provide adequate care for her child.

Read more here.

November 22, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Man Ordered To Pay Late Child Support

From Bangor Daily News:

A father of five children in three states was ordered Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland to pay more than $57,500 in back child support for his three children living in Maine, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Daniel Shertzer, 30, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts was sentenced to five years of probation in order to allow him time to pay the restitution.

Shertzer pleaded guilty in August to three counts of failure to pay child support for his Maine children, according to court documents. The Maine children are aged 9, 7 and 5.

Read more here.

November 21, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 20, 2017

British Muslim Women Are Missing Out On Marriage Rights

From The Guardian:

Six in 10 women in the UK who have had a traditional Muslim wedding ceremony are not in legally recognised marriages, depriving them of rights and protection, according to a survey.

It found that nearly all married Muslim women have had a nikah, a religious marriage ceremony, but 61% had not gone through a separate civil ceremony which would make the marriage legal under UK law.

If the marriage breaks down, women who have only had a nikah are unable to go to the family court to seek a division of assets, such as the family home and spouse’s pension.

Read more here.


November 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Child Marriage--in the U.S.

From the Independent:

More than 200,000 children were married in the US over the past 15 years, new figures have revealed.

Three 10-year-old girls and an 11-year-old boy were among the youngest to wed, under legal loopholes which allow minors to marry in certain circumstances.

The minimum age for marriage across most of the US is 18, but every state has exemptions – such as parental consent or pregnancy – which allow younger children to tie the knot.

In May, the high-profile Republican governor for New Jersey declined to sign into law a measure that would have made his state the first to ban child marriage without exception. Chris Christie claimed it would conflict with religious customs. 

Read more here.

November 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Adopted Kids and School Exclusion

From BBC News:

Faye says since he was excluded from secondary school, Joe's behaviour has deteriorated, with a devastating knock-on effect for the rest of the family.

But this family's experience is not unusual, according to a report by the charity Adoption UK.

Its research estimates adopted children can be up to 20 times more likely to be permanently excluded than their peers.

Read more here.

November 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

GOP Tax Plan and Divorce

From Bloomberg:

President Donald Trump knows first-hand that a divorce -- or in his case, two -- can be messy and expensive.

But if Republican lawmakers get their way, untying the knot could get even more costly for affluent Americans.

To help pay for sweeping tax cuts, the GOP’s “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” includes a controversial provision that would scrap the break divorcees get for paying alimony. If section 1309 of the tax bill becomes law, financial planners and divorce lawyers say the result could hurt all but the uber-wealthy.

Read more here.

November 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Future of Abortion Rights

From The New York Times:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio used to require pregnant inmates in the Arizona jails he controlled to get a court order before being allowed out of their cells to obtain a desired abortion. Needless to say, he was sued, and needless to say, he lost. (The sheriff appealed to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case.) So he switched tactics to require any inmate who wanted an abortion to prepay the transportation and security costs, something not required for any other off-site medical procedure. The American Civil Liberties Union took the sheriff back to court and won again.

That seemed to be that. Following President Trump’s pardon of Mr. Arpaio three months ago for an unrelated contempt of court conviction, the 85-year-old former sheriff, a right-wing hero for his years of abusing immigrants, seemed finally about to fade from the scene.

But guess what? It turns out that we’re all living in Sheriff Joe country now.

Read more here.

November 17, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Call for Papers

The Return of Sanctuary Cities: The Muslim Ban, Hurricane Maria, and Everything in Between

The University of Detroit Mercy Law Review is pleased to announce its annual academic
Symposium to be held on March 23, 2018 at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

This Symposium will contemplate a broad range of issues associated with Sanctuary Cities –
presentations may focus on a specific era – past, present, or future – or may discuss a subject
through the past, present and propose future solutions. Presentation topics could include, but are
not limited to:

• The potential consequences of Trump’s immigration policies (including the Muslim Ban);
• The ability or inability of Trump and ICE to carry out these immigration policies;
• The constitutionality of Trump’s and ICE’s policies and actions;
• The efficacy of Program 287(g) and the potential consequences thereof;
• The impact of the Countering Violent Extremism (“CVE”) program;
• The efficacy of states’ Sanctuary legislation, like (pro) California and (anti) Texas;
• The ability or inability of cities and states to provide protection to undocumented citizens;
• The rights that undocumented citizens, particularly youth, should enjoy;
• Strategies and policies that cities and states can adopt to protect their undocumented citizens;
• The potential benefits or consequences for cities and states who adopt Sanctuary laws;
• The consequences for the changes made to the DACA program and possible solutions; and
• The position that SCOTUS would take on these issues, including existing legislation & DACA.

The Law Review invites interested individuals to submit an abstract for an opportunity to present
at the Symposium. Those interested should send an abstract of 300-400 words that details their
proposed topic and presentation. Included with the abstract should be the presenter’s name, contact
information, and a copy of their resume/curriculum vitae. Since the above list of topics is nonexhaustive,
the Detroit Mercy Law Review encourages all interested parties to develop their own
topic to present at the Symposium. In addition, while submitting an article for publication is not
required to present at the Symposium, the Law Review encourages all speakers who are selected
to submit a piece for publication in the 2018-2019 edition of the Law Review.

The deadline for abstract submissions is December 3, 2017. Individuals selected to present at the
Symposium will be contacted by December 10, 2017. Law Review editorial staff will contact
those selected for publication in 2018 regarding details and deadlines for full-length publication.

The submissions, and any questions regarding the Symposium or the abstract process, should be
directed to Law Review Symposium Director, Jessica Gnitt at Please cc the
Detroit Mercy Law Review Editor-in-Chief, Matthew Tapia, at

November 16, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hiring a Fake Family in Japan

From the Atlantic:

Money may not be able to buy love, but here in Japan, it can certainly buy the appearance of love—and appearance, as the dapper Ishii Yuichi insists, is everything. As a man whose business involves becoming other people, Yuichi would know. The handsome and charming 36-year-old is on call to be your best friend, your husband, your father, or even a mourner at your funeral.

His 8-year-old company, Family Romance, provides professional actors to fill any role in the personal lives of clients. With a burgeoning staff of 800 or so actors, ranging from infants to the elderly, the organization prides itself on being able to provide a surrogate for almost any conceivable situation.

Yuichi believes that Family Romance helps people cope with unbearable absences or perceived deficiencies in their lives. In an increasingly isolated and entitled society, the CEO predicts the exponential growth of his business and others like it, as à la carte human interaction becomes the new norm.

Read more here.

November 15, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Forget Fake News--Now There's Fake Weddings

From the New York Times:

On a Saturday night in Buenos Aires, hundreds of guests turned out for what might have been the wedding of the season. The bride and groom were all decked out. So were the witnesses, family and friends.


November 14, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Tech Helps Late Pregnancies

From NBC Philadelphia:

NBC10's Katy Zachry is in King of Prussia with Art Castelbaum, the Medical Director for the IVF Program and an RMA at Jefferson, to talk about the new technology for women to have safe pregnancies later in life.

See the video here.

November 13, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pakistani Bride Kills 17 to Escape Arranged Marriage

From The Washington Post:

Arranged marriages are a standard practice in Pakistan, and there’s no shortage of stories about the extreme steps some Pakistani women will take to escape them and marry men of their choosing.

But few go as far as Aasia Bibi is alleged to have gone. According to Pakistani authorities, the 21-year-old woman tried to slip poison into her new husband’s milk and inadvertently killed 17 of his family members in the process.

Read more here.

November 12, 2017 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Grandmother Fights Without Lawyer For Custody of Grandchild

From BuzzFeedNews:

A grandmother who wanted to care for her grandchild had to fight a local authority with no lawyer after a social worker recommended that the baby be put up for adoption.

As the parents were unable to look after the baby, the paternal grandmother – who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity – put herself forward to be the special guardian, similar to a foster carer.

The case, heard in Gloucester’s family court last month, could not be reported until now because Gloucestershire County Council was demanding anonymity. After this was challenged by BuzzFeed News, The Guardian and the BBC, a judge ruled on Monday that they should be named and that the grandmother’s account of her experience should be made public.

Read more here.

November 11, 2017 in Adoption, Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 10, 2017

New India Law Protects Child Brides From Sex

From The New York Times:

NEW DELHI — India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a part of the country’s legal code that had permitted men to have sex with their underage wives — a decision that human rights groups said was an important step forward for the rights of girls.

Indian law sets 18 as the age for marriage and consent to sex for a young woman. But another provision of the law was inconsistent, saying a man could have sex with a girl as young as 15, as long as she was his wife.

Advocates argued to the court that this exception encouraged child marriage, which is prevalent throughout rural India and has imperiled many development goals, like improving education, ending poverty and reducing family size.

Read more here.

November 10, 2017 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Japan Could Lead in Women's Empowerment

From The Japan Times:

Japan could lead the global drive for greater gender equality but the country needs to step up its reforms, according to female world leaders who gathered at a symposium on women’s empowerment in Tokyo Wednesday.

“It would not be the first time in history when Japan would come from behind to overcome everybody,” Bulgarian Kristalina Georgieva, the World Bank’s first ever chief executive officer, said in her keynote speech at the fourth World Assembly for Women in Tokyo.

She was referring to Japan’s economic growth in recent decades and its path to becoming the world’s third-largest economy.

“Bringing women in Japan to full participation would mean a 9 percent bigger GDP, in other words, a richer Japan,” Georgieva said.

She said that empowering women would be crucial to reduce the global financial gender gap estimated at between $5 trillion and $7 trillion.

Read more here.


November 9, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

5 Factors Predicting Divorce

From CNN:

Like the break-ups themselves, divorce rates are a complicated subject to study.

Questions abound: Should we really want divorce rates to go down? Is it true that about half of American marriages end in splitsville? And why are so many baby boomers ending things all of a sudden?

Read more here.

November 8, 2017 in Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Abuse Found in Florida Juvenile Detention Center

From PBS:

A Miami Herald probe into Florida’s juvenile justice system reveals that guards were provoking incarcerated adolescents to be violent. A recent series by the newspaper, called "Fight Club," shows them beating the teenagers and forcing or bribing them to fight one another. Carol Marbin Miller, a senior investigative reporter for the Miami Herald who co-authored the series, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.

Read more here.

November 7, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Non-Deductibility of Alimony

From Business Insider:

The Republican tax plan hasn't met the expectations of advocates for "family-friendly" tax reform. Its child-credit provision is disappointingly small, in the eyes of Sen. Marco Rubio, and it abolishes the adoption tax credit altogether.

But there is one provision that could be construed as "pro-family": a tax penalty for divorce.

The tax bill released Thursday would change the tax treatment of alimony. Currently, alimony is tax-deductible for the paying spouse and taxable to the receiving spouse. But if you get divorced after the plan is enacted, that would change: Alimony would be paid out of after-tax dollars and would be tax-free to the recipient.

This change would tend to increase the total amount of tax paid by divorced couples, since the ex-spouse who pays alimony is typically the one with the higher income and who faces a higher tax bracket.

Read more here.

Hat Tip: CR

November 7, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)