Family Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

FBI: Hate crimes spike, most sharply against Muslims

From CNN.com:

The latest FBI annual hate crime report shows a sharp spike in the number of hate crimes nationwide, with attacks against Muslims increasing the most sharply.

In one year, anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States rose 67%, from 154 incidents in 2014 to 257 in 2015, according to the latest numbers released in the bureau's Hate Crime Statistics Report on Monday.
 
In sheer numbers, anti-Jewish incidents (664) were higher in 2015, but the percentage increase was much higher for incidents involving Muslim victims. "That is the highest number since 2001, when the al Qaeda attacks on New York and elsewhere drove the number to its highest ever level, 481 hate crimes," according to Mark Potok with Southern Poverty Law.
 
The FBI defines a hate crime as a "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity."
 
Law enforcement agencies submit incident reports annually; the reports include information detailing the offenses, victims, offenders and locations of hate crimes. The bureau's Uniform Crime Reporting Program data showed 5,850 hate crime incidents reported to police in 2015, a 6.8% increase from the 5,479 incidents reported in 2014.
 
Read more here.

November 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nigel Shepherd: ‘Law fails poorer families going through relationship breakdown’

From the Guardian:

Less well-off couples trying to separate through divorce proceedings are facing a “perfect storm” of court closures, legal aid cuts and bureaucratic breakdown, says Nigel Shepherd, the newly appointed head of the family law organisation Resolution, a 6,500-strong association which represents solicitors, barristers and other professionals involved in family law.

Shepherd, 60, who has taken up the post for the second time in his career, has already written to the new justice secretary, Liz Truss, pressing her department to carry out a review of the impact of the withdrawal of legal aid in most family cases. 

Unless individuals can demonstrate they are victims of domestic violence, courtroom representation is no longer available under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Advice "deserts:A, areas where there are few agencies or solicitors able to give help, have begun to emerge. For poorer individuals who cannot afford a solicitor, the withdrawal of legal aid for family courts has caused a surge in litigants in person, whose claims, if pursued, take far longer to resolve, according to Shepherd. As many as 80% of family law cases may now involve one party who is unrepresented.

“London has a real problem if you want a high court hearing [for divorce cases],” Shepherd says. “You may have to wait nine months to a year.” This means that custody battles are more protracted. Online divorce, being developed by the judiciary, is not yet available.

Local authority funding cuts have also made it harder to obtain reports from social workers, Shepherd says, pointing to the warning last month by Sir James Munby, who heads the family division, that family courts are facing a “clear and imminent crisis” because of the increase in child care cases.

Read more here.

November 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Civil Partnership versus Marriage in Britain

From HG.org:

However that was not to be as, since Rebecca Steinfield and Charles Keidan first decided that they would prefer to have a civil partnership rather than get married and found that they were promptly knocked back, they have been campaigning ever since to challenge the decision that they do not meet the requisite legal requirement to enable them to have a civil partnership, that of being the same sex.

The couple lost their appeal yesterday at the High Court where they contended that they were subject to discrimination and state that they intend to appeal. The government welcomed the decision on the basis that “the current regime of marriage and civil partnership does not disadvantage opposite-sex couples”.

Furthermore, it is felt that now that same-sex couples can marry it is likely that civil partnerships will fade away and eventually be phased out at some stage in the future and to amend that legislation at this stage would be an unnecessary expense, particularly as no decision has yet been made regarding civil partnerships as the government is keen to see what impact, if any, same-sex marriage has on civil partnerships.

Read more here.

November 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Flowers for Same-Sex Wedding

From Northwest Public Radio:

The case of a florist who refused to serve her customers is going before the Washington Supreme Court tomorrow. The lawsuit concerns a gay couple who wanted flowers for their wedding.

Barronelle Stutzman owns Arlene's Flowers in Richland. She says providing flowers for the wedding would have violated her religious freedoms. Last year a Benton County Superior Court judge said her actions violated anti-discrimination law in Washington. The judge ruled that she could no longer refuse customers based on their sexual orientation. Stutzman appealed to the Washington Supreme Court.

Read more here.

November 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Court of appeal upholds decision to keep Oxford mother's child in care

From The Guardian:

Court of Appeals judges have backed a decision to take a four-year-old girl into care on the grounds that her long-term emotional health and life chances were threatened by her mother’s inability to control her child’s behaviour.

The girl, known as “Child B”, was placed for adoption in August after a ruling by a judge at a private family court hearing in Oxford found that her mother was incapable of providing adequate parenting or setting boundaries.

The court of appeal heard that Child B showed extremely challenging behaviour, was at times aggressive and disrespectful towards her mother, did not trust her, failed to respond to her attempts to control her, and used inappropriate language.

Social workers had at one stage carried out a parenting assessment which recorded eight examples of “worrying behaviour” by the girl, then three, during a five-week period. In one instance she had moved around car parks in an “uncontrolled way” and had once run across a road, causing a car to brake suddenly.

Although the mother accepted that she had failed to set boundaries and protect her daughter from emotional harm in the past, her lawyers argued that her parenting had improved and that the girl was no longer at risk of suffering significant harm in her care.

Read more here.

November 14, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Divorce: How to remain financially secure

From CNBCAfrica.com:

Unfortunately divorce is an all too common reality in our current times. Statistics reflect that as the year winds down to a close, partners contemplate the reality of dissolving a union that is no longer working.

Most people going through a divorce will agree that the initial stages can be overwhelming – in fact the changes happen so quickly that the alternative - to stick their head in the sand and hide, may well seem a more attractive option.

As with most daunting undertakings, a plan and a checklist will assist. There are a few essential steps that need to be taken in contemplation of divorce proceedings to ensure that the financial settlement will be fair and you will be financially independent and secure once the divorce is finalised.

This is according to Lisa Griffiths, Associate Director of BDO Wealth Advisers, who highlights the following list of “to-do’s” to prepare for divorce:

1.  Establish a team of professional advisers

“Firstly, it is essential that you find your own lawyer and that it should not be a person who has or will act for your spouse.”

“Also ensure that you have your own financial planner – their role will be critical in analysing the financial data. Once again, your planner should not be a person who will also act for your spouse – there is a clear conflict of interest!”

2.  Gather all of your financial information and documentation

“You need to be fully aware of the complete and complex financial situation facing you. Understand all of your debts — not only what the two of you have jointly, but also individually. To avoid any unforeseen surprises, you need to comprehend the full picture on credit card accounts, home loans, car finance and even other items such as personal loans, business debts and retail accounts. You must be prepared to disclose your full financial status.”

“Be prepared. It is so much easier to navigate divorce negotiations if you have the full financial information available early on in the proceedings,” says Griffiths, who goes on to advise that one should also keep a second set of documentation in a safe place.

Read more here.

November 12, 2016 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Locked up and in limbo: Mother takes immigration, child custody battle to court

From The Washington Post:

From the day he was picked up three years ago by Border Patrol agents in Texas, Dora Beltrán’s son has cycled through shelters and detention centers in five states as his mother fights to bring him home.

The family’s immigration standing is not at issue: She is a legal permanent resident and an immigration judge decided he would not be deported.

Yet the teen remains locked up as his mother and the government battle over when federal officials can keep a parent from her troubled child.

The rare and complicated case is set to be heard this week in federal court in Northern Virginia where Beltrán is challenging the role of federal officials in child custody matters.

Her son had lived with her in Texas for years but was a runaway when he was spotted by agents at age 14 near the Mexican border. Before Beltrán could get to her son, authorities detained him as an unaccompanied minor.

Even after an immigration judge determined that the boy did not have to be deported, federal officials decided he should remain in a detention center. They said his history — with the teen describing himself as a runaway, drug user and associate of criminal gangs — raised questions about his mother’s ability to supervise him and keep him safe.

But Beltrán’s lawyers say that once an immigration judge closed out her son’s case, he should have been released to her.

On Thursday, her lawyers will argue that she is entitled to a formal custody hearing similar to what she would receive in a state or local child welfare system.

Read more here.

November 11, 2016 in Custody (parenting plans), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Nigel Shepherd: ‘Law fails poorer families going through relationship breakdown’

From The Guardian:

Less well-off couples trying to separate through divorce proceedings are facing a “perfect storm” of court closures, legal aid cuts and bureaucratic breakdown, says Nigel Shepherd, the newly appointed head of the family law organisation Resolution, a 6,500-strong association which represents solicitors, barristers and other professionals involved in family law.

Shepherd, 60, who has taken up the post for the second time in his career, has already written to the new justice secretary, Liz Truss, pressing her department to carry out a review of the impact of the withdrawl of legal aid in most family cases.

Unless individuals can demonstrate they are victims of domestic violence, courtroom representation is no longer available under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Advice "deserts", areas where there are few agencies or solicitors able to give help, have begun to emerge. For poorer individuals who cannot afford a solicitor, the withdrawal of legal aid for family courts has caused a surge in litigants in person, whose claims, if pursued, take far longer to resolve, according to Shepherd. As many as 80% of all family law cases may now involve one party who is unrepresented.

“London has a real problem if you want a high court hearing [for divorce cases],” Shepherd says. “You may have to wait nine months to a year.” This means that custody battles are more protracted. Online divorce, being developed by the judiciary, is not yet available.

Local authority funding cuts have also made it harder to obtain reports from social workers, Shepherd says, pointing to the warning last month by Sir James Munby, who heads the family division, that family courts are facing a “clear and imminent crisis” because of the increase of child care cases. London has a real problem if you want a high court hearing. You may have to wait a year

The Ministry of Justice’s austerity programme of court closures has placed further strains on access to justice. “There’s pressure from court closures; 86 in the latest slice. It means people have to travel a lot further – difficult for those who use public transport,” says Shepherd. Clients from parts of rural Cambridgeshire, who have to travel to Peterborough family court, for example, already have a two-hour journey each way involving several buses and a train, according to Resolution.

Read more here.

November 10, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Lawyer creates heartbreak museum

From The ABA Journal:

A tube of toothpaste might not seem like an item worthy of an exhibit. But it’s exactly the kind of artifact that the Museum of Broken Relationships wants to showcase.

Items that are part of a story. A story of a failed relationship. A story to which everyone can relate, says attorney John Quinn.

“These objects and stories come from all over the world, and you realize [broken hearts are] a universal human phenomenon,” Quinn says.

Quinn was on a family vacation in Zagreb, Croatia, when a guidebook led him to the original Museum of Broken Relationships. Crowdsourced exhibits that featured artifacts from love lost captured his imagination.

“It was a very compelling overview of the different relationships people have,” says Quinn, who reached out to the owners of the Croatian museum before he opened his own museum in Los Angeles.

The Museum of Broken Relationships is about 5,000 square feet and takes up two floors in a space previously occupied by Frederick’s of Hollywood. For Quinn, who founded the litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, starting a museum was a natural fit—he’s an art enthusiast and avid collector, and he knows business. While Quinn isn’t actively involved in the day-to-day operations of running the museum, he says he understands the connection visitors feel.

Read more here.

November 9, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

North Korea Families Pressuring Elderly to Commit Suicide

From UPI.com:

SEOUL, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- More senior citizens in North Korea are being pressured to kill themselves because of intergenerational conflicts and the skyrocketing cost of medicine.

Elderly North Koreans who can no longer depend on the country's welfare system must also cope with their children who are sometimes apathetic to their needs, Radio Free Asia reported Thursday.

A source in North Hamgyong Province told RFA on Tuesday it is a common sight at parks or train stations to see senior citizens gathered together, even as temperatures continue to drop in some of the coldest parts of the country.

"[Korean War] veterans are among their numbers; it is heartbreaking to see them there," the source said.

The elderly, who are no longer employable, leave their homes during the day to avoid friction with their children. They shiver in the cold outdoors until the sun sets, the source said.

 

The financial burden they impose on their adult children who also struggle to make ends meet has led to family crises, where it is the children who are asking their aging parents to commit suicide, said another source in North Hamgyong Province.

The notion of killing themselves is not unfamiliar to elderly North Koreans, particularly war veterans who once devoted their lives to the Workers' Party and sacrificing for North Korea founder Kim Il Sung

Their devotion has not paid off, as neither the state nor their children are tending to their needs, according to the report.

Read more here.

November 8, 2016 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Women in the workforce transform economies

From The Washington Post:

More women have jobs today than ever before. Not only is their share of the workforce expanding in many countries, but their economic clout is transforming communities. In Western countries, roughly 80 percent of women work outside the home, a rate that has held steady for nearly 25 years. Female labor participation is also trending higher in a number of emerging markets, including Mexico, parts of Africa and some Arab nations.

The implications are personal for women and their families, and economic on a macro level. Female contribution to global economic activity is expected to reach $18 trillion by 2018, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

“Statistically speaking, the relationship between economic opportunity for women and national competitiveness is direct and positive,” said Linda Scott, professor emeritus of marketing at the University of Oxford. “Countries that score higher in national competitiveness measures are making fuller use of their resources, and those happen to be countries where women are more fully integrated into the workplace.”

In places where women are prevented from working and running their own businesses, everybody loses out. “If religious tradition or social convention suppress the productivity of half its labor force—preventing women from freely socializing, for example, or restricting their mobility—their skills and intellects are not being fully utilized,” Scott said. “It follows then, that the country they live in will not be maximizing its economic potential.”

Read more here.

November 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Federal legislation aims to help students who are homeless or living in foster care

From The ABA Journal:

In the past, legislative efforts to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education generally overlooked the unique needs of children who are homeless or living in foster care.

But that situation is changing under the Every Student Succeeds Act, which contains a number of provisions that seek to provide greater stability in school for children who come from those backgrounds. The ABA is working to guarantee that regulations being implemented under the act effectively meet the needs of those students.

“With this bill, we re-affirm that fundamentally American ideal—that every child, regardless of race, income, background, the ZIP code where they live, deserves the chance to make out of their lives what they will,” said President Barack Obama when he signed ESSA in December 2015. The act replaced the No Child Left Behind Act, which became law in 2007, and Obama said the new law “upholds the core value” of the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that “education, the key to economic opportunity, is a civil right.”

Read more here.

November 6, 2016 | 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 (0)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Leave Earlier to Protest Gender Pay Gap

From the NYT's Women in the World:

Even in Iceland, the country many experts consider the world’s leader in gender equity, the gender pay gap persists. Women employees make 14 to 18 percent less than men in Iceland — a discrepancy that unions and women’s organizations say means women effectively work for free after 2:38 pm. On Monday, in protest of the pay gap, thousands of Icelandic women decided to work the hours their pay merited — by leaving their workplaces promptly when the clock struck 2:38.

Read more here.

November 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Economists and the Marriage Market

Marriage Market: Formation, Selection, and Policy Effects

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 10:15 AM – 12:15 PM

 
Swissotel Chicago, Zurich B
Hosted By: American Economic Association
  • Chair: Manuela Angelucci, University of Michigan

The Marriage Market for Lemons: HIV Testing and Marriage in Rural Malawi

Manuela Angelucci,
University of Michigan
 
Daniel Bennett,
University of Chicago
 
Jenny Trinitapoli,
University of Chicago

The Role of Marriage in Fighting HIV: A Quantitative Analysis in Malawi

Jeremy Greenwood,
University of Pennsylvania
 
Philipp Kircher,
University of Edinburgh
 
Cezar Santos,
Getulio Vargas Foundatin
 
Michele Tertilt,
University of Mannheim

The Long-Run Effects of Elite Higher Education on the Marriage Market: Evidence From Chile

Katja Kaufmann,
Bocconi University
 
Matthias Messner,
Bocconi University
 
Alex Solis,
Uppsala University

Betting the House: Asset Accumulation, Marriage Patterns, and Divorce Law

Jeanne Lafortune,
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
 
Corinne Low,
University of Pennsylvania
Discussant(s)
Michele Tertilt,
University of Mannheim
 
Manuela Angelucci,
University of Michigan
 
Corinne Low,
University of Pennsylvania
 
Katja Kauffmann,
Bocconi University
JEL Classifications
  • D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics

November 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fighting for Cubs Tickets...In Divorce Court

From ESPN:

The frenzy among Chicago Cubs fans to snag pricey and scarce tickets to World Series games at Wrigley Field has now landed in divorce court.

Court documents obtained by The Associated Press from Cook County Circuit Court on Friday say a woman this week submitted an "Emergency Petition For World Series Tickets'' to see Game 4 on Saturday against the Cleveland Indians.

A judge's order says the tickets for Saturday are held by Nancy Riddle's estranged husband and fellow Cubs fan John Riddle. Judge Marya Nega ruled after in-court arguments that the husband can keep the tickets for himself and the couple's 12-year-old son but should pay for a new ticket for Nancy Riddle in a "comparable'' section to his.

Read more here.

 

November 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Honoring our Parents

The Journal of Law and Religion had a symposium issue, Honoring our Parents.  Here is the introduction written by Amy Ziettlow (Institute for American Values) & Naomi Cahn (GW).

November 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016 David C. Baum Memorial Lecture

Jonathan Rauch, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, delivered the fall 2016 David C. Baum Memorial Lecture on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights on October 18, 2016, at the University of Illinois College of Law.  His talk on “Gay Rights, Nondiscrimination and Religious Liberty:  Can We Avoid a Train Wreck” can be seen here:  Jonathan Rauch David C. Baum Lecture on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights.    

 

October 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 28, 2016

They Took In One Refugee Family. But Families Don’t Have Borders.

From The New York Times:

Wissam al-Hajj, a Syrian refugee, woke up in the most comfortable home she had ever lived in, an apartment growing increasingly stuffed with toys for her four children. She realized she had slept far more soundly than usual. But when she remembered why, she grew irritated: Her husband, Mouhamad, had hidden the phone from her.

As their older children competed for the first shower, Ms. Hajj recalled the argument from the night before. Her husband had been trying to spare her from an agonizing consequence of their move to Canada: the pleading messages from family members and friends across the Middle East.

“I’m only going to give it to you if you stop talking to them at night,” he had said to her.

“I’m going to start working and buy my own phone,” she had shot back, the threat hollow but deeply felt.

Read more here.

 

October 28, 2016 in Adoption, International | Permalink | Comments (0)