Family Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Breger: "Reforming by Re-Norming: How the Legal System Has the Potential to Change a Toxic Culture of Domestic Violence"

Melissa L. Breger has posted to SSRN her paper Reforming by Re-Norming: How the Legal System Has the Potential to Change a Toxic Culture of Domestic Violence, 44 Notre Dame Journal of Legislation 171 (2018). Here is the abstract:

Regressive societal norms and gender-based biases, both explicit and implicit, have compounded over time to form a cultural realm of tolerance toward domestic violence. This Article examines how the law has contributed to the development of this culture, and more importantly, how the law can be utilized to transform a toxic culture of intimate partner violence. The law can be a positive agent of change, and its powers should be marshaled to effectuate change in attitudes and norms towards domestic violence. By importing the social norms theory of psychology and theories of re-norming and implicit biases, we may work to detoxify society’s treatment and tolerance of intimate partner violence.

May 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Forging Divorce Papers

From King5:

A man accused of forging his wife’s signature on divorce papers — while giving himself a small break on the amount of child support he owed and adding a couple weeks to summer visits with his son — pleaded guilty last month to first-degree perjury.

Brian Kimmell’s now-former wife, Cassie Kimmell, said she was mystified why he would go behind her back as they had agreed to divorce.

Read more here.

May 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Odds That Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Marriage Will Last

From Business Insider:

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ascend to the altar Saturday, the whole world will be watching. And in the years that follow, any hint of marital discord or unfaithfulness between them will be pounced upon as juicy gossip.

That is to say: There's a lot of pressure on these two to make it work. Will they?

Before we get into any predictions, it's important to note that no one can say with absolute certainty whether an individual couple will have a successful marriage, or whether they'll get divorced. The findings and observations below apply to couples in general.

Read more here.

May 22, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Divorce Rate in Military


The overall divorce rate among both male and female service members held steady in fiscal 2017, marking the fourth year running that the rate has hovered between 3 percent and 3.1 percent.

Read more here.

May 21, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Changing Profile of Unmarried Parents

From Pew Research Center:

One-in-four parents living with a child in the United States today are unmarried. Driven by declines in marriage overall, as well as increases in births outside of marriage, this marks a dramatic change from a half-century ago, when fewer than one-in-ten parents living with their children were unmarried (7%).

At the same time, the profile of unmarried parents has shifted markedly, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.1 Solo mothers – those who are raising at least one child with no spouse or partner in the home – no longer dominate the ranks of unmarried parents as they once did. In 1968, 88% of unmarried parents fell into this category. By 1997 that share had dropped to 68%, and in 2017 the share of unmarried parents who were solo mothers declined to 53%. These declines in solo mothers have been entirely offset by increases in cohabitating parents: Now 35% of all unmarried parents are living with a partner.2 Meanwhile, the share of unmarried parents who are solo fathers has held steady at 12%.

Read more here.

May 21, 2018 in Cohabitation (live-ins), Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Parenthood Guilt

From ABC7:

Guilt and parenthood seem to go together. When it comes to missing out on a child's game or performance, it can feel devastating to a parent.  But some experts say parents need to learn to let go of the guilt.

Read more here.

May 20, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Interview with Arab Women on Family Plans

From Vice:

It's still taboo in much of the Arab world for women to openly admit that they don't want to have children. But in recent years, more and more young women are actively pushing back against the accepted wisdom that says their main purpose in life is to become a mother. 

I spoke with ten Arab women and asked them to describe why they've decided not to have kids. The responses ranged from fears about not being able to keep them safe in an often politically unstable region, to simply not wanting to give in to what society and their families demand.

Read more here.

May 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 18, 2018

More Grandparents Going to Court in UK

From the Telegraph:

A rising number of grandparents are going to court to win the right to see their grandchildren, new figures show, as experts say fathers’ parents are more likely to miss out. 

Statistics from the Ministry of Justice show that almost 2,000 applications for child arrangements orders, which give family members the right to see a child, were made by grandparents in 2016. 

This has risen from 1,617 in 2014. The figures show that more than 1,000 applications were made between January and June last year, suggesting that that 2017's figures were set to outstrip the previous year's statistics. 

Read more here.

May 18, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

No Fighting in Front of Kids

From Psychology Today:

For years I’ve found in clinical experience that the number one cause of children’s psychological problems (apart from severe abuse and neglect) is parents having arguments in front of their kids. How do I know that kids get emotionally disturbed, sometimes severely, when they hear their parents fighting? Simple. The kids tell me.

Read more here.

May 17, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Nuns Help Imprisoned Moms

From CNN:

Kellie Phelan doesn't mince words when she looks back at herself five years ago.

"I was basically a crackhead," Phelan said. "I literally was getting arrested every other week. I got pregnant by a drug dealer. ... I was seven months pregnant, and I was still smoking crack."
When she finally gave birth to her daughter, Phelan was behind bars, serving a 90-day jail sentence for possessing crack cocaine, violating her probation.
It was a wake-up call.
"That was the most traumatizing experience of my life," Phelan said. "To go see my beautiful, healthy baby girl in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs and shackles ... I was embarrassed that was the way I brought her into this world.
"I knew I was changing my life. I just didn't know how I was going to change my life."
Fortunately, Phelan connected with Hour Children, a nonprofit that reaches out to convicted mothers at five correctional facilities in New York. Now, at 38, she says she is drug-free, has a job she loves and is raising her daughter in an apartment of her own.
"When you see what (these women) can do with support and love and education, it's miraculous, really," said Sister Teresa Fitzgerald, who founded Hour Children. "They don't believe in a future and are hung up on the mistakes of their life. And life is not about a mistake. We all get a gift of life, and we have to live it."
Over the past 25 years, Fitzgerald's group has provided life-changing assistance to more than 9,000 mothers both behind and beyond bars. Its goal is to reintegrate former inmates into society by helping them with common post-release stumbling blocks, such as reuniting families and finding safe, affordable housing. It also provides the women with free counseling, education and employment support.
"Everybody loves children, and they're an easy sell," Fitzgerald said. "But the mothers, for many of them, their lives were so horrific growing up, and they didn't have what children deserve. They ended up on the negative side of life.
Read more here.

May 16, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Money Issues

From WWL:

Following infidelity, experts say money issues are the next leading cause of divorce. And, it now appears to be an issue both before and during a marriage.

Earnings may well determine whether a couple even ties the knot or not.

Local Marriage & Family Therapist, 'Camey' Grau, says national studies show people are getting married at an older age than they used to. 

"I think the reason behind why people are waiting longer is to become more financially stable," she says. "When partners are looking to take that next step, they want to be financially sound."

Read more here.

May 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Marriage Quiz

Can you pass the Green Card Marriage test?  Read about it here.

May 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Profile of Former Divorce Lawyer

From the Washington Post:

How do you make peace happen? I’ve noticed that wearing a T-shirt that says “PEACE” on it hasn’t been working.

I’ve gone through a series of different types of careers, but all in some way were focused on helping people build a better life. So I started off as a divorce lawyer.

A utopian divorce lawyer!

Well, most of my clientele were women who were trying to transition to a better life for themselves. My parents had been divorced, so I kind of experienced that. Then I was teaching legal studies at a community college. This is where I started to realize that a lot of the stuff we deal with in our life has to do with being able to get along with somebody on a one-to-one basis. Negotiation is very important to relationships. It’s the substance of how we interact with each other. I remember I was at a college and was talking to the career director. She was saying she has to train college students to be able to talk on the telephone. These types of interpersonal skills, these are all peace-building and conflict-resolution skills.

Read more here.

May 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Old Divorce Capital


Locals called the Overland Limited train the “divorcée special.” It pulled into the little yellow train station in Reno, Nevada, on a regular basis to deposit the latest arrivals to the city that was once dubbed “the divorce capital of the world.” At the station, the divorce seekers, most of whom were women from as far away as the East Coast, were usually met by a driver or their local divorce lawyer.

But it was quite possible that they would be met by a rugged man in jeans and a cowboy hat — a dude wrangler from a local “divorce ranch.” That’s right, a real-life cowboy. And, for many new arrivals, that was just the beginning of the adventure. Starting in the 1930s, Reno and its divorce ranches represented not just a place where you could await the end of your marriage, but also an opportunity to remake your life.

Read more here.

May 12, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Divorcing President Hypo

From NY Daily News:

Who gets the White House?

Amid unsubstantiated rumors of marital discord between Melania Trump and her President hubby, top matrimonial lawyers are split on whether the ex-model would have a right to remain at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. if the First Couple split.

It’s uncharted territory, since no American president has ever gotten a divorce while in office.

But eight high-profile lawyers, who either specialize in matrimonial law or have worked on a major divorce case, offered their opinions to the Daily News — as a hypothetical, emphasizing the likelihood of a divorce was slim to none.

Read more here.

May 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Call for Proposals for the Second Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum

Building on the success of the Inaugural Equality Law Scholars’ Forum held at UC Berkeley Law last fall, and in the spirit of academic engagement and mentoring in the area of Equality Law, we (Tristin Green, University of San Francisco; Angela Onwuachi-Willig, UC Berkeley; and Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis) announce the Second Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum to be held this fall.  This Scholars’ Forum seeks to provide junior scholars with commentary and critique and to provide scholars at all career stages the opportunity to engage with new scholarly currents and ideas.  We hope to bring together scholars with varied perspectives (e.g., critical race theory, class critical theory, feminist legal theory, law and economics, law and society) across fields (e.g., criminal system, education, employment, family, health, immigration, property, tax) and with work relevant to many diverse identities (e.g., age, class, disability, national origin, race, sex, sexuality) to build bridges and to generate new ideas in the area of Equality Law.  

We will select five relatively junior scholars (untenured, newly tenured, or prospective professors) to present papers from proposals submitted in response to this Call for Proposals. In so doing, we will select papers that cover a broad range of topics within the area of Equality Law.  Leading senior scholars will provide commentary on each of the featured papers in an intimate and collegial setting.  The Equality Law Scholars’ Forum will pay transportation and accommodation expenses for participants and will host a dinner on Friday evening.  

This year’s Forum will be held on November 16-17, 2018 at UC Davis Law School.

Junior scholars are invited to submit abstracts of proposed papers, 3-5 pages in length, by July 1, 2018.


Full drafts must be available for circulation to participants by October 19, 2018.

Proposals should be submitted to:

Tristin Green, USF School of Law,  Electronic submissions via email are preferred.

Please note: This announcement was updated on June 1, 2018 to reflect new Forum date of November 16-17, 2018.


May 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Ryznar & Stępień-Sporek: "Cohabitation Worldwide Today"

Margaret Ryznar & Anna Stępień-Sporek just posted to SSRN their paper Cohabitation Worldwide Today, Georgia State University Law Review (forthcoming). Here is the abstract:

Despite the increase in cohabitation around the world, legal responses remain limited, particularly in the last several years. Yet, there are universal issues at the end of a cohabitation, particularly related to the property division between the cohabitants. This article will survey the recent legal developments on the property consequences of cohabitation in both the United States and Poland, drawing on comparative lessons to suggest future developments in this area of law.

May 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Divorce in Philippines?

From the Diplomat:

A major push to legalize divorce in the Philippines, one of the world’s most populous predominantly Roman Catholic countries, promises a showdown between the more conservative elements of the Catholic Church and the progressive wings of parliament and civil society.

Currently, the Philippines is one of the few countries in the world where a divorce cannot be sought. But now a new bill on divorce has passed the lower house in the Philippines. Though the prospects of the bill itself are still unclear, it has nonetheless once again exposed a clear divide that remains on this question in the country.

Read more here.

May 8, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 7, 2018

Ryznar & Devaux: "Voilà: Taking the Judge Out of Divorce"

Margaret Ryznar & Angelique Devaux have posted to SSRN their article Voilà: Taking the Judge Out of Divorce, Seattle University Law Review, Forthcoming. Here is the abstract:

Divorce and court go together like a horse and carriage. However, this is slowly changing, with France being among the most recent countries to allow couples to contract into a divorce without any judicial involvement. This Article examines the implications for American courts recognizing divorces from France, and whether the United States will join in the non-judicial divorce movement.


May 7, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 6, 2018

When Do Therapists Suggest Divorce?

From HuffPost:

Couples therapists are in the business of keeping their clients happy and in tune with each other’s needs ― but what happens when a couple is absolutely miserable and would be better off separating?

HuffPost asked a number of mental health professionals if they’ve ever been in that ethical predicament, and what factors, would lead them to encourage a divorce. Here’s what they said.

Read more here.

May 6, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)