Family Law Prof Blog

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

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)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Courts for Addicted Parents Work, So Why Strip Funding?

From The Guardian:

The national unit that supports the family drug and alcohol court(FDAC), an initiative that aims to help addicted parents and their children, will close in September because of a lack of support from local authorities and funding from central government.

The unit, hailed by Sir James Munby, president of the family division of the high court of England and Wales, as one of the most important developments in family justice in the last 40 years, needs £250,000 a year to survive.

FDAC offers an alternative and, research suggests, a cheaper and more successful form of care proceedings for children at risk of significant harm by parents suffering substance misuse. Alongside a team of social workers, psychiatrists, substance misuse specialists and domestic violence experts, the court uses a problem-solving approach that works to enable parents to keep their children. Families involved are seen by the same judge every two weeks to monitor their progress.

Read more here.

July 30, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Buzz Aldrin Sues His Family

From Florida Today:

Buzz Aldrin's children, Andy Aldrin and Jan Aldrin, on June 23 released the following statement about their father's lawsuit:

"We are deeply disappointed and saddened by the unjustified lawsuit that has been brought against us individually and against the foundation that we have built together as a family to carry on Dad’s legacy for generations to come. When we established the current structure several years ago, it was done so at Buzz’s request and with his full support. If nothing else, our family is resilient and our ability to work together to solve problems and accomplish great things is strong. We love and respect our father very much and remain hopeful that we can rise above this situation and recover the strong relationship that built this foundation in the first place. We will not be commenting further on the lawsuit and ask your understanding and respect for our family privacy at this extremely difficult time.”

Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin has launched a legal battle against his children and family foundation, accusing them of abusing his trust and finances nearly 50 years after his historic moon landing.

Read more here.

July 29, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Couple Challenges New Rule for Families that Homeschool in Franklin County, VA

From The Martinsville Bulletin:

A Franklin County couple has filed a complaint against the local school board challenging its authority to ask for documents beyond what the state requires of families that wish to home-school their children.

Kirk and Kristen Sosebee, represented by an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association, filed the complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief in Franklin County Circuit Court in May. It argues that a policy adopted by the Franklin County School Board “alters state law by adding to the requirements of the home instruction statute.”

The Code of Virginia requires that parents who intend to home-school their children notify the division superintendent each year by Aug. 15. They must also provide a description of the curriculum and evidence of having met one of four criteria for providing home instruction.

Read more here.

July 28, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 27, 2018

Planning for Special Needs Children in Divorce

From The New Jersey Law Journal:

Unfortunately, the rate of divorce is exceptionally high—80-90 percent—among families of children with special needs. It is critical that family law practitioners understand the unique issues that arise in these cases. While all divorces are emotional and fraught with concerns about both short and long-term issues, divorce proceedings for parents of a child with special needs must be viewed through the lens of the long-term realities of disability. This is particularly true for children with complex or severe disabilities, who will require lifetime supports and services. Unlike “typical” kids, these children will never outgrow their need for assistance with basic decision-making, activities of daily living, self-care, etc. However, even children with mild disabilities may require specialized planning during a divorce due to their unique needs.

When a child is a minor, and custody or parenting time is at issue in a divorce, any special needs the child has must be considered when making final decisions. Children with autism or sensory processing issues, for example, may have a more difficult time transitioning between homes regularly. One home—or parent—may be better equipped to safely manage a child’s disability-related needs due to knowledge, work scheduling issues, other individuals in the home, etc. As with all custody discussions, the “best interests of the child” should prevail. Similarly, in terms of child support, additional expenses may need to be built in beyond the mandated guidelines to account for necessary therapies, private tutoring or education, specialized medications, items not covered by insurance, etc.

Read more here.

July 27, 2018 in Child Support (establishing), Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Should Your Family Be Able to Inherit Your Facebook Messages?

From Tech Radar:

A landmark court case in Germany has tackled the difficult reality of death in the age of social media, ruling in favor of parents who wanted to access their deceased daughter’s Facebook account and messages.

The country’s highest court ruled in favor of the parents whose daughter was hit by a train, as they wanted to determine whether her death was a suicide. If this was the case, the train driver would also be entitled to compensation.

While there are obvious privacy concerns involved in relinquishing a Facebook user’s private messages – particularly for the other recipients of said messages – the court ruled that such digital content is equivalent to diaries or letters and should thus be inherited by the owner’s legal heirs.

Read more here.

July 26, 2018 in International, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

11-Year-Old Girl Raped By 17 Men in India

From ABC Channel 13 Eye Witness News:

There is shock in the city of Chennai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu after 17 men were arrested for allegedly raping an 11-year-old-girl, CNN reports.

Anger at the accused was clear when a group of lawyers charged at them as they were exiting court.

The men, who range in age from their 20s to their 60s, could potentially face the death penalty. This is after the government rushed through an emergency law in April introducing capital punishment in rape cases involving minor girls under 12.

That measure was in response to growing public outrage at a string of sexual assaults involving minors.

Now the police say the girl in this latest case suffers from a hearing disability and she was attacked by men who worked in the building where she lives with her family.

Read more here.

July 25, 2018 in Child Abuse, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Faith-Healing Couple Pleads Guilty to Negligent Homicide After Child Dies

From The Daily Beast:

Two members of an Oregon church that believes in faith healing pleaded guilty to negligent homicide this week in the death of their newborn daughter, who spent hours struggling to breath without ever receiving medical treatment.

Travis and Sarah Mitchell—who prayed over their dying child instead of seeking medical care—were sentenced to six years and eight months in prison on Monday, Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote said in a statement.

“We should have sought adequate medical care for our children and everyone in the church should always seek adequate medical care for our children,” the couple said in a statement.

Read more here.

July 24, 2018 in Child Abuse, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 23, 2018

Religious Adoption Agencies in Philadelphia Can't Exclude Gay Couples

From Metro Weekly:

Last week, a federal judge ruled that religiously-affiliated child placement agencies do not have a right to refuse to place children with same-sex couples by citing religious beliefs.

Judge Petrese B. Tucker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that the city of Philadelphia can keep in place its policy requiring all the foster and adoption agencies with which it contracts to abide by the city’s nondiscrimination policies, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Tucker found that because CSS refuses to place children with same-sex couples or LGBTQ individuals, they had violated the city’s nondiscrimination law, and are therefore not entitled to continue to receive taxpayer dollars. Currently, the organization has a $19.4 million contract with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, reports NBC News.

Read more here.

July 23, 2018 in Adoption, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Desperate Couple Considering Divorce to Afford Health Care

From People Magazine:

An Army veteran and his wife of nine years say they’re considering divorce in order to qualify for health care assistance for their disabled daughter.

Jake and Maria Grey of Sanger, Texas, opened up in a Today report about the cost of caring for their daughter Brighton, who has a rare chromosomal disorder called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.

At age 6, Brighton has the developmental abilities of a newborn and requires round-the-clock care. Ailments include vision and hearing impairment, heart and kidney problems, seizures, and more, according to WFAA News.

Read more here.

July 22, 2018 in Current Affairs, Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Divorced Man Wins Fight Against Paying Alimony a Second Time

From NJ.com:

A divorced man who challenged the Morris County Probation Service over a claim that he did not make his final alimony payment won his case in court Friday. 

David Thomson had provided proof he made all his payments, but the probation service wouldn't accept the evidence.

But the judge ruled in his favor.

"The judge was very gracious and apologized on behalf of the system," Thomson said when he left the courtroom. "He said I was totally blameless and had proved there was no alimony arrears."

"[The judge] was working to try and have Probation avoid these situations in future," Thomson said.

Read more here.

July 21, 2018 in Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 20, 2018

London Protests Against Trump for Women's Rights, Refugees, Climate Change

From Reuters:

With colorful banners, loud chants and pots and pans banging, tens of thousands of people marched through central London to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance on climate change, refugee policies, and treatment of women.

Organizers estimated more than 80,000 people demonstrated in London against Trump’s first official visit to Britain as president, and other protests were expected in major cities around the country.

“Trump represents everything I hate: racism, bigot, misogynist, xenophobe. As a mother of daughters I want to show that he can’t treat women like he does,” said Diana Yates, 67, as demonstrators cheered and drivers honked horns in support.

Read more here.

July 20, 2018 in Abortion, Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Serbian Government Allows Children with Disabilities Attend School

From Human Rights Watch:

As children across Serbia enjoy their summer break, for some children the next school year can’t start soon enough. It may be their first chance to get an education. The Serbian government formally pledged in June that all children with disabilities will be able to go to school.

This is no small step. Thousands of children with disabilities in Serbia are not enrolled in school. Now we are told that they will finally have a chance at an education, and an inclusive one at that, to learn side by side with their peers with and without disabilities, as well as to enjoy school trips and after-school activities.

In a June 8 letter to Human Rights Watch, education minister Mladen Sarcevic promised to ensure “access, inclusion and participation of every child, student, and adult in quality and inclusive education.”

Read more here.

July 19, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Couple Adopts Baby Through Instagram

From WSB-TV Atlanta:

Some people hoping to adopt a baby are turning to social media rather than traditional agencies.

Jaimie and Brian Dorn of Long Island in New York, who have two children from his previous marriage, used Instagram to help them expand their family.

After struggling to have a baby together, the Dorns started pursuing adoption. When they decided that traditional adoption agencies weren't for them, a friend suggested that they try independent adoption and advertise using Instagram, they said.

Read more here.

July 18, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Supreme Court Upholds Changes to Beneficiaries Upon Divorce

From JD Supra:

Married persons often name the other spouse as beneficiaries of their estate, life insurance, pensions, IRA’s, annuities and other contractual arrangements upon the death of the first spouse. Upon divorce, they often do not get around to changing these beneficiary designations, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Many state legislatures have reached the conclusion that the spouse that died would likely have wanted to change the beneficiary from the former spouse, but just never got around to it (whether intentionally via procrastination or unintentionally). They have enacted revocation-on-divorce statutes that treat a divorce as voiding one or more of testamentary bequests and beneficiary designations. In 2002, Minnesota adopted such a statute that applied to will and various will substitutes, including life insurance and annuity contracts.

The Contracts Clause of the U.S. Constitution restricts the power of States to disrupt contractual arrangements. It provides that “[n]o state shall . . . pass any . . . Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.”  U. S. Const., Art. I, §10, cl. 1. In a recent case, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the issue whether Minnesota’s revocation-on-divorce statute was unconstitutional as violative of the Contract Clause. The dispute arose between the claims of a divorced spouse, and alternative beneficiaries, as to entitlement to life insurance proceeds when a former spouse died and did not remove the surviving spouse as beneficiary of the insurance policy.

Read more here.

 

July 17, 2018 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 16, 2018

States May Scrap Marriage Licenses As Counties Resist Same-Sex Marriage

From ABA Journal:

Alabama resident Gary Wright II was among the gay rights activists who waged a hard-fought campaign for the right to marry in the state.

The 46-year-old Navy veteran was part of a class of plaintiffs who obtained an injunction from Senior U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade in Mobile, who ruled in early 2015 that the state’s refusal to allow same-sex couples to marry violated the constitution. In June of that year, the Supreme Court ruled on Obergefell v. Hodges, which invalidated all state bans on same-sex marriages on constitutional grounds.

But the battle in Alabama didn’t end with that decision. Instead, probate judges in at least seven of the deeply conservative state’s 67 counties are simply refusing to issue marriage licenses to any couples, same-sex or heterosexual. Instead, those judges tell people who want to get married to go to other counties.

Read more here.

July 16, 2018 in Current Affairs, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Family Values

From the Opinion pages of the New York Times:

In the months leading up to Donald Trump’s election, I noticed a divide in how my acquaintances spoke about his family values — or lack thereof.

People I knew from college or had met in New York expressed distaste for Mr. Trump’s behavior. If they were religiously conservative, they stressed his infidelity while also objecting to his insults of women. If they were liberal, they objected to his treatment of women and viewed his infidelity as a sign that his religious supporters were hypocrites. Not a single peer of mine in New York — no matter how conservative or religious — publicly supported Mr. Trump.

In contrast, almost all of the people I know in my hometown in Nebraska proudly supported him. They glossed over his infidelities and stressed that he seemed to be a good father. They were impressed by his “respectful” sons and admired the success of his daughters.

The people I know in Nebraska have the same moral views as my religious acquaintances in New York, yet they had a totally different view of Mr. Trump as a standard-bearer for family values. What made the difference? In a word, class.

Read more here.

July 16, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Single Men Increasingly Having Biological Children via Surrogacy

From Chicago Tribune:

Bill Guest was about 30 when his biological clock kicked in.

His friends were having kids left and right, and suddenly being a doting uncle wasn’t enough. Guest wasn’t particularly interested in getting married, but he did very much want a child, and not an older child.

“I wanted a baby,” said Guest, 40, of Villa Park. “I wanted to experience all of the stages of life.”

With Father’s Day approaching, single fathers such as Guest are a reminder of how far modern men will go to become parents.

Read more here.

July 15, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Rise of the Millennial Prenup

From The New York Times:

First comes love, then comes … prenup? If you’re a millennial, maybe.

Prenuptial agreements, commonly known as prenups, are legal documents that outline how engaged couples will divide their assets if they divorce. And, in recent years, more millennials have been requesting them, according to a survey of matrimonial lawyers.

One likely reason: Millennials are marrying later than previous generations, with years to build up assets and debt on their own. “I got married at 23, so we put nothing and nothing together,” said Louis Cannataro, partner and founder of Cannataro Park Avenue Financial, where he has advised dozens of millennial clients on their prenups. “But when someone’s getting married in their 30s, there’s a different approach.”

Read more here.

July 14, 2018 in Current Affairs, Marriage (impediments), Property Division | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Countries That Guarantee Paid Paternity Leave

 

From NPR:

What do China, India, South Sudan and the United States have in common?

They are among the 92 countries where there is no national policy that allow dads to take paid time off work to care for their newborns.

According to a data analysis released on Thursday by UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, almost two-thirds of the world's children under age 1 — nearly 90 million — live in countries where dads are not entitled by law to take paid paternity leave. In these countries, this policy is typically decided by employers.

The data, mapped in an interactive chart produced by World Policy Analysis Center at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health, allows users to scroll over a country to see its policy on paid paternity leave: no paid leave, less than three weeks (for most countries, that means one week or less), three to 13 weeks or 14 weeks or more. Users can also compare this data with paid maternity leave around the world. According to the center, 185 countries guarantee paid leave for mothers, with at least 14 weeks of leave in 106 countries.

Read more here.

 
 

July 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, International, Paternity, Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)