Family Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, August 14, 2015

Iowa Law Hiring

The University of Iowa

College of Law



August 2015





            THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA COLLEGE OF LAW anticipates hiring several tenured/tenure track faculty members and clinical faculty members (including a director for field placement program) over the coming year. Our goal is to find outstanding scholars and teachers who can extend the law school’s traditional strengths and intellectual breadth. We are interested in all persons of high academic achievement and promise with outstanding credentials. Appointment and rank will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Candidates should send resumes, references, and descriptions of areas of interest to:  Faculty Appointments Committee, College of Law, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa  52242-1113.


            THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment free from discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, religion, associational preference, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

August 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Maternity Leave

From the Huffington Post:

Amid all the praise for Netflix’s announcement earlier this week that it would offer its employees "unlimited" maternity and paternity leave, the Silicon Valley company neglected to mention something: Not all workers are created equal.

Employees in Netflix’s declining, but very profitable, DVD division aren’t covered by the new policy, which permits new parents to take up to 12 months leave at their own discretion, company spokeswoman Anne Marie Squeo confirmed to The Huffington Post late on Wednesday.

Explaining why the company's DVD workers, many of whom are paid hourly, wouldn’t be covered, Squeo would only say that the two sides of the business are run differently. “Streaming and DVD are totally separate parts of our business with different staff, support, etc. We report revenue, net income, etc. separately for each quarterly,” she wrote in an email.

Read more here.

August 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

IN Child Support Guidelines

From the Indiana Lawyer:

The passage and implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act is underlying a proposal to rid Indiana’s child support guidelines of a loophole and complicated health insurance worksheet.

As part of its periodic review of the support guidelines, the Domestic Relations Committee of the Indiana Judicial Conference is recommending the language regarding health care and medical support be revised to reflect the expanded availability of public health insurance. Once the committee finishes its work, the Indiana Supreme Court will determine if the revisions should be adopted.

Family law attorneys welcomed the proposed change, saying the committee is keeping the focus on the children and making sure they have medical coverage. This revision provides some clarity and may reduce the instances of divorced couples returning to court to settle disputes over who pays for their children’s health insurance.

Read more here.

August 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Young Adults Still Living at Home

From The New York Times:

During the recession near the end of the last decade, many young adults facing a dreadful job market moved in with their parents to save money.

Now, jobs may be more plentiful and the economy has improved, but many members of the millennial generation have yet to leave the nest, according to a new study. In fact, even more of them are living at home now.

An analysis of census data by the Pew Research Center has found that 18- to 34-year-olds are less likely to be living apart from family members than they were even during the depths of the recent recession, the worst economic downturn since the 1930s.

“Young adults were the age group that was hardest hit by the Great Recession,” said Richard Fry, a senior researcher at Pew. “They’re not fully healed from the damages.”

In 2010, according to the study, 69 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds lived independently. During the first four months of this year, just 67 percent of that same age group was living independently. From 2010 to April 2015, the share of young adults living in their parents’ homes has increased to 26 percent from 24 percent, the study said.

Read more here.

August 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Feminist Legal Theory CRN Call for Papers for LSA 2016


Call for Papers – Friday September 18thDeadline

Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network

at the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting

New Orleans, June 2-5, 2016


Dear friends and colleagues,

We write to invite you to participate in panels sponsored by the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at the Law and Society Annual Meeting in 2016.

Information about the Law and Society meeting (including registration and hotel information) is at:

Within Law & Society, the Feminist Legal Theory CRN seeks to bring together scholars across a range of fields who are interested in feminist legal theory. There is no pre-set theme to which papers must conform. We would be especially happy to see proposals that fit in with the LSA conference theme, which is the role of law and legal institutions in sustaining, creating, interrogating, and ameliorating inequalities. We welcome proposals that would permit us to collaborate with other CRNs, such as the Critical Research on Race and the Law CRN or the Gender, Sexuality and the Law CRN. Also, because the LSA meeting attracts scholars from other disciplines, we welcome multidisciplinary proposals.

Our goal is to stimulate focused discussion of papers on which scholars are currently working. Thus, while proposals may reference work that is well on the way to publication, we are particularly eager to solicit proposals for works-in-progress that are at an earlier stage and will benefit from the discussion that the panels will provide.

A committee of the CRN will assign individual papers to panels based on subject. Our panels will use the LSA format, which requires four papers, but we will continue our custom of assigning a chair for the panel and a commentator for each individual paper. As a condition of participating as a panelist, you must also agree to serve as a chair or commentator for another panel or participant. We will of course take into account your scheduling and topic preferences to the degree possible.

The duties of a chair are to organize the panel logistically, including registering it online with the LSA, and moderating the panel. The chair will develop a 100-250 word description for the session and submit the session proposal to LSA before their upcoming deadline on October 15, so that each panelist can submit his or her proposal, using the panel number assigned. Chairs will also be responsible for assigning commentators but may wait to do so until panels have been scheduled later this winter. The duties of a commentator are to read one paper and provide verbal comments as well as brief written (email is fine) comments.

If you would like to present a paper as part of a CRN panel, please email an abstract or summary, along with your name and a title, to Jessica Clarke at There is no need to upload the document to the TWEN site this year. Note that LSA is imposing a new requirement that your summary be at least 1,000 words long.  Although a shorter summary will suffice for our purposes, you will be required to upload a 1,000 word summary in advance of LSA’s deadline on October 15. If you are already planning a LSA session with at least four panelists (and papers) that you would like to see included in the Feminist Legal Theory CRN, please let Jessica know.

In addition to these panels, we may try to use some of the other formats that the LSA provides: the “author meets readers” format, salon, or the roundtable discussion. If you have an idea that you think would work well in one of these formats, please let us know. Please note that for roundtables, organizers are now required to provide a 500 word summary of the topic and the contributions they expect the proposed participants to make. Please also note that LSA rules limit you to participating only once as a paper panelist or roundtable participant.

Please submit all proposals by Friday, September 18. This will permit us to organize panels and submit them prior to the LSA’s deadline on October 15. In the past, we have attempted to accommodate as many panelists as possible, but have been unable to accept all proposals. If we are unable to accept your proposal for the CRN, we will notify you by early October so that you can submit an independent proposal to LSA.

We hope you’ll join us in New Orleans to discuss the scholarship in which we are all engaged and connect with others doing work on feminism and gender.


LSA Planning Committee

Jessica Clarke
Jill Hasday
Jessica Knouse
Elizabeth Kukura
Seema Mohapatra
Marc Spindelman

August 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Millennial Dads

From The New York Times:

Young men today have aspirations of being hands-on fathers as well as breadwinners — supportive husbands who also do dishes.

But as they enter that more responsibility-filled stage of life, something changes: Their roles often become much more traditional.

Millennial men — ages 18 to early 30s — have much more egalitarian attitudes about family, career and gender roles inside marriage than generations before them, according to a variety of research by social scientists. Yet they struggle to achieve their goals once they start families, researchers say. Some researchers think that’s because workplace policies have not caught up to changing expectations at home.

“The majority of young men and women say they would ideally like to equally share earning and caregiving with their spouse,” said Sarah Thébaud, a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “But it’s pretty clear that we don’t have the kinds of policies and flexible work options that really facilitate egalitarian relationships.”

Work-family policies strongly affected women’s choices, but not men’s. Ms. Thébaud said that occurred because women disproportionately benefit from the policies since they are expected to be caregivers, while men are stigmatized for using them.

Read more here.

Hat Tip: SH

August 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 10, 2015

What to Expect When Divorcing: The Initial Consultation

From The National Law Review:

Divorce can be an extremely stressful experience, but often the best way to stay calm is by preparing yourself with as much information as possible. When first setting up an initial consultation with a divorce attorney, a staff member from the attorney’s office will need to run a “conflict check” to ensure that there is no pre-existing reason that would prevent that attorney from representing you in your family law matter. If there are no conflicts, you will be contacted to set up an appointment for an initial consultation.

At an initial consultation, you should be prepared to discuss the circumstances of your case. This part of the process is simply a conversation between you and a potential attorney. You should be the one doing the majority of the talking at the initial consultation, and the attorney should be listening to you, and taking notes. The attorney will also be asking you questions to make sure they have all of the necessary information about your circumstances.

The attorney will first need to gather your basic contact information, such as your cell phone number, home address and email address, as well as background information, such as your date of marriage, the names and ages of children, both spouses’ employment information, and incomes, assets and liabilities. Your assets include accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, stocks or bonds, collections, etc., while your liabilities would include mortgages, credit card debt, student loans, etc. You should be prepared to discuss these issues and have knowledge of approximate account balances and income information. The attorney will also ask whether you had a prenuptial agreement, whether either party had any premarital assets and whether either party received an inheritance during the marriage.

Read more here.

August 10, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Marital Rape

From Professor Jill Elaine Hasday (University of Minnesota Law), writing for the Washington Post:

This week, Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen reportedly said: “You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.” The comment ricocheted around the Internet and was denounced by scores of critics, who accused Cohen of misstating the law. He’s since apologized.

Unfortunately, Cohen’s broad declaration was less wrong than we’d like to think. All states prosecute some forms of marital rape in theory. But in reality, statutes criminalizing marital rape are often inadequate. They also remain dramatically and disproportionately under-enforced.

This injustice has deep historical roots. For centuries, husbands were absolutely exempt from criminal prosecution for raping their wives. In the eyes of the law, marital rape was a legal impossibility.

That is no longer true. Starting in the 1970s and 1980s, every state eliminated husbands’ absolute immunity from prosecution. Most states accomplished this reform through legislation. A few achieved it through judicial opinions.

Read more here.

August 9, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mother, Daughter Sentenced to Years in Federal Prison for Committing Marriage Fraud

From Dallas Morning News:

In January 2014 nine people were indicted on 10 counts, chief among them: “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States” and “Conspiracy to Commit Marriage Fraud.”

That lengthy indictment, which is below, lays out a complex, decades-long scheme involving a 61-year-old mother, her 32-year-old daughter, seven other family members, phony immigration documents, counterfeit birth certificates, fraudulent tax returns and identity theft. The operation was undone in 2010 by an undercover government agent in Dallas “posing as an illegal alien” in need of a phony immigration application, according to the indictment.

The mother, Frances Sandoval, and her daughter Monica Morena pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with immigration documents and aggravated identity theft. Just yesterday, Sandoval was sentenced to 65 months in federal prison; she must also forfeit $45,850. Morena’s sentence handed down Wednesday in Dallas federal court is shorter (48 months), and her financial penalty is smaller ($21,710).

Read more here.

August 8, 2015 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Evangelicals Say Fight Against Same-Sex Marriage Not Over

From CNN:

Despite the Supreme Court decision in June that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, leading evangelicals vowed this week that the fight to keep marriage between a man and a woman is not over.

"In mandating same-sex marriage for all 50 states, the Supreme Court didn't just get marriage wrong, it got government wrong," Jennifer Marshall, a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, a D.C.-based conservative think tank, told a gathering of evangelicals in Nashville on Wednesday.

Leading Christian and political conservatives met at the Gospel and Politics: The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission National Conference. The group is the political and policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant Christian group in the country.

The conference was the second one this week by the Christian group. Leader Russell Moore interviewed presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio at a missions conference Tuesday.

Moore previously told CNN that the fight to reverse the Supreme Court's recent ruling will be a long one.

Read more here.


August 7, 2015 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

In Massachusetts and Elsewhere, A Push For Custody Reform

From The Boston Globe:

The State House hearing room seemed an unlikely place for grown men to bare their souls.

But as father after father took a seat in a committee room, urging lawmakers to support proposed legislation to revamp Massachusetts’ child-custody statute, they laid out the particulars of their divorces and personal lives in blunt detail.

Battles over custody and child support are as old as divorce itself. But as parenting norms have shifted in the past half-century — the “Leave It To Beaver” setup giving way to one in which 71 percent of women work outside the home and more fathers are engaged in child care — lawmakers seem increasingly willing to consider that long-standing child custody statutes might warrant review.

Read more here.

August 6, 2015 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Priest in "Children of Silence" Adoption Scam Leaves Chile


A priest at the center of an illegal baby adoption scam in Chile has been moved out of the country and faces no charges, even after admitting he participated in at least two illegal adoptions.

The Rev. Gerardo Joannon, who belongs to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts order, has been relocated to a house for priests in the city of Merlo, Argentina.

The transfer is supposed to be "an act of religious obedience" and a time to pray and serve penance, according to a statement issued by the order. The statement does not give a reason for his penance.

Joannon, who is in his late 70s, publicly admitted last year that he had facilitated illegal adoptions during the 1970s and '80s.

According to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts order and Chilean authorities, the priest took at least two babies from their biological mothers, either through lies or coercion, and in secret gave them to adoptive families.

Read more here.

August 5, 2015 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Judge Strikes Down Divorce Order - Wife's Partying Not Mental Cruelty

From The Times of India:

The Bombay high court has in a marital dispute case ruled that a family court was wrong in granting divorce to a Navi Mumbai resident who had claimed that his wife used to party a lot and misbehave, which constituted cruelty. Justice M L Tahaliyani pointed to the fact that social mores and traditional roles were changing and upheld an appellate court's order overturning the divorce verdict. 

Rajesh Chawla, (42), a mariner, claimed that his wife Seema, with whom he has two children, frequently attended late-night parties, misbehaved with him on many occasions, had outbursts on small issues and made his life miserable. 

"Socializing to some extent in the present society is permissible," said Justice Tahaliyani, adding, "But there is no evidence to come to the conclusion that on a particular date Seema was drunk or had excess liquor and had come to the house at a particular time." 

Read more here.

August 4, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Virginia Man Arrested for Bigamy


A Henrico man was charged with two counts of bigamy after his wife found out her husband had not divorced his previous wife before they got married. In fact, Frank Ernest Blake, Jr., 32, has been married three times without ever legally divorcing the women he married, police said.

Blake was charged with two counts of bigamy and two counts of forgery. Police said Blake forged two marriage licenses.

From behind bars, Blake explained that he has had three different marriages. The first one in 2001 lasted several years. He said his wife then filed for divorce.

“I got papers in the mail saying we were divorced, but evidently you get two sets of papers. I signed my name and everything on it” Blake said.

He said he didn’t think he had to get something annulled if it “wasn’t even real.”

Read more here.

August 3, 2015 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Oklahoma Program Offers Amnesty for Overdue Child Support

From Times Record:

Oklahoma has active arrest warrants for more than 11,000 parents for failure to pay child support and interest totaling more than $397 million.

Those parents will be given an opportunity to work out payment schedules and have the warrants withdrawn under an Amnesty in August program announced Tuesday by the Child Support Services division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

“Amnesty in August is an opportunity for Oklahoma parents who have fallen behind on child support to come in and work with us to get back on track,” said Meg Cannon, spokeswoman for Child Support Services. “Parents who seek our assistance in August have an opportunity to develop a payment plan that will help them move forward with their obligations and hopefully create stronger connections with their children.”

The 11,684 delinquent parents owe a combined $397,680,850.55 in past due child support and interest, Cannon said.

Read more here.

August 2, 2015 in Child Support Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lawmaker Ready to Introduce Legislation to Stop Same-Sex Marriage in Tennessee


A state lawmaker is ready to introduce legislation, if need be, to stop marriage licenses from being issued across the state, all because of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

State Rep. Rick Womick (R), of Rutherford County, is ready for war.

“If we don’t stand up and say no to these five Supreme Court Justices, we no longer have a constitutional republic; we are an oligarchy,” Womick said.

He said he’ll continue his fight, even if it means getting out of the marriage business.

“If you don’t want to uphold our sovereignty, then let’s just go ahead and get out of the marriage business and no longer issue marriage certificates,” Womick said. “We won’t issue any marriage license to anybody.”

Read more here.

August 1, 2015 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Paternity Leave for Single Military Fathers?

From Military Times:

Possible paternity leave for single sailor fathers is on the radar, according to a Navy spokeswoman.

Married service members are allowed 10 days of paternity leave that is not against their other leave under a 2008 law that stresses the word “married.”

Navy spokeswoman Lt. Jessica Crownover said requests for paternity leave from single service members have come in.

As such, “part of the Sailor 2025 initiative is to evaluate this law and consider how changes will improve work-life balance,” Crownover said.

Army, Air Force and Marine Corps officials say the idea is not being discussed within their services, although the Marine Corps does allow single Marine father to request paternity leave under limited circumstances.

For example, when appropriate medical facilities are not available for delivery of a child, the male Marine may be authorized paternity leave to accompany his spouse before and immediately following delivery. That particular authorization may be extended to unmarried male Marines in circumstances such as — but not limited to — when the unmarried male Marine has sole custody of the baby.

Read more here.

July 31, 2015 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Christian Schools Ask Supreme Court to Strike Down Obamacare Abortion Mandate

From The Washington Examiner:

A group of Christian schools wants the Supreme Court to strike down an Obamacare mandate that they provide health plans that enable access to abortion-inducing pills, the latest religious nonprofits to challenge the law's mandate.

The group of four universities petitioned the Supreme Court on Friday after a lower appeals court upheld the mandate earlier this month. The universities are Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Oklahoma Baptist University and Mid-America Christian University.

"The government should not force faith-based organizations to be involved in providing abortion pills to their employees or students," said Gregory S. Baylor. Baylor is senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the schools.

The petition is the latest from several religious nonprofits objecting to an accommodation in the healthcare law for birth control and the abortion drugs.

Read more here.

July 30, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How Cohabitation Affects Alimony Payments

From The National Law Review:

At the conclusion of many divorce proceedings, alimony is calculated by the court to be paid from the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse. The amount of alimony to be paid is calculated based on a variety of factors, including, among others, the length of the marriage and the martial lifestyle of the couples while married. Once calculated, alimony can typically only be modified by showing a “change in circumstances” that would warrant either the increase or decrease in alimony payments to be made. An occurrence that can be considered a “change in circumstance” is when the alimony recipient then cohabitates with another following the divorce while still receiving alimony payments.

Cohabitation situations can be frustrating to the alimony obligor (the spouse making the payments) because the alimony recipient cohabitating with another can mean two things: (1) the recipient may be using the payments to support their new partner, or (2) the recipient may be receiving financial support from their new partner in addition to the alimony received from their former spouse, essentially receiving monies from two different sources and concealing changes in their finances.

Read more here.

July 29, 2015 in Cohabitation (live-ins), Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Modification to Alimony Due to Retirement

From The National Law Review:

During the course of divorce proceedings, alimony from the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse is typically calculated based on a variety of factors. The income of the two spouses is a critical factor in determining the amount of alimony to be paid. However, some incomes are not guaranteed and can change over time. One of the most common scenarios in which the income of a spouse can change is due to retirement. Following one’s retirement, a spouse can petition the court to modify the alimony payments they either receive or pay. However, there are an additional set of factors the court must consider in permitting alimony payments to be modified if the parties were divorced prior to September of 2014.

The leading case in New Jersey addressing the modification of alimony is Lepis v. Lepis (1980), which states that “the party seeking modification [of alimony] must demonstrate that changed circumstances have substantially impaired the ability to support himself or herself.” Furthermore, the court will look at the party’s circumstances at the time of the divorce (when the alimony was determined) and at the time of application for the modification of alimony to see any differences in the circumstances between these two dates.

Read more here.

July 28, 2015 in Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink | Comments (0)