Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gupta-Kagan: "The New Permanency"

Josh Gupta-Kagan has posted The New Permanency, U.C. Davis J. of Juv. L. & Pol'y (2015 Forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Permanency is a pillar of child welfare law; children generally do better with legally permanent caretakers than in temporary foster care. Historically, when foster children cannot reunify with their parents, states have sought to terminate parental rights and find adoptive families. But recent legal reforms have created a continuum of permanency options, many of which permit ongoing legal relationships with biological parents and do not require termination of biological parents’ rights. Research has demonstrated that such options are as lasting as adoption, and can help more children leave foster care to legally permanent caretakers. This continuum promises to empower families — especially children and their new permanent caregivers — to determine the best legal status for their particular situation. It also challenges a reliance on terminations of parental rights as the default tool to achieve permanency. This is the new permanency.

A milestone in the development of this new permanency was the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (“Fostering Connections”), which provided federal funds for kinship guardianship subsidies. Yet six years after Fostering Connections, the number of guardianships nationally has not increased, just as many children grow up in foster care, and in many states families have no greater ability to choose the best option for them.

This Article is the first to explore the reasons for Fostering Connections’ failure to spark major changes. The fault lies in Fostering Connections’ failure to challenge the deep cultural and legal subordination of guardianship to adoption or the discretion child welfare agencies have to make core decisions in a case without significant court oversight. This Article also explores a jurisdiction in which the new permanency is close to reality. The District of Columbia has seen the number of guardianships surpass the number of adoptions, with more children reaching permanency, and fewer unnecessary terminations. The District thus represents an extreme version of what the new permanency could do nationally — although it also illustrates the problems with overly wide agency discretion regarding kinship placements.

This Article proposes a set of reforms that would help fully implement the new permanency nationwide. These reforms would rid the law of a hierarchy among permanency options, establish a stronger and more consistent preference for kinship placements, and empower families, not the state, to select the permanency option that best fits their situation, through more rigorous procedures and better provision of quality counsel than current law provides.

MR

October 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Minimizing Chances of Divorce

From the Atlantic:

A diamond is forever, but an expensive engagement ring means the marriage might not last that long. According to a new study, spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring is significantly associated with an increase in the risk of divorce.

The data scientist Randal Olson recently visualized some of the findings from a paper by Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon, two researchers at Emory University who studied 3,000 married couples in the U.S. to determine the factors that predicted divorce. They analyzed income, religious attendance, how important attractiveness was to each partner, wedding attendance, and other metrics to determine the aspects associated with eventual marital dissolution.

Their findings offer some take-aways for couples who want to minimize their chances of divorce: You should date for three years before popping the question. Be wealthy, but don't be a gold-digger. Have a huge wedding, but make sure it's cheap. And whatever you do, don't skip the honeymoon.

Here are the highlights, displayed with Olson's visualizations and used here with his permission:


Time Spent Dating Before Proposal

See more charts here.

MR

Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

October 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 27, 2014

News from Texas

From the LA Times:

The daughter of Houston Mayor Annise Parker was briefly denied the chance to take a driving test this week because her birth certificate and other documentation indicated she has two mothers, the mayor said.

Parker, who married her longtime partner, Kathy Hubbard, in California this year and remains a rarity as an openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, complained on her Twitter account on Friday.

"Daughter needs drivers test," the mayor wrote. "Has all docs, some in MomA name, some MomK, but w/ birth cert showing both. DPS says can only be from 1 mom!"

The Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees the issuance of driver's licenses in the state, said the initial decision to reject Parker's daughter's application had nothing to do with her parents' marital status. 

Department spokesman Tom Vinger said Parker's daughter failed to prove she was a Texas resident, but that the issue was later resolved.

Read more here.

MR

Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

October 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Seymore: "Sixteen and Pregnant: Minors' Consent in Abortion and Adoption"

Malinda L. Seymore has posted Sixteen and Pregnant: Minors' Consent in Abortion and Adoption,  Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2013, on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

A minor girl’s decision about how to handle an unplanned pregnancy is a highly contested issue. Especially contentious is the minor’s ability to consent to an abortion independently of an adult such as her parents or a judge. That issue has received substantial attention from policy makers, scholars, judges, and legislators. Almost no attention has been paid, however, to the decision of a pregnant minor to continue her pregnancy, relinquish her constitutionally protected parental rights, and place a child for adoption. In 37 states, a minor’s abortion decision is regulated differently than an adult’s, while in only 15 states is a minor’s decision to relinquish parental rights and consent to adoption treated any differently from an adult’s decision. New neuroscientific advances in the understanding of minors’ decisionmaking seem to justify protective regulation of the adoption placement decisions of minor mothers, as does the law’s traditional treatment of minors’ decisionmaking in areas other than abortion. The justifications often advanced for the need for parental involvement in a minor’s abortion decision — the physical/medical risks, the psychological/emotional effects, and the importance of the decision — apply with equal force to the decision about adoption placement. The decision about adoption placement also differs from the abortion decision in at least one crucial respect — the legal complexity of the adoption decision adds another layer to the medical and moral decisions present in abortion. All states should require that minor mothers have independent legal counsel when making the decision about relinquishment of parental rights and consent to adoption placement.

MR

October 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Link Between $ Spent on Wedding and Divorce

From the Independent:

A new study in the US has found that the more people spend on their weddings and engagement rings, the more likely they are to divorce.

Economic professors at Emory University carried out a study on over 3,000 US men and women who had been married to a member of the opposite sex.

Professors Andrew M Francis and Hugo M Mialon found that men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 (£1,244 and £2,488) on engagement rings were 1.3 times more likely to get divorced than men who spent between $500 (£311) and $2,000 on a ring.

Read more here, and read the underlying paper here.

MR

October 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Owning Up

From the Telegraph:

Wives who cheat on their husbands are more likely to own up to infidelity because they are more pragmatic – and less proud – than men, divorce lawyers say.

The steady rise in the numbers of women with full time jobs has led to speculation that secret workplace affairs are likely to be on the increase.

But an analysis of recent case files at one law firm has concluded that in one important respect the two sexes still behave very differently: women are more likely to own up afterwards.

Lawyers at JMW Solicitors, which handles about 300 separations a year, examined case files going back three years.

They concluded that the overwhelming pattern appeared to be that, despite a changing balance of power between the sexes, women are still more likely to take adultery accusations “on the chin”.

Read more here.

MR

October 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Lack of Divorce in the Philippines

From CNN:

When Rowena Festin leaves her job as a congressional aide in Quezon City, Metro Manila each day, she returns home to three children and a husband. But her marriage, like many others in the Philippines, exists in name only.

"My husband wants another person," she says. "We are living in the same house but both decided to live our own life."

Although both have long wanted to legally end their marriage, the government will not allow them to do so. The Philippines is the only country in the world, aside from Vatican City, which lacks divorce laws.

But a bill recently filed in Congress provides hope for thousands of couples trapped in failed and often abusive marriages, by legalizing divorce. It comes at a time when Catholic Church leaders from across the world are holding an "Extraordinary Synod" in Rome at the request of Pope Francis to explore the Church's position on issues such as family, marriage and divorce.

Read more here.

MR

October 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Single Moms

From Professors June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, writing for Politico Magazine:

Over the course of our years-long research about the work and family lives of women across the country, we have been surprised by a common pattern threading through popular blogs, religious radio talk shows, sociological studies and the accounts of our friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Compared to a decade ago, higher rates of American women are getting pregnant unintentionally; indeed, the United States has one of the highest unintended birth rates in the developed world. At the same time, more women today have the children, and they often justify the decision in terms of their Christian faith and opposition to abortion. The surprise? Neither these women nor their families see much point in marrying a man merely because they are pregnant.

Read more here.

MR

October 16, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Grey Divorces

From Time:

For several years now, sociologists have noticed that education is a great protector against divorce. College-educated couples are about half as likely to divorce as high-school-educated couples. In fact, the rate of divorce among the college-educated is lower than it was 30 years ago. All except in one case: people older than 50.

...

Brown doesn’t think there’s a direct link between no-fault divorce and the uptick in elderly divorces, but rather that they are both part of the same reshaping of marriage that has been under way for several decades. “Marriage is now more individualized,” she says. “For couples who aren’t happy, divorce is an acceptable solution. Neither partner has to be ‘at fault’ — instead, the couple could have simply grown apart.”

Read more here.

MR

October 15, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Marriage for Money

From the Washington Post:

A few years ago, Oregon’s first lady, Cylvia Hayes, shared her rags-to-riches journey — from her dilapidated childhood home in Washington state, to a tent on government land in Oregon, to the governor’s mansion, where she now lives with Gov. John Kitzhaber (D).

But she never mentioned the Ethiopian immigrant she married 17 years ago and divorced in 2002. When stories seeped out this week that she helped him obtain U.S. residency in exchange for $5,000, she said she needed the cash.

“It was a marriage of convenience,” she said in a statement. “He needed help, and I needed financial support.”

Read more here.

MR

October 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Gay Marriage in Alaska

From CNN:

In 1998, Alaska became the first of two states to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

On Sunday, a federal judge overturned the 16-year ban, saying the Constitution guarantees equal protection to all.

The judge's ruling makes Alaska the latest state where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry.

Read more here.

MR

October 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Call for Papers

The Richmond Journal of Law & the Public Interest is seeking submissions for the Spring Issue of our 2014-2015 volume.  We welcome high quality and well cited submissions from academics, judges, and established practitioners who would like to take part in the conversation of the evolution of law and its impact on citizens.

We currently have four total openings for articles for our Spring Issue.  As a Journal that centers in large part on the Public Interest, we are seeking at least one article that touches upon current Family Law issue(s) and the effects that the issue(s) may have on the National Public Interest or the Virginia Public Interest.  For a sense of what we are seeking for our general issues, please feel free to visit http://rjolpi.richmond.edu/archive.php

If you would like to submit an article for review and possibly publication, or if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact our Lead Articles Editors - Rich Forzani and Hillary Wallace.  They can be reached, respectively, at rich.forzani@richmond.edu and hillary.wallace@richmond.edu.

October 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fershee : "The Parent Trap: The Unconstitutional Practice of Severing Parental Rights Without Due Process of Law"

Kendra Huard Fershee (West Virginia University - College of Law) has just posted " The Parent Trap: The Unconstitutional Practice of Severing Parental Rights Without Due Process of Law,"  30 Georgia State University Law Review, (2014) to SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

In 1997, Congress passed the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) to stem what it perceived to be an overreliance by states on foster care to provide a safe place for children whose parents had been accused of abuse or neglect. Prior to ASFA, many children were placed in foster care for extended periods of time while their parents were evaluated for their fitness and rehabilitative efforts were made to reunify families. Congress considered the time children spent in foster care as damaging to them because it left them uncertain about where they would live in the future. Congress, in an attempt to reduce the amount of time children spend in foster care, included provisions in ASFA that require states to expedite termination of parental rights to such a speed that states have been engaging in, for many years, systematic deprivation of the parents’ procedural and substantive due process rights.

Child abuse and neglect have always been a problem in every society, but many cultures, including American culture, have a poor track record of successfully addressing the problem. Early American history shows a lack of appreciation or understanding of the problem, and the evolution of policies to combat child abuse and neglect has been slow and somewhat ineffectual. At the same time, courts have not had a spectacular record of effectively addressing the problem of child abuse and neglect. The Supreme Court was slow to consider problems related to families, and did not decide a case regarding the rights of parents to the care, control, and custody of their children until the late 1920s. And it was not until the 1980s that the Court finally declared that parents have a substantive due process right to the custody of their children.

Even though it took many years, the Supreme Court’s recent recognition of protections for the procedural and substantive due process rights of parents is clear: states must be extremely cautious when seeking to terminate parental rights. In fact, after ASFA, the opposite has been happening. States have every incentive to rush to judgment and sever parental rights, even when there is no evidence that the parent has ever abused the child who has been removed from his or her custody, and even when the parent is someone who could be a wonderful, loving, and caring parent. These due process violations occur in the context of the provisions of ASFA that make exceptions to the requirement that states make reasonable efforts to reunify families who have been separated after an allegation of abuse of neglect.

In the second most constitutionally problematic provision of ASFA, states are permitted to forego reasonable efforts to reunite parents with a child who has been removed from their custody (automatically upon birth, in many circumstances) when the parents have lost custody to a sibling of the child in the past. Then, in the most constitutionally problematic provision, states must rush to terminate parental rights of those parents, even with no evidence that they would be unfit to parent this child. Unfortunately, many state courts are applying these provisions with heavy hands, resulting in improper terminations, or near misses that are overturned upon appeal. Congress must change ASFA to change incentives to states so that they act in accordance with the constitution when terminating parental rights, and the Supreme Court should review cases where parents’ parental rights have been permanently severed based on evidence of past misconduct alone. Until then, parents are extremely vulnerable to state court judges who are guided by an unconstitutional statute and who may not appreciate the constitutional risks in applying it.

MR

 

 

October 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage in More States

From the New York Times:

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand appeals court rulings allowing same-sex marriage in five states, a major surprise that could signal the inevitability of the right of same-sex marriage nationwide.

The development cleared the way for same-sex marriages in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Gay and lesbian couples started getting married in those states within hours.

The decision to let the appeals court rulings stand, which came without explanation in a series of brief orders, will have an enormous practical effect and may indicate a point of no return for the Supreme Court.

Read more here.

MR

October 7, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Reproducing Race"

From Dov Fox (San Diego), writing for Huffington Post:

More than a million children in the U.S. each year are conceived with donated sperm or eggs. Sperm banks and egg vendors offer online ordering and direct shipping of donor materials that prospective parents can shop for based on SAT scores, personality tests, and celebrity likeness.

"[W]hat we try to do is give [parents] as much choice as possible," explains Dr. Cappy Rothman, co-founder of the world's leading sperm bank, California Cryobank. "If our customers wanted high school dropouts," he adds, "we would give them high-school dropouts."

What many of these (mostly white) parents want is a child who will look like they do. This means picking a donor who is, like them, white.

Read more here.

MR

October 7, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Male Birth Control

 

From the Daily Beast:

Vasalgel, a reversible, non-hormonal polymer that blocks the vas deferens, is about to enter human trials. How will rhetoric change when male bodies become responsible for birth control? Vasalgel, a reversible form of male birth control, just took one step closer to your vas deferens.

According to a press release from the Parsemus Foundation, a not-for profit organization focused on developing low-cost medical approaches, Vasalgel is proving effective in a baboon study. Three lucky male baboons were injected with Vasalgel and given unrestricted sexual access to 10 to 15 female baboons each. Despite the fact that they have been monkeying around for six months now, no female baboons have been impregnated. With the success of this animal study and new funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Parsemus Foundation is planning to start human trials for Vasalgel next year. According to their FAQ page, they hope to see it on the market by 2017 for, in their words, less than the cost of a flat-screen television.

So how does Vasalgel work? It is essentially a reimagining of a medical technology called RISUG (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance) that was developed by a doctor named Sujoy Guha over 15 years ago in India, where it has been in clinical trials ever since. Unlike most forms of female birth control, Vasalgel is non-hormonal and only requires a single treatment in order to be effective for an extended period of time. Rather than cutting the vas deferens—as would be done in a vasectomy—a Vasalgel procedure involves the injection of a polymer contraceptive directly into the vas deferens. This polymer will then block any sperm that attempt to pass through the tube. At any point, however, the polymer can be flushed out with a second injection if a man wishes to bring his sperm back up to speed.

Read more here.

MR

September 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Call for Papers

The Richmond Journal of Law & the Public Interest is seeking submissions for the Spring Issue of our 2014-2015 volume.  We welcome high quality and well cited submissions from academics, judges, and established practitioners who would like to take part in the conversation of the evolution of law and its impact on citizens.

We currently have four total openings for articles for our Spring Issue.  As a Journal that centers in large part on the Public Interest, we are seeking at least one article that touches upon current Family Law issue(s) and the effects that the issue(s) may have on the National Public Interest.  For a sense of what we are seeking for our general issues, please feel free to visit http://rjolpi.richmond.edu/archive.php

If you would like to submit an article for review and possibly publication, or if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact our Lead Articles Editors - Rich Forzani and Hillary Wallace.  They can be reached, respectively, at rich.forzani@richmond.edu and hillary.wallace@richmond.edu.

September 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Surrogacy Laws

From the New York Times:

In Louisiana, Minnesota and New Jersey, after the state legislatures handily passed bills in the last few years allowing surrogacy in some situations, Republican governors vetoed them.

Many states are now considering certain limits and trying to find middle ground.

“My sense of the big picture is that we’re moving toward laws like the one in Illinois, which accepts that the demand for surrogacy isn’t going away but recognizes the hazards and adds regulations and protections,” said Joanna L. Grossman, a family law professor at the Hofstra University law school.

The Illinois law requires medical and psychological screenings for all parties before a contract is signed and stipulates that surrogates be at least 21, have given birth at least once before and be represented by an independent lawyer, paid for by the intended parents.

The law allows only gestational surrogacy, in which an embryo is placed in the surrogate’s uterus, not the traditional kind, in which the surrogate provides the egg. In addition, it requires that the embryo created in a petri dish must have either an egg or a sperm from one of the intended parents.

“That eliminates some of the concerns about designer babies,” Professor Grossman said.

Read more here.

MR

September 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Joslin: "Federalism and Family Status"

Courtney G. Joslin (UC Davis) just posted Federalism and Family Status, -- Ind. L.J. -- (forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The myth of family law’s inherent localism is sticky. In the past, it was common to hear sweeping claims about the exclusively local nature of all family matters. In response to persuasive critiques, a narrower iteration of family law localism emerged. The new, refined version acknowledges the existence of some federal family law but contends that certain “core” family law matters — specifically, family status determinations — are inherently local. I call this family status localism. Proponents of family status localism rely on history, asserting that the federal government has always deferred to state family status determinations. Family status localism made its most recent appearance (although surely not its last) in the litigation challenging Section 3 of DOMA.

This Article accomplishes two mains goals. The first goal is doctrinal. This Article undermines the resilient myth of family law localism by uncovering a long history of federal family status determinations. Although the federal government often defers to state family status determinations, this Article shows that there are many circumstances in which the federal government instead relies on its own family status definitions.

The second goal of this Article is normative. Having shown that Congress does not categorically lack power over family status determinations, this Article begins a long overdue conversation about whether the federal government should make such determinations. Here, the Article brings family law into the rich, ongoing federalism debate — a debate that, until now, has largely ignored family law matters. In so doing, this Article seeks to break down the deeply-rooted perception that family law is a doctrine unto itself, unaffected by developments in other areas, and unworthy of serious consideration by others.

MR

September 15, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Podcast on 7th Circuit Marriage Cases

Here is a Bloomberg Radio podcast with Margaret Ryznar on the 7th Circut same-sex marriage cases.

September 5, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)