Family Law Prof Blog

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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

TN Governor Signs Strict Late-Term Abortion Ban

From The Tennessean:

Gov. Bill Haslam signed a strict new abortion measure into law on Friday, drawing praise and sharp criticism. 

The measure will further limit the few abortions already performed in Tennessee past the point of fetal viability — and potentially send doctors to jail if they fail to prove in court that an abortion of a viable fetus was necessary to save a woman's life or prevent substantial or irreversible harm to a "major bodily function of a pregnant woman." 

Tennessee becomes one of at least 21 states that explicitly ban abortions beyond viability, but the measure, called the Tennessee Infants Protection Act, goes further than most other bans and could become the subject of a lengthy court challenge.

Read more here.

May 18, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Muslim Academic Claims Sharia Law Good for Feminism

From Yahoo7 News:

Prominent Muslim academic Dr Susan Carland has explained how Sharia law can be an effective method of promoting women’s rights and there is no justification under the Islamic doctrine for punishing victims of rape.

Dr Carland, who's married to TV personality Waleed Aly, told an inner Sydney audience, including feminist Eva Cox, that Sharia law could be used to persuade Muslim men that it was wrong for women who are victims of rape to be stoned or lashed for adultery.

Under Sharia law, a woman’s word is considered worthless without male witnesses to corroborate her story.

Read more here.

May 17, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Orleans City Council Demands Action After Juvenile Inmate Commits Suicide

From WDSU News:

After the apparent suicide of teenager Jaquin Thomas inside the Orleans Justice Center last year, the New Orleans City Council’s Criminal Justice Committee demanded action and change, chairperson Susan Guidry said at Thursday’s meeting.

Thomas was found hanging in his cell on Oct. 17 after spending 54 days in the jail. He was 15 at the time and had been assaulted by adult inmates, after being arrested on a murder charge and immediately transferred from the Youth Study Center to OJC.

Guidry said Thomas could have been left in the adult facility for 120 days without ever being charged by the district attorney under the law at the time of his death. She said clarifications of youth detention and transfer laws that went into effect after Thomas’ death have led to fewer automatic transfers of youth to adult facilities.

Read more here.

May 16, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Texas Adoption Legislation Targets Religious Beliefs and Lifestyle Choices

From Newsweek:

The Texas House of Representatives has passed a bill that allows adoption agencies and foster care providers to reject applicants based on their religious beliefs and lifestyle choices.

The bill will let state-funded and private organizations make decisions about prospective parents based on their religious beliefs, meaning that couples who are gay, Jewish, Muslim or interfaith could be rejected when seeking to take care of a child. The bill could also affect people who have been divorced and remarried, or those who are single. Additionally, the bill provides a legal cover for agencies that use “religious freedom” as the basis for making their decision.

While five other states have passed similar laws, Texas’s is one of the few that extends to state-funded agencies. 

Read more here.

May 15, 2017 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Arranged Marriages

From the Washington Post:

When non-Indians ask me if I had an arranged marriage, I sometimes slyly reply: “in a sense.” I’m an Indian American born and raised in the United States, married to someone who grew up in India. But it was our mutual friend, a white woman from Oregon — not our families — who played matchmaker. When I explain this to them, I know it is not the answer they expected. It does not fit their perception of arranged marriage. Neither of my two siblings had arranged marriages, nor even did my Indian-born parents. For me, arranged marriage is both familiar and foreign.

“A Suitable Girl,” a new documentary film, which premiered at last week’s Tribeca Film Festival, follows Amrita, Ritu and Dipti, three young, middle-class women in India, as they approach their respective arranged marriages. The film’s directors, Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra, who are both Indian American women and won the festival’s award for new documentary director, are trying to overturn stereotypes about arranged marriage. “One of the things that we’ve been ‘battling’ has been the old-school and biased notion that all arranged marriage in India is somehow forced or associated with child brides,” Khurana said. She also noted that arranged marriages might not be built on romance, but that doesn’t mean these couples lack feelings for each other. “The reality is more fluid,” Khurana said. However, women often do get a raw end of the deal; whether or not a marriage is arranged, women “are the ones to compromise the most, expected to ‘adjust,’ move cities, give up or negotiate their careers, leave their families,” Khurana explained.

Read more here.

May 14, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

MD Legislation Stalled

From the Huffington Post:

Maryland was poised to end a policy this week that would have stopped requiring that rape victims who get pregnant share parental rights with their attackers.

Instead, the legislation fizzled when a six-person negotiating committee ― comprised entirely of men ― essentially failed to iron out the final details before the state’s General Assembly adjourned for the session on Monday.

That means that in Maryland, a woman who conceives after a rape will still be legally required to negotiate with her rapist over custody should she decide to keep the baby, or include her rapist in any decisions regarding putting the baby up for adoption.

Read more here.

May 13, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Marriage Rates by College Major

From Market Watch:

Wondering why you haven’t tied the knot yet? Maybe you should look at your major, not at yourself, to learn why.

Rates of marriage largely correlate with what people studied in college, career website Zippia concluded in a new study. In an analysis of census data, it found 91% of men in plant science and agronomy are married by the age of 30 and 88% of women in animal sciences are married by then. Conversely, people of all genders who studied geography were the least likely to marry, with only 32% married at 30. People who studied general social sciences followed for the least likely to be married at 30, with 36% married then.

Read more here.

May 12, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Couples Divorcing Over Political Disagreements

From Fox Business:

It’s not just Republicans and Democrats bickering it out lately. According to a new study and divorce attorneys, couples are also feuding over politics — especially President Trump — with many of them breaking up and even heading to divorce court.

New data from Wakefield Research, an Arlington, Virginia-based polling firm, one in 10 couples (married or unmarried) ended their relationships over political disagreements, with millennials parting ways at a particularly high rate of 22%.

Read more here.

May 11, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Age Differences in Marriage & Gender

From the Washington Post:

Emmanuel Macron, the front-runner in Sunday’s French presidential election, shares something with President Trump: a 24-year age gap with his wife. The difference is that Macron’s wife is the older one.

That cliche-busting fact — a candidate young enough to be his wife’s son, rather than old enough to be her father — is a little social “revenge” that delights many French women, including Martine Bergossi.

“Why can’t we marry younger men? I date them all the time,” said Bergossi, the stylish owner of Alternatives, a secondhand-couture shop in Paris, who prefers to leave her exact age to the imagination.

“It’s normal to see men with younger women,” she said. “So it’s rather great to see the opposite.”

Read more here.

May 10, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Married Without Licence Filed

From BNA:

Husband Who Wasn't Gets Lesson in Frivolity
A priest and a rabbi marry a couple in California, but they never file the marriage license. There's no punchline, just a frivolous suit filed in Chicago, resulting in a frivolous appeal, the Seventh Circuit held (Arnold v. Villarreal, 2017 BL 113897, 7th Cir., No. 14-3204, 4/6/17).

Read the case here.

May 9, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Child Marriage

From CBS News:

It's a moment of "unprecedented attention" for child marriage around the world. Those words come from a 2016 Human Rights Watch report, which estimated that one in three girls in the developing world marries before the age of 18. The topic has slowly moved to the front burner of the global development agenda, and the United Nations has set a goal of eliminating child marriage by the year 2030. 

But as the issue of child marriage gains visibility around the world, many Americans remain unaware of the problem in their own backyards, activist Fraidy Reiss told CBS News. 

"We cannot solve the child marriage problem globally if we don't first solve it here in the United States," said Reiss, the founder and executive director of the organization Unchained at Last.

Read more here.

May 8, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Under NY Law, Insurance Companies Now Required To Cover Fertility Treatments For All Women

From CBS New York:

Under New York law, insurance companies are now responsible to provide coverage for fertility treatment to all women regardless of sexual orientation or marital status, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday.

Prior to the announcement, coverage only included women trying to conceive naturally.

“In New York, we firmly believe that everyone, no matter who they are, deserves the right to control their own bodies and make their own reproductive health decisions,” Cuomo said. “All women who wish to have a child are entitled to insurance coverage for fertility treatment regardless of their sexual orientation or marital status, just as all women have the right to reproductive choice and to decide if and when to start a family, and New York will always stand up to protect and preserve those rights.”

Read more here

May 7, 2017 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Judge Shreds Wisconsin Law on Unborn Child Abuse

From Courthouse News Service:

Siding with a woman who spent weeks in jail after she was accused of abusing her unborn child, a federal judge struck down a Wisconsin law that purports to address pregnant women with “habitual lack of self-control.”

Passed in 1997,  Act 292 allowed the state to treat fetuses as children in need of protection or state services if their mothers demonstrate problems with drug or alcohol abuse.

Finding the law unconstitutionally vague on April 27, U.S. District Judge James Peterson rejected Wisconsin’s claims that the statute is merely written in plain English, eschewing “technical words and phrases.”

“The state’s dictionary-definition approach is a festival of circularity, in which the statutory terms are simply replaced with synonyms that add no real meaning,” the 40-page opinion states.

Read more here.

May 6, 2017 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Warnings issued as firearms permit bill signed into law

From Chicago Tribune:

A controversial new law that allows domestic violence victims to carry a gun without a permit will create greater risk for police and provide a false sense of security for victims, detractors say.

House Bill 1071 passed the Senate 38-12, after the House voted 74-26 in favor of it. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law last week.

The bill would enable domestic violence victims to carry a handgun, if they have an active protective order against their alleged abuser, without a permit for 60 days.

Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, who sponsored the bill, said this legislation will lend victims an extra measure of protection.

Read more here.

May 5, 2017 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Louisiana Proposes Bill to Chop Divorce 'Cooling-Off' Period

From The Advocate:

Louisiana has sought for decades to stem the tide of the so-called divorce epidemic, from enacting the nation's first "covenant marriage" laws to requiring couples to undergo a lengthy "cooling-off" period before officially calling it quits.   

Even the most conservative lawmakers acknowledge that some marriages cannot — and perhaps should not — be saved. But they insist the state has a vested interest in limiting the prevalence of divorce, particularly when children are involved, given the host of societal ills associated with broken homes.

"Many people think it's not the government's business whether you're married or not," said Michelle Ghetti, a professor at the Southern University Law Center. "I would argue that, given the interest the government has in the economy, incarceration and education, it is most certainly the government's business, especially if we're paying taxes for it."

Read more here.

May 4, 2017 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Legal Fight Could Make Kentucky The Only State With No Abortion Clinic

From The New York Times:

As states across the nation enact increasingly aggressive restrictions on abortion, perhaps nowhere has the political climate shifted as much as here in Kentucky, where the E.M.W. Women's Surgical Center, a squat tan brick building on Market Street, is the state's sole abortion clinic.

Over the past year, Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican who calls himself "unapologetically pro-life," has blocked a new Planned Parenthood clinic from performing abortions, shuttered E.M.W.'s satellite clinic in Lexington and threatened to close the existing one in Louisville. Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the clinic has sued the state; a trail is set for September. 

The governor's forceful moves have rattled reproductive rights advocates, made him a hero among abortion opponents and prompted both sides in the debate to ask a question: Could Kentucky become America's only state to lack a single abortion clinic?

Read more here

May 3, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Amended gay marriage bill approved in Nevada Senate

From Las Vegas Journal-Review:

The Nevada Senate on Monday approved a proposed constitutional amendment recognizing same-sex marriage, a preemptive move to protect gay marriage should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn its previous ruling.

Assembly Joint Resolution 2 passed 19-2 after it was amended to include an exemption stipulating religious organizations and clergy could not be forced to solemnize gay marriages.

Republican Sens. Joe Hardy of Boulder City and Don Gustavson of Sparks voted no.

It now goes back to the Assembly to concur with the Senate’s amendment. It was approved earlier in the Assembly 27-14, with Republican Lisa Krasner of Reno in support. The resolution would have to be approved by the Legislature again in 2019 before it is sent to voters for ratification in 2020.

Read more here

May 2, 2017 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Kentucky Judge Won't Hear Gay Adoption Cases

From The Washington Post:

Two years after a Kentucky county clerk stirred national attention for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a family court judge in the same state announced he will no longer hear adoption cases involving gay parents, calling his stance on the issue “a matter of conscience.”

Judge W. Mitchell Nance, who sits in Barren and Metcalfe counties in Kentucky, issued an order Thursday saying he believes that allowing a “practicing homosexual” to adopt would “under no circumstance” promote the best interest of the child, he wrote in the order obtained by The Washington Post.

The judge disqualified himself from any adoption cases involving gay couples, citing judicial ethics codes requiring that judges recuse themselves whenever they have a “personal bias or prejudice” concerning a case. Nance’s “conscientious objection” to the concept of gay parents adopting children constitutes such a bias, he argued.

Read more here.

May 1, 2017 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Despite The Odds, Indiana Gets Migrant Children, Workers To School

Written by Peter Balonon-Rosen for Wyfi Indianapolis:

Alex Rodriguez dials an unfamiliar number on his cell phone.

“Yes?,” a voice on the other end answers. On speakerphone, the phone booms inside Rodriguez’s parked silver Ford Escape.

“This is Alex,” Rodriguez says. “I’m on the way to your home so that I can complete the enrollment for the kids.”

An estimated 3 million migrant workers travel the nation each year, following work. Depending on the season, Indiana farms employ between 2,000 and 20,000. And like anyone in the nation under 22, migrant workers and children are entitled by law to an education.

And that’s where Rodriguez comes in. He serves Indiana’s southwest region as one of Indiana’s six migrant education recruiters. His mission is simple: Find, recruit and enroll migrant children and workers for public school services.

Today he sets out from a Wal-Mart parking lot in Vincennes. It’s the closest thing he has to an office.

He often parks here and finds prospective students. After all, he says, everyone comes to Wal-Mart.

“Just a minute ago, there was a bus full of migrant workers from Mexico,” Rodriguez says with a laugh, as he pulls away. “I didn’t know they were here.”

The Indiana Department of Education runs a program specifically aimed at educating migrant workers and children. It operates across the state. Anyone under 22 qualifies for the public service if they or their family has moved for seasonal field or farm work. Regardless of citizenship.

“If it’s a youth 18 or older, maybe by themselves or a group of them, I usually think about English classes and some vocational programs that we have,” Rodriguez says. “If it’s a family I think about the program for the kids.”

To actually enroll children means tracking people down.

Read more here.

April 30, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

5-year-old refuses to cooperate with his outdoorsy family

From The Washington Post:

Q: It is nearly impossible to get my 5 1 /2-year-old boy to cooperate with our plans on the weekends, whether it be a family hike or a birthday party. Even if I get the whole family wanting to stay home and relax, he’ll still pick fights with everyone, especially his 7 1 /2-year-old sister. What’s an outdoor-loving family to do?

A: I have no idea why your son doesn’t want to go out with all of you, but this is the essential question, right? Why would he prefer to sit at home and fight with his sister? Why doesn’t he like hiking? “Why” is the question that will always lead us to what we parents can do (or not).

One interesting point captured my attention: You (or the rest of the family as well as you) place a high value on being outside. I noted this because it is common to have three-fourths of a family love an activity while the other person hates it. There are a couple of reasons for this: No. 1, hating something that everyone else loves is the quickest way to get attention. Remember, children will do anything to belong in a family, be it positively or negatively. Although it feels miserable that your son is holding everyone captive in the house, he is getting lots of attention.

Read more here.

April 29, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)