Family Law Prof Blog

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

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hindu Marriage Law Deferred

From The Tribune:

The minority Hindu community in Pakistan will have to wait more before they can register their marriages as the lawmakers today deferred till July 13 the final approval of the Islamic country's first Hindu marriage law.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights headed by Chaudhry Muhammad Bashir Virk met here to discuss and finalize a set of laws to formalize and facilitate registration of Hindu marriages.

An official said that the committee deferred the approval till July 13 when it is expected to approve a final draft of 'The Hindu Marriage Bill, 2015' and 'The Hindu Marriage Bill, 2014'. The minority Hindu community in Pakistan has been living without a marriage law since the country was founded in 1947.

The Hindus, who constitute 1.6 per cent of the Pakistan’s total population, have been struggling to get a specific law for the past 67 years to get their marriages legalized and registered.

Read more here.

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Family Courts

From Professor Jane C. Murphy, writing for the Baltimore Sun:

The gap between rich and poor is clear when you look at the ways in which parents reach decisions about where their children will live and how they will be supported when Mom and Dad are no longer together.

If you have money, you can choose when and how much the court will be involved in your family's "reorganization." The parents hire lawyers who offer clients a range of options for resolving issues about children and finances. Today, divorcing parents of means increasingly choose out-of-court processes such as mediation, negotiation and even collaborative practice to resolve their issues without court involvement — thus avoiding the loss of control and loss of privacy that result from extended court proceedings.

Read more here.

July 7, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Collaborative Divorce Saves Time and Money


While many associate the word divorce with painful and messy, a new emphasis on conflict resolution has led to a specialty known as "collaborative divorce." Gaining traction in Pennsylvania as well as being part of an international movement, collaborative divorce is saving clients time, heartache, and often thousands of dollars.

Under collaborative law, both parties retain separate, specially trained lawyers whose only job is to help them settle the dispute. All parties agree to work in good faith, combining legal representation with the strength of mediation. 

In January, a draft of the Pennsylvania Uniform Collaborative Law Act (UCLA) gained unanimous approval of the Family Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Last month, a resolution supporting the proposal was approved by the full board and the House of Delegates of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. A bill is expected to be introduced in the legislature later this year.

Read more here.

July 7, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Country's First Gay Divorce Firm Opens

From CBS Philly:

A Philadelphia attorney has opened what he says is the first LGBTQ divorce firm.

Philadelphia lawyer Conor Corcoran, who bills himself as the nation’s first gay divorce attorney, says he is ready to serve gays and lesbians that will need divorces following the Supreme Court’s ruling last week legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.

Corcoran says he celebrated the Supreme Court decision to have marriage equality throughout the United States, but he quickly realized it was unlikely all of the new marriages would end in bliss.

He says that is why he launched a new division entirely devoted to LGBT divorce.

Read more here.

July 6, 2015 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Your Chances of Marrying

From the New York Times,

The place where you grow up doesn’t affect only your future income, as we wrote about last week. It also affects your odds of marrying, a large new data set shows.

The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado.

Read more here.


July 5, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July

uncle sam

July 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Canada's 'Broken' Adoption System Leaves Children Stranded

From CBC News:

A childless couple are giving up on adoption after battling what they say is a broken system that leaves thousands of Canadian children stuck in provincial care instead of placing them with willing families.

"It wasn't impatience that made us stop adoption — it was a loss of faith completely in the system. When you start to wonder, 'What the hell is going on?'" Lori Niles-Hofmann told Go Public.

What was going on, she said, were long, unexplained delays, no answers and no accountability.

Niles-Hofmann and her husband, Martin Hofmann, have been trying to expand their family for more than a decade. When fertility treatments didn't work, they looked at adoption internationally and then locally.

The couple are educated, they describe themselves as loving and willing to welcome a child of any age into their home. They've gone through the lengthy screening process and were deemed "adoption ready" in Ontario.

The screening process took more than a year and included everything from financial checks to criminal background checks. But despite all of it, they now believe they'll never be parents because of what they say is an inefficient and understaffed system.

Read more here.

July 3, 2015 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Nation's First Gay Divorce Firm

From CBS Philly:

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia attorney has opened what he says is the first LGBTQ divorce firm.

Philadelphia lawyer Conor Corcoran, who bills himself as the nation’s first gay divorce attorney, says he is ready to serve gays and lesbians that will need divorces following the Supreme Court’s ruling last week legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.

Read more here.


July 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Despite the Supreme Court Ruling, Ministers Will Not Be Forced to Marry Gay Couples


Although the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage on Friday, ministers will not be forced to marry gay couples, said a professor who specializes in constitutional law.

"As of today, there are no laws in the state of Michigan requiring a minister to marry somebody they don't want to marry," said Devin Schindler, a professor for Western Michigan University's Cooley Law School.

"I don't think that is going to happen" in the future either, he said. "There are lots of arguments to the contrary," considering the religious freedoms under the U.S. Constitution that allow churches to set rules for membership and practices.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court case, explicitly addressed that question in the court's ruling.

"Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned," Kennedy wrote in his ruling. "The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered."

Read more here.

July 2, 2015 in Marriage (impediments), Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Puerto Rico Amends Laws After U.S. Ruling on Gay Marriage

From ABC News:

Thousands of people in Puerto Rico celebrated Friday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling to allow gay marriage as authorities rushed to approve legislation extending marriage rights in the socially conservative U.S. territory.

Just hours after the court's decision, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order requiring government agencies to become compliant with the ruling within 15 days. As a result, the island's Health Department and other agencies are expected to begin issuing marriage licenses by early next month.

Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda said that while it was not immediately clear whether the ruling also meant that gay couples in Puerto Rico could now adopt, he said he would accept and support the change.

Miranda praised the Supreme Court ruling as "a huge step in the quest for equal rights. You cannot deny people the right to love."

Read more here.

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New York Legislature Passes Alimony Laws

From The Wall Street Journal:

The New York state Senate passed sweeping revisions Wednesday to alimony laws that change how some payments are set and eliminate a long-debated requirement that judges calculate the lifetime value of a license or professional degree earned during the marriage, even if the spouse changed careers later.

The Assembly approved the bill last week.

The Senate’s action came five years after the state adopted legislation on alimony that eventually drew criticism from a wide range of bar associations and matrimonial lawyers.

That law introduced a formula to determine temporary alimony, known as maintenance, that is paid out between the filing of a divorce and its completion. It was intended to protect low-income New Yorkers, who may not able to afford lawyers, by providing predictability and consistency in awards.

It worked well for that group, many agreed. But it drew increasing opposition because it applied to people making more than $500,000 a year. Critics said it failed to account for the often more complicated financial situations of higher-income people, such as annual bonuses or mortgage payments. As a result, there were extreme cases of spouses being asked to pay more in child support, alimony and other expenses than their monthly incomes.

Read more here.

June 30, 2015 in Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Kansas Ban on 2nd-Trimester Abortion Procedure Delayed by Judge

From The New York Times:

A Kansas state judge on Thursday temporarily blocked a new law that would have banned the most common method of abortion in the second trimester.

The law, adopted in April and the first of its kind in the nation, would have barred a method known as dilation and evacuation, which doctors say is usually the safest and most convenient abortion technique after about the 12th to 14th week of pregnancy.

Abortion opponents labeled the procedure “dismemberment abortion,” defining it in the Kansas law as “knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus.”

In a bench ruling on Thursday, Judge Larry D. Hendricks of Shawnee County District Court in Topeka, said he would block the law while a lawsuit challenging it proceeds.

Read more here.

June 29, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Uncomplicating Same-Sex Marriage Law

From Margaret Ryznar, writing for the Huffington Post:

With its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court uncomplicated same-sex marriage law. The Court's clear-cut rule that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry replaces the previous piecemeal approach generated by over a decade of new federal court decisions and state laws. Some states had banned same-sex marriage, some states permitted it legislatively, and some states permitted it by state court decision. Some federal courts upheld the state bans, others struck them down. The U.S. Supreme Court has now definitely settled the debate by allowing same-sex marriage across the county.

The U.S. Supreme Court found constitutional protection for same-sex marriage in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Court had previously interpreted this Amendment to encompass various constitutional rights not explicitly enumerated, including, for example, parental rights, the right to marital privacy involving the use of contraceptives, and the right to marry. In Obergefell, the Court confirmed that the right to marry applied to same-sex couples for the same reasons it applied to opposite-sex couples, such as the benefits of supporting marriage in society.

Read more here.

June 28, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Changes Couples' Finances

From Time:

The much-anticipated Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage has been decided, with the majority of judges declaring it a constitutionally protected right.

While 37 states previously recognized same-sex marriages, today’s ruling means that no state can ban same-sex marriage, or refuse to recognize a marriage performed legally in another state.

It also heralds big changes in the way same-sex couples manage their finances. Since the court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, couples who were legally married in a state that recognized their union have been able to file joint federal tax returns and receive other federal benefits. Today’s decision extends that ruling to the rest of the country and affects a host of other financial issues, including Social Security, estate taxes, and retirement planning. 

Read more here.

June 28, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court Rules that Constitution Guarantees Right to Same-Sex Marriage

From The New York Times:

In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Courtruled by a 5-to-4 vote on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in the historic decision, said gay and lesbian couples had a fundamental right to marry.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family,” he wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off celebrations across the country and the first same-sex marriages in several states. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.

Read more here.

June 27, 2015 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 26, 2015

New Georgia Law Permits DNA Testing for Child Support

From Florida Times-Union:

Under a new law, the Department of Human Services will now be able to conduct DNA tests for all child support cases in which paternity is unresolved.

DHS met on Wednesday in Atlanta to discuss changing its internal rules to fit HB568 that will go into effect July 1.

Under the new law, any man that is proven not to be the biological father will not have to pay child support. The bill was intended to end wrongful paternity claims prior to legal action.

Read more here.

June 26, 2015 in Child Support (establishing), Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Visitation Law for Grandparents

From Sun Sentinel:

A new Florida law is being trumpeted as the first advancement in grandparent visitation rights in decades.

Despite this measure, which goes into effect July 1, grandparents still have almost no legal standing in Florida when it comes to visiting their grandchildren — even if those youngsters lived with them for years while their parents struggled with addiction, divorce or other problems.

The statute change, however, is limited to a very select group: families where the grandchild's parents are both dead, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state. It also applies if one parent meets any of the previous requirements and the other parent has been convicted of a felony.

Otherwise, grandparents remain blocked from having their visitation legal petitions considered in court, as Florida rulings have consistently upheld that parents have the right to control who has access to their children.

Read more here.

June 25, 2015 in Visitation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Empirics on Working Moms

From Wall Street Journal:

Of all the truisms about work and life out there, the most widely accepted may be this: Any woman who tries to combine a high-powered career and a family is going to be one frazzled, sleep-deprived mess. Like the character in Allison Pearson’s novel “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” she will be driven to desperate measures, like trying to trick friends into thinking that her store-bought pies are homemade.

So you can imagine how intrigued I was when Vanessa Chan of Philadelphia showed me her cakes. I’d met Ms. Chan for coffee in November 2014 to discuss her work as a hard-charging management consultant and the time log that she had kept for me earlier that year. In 2013 and 2014, I asked over 100 women who earned at least six figures and had children to keep track of their time for a week. I wanted to see what the lives of women with big jobs and serious family duties really looked like.

Read more here.

June 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Millennials' Views on Sex

From US News:

Millennials aren't pairing off with as many sex partners as Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, but they're more accepting of premarital sex and same-sex relationships.

That's the conclusion of a new review that charted Americans' evolving views on sex, relationships and behavior.

"We found a really profound shift in sexual attitudes and behavior," said study lead author Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University. "In the 1970s, it was much more common to say that sex before marriage was wrong or sometimes wrong. And it was by far the majority view to say sex between two adults of the same sex was wrong.

"That has changed a huge amount," she added.

Read more here.

June 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Alimony in Florida

From Benzinga:

After five years of wrestling with the issue, Florida lawmakers have proposed a bill, which has gained the support of the Florida Bar, offering judges guidelines for how much alimony to award. However, due to a budget impasse, the Florida Legislature's annual session expired on May 1, leaving the alimony reform in limbo and finished for 2015.

The guidelines are based on the length of a marriage and the difference in income between the two parties involved. If passed next year, the bill, which could eliminate permanent alimony, will also allow judges to make exceptions in cases, wherein a lengthy marriage was dissolved and one party has been unemployed for years, making it difficult to resurrect their career.

Read more here.

June 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)