Family Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Secret Superpower of a Shared-Custody Kid

From the New York Times:

At 5:25 p.m., my mother pulled into our driveway. I saw my dad’s Cadillac waiting for us and glanced at Mom, whose broad smile instantly flattened. At 10 years old, I could already read her thoughts: Pickup time was 5:30, and she wasn’t willing to suffer accusations of tardiness, just because he was Mr. Punctuality.

Six-foot-five with jet-black hair, my father cut an intimidating figure, even if I knew that he liked nothing more than to turn his long arms and legs into props as he made up the words to songs and did goofy dances. Now, he was all business, and gestured at his watch angrily.

“I still have five minutes,” my mother said. She was generally vivacious, but when feeling threatened, she could transform herself into an ice queen.

“What’s the matter with you? Daylight saving time,” my father said. He’d been waiting an hour. She had made this mistake at least once before.

Read more here.

July 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Family Regulation — Good or Bad?

From The Huffington Post:

Couples A and B each have two children. Couple A has been married for ten years. Couple B has also been married for ten years. One of the partners in each of these couples earns the same amount of money. The other partner in each couple also earn the same amount of money, which is about one-fourth of that amount. The higher earning partner in each of these couples is a very controlling person. That partner decides how much money is spent by the family and how much is saved. These include such decisions as whether the children can attend certain extracurricular activities or camp, how much the other partner can spend on clothes and personal effects and what is done with savings. If the children want something that the higher earner won’t provide, they either don’t get it or the lower earning spouse uses what the person has available to try and provide it.

Couple A separates, couple B does not. When Couple A separate, the higher-earning controlling spouse loses a significant amount of that control. The similarly-situated spouse in Couple B never loses that control.

Read more here.

July 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Families of Jewish refugees who fled the Nazis want to leave UK for Germany after Brexit

From the Independent:

Descendants of Jewish refugees who fled to the UK to escape from Nazi persecution are seeking German nationality following the referendum in which Britain to leave the European Union, The Independent has learned.

The political and economic upheaval which has followed Brexit has led to a surge in the numbers of Britons seeking to become nationals of states in the EU. A large majority of them have been after Irish passports but other countries, too, are having an unprecedented amount of inquiries from those seeking another passport.

German nationality can be obtained by someone who has at least one parent who is German. The other normal route for foreigners to get German nationality would be a certain minimum period of continual stay in the country. 

Read more here.

July 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Obama plan would send $19M to Indiana to fight opioid abuse

From SFGate:

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — Indiana stands to receive $19 million to fight opioid abuse if Congress approves President Barack Obama's $1.1 billion program to address the problem nationwide.

In 2014, 450 Indiana residents died from overdoses of opioids, which include heroin and prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and fentanyl, The (Munster) Times reported. Yet, Indiana has one of the country's worst shortages of substance abuse specialists, according to the Pew Research Center. Nationally, the Centers for disease control and prevention estimates opioid overdoses kill 78 Americans each day.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy organized a conference call with reporters Friday to promote Obama's plan. On the call, Jodie Hicks of Lafayette, Indiana, described her struggle to get her son treatment for his heroin addiction. The closest methadone clinic is 60 miles away in Indianapolis.

For 10 months she drove her son to the facility and back every day. When she couldn't make the trip any longer, he got back on heroin.

Read more here.

July 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Battle Over Eggs in the UK

From BBC:

A woman who wants to use her dead daughter's frozen eggs to give birth to her own grandchild has won a Court of Appeal battle.

The 60-year-old woman was appealing against the UK regulator's refusal to allow her to take her only child's eggs to a US clinic.

Her daughter, who died in 2011, was said to have asked her mother to carry her babies.

The mother lost a High Court case last year.

She was subsequently granted permission to challenge the decision at the Court of Appeal in London, before a panel of three judges.

Read more here.

Hat Tip: ES

July 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Legal technicians provide family law assistance

From the News Tribune:

VNavigating the family law system can be an overwhelming and emotional process, especially for people who have no choice but to represent themselves in court.

The number of pro se litigants has steadily increased across the country, with between 60 to 90 percent of family law cases involving at least one party with no legal representation, according to information released by the American Bar Association in 2013.

"People are kind of in a society of do-it-yourself. Some people may be able to afford an attorney, but others can't. We are seeing more and more people representing themselves," Clark County Chief Deputy Clerk Baine Wilson said.

Local and state agencies recognize a strong need for assistance and have begun offering alternatives to help guide the public through the process, reported The Columbian.

Read more here.

July 4, 2016 in Attorneys, Resources - Adoption, Resources - Bar Associations, Resources - Child Custody, Resources - Child Support, Resources - Children & the Law, Resources - Civil Rights & Family Rights, Resources - Divorce, Resources - Domestic Violence, Resources - Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Will Brexit affect the UK adoption of Eastern European migrants' children?

From the Guardian:

Ilona, 20, came to Britain from Hungary two years ago to make a better life for herself, and has worked as a hotel chambermaid. An attempt to get a late abortion brought her to the attention of children’s social services. She told social workers that she and her partner did not have the financial means to look after their daughter and were prepared for her to be taken into care and adopted in Britain.

The parents wanted nothing further to do with their child, Annuska, but they did want the best for her and opposed the local authority’s plans to return her to Hungary for adoption or to be looked after by another family member. They didn’t want relatives in Hungary to know about their child or for her to know about her origins and history.

They firmly believe the better life they sought for themselves in Britain should be available to their child. But Hungary regards all children born to Hungarian parents as its nationals and demands the right to decide the fate of those who may be subject to care proceedings or adoption in Britain.

Annuska’s case is far from unique.

Read more here.

July 3, 2016 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Governor Mike Pence Rumored as Trump's Running Mate

From The Washington Post:

Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, was invited to meet with Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump. Even though Trump has not yet announced his running mate the general election, rumors have begun to swirl that Pence might be on the ticket. Pence has been in the news following a number of controversial laws passed in Indiana—including an abortion law that was recently enjoined by the United States District Court.

Read more here.

July 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Same-Sex Couples Win Birth Certificate Suit in Indiana Federal Court

From IndyStar:

After eight same-sex couples sued the state of Indiana for only allowing a mother and father the right to be listed on a child’s birth certificate, a U.S. District Judge has overturned the law. Previously, the mother who did not carry the child had the option to adopt the child, even if the woman donated the egg to the woman who was carrying.

The law will allow for the preservation of families and a greater sense of dignity to same-sex couples.

Read more here.

July 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Victory for Planned Parenthood and ACLU in Indiana Over Abortion Law

From U.S. News:

United States District Judge, Tanya Walton Pratt, granted a preliminary injunction that blocks an Indiana law that sought to ban abortions because of a fetus’ genetic abnormalities, race, or gender. Furthermore, the injunction blocks portions of the law which mandate that the remains of an aborted or miscarried fetus be cremated or buried. Had the law not been blocked, it would have taken effect Friday, July 1, 2016.

Governor Mike Pence signed the new law in March after it was approved at this year’s legislative session. Supporters of the law claim that the purpose was to prohibit discrimination that might occur due to improved genetics testing.

The suit was originally brought in April by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky on grounds that the law is a violation of privacy and is unconstitutional pursuant to other Supreme Court rulings. The ACLU of Indiana, represented by Ken Falk, challenged the portion of the law pertaining to disposal of the remains.

Read more here.

June 30, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Case Out of NJ

From The Daily Journal:

The Millville Rescue Squad has lost a fight in New Jersey Supreme Court to squash a discrimination lawsuit brought by its former operations director, who claims he was fired in 2006 because superiors disapproved of he and his wife’s intention to get a divorce.

The N.J. Supreme Court, in a unanimous and precedent-setting decision released on Tuesday, found that former MRS Operations Director Robert Smith has the right to have a jury weigh his claims and ordered he receive a new civil trial.

Tuesday night, the rescue squad issued a short statement: "The causative action brought by Mr. Smith against MRS lacks merit and was subsequently dismissed by the Cumberland County Superior Court for this reason.  The matter was heard by the higher court for clarification of a technicality.  MRS is confident we will prevail on the facts at retrial."

Read more here.

Hat Tip: NC

June 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Zika & Destination Weddings

From the New York Times:

Fear, if not the reality of the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that carry it, has not only cast its shadow on the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August, but is upending the carefully laid plans of couples who have long wanted a wedding in an exotic tropical locale.

Now, no party in paradise can proceed without the host taking precautions against the disease-carrying pests. Conscientious brides-to-be are scrambling to have rooms sprayed with insect repellent before guests arrive, pack extra bug spray in all formulations for guests who may not bring any, circulate newsletters with the latest advisories from government agencies and, if they really wish to set a good example, wear long sleeves and pants.

And that assumes that the guests, many in their childbearing years, are going to these events at all. Many of the most popular wedding destinations in Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean are also where the Zika virus has been most active.

JoAnn Gregoli, a wedding planner at Elegant Occasions whose sunny demeanor is in sync with her Skype handle of “happily divorced,” has been dealing with fallout from these outbreaks. Last month, she watched the guest list for one wedding on the Caribbean island of Anguilla melt from 150 to 100 in a matter of weeks. She said that she helped another couple, marrying in Mexico, improvise when a pregnant member of the party was ordered to stay home by her doctor.

Read more here.

June 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Blogger’s Revelation About The Blended Family Journey

From The Huffington Post:

My blog has been quiet for a while. Partly because my professional life has been keeping me pretty busy, and partly because my mother always told me that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. On one hand, many of my readers simply relate more to the un-nice struggles divorce and post-divorce-life brings. On the other hand, with all of the turmoil being broadcast in our local, national and international news, my diatribes about the difficulties faced by divorced and blended families seemed petty and trivial.

These petty and trivial challenges have been the foundation for countless articles, books and seminars regarding divorce, step-parenting, blended families and all of the trials and tribulations people face when tearing down one relationship and rebuilding another. Looking back over the years, our family has weathered many storms. We’ve danced around the ring over the typical fights spawned from differences in child-rearing styles to disagreements over financial support. We’ve sneered, scowled and said nasty things about one another. We’ve put our children in the middle of arguments and made them feel uncomfortable. We’ve made our friends and family feel uncomfortable and forced them to choose sides. We’ve behaved badly. And time marched on.

As time marched on, our need to fight over every little thing started to wane. Somehow the energy required to find fault in the other parent was less important than channeling that energy into rebuilding our new lives. The metamorphosis was painstakingly slow, but the day did finally arrive, when we had all just learned to tolerate each other for the greater good. Our children were worth the effort to simply be civil and find common ground on which we could agree. Or at least agree to disagree.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my personal journey as a wife and stepmom in this blended family.

Read more here.

June 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Same-Sex Marriage Rate

From Bloomberg:

Three years after the U.S. Supreme Court forced the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages, and one year after the justices told holdout states to do the same, droves of LGBT Americans are taking advantage of their new rights.

A Prudential Financial Inc. survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans has found that far fewer are single—and far more are married—than four years ago. While the drumbeat of coast-to-coast legalization was undoubtedly a driving force, the speed of this nationwide sprint to the altar has been remarkable, the study showed. Overall, 30 percent of LGBT respondents said they were married, up from 8 percent in 2012. That's more than triple.

Read more here.

Hat Tip: NC

June 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

By Sharing Painkillers, Friends And Family Members Can Fuel Opioid Epidemic: Study

From Kaiser Health News:

As lawmakers grapple with how best to combat the nation’s prescription painkiller abuse crisis, a recent survey is shedding light on how patients who get these medications  — drugs such as OxyContin, methadone or Vicodin — sometimes share or mishandle them.

According to findings detailed in a research letter published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine about one in five people who were prescribed the highly addictive drugs reported having shared their meds with a friend, often to help the other person manage pain. Most people with a prescription either had or expected to have extra pills left after finishing treatment. And almost 50 percent didn’t know how to safely get rid of the drugs left over after their treatment was complete, or how to store them while going through treatment.

The study’s authors suggested that the results point to changes doctors could make in prescribing practices and counseling to help alleviate the problems.

Read more here.

June 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Quick Revenue for Desperate Times

From Divorce Discourse:

People don’t remember you. I’m sorry. They don’t.

It’s not that you’re unremarkable. I’m sure you’re about as interesting as they come. Personally, I find you irresistible, and I’m not likely to forget you—ever.

But other people suck. They have their own lives and their own problems, and they’re focused on themselves. They’ll forget you nine minutes after you finish paying for their lunch.

Seriously, they’ve got big problems. They have an unexplained rash, the cat keeps peeing on the sofa, and their spouse is screwing the barista. Not surprisingly, you are not at the top of the list of things to think about.

So you’re getting hungry during a slow month, and you need some new clients. You’d like those absent-minded referral sources to think about you. Actually, you’d like them to do more than think. You’d like some business sent your way. Ideally, the phone would start ringing, right now.

How do you remind them that you exist?

Read more here.

June 24, 2016 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Steep court fee rises are tax on justice, say MPs

From The Guardian:

Excessive court fees impose an unjustified tax on divorce, deny refugees the opportunity to establish asylum rights and prevent employees with legitimate grievances from obtaining justice, a report by a Conservative-dominated select committee has concluded.

The justice select committee called for some charges to be rescinded as it dismissed “superficial” government excuses for failing to provide evidence to justify successive steep rises.

The parliamentary group acknowledged that Ministry of Justice finances had not been ringfenced from austerity but warned that access to justice must be prevail [sic] over “cost recovery”.

The scathing comments from the committee, chaired by the Conservative former barrister Bob Neill, reflect fears within the legal profession that access to justice is in danger of being restricted to the wealthy and that commercial litigants will be deterred from bringing cases to UK courts.

Read more here.

June 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

As Childhood Diabetes Rates Rise, So Do Costs — And Families Feel The Pinch: Study

From Kaiser Health News:

Childhood diabetes rates are on the rise, and a report released Monday pointed to the impact that the cost of their care could have on families — even those who have employer-sponsored health insurance.

The study, conducted by the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), found that children as old as 18 with diabetes who were insured through an employer-sponsored plan racked up $2,173 per capita in out-of-pocket health care costs in 2014. That spending level was nearly five times higher than that of kids without the illness.

The HCCI researchers analyzed data from claims submitted from 2012 to 2014 through group, individual and Medicare Advantage insurance policies to analyze health care spending and utilization trends among people younger than 65 who had diabetes and employer-sponsored coverage plans.

Read more here.

June 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ohio lawyer who participated in sexting exchange with matrimonial client is suspended

From the ABA Journal:

An Ohio lawyer has been suspended from practice for a year by the state’s top court, with six months stayed, for participating in a sexually charged exchange of text messages with a matrimonial client.

The texts, which were “mutual, reciprocal and very explicit and graphic,” according to records in the case, violated an attorney ethics rule that bans a lawyer from soliciting or engaging in sexual activity with a client, except when a consensual sexual relationship predates the lawyer-client relationship, according to Civitas Media and the Toledo Blade.

Read more here.

June 21, 2016 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tiger Mom on Contracts with the Cubs

Yale Law Professor Amy Chua, writing for the Wall Street Journal:

I recently had a harrowing parenting experience, which I addressed through recourse to the law.

My daughters Sophia and Lulu are now 23 and 20, and they’re both working in New York City this summer. Their plan is to stay (for free) in our Manhattan apartment—the pied-à-terre that my husband, Jed, and I spent 20 years saving up for.

I was on the phone with one of my daughters. “I’m so excited to spend some time in New York this summer—so many of my friends are going to be there!” she said happily.

“Me too!” I said. “I can’t wait.”


“Wait—what?” she said. “You’re going to be in the apartment too?”

“What do you mean am I going to be in the apartment? Of course I’m going to be in the apartment. It’s daddy’s and my apartment.”

“But you live in New Haven.”

My head started to explode.

I suddenly realized that I was on the verge of becoming a tenant farmer in my own life.

Fortunately, I teach contracts law at Yale, and I came up with a solution. I made my daughters sign a contract—totally valid and legally enforceable—the text of which is reproduced below.

Read more here.

June 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)