Family Law Prof Blog

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

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Baby Born in China via Surrogacy 4 Years After Parents' Death

From The Guardian:

The son of a Chinese couple who died more than four years ago has been born to a surrogate mother, according to Chinese media.

Shen Jie and Liu Xi had been married for two years when they decided to try in vitro fertilization. Five days before they were scheduled to transplant one of the fertilized embryos into Liu, the couple died in a car accident in March 2013 in the Chinese coastal province of Jiangsu.

Read more here. 

April 12, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

DACA Decreases Pregnancy Among Undocumented Teenagers

From the Atlantic:

Three economists, Elira Kuka, Na’ama Shenhav, and Kevin Shih, looked at education and pregnancy rates among undocumented teens between the ages of 15 and 18 who became eligible for daca after it was implemented in 2012. Teen births declined across the whole country during that period, but to control for that, the economists compared daca teens’ outcomes with those of immigrant teens who were already citizens—and thus unaffected by the new act. After daca was implemented, they found, the undocumented teens were 45 percent less likely to give birth than they were before.

Like every study finding, this one has its limitations. Phillip Levine, an economist at Wellesley College who has also studied teen pregnancy, said that for various reasons, the 45 percent figure in this study might not be very precise. “I would feel comfortable concluding that daca reduced teen fertility,” he said via email, “but I wouldn’t place too much weight on the exact magnitude of the effect.”

Read more here.

April 12, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Custody of LGBTQ children


The divorced parents had joint custody of their three children and equal parenting time. 

But soon after the mother began allowing their male child — identified in legal documents as "L." — to wear a skirt to school, the father took his ex-wife to court.

Arguing that the mother, "through various acts, was pushing a female gender identification on L.," the father asked for sole legal custody to make decisions about the child's health care and schooling, according to court records. He also requested L. live with him full-time.

A family-court judge responded with sweeping injunctions forbidding the mother to discuss gender-related issues at home; dress L. in female clothing; let the child have any "female-oriented" toys; or refer to L. as "her," "she" or a "girl."

Read more here.


April 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Russell Crowe's "Art of Divorce" Auction

From the New York Times:

The auction on Saturday at Sotheby’s Australia in Sydney carried a provocative title: “The Art of Divorce.”

The catalog is pulled from the long film career and the personal possessions of the Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe.

The sale took place on the actor’s 54th birthday and the anniversary of his wedding to the singer Danielle Spencer in 2003.

Mr. Crowe split from Ms. Spencer in 2012, and they finalized their divorce last year.

In promoting the event on Twitter in February, the actor said he just had to get rid of lots of stuff. The 227 items on auction ran the gamut, from paintings and movie memorabilia to prop horses, a motorbike and a Mercedes.

At the sale, he was serenaded by the singer Alisa Nasteski, and the crowd gave him three cheers just before a violin by Leandro Bisiach sold for 135,000 Australian dollars, or $104,000, according to The Associated Press.

Read more here.

April 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

NJ Could Be First State to Ban Child Marriage


New Jersey could become the first state in the nation to outlaw marriage for anyone under the age of 18.

A measure some have called the "ban child bride" bill is back and will likely face little resistance from state lawmakers as it makes it way through the legislative process. That's because they passed a similar bill last year with overwhelming bipartisan support.

It was stopped in its tracks last year by former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who vetoed it, saying it was too restrictive and could infringe on religious and cultural traditions.

Read more here.

April 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Consent via App

From CNN:

Karen meets Jeff at a party and he instantly seems like a kindred spirit.

She keeps waiting to hear a telltale reference to an absent wife, girlfriend or partner but there's no mention of a significant other.
Jeff looks at her and acknowledges something special is happening; by the end of the night he's climbing the stairs to the fifth-floor walkup Karen shares with roommates.
Once inside Karen's room, Jeff grabs his phone and taps a few times.
Karen's phone beeps with an incoming text. She's received a WhatsApp message: "Jeff is requesting sexual consent." There's a heart-shaped icon for yes and an X for no.
Karen can tap the heart and appreciate the fact that Jeff cares about consent. Or she can tap the X and wonder what kind of guy has a sex app on his phone.
This hypothetical situation isn't some future shock "Black Mirror" fiction. A Dutch blockchain company is developing an app called LegalFling that creates sex contracts between consenting adults.
Read more here.

April 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Grandparents' Rights

From The Telegraph:

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. 


April 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

No More Personals on Craigslist

From CNN:

The service announced on Friday it will no longer operate the portion of its website that allows individuals to seek encounters with strangers.

The move comes two days after the Senate approved of bipartisan legislation called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.

The legislation, now awaiting President Donald Trump's signature, would create an exception to Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which would pave the way for victims of sex trafficking to sue websites that facilitate their abuse.

The House version already passed with overwhelming support and received an endorsement from the White House.

Read more here.

April 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

U.S. Government Ordered To Allow Abortion Access To Detained Immigrant Teens

From The Washington Post:

A federal judge issued a nationwide order temporarily preventing the government from blocking access to abortion services and counseling for teens detained in immigration custody, saying current administration policy and practices probably are unconstitutional.

The order came in a case brought last fall on behalf of a Central American girl in a ­government-funded shelter that set off a national debate over the constitutional rights of such undocumented teens to terminate their pregnancies.

The late Friday ruling, by U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of Washington, allowed the case to proceed as a class action on behalf of any other teens who have crossed the border illegally and while in federal custody may want to seek abortion services. In filings, the U.S. government acknowledged there were at least 420 pregnant unaccompanied minors in custody in 2017, including 18 who requested abortions.

Read more here.

April 8, 2018 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 7, 2018

U.S. Ends Presumed Freedom For Pregnant Immigrants

From Reuters:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration said on Thursday it would no longer presume that many pregnant women detained by immigration authorities should be released from custody, reversing an Obama-era directive.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers will make a case by case determination under the new policy. Women in their third trimester will still be released as before, said Philip Miller, an ICE deputy executive associate director.

“Just like there are men who commit heinous acts violent acts, so too have we had women in custody that commit heinous acts,” Miller told reporters on Thursday.

Read more here.

April 7, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 6, 2018

Supreme Court of India Seeks to Empower Widows


New Delhi [India], Mar. 27 (ANI): In a bid to improve the livelihood of widows and destitute women in Mathura and Vrindavan, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed temples in the two cities to donate all flowers offered to them to shelter homes.

By doing so, the top court said women in these shelter homes run by the Uttar Pradesh government can use the flowers to make perfumes, incense sticks (agarbattis) and so on, thereby providing a means of livelihood for them.

The Supreme Court further sought consideration from the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) to extend this scheme to all major temple towns such as Varanasi, Tirupati, and others, keeping in mind the welfare of widows and destitute women.

Read more here.

April 6, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Japan Moves To End Child Marriage

From Human Rights Watch:

In the global push to end child marriage, Japan looks set to join the movement.

A proposed revision of Japan’s Civil Code would set the minimum age of marriage at 18 for both women and men. At present, people must be 20 years old to marry without parental permission; with parental permission, men can marry from 18, and girls can marry as young as 16. If passed, the law, which the government supports, would take effect in 2022.

This step is long overdue. Different marriage ages for women versus men violate Japan’s obligations under international human rights law not to discriminate. Child marriage –  marriage before age 18 – is associated globally with girls dropping out of school, sinking into poverty, being at greater risk of domestic violence, and with serious health risks from pregnancy, including death.

Read more here.

April 5, 2018 in International, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Will Iraq Abolish "Marry Your Rapist" Law?

From Reuters:

BEIRUT (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Iraqi women are ramping up pressure to abolish a law that lets rapists off the hook if they marry their victims, after Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon scrapped similar articles last year.

Activists plan to demonstrate and use billboards to condemn the controversial law ahead of May parliamentary elections in the predominately Shi’ite Muslim, conservative society.

“We want to say to the Iraqi government - give women justice,” Rasha Khalid, a lawyer and member of Baghdad Women’s Association, a local rights group, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from the capital.

Read more here.

April 4, 2018 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Alvare: "Now We Know Better: A New Legal Framework on Sex to Better Promote Autonomy, Equality, Diversity, and Care for the Poor"

Helen M. Alvare (George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School) recently posted on SSRN Now We Know Better: A New Legal Framework on Sex to Better Promote Autonomy, Equality, Diversity, and Care for the Poor, Buffalo Law Review (forthcoming).  Here is the abstract:

Over especially the last 50 to 60 years, US laws and policies concerning the sexual relationships between men and women have more consciously articulated a need to pursue social justice according to the categories of autonomy, equality, diversity and care for the poor. These categories are admirable on their face and responsive to the times in which they emerged. They are particularly well-suited to the history of discrimination against women and African Americans in the US. They were strongly influenced, inter alia, by the development of contraceptive technology and an array of social welfare initiatives, the rise of feminism and civil rights, and a growing belief in the importance of sexual happiness. The laws and policies designed to achieve these goals, however, are currently insufficient. They relied on various presumptions about human preferences and behaviors, children’s needs, and the relationship marketplace — especially among the poor — which proved inadequate or false. Consequently while these categories remain relevant and important, US law and policy concerning sexual relationships need to be updated and rebalanced in order to achieve progress toward equality, autonomy, diversity and care for the poor.

April 3, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 2, 2018

NeJaime: "The Story of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C.: Parental Recognition in the Age of LGBT Equality, Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories"

Douglas NeJaime has posted to SSRN The Story of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C.: Parental Recognition in the Age of LGBT Equality, Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories (Murray, Shaw, & Siegel eds., 2019, Forthcoming). Here is the abstract:

This essay, forthcoming in Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories, maps the legal question of parental recognition onto evolving principles of sexual orientation equality. It does so through the lens of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C., a 2016 New York Court of Appeals decision that illustrates both the opportunities and limitations when parentage law embraces sexual orientation equality.

In some earlier disputes on the rights of non-biological parents in same-sex couples, LGBT advocates framed sexual orientation as largely irrelevant. Courts should adopt more capacious understandings of parenthood, advocates argued, to protect parents and children, regardless of sexual orientation. But as the legal, political, and social environment became more affirming of LGBT people and their families, LGBT advocates urged courts to adopt more capacious understandings of parenthood, not only to protect parents and children, but also to vindicate principles of sexual orientation equality.

This essay shows how an emphasis on sexual orientation equality can shape approaches to parental recognition in ways that yield recognition for some families - namely, same-sex couples and others using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) - while leaving other families in an uncertain state - namely, families in which the non-biological parent did not participate in the plan to have the child but nonetheless raised the child. This distinction captures differences between intent and function. An intentional approach to parental recognition focuses on adults' plans with respect to parenting, often looking to decisions made well before the child's conception. A functional approach to parental recognition attends to the existing parent-child relationship, asking whether, with the consent of the legal parent, the individual claiming parental rights formed a bonded parental relationship with the child. In short, intentional parenthood focuses on the decision to have a child, while functional parenthood focuses on the act of raising the child.

The Brooke S.B. court adopted an intentional standard, and connected its approach to respect for same-sex couples' families and to emergent constitutional and family-law principles of sexual orientation equality. Nonetheless, the court explicitly left open the possibility for a functional test that would reach beyond the same-sex parents before it. Eventually, judges and lawmakers in New York might come to appreciate that a functional approach would in fact further sexual orientation equality by offering more comprehensive protection to non-biological parent-child relationships.

April 2, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wisconsin Bill Will Make It A Felony To Harm or Threaten Family Lawyers

From ABA Journal:

A bill that would make it a felony to harm or threaten lawyers for their work in family law cases is heading to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

The Wisconsin Senate approved the bill known as Sara’s Law on Tuesday evening, WSAW reports. The bill is named for lawyer Sara Quirt Sann, who was one of four people killed in a shooting spree by a divorce litigant who was later shot and killed by police. Sann represented the wife of shooter Nengmy Vang.

The bill makes it a felony to harm or threaten a lawyer, corporation counsel or guardian ad litem for work on a family law case, the Wausau Daily Herald reported here and here. Lawyers’ family members would also have the same protection. Judges, district attorneys, law enforcement officers and court officers are already covered.


Read more here.

April 2, 2018 in Resources - Professional Organizations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Mississippi's Free Family Law Clinics

From Daily Journal:

JACKSON – June has been declared Access to Justice Month in Mississippi and chancery courts around the state are scheduling free family law clinics to assist low-income people in resolving civil legal issues.

Between April and November, at least 11 separate clinics are scheduled for the residents of 12 counties in the Daily Journal coverage area. Clinics for Benton, Calhoun, Marshall and Tippah counties could be scheduled at a later time.

“It is vitally important for all citizens to have access to the courthouse,” said Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. “Mississippi has one of the highest rates of poverty in the United States and these legal clinics allow meaningful access with the assistance of volunteer lawyers.”

Read more here. 


April 1, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rights for Foster Parents Under New Indiana Law


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The state’s Department of Child Services is under fire.

But, changes are coming to the system plagued by issues. Gov. Eric Holcomb recently signed into law a bill promising a bill of rights for foster parents.

Heidi Curtis, a foster parent is a champion of the new law. Her heart and soul are with these children.

“It’s exciting as a parent to see a child go from trauma to being happy and content.”

Curtis said there are still challenges in dealing with Child Services.

Read more here

April 1, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Easter

April 1, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Banasaznavaei: "A Study on the Temporary Marriage Contract in Iranian Law — Are Women Safe in Temporary Marriage Contracts?"

Sheida Banasaznavaei has posted to SSRN A Study on the Temporary Marriage Contract in Iranian Law — Are Women Safe in Temporary Marriage Contracts?. Here is the abstract:

With respect to temporary marriage in the modern society of Iran, there are no exact statistics or information. In fact, because these marriages are hidden, it is difficult to study and analyze this phenomenon. My objective is to conduct and prepare research, with the hope of opening the way to remove unclear issues and to review the regulations. I am going to discuss the pillars existing in temporary marriage contracts and analyze problematic issues regarding these factors. The institution of white marriage will be also considered in this paper, with the aim of presenting the modern concepts that dominate current Iranian society.

Since temporary marriage is one of the most challenging subjects in the thought school of Shi'a in legitimate law, its analysis from the standpoint of contract law is rare. It is contested whether the protection of widows and single mothers should be the most important objective of this relationship. Therefore, the goals of this research are twofold. First, it seeks to understand whether the regulations related to temporary marriage contracts include civil guarantees that support the family system's ethical values. Second, it analyzes if these provisions have been effectively adopted to protect women's economic rights.

March 31, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)