Family Law Prof Blog

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

Monday, January 2, 2017

Data in Divorce

From the New York Times:

A marriage is not just the union of two people. It is also the union of their data. And when they divorce, the data often gets spilled.

The electorate is now witnessing a vivid example of this, arising from the separation of Anthony D. Weiner, a former congressman, and Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton. The F.B.I. is poring over their emails with a presidential election just days away.

Divorce lawyers and data analysts interviewed on Monday said less public versions of this story play out all the time.

“The problem is, once they’ve already engaged in bad behavior, it’s out there,” said John Slowiaczek, the president-elect of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. “You can’t recapture it, you can’t bury it.”

Read more here.

January 2, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 30, 2016

CA Birth Rate Lowest in History

From the Los Angeles Times:

California’s birthrate dropped to its lowest level ever in 2016, according to data released by the state’s Department of Finance.

Between July 2015 and July of this year, there were 12.42 births per 1,000 Californians, the agency said this week. The last time the birthrate came close to being that low was during the Great Depression, when it hit 12.6 per 1,000 in 1933. 

 
 

But, unlike after the Depression, birthrates haven’t bounced back quickly as the economy has picked up.

California has been experiencing a years-long downward trend that likely stems from the recession, a drop in teenage pregnancies and an increase in people attending college and taking longer to graduate, therefore putting off having children, said Walter Schwarm, a demographer at the Department of Finance. When people do complete their schooling, they’re interested in taking some time to pursue their careers or other goals, he said.

Read more here.

December 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Divorce in India

From the New York Times:

India’s family law was written to discourage divorce, and in that sense it has succeeded brilliantly: The last census, in 2011, showed that the number of Indians who described themselves as separated was nearly three times the number who were divorced.

The country’s legal code offers a notably narrow selection of divorce-worthy faults, among them cruelty, incurable leprosy and renunciation of the world by entering religious orders. Many applicants plead “mental cruelty,” but defining mental cruelty is a murky affair, often coming down to a judge’s discretion.

“No uniform standard can ever be laid down for guidance,” declared a Supreme Court panel in 2007, adding, unhelpfully, that “what is cruelty in one case may not amount to cruelty in another case.”

Here are some examples of the idiosyncratic ways judges used their discretion to support claims of cruelty (and approve divorce)...

Read more here.

December 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Splitting up the retirement

From Forbes:

When you are in the midst of a divorce, the emotional toll itself is hard enough to manage. However, there are also many thorny financial issues that will need to be addressed. A legal separation will most likely involve the division of your retirement plan assets which, if not done properly, can create big tax headaches and other issues down the road.   The type of retirement plan, whether it be an IRA or qualified plan determines the rules that will apply to you.

Retirement accounts are frequently the largest liquid assets in a divorce proceeding. The number one issue relating to the distribution of retirement assets during a divorce is taxation. Transfers from one spouse’s IRA to another spouse’s IRA must be done correctly to avoid an unintentional distribution and the related penalties. Likewise, dividing qualified plans such as 401(k)’s, Defined Benefit plans, or pension plans require a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). Both spouses should know and clearly state which category each of their retirement assets fall under in order to avoid any unnecessary problems later on.

Read more here.

December 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Divorcing for a new home

From Wall Street Journal:

Earlier this year, a Shanghai couple with a newborn daughter made a practical decision: They got a divorce in order to buy their fourth home.

The couple wanted to live near Shanghai Jiangning School, in the city’s Putuo District. Ms. Li, who works in internet operations in Shanghai, and her husband hoped to one day enroll their daughter there.

But Shanghai regulations barred the couple, who already owned three homes in the city, from buying another together as a family. So they used a loophole: If they divorced, they could transfer their properties to one partner, which would free the other to buy a first home as an individual. They ended up with a two-bedroom, roughly five million yuan ($726,000) apartment just minutes away from the school.

“Divorce is not some great thing,” said Ms. Li, who declined to disclose her full name. But “we needed to buy before it got more expensive.”

Shanghai authorities recently started targeting so-called fake divorces in a campaign to tighten credit-lending standards and rein in frothy home prices.

Read more here.

December 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 26, 2016

New PA Law Reduces Divorce Wait Time

From 6abc.com:


More than half of marriages end in divorce, but although the splitting of spouses has become commonplace, the process of separating hasn't become any easier.

But now, in Pennsylvania, there is new law that intends to alleviate some of the stress associated with divorce, especially if there are children involved.

"A unilateral, no fault divorce is when one party says the marriage is over and the other one says I can't consent. So what do you have to do? The old law said you have to wait two years after separation begins," Mary Cushing Doherty, Esq. of High Swartz said.

But on October 4, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law reducing the waiting period from two years to one.

Read more here.

December 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

christmas lights

December 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Psychologists' Thoughts on Kids of Divorced Parents during Holidays

From Family Legal Sydney:

Divorce can take its toll on the whole family. For children, Christmas is a time of excitement and wonder, however, with your recent separation, it can often be confusing and uncertain.

Your first Christmas after divorce can often be the hardest. To help parents through this difficult time and support their children we asked local experts:

What one mindset can newly divorced parents take on to help their kids through Christmas?

Their answers may surprise you.

Read more here.

December 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Symposium on Former Foster Children

No Need to Come Home for Christmas If You Already Live There

From the Wall Street Journal:

Almost 40% of young Americans were living with their parents, siblings or other relatives in 2015, the largest percentage since 1940, according to an analysis of census data by real estate tracker Trulia.

Despite a rebounding economy and recent job growth, the share of those between the ages of 18 and 34 doubling up with parents or other family members has been rising since 2005. Back then, before the start of the last recession, roughly one out of three were living with family.

Read more here.

December 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Return of Engagement Rings in VA

From the ABA Journal:

A $26,000 engagement ring was a conditional gift and a man who broke off his engagement is entitled to its return, the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled.

The court said in a Dec. 15 decision (PDF) that the lawsuit by Ethan Dockendorf was not barred by the state’s heart balm statute, which bars suits for breach of a promise to marry, report Bloomberg News and the Legal Profession Blog.

Read more here.

HT: Josh Blackman

December 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Recognizing Hairdressers As Confidants

From the New York Times:

In the two decades that Angela Smith has been a hairstylist in Chicago, she has heard countless intimate stories from the women who have sat in her chair. Most times the banter is carefree. But sometimes, there are whispers of mistreatment by spouses or partners, of being choked, chased or emotionally abused.

“They say that the hairdresser gets all the secrets,” Ms. Smith said. “They let go here. Everybody doesn’t talk, but once you build a relationship with someone, that’s when it happens. It’s just like when you have a best girlfriend.”

A new state rule taking effect on Jan. 1 recognizes that the unique relationship between hairdressers and their customers may help curb domestic abuse and sexual assault. The amendment to a law that governs the cosmetology industry will require salon workers to take one hour of training every two years to recognize the signs of abuse and assault and will provide them with a list of resources to which they can refer clients for help.

Without the training, cosmetologists in Illinois will not be able to renew their licenses. The professionals covered by the rule — believed to be the first in the nation — include hairstylists, nail technicians and aestheticians.

Read more here.

December 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

British Divorces Down Too

From the Telegraph:

[O]fficial figures suggest that British marriages really are lasting longer than a generation ago.

The latest analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that divorce - both measured as a rate and a total number - fell to the lowest level for 40 years in 2014.

Overall 111,169 couples in England and Wales divorced in 2014, a fall of 3.1 per cent in a year and as much as 27 per cent in just over a decade.

Read more here.

December 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Divorce jokes

From Page Six:

Chris Rock surprised audiences at the New York Comedy Festival on Friday, taking the stage before Hannibal Buress at the Apollo and telling the audience they’ll be seeing more of him on TV due to his divorce.

“When you see me on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ . . . I’m not on crack, that’s just alimony!” Rock finalized his divorce from his wife of nearly 20 years, Malaak Compton-Rock, this summer.

Read more here.

 

December 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 19, 2016

From Family Law Week:

A new study suggests that how new fathers see themselves as parents, how they value their role as a parent and how they adjust to this new role, rather than the amount of direct involvement in childcare during infancy, appears to be associated with positive behaviour in pre-teen children.

The study is published in BMJ Open by a team at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit in the Nuffield Department of Population Health. It explored the relationship between a father's involvement in a child's upbringing at eight weeks and eight months old and the child's behaviour at age nine and eleven.

The study used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children which followed the health and development of thousands of children born in the south west of England in the early 1990s.

Read more here.

December 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas and Divorce

From Lexis Nexis:

It would probably have been sensible to write a piece about agreeing arrangements for the festive season in September, or maybe even August. Deciding then how children divide their time when they are off school and celebrations for Christmas or Hanukah, builds in enough time to apply to the court to resolve matters if all else fails. In reality, things do not pan out in that way, and it is in November that people's thoughts start to turn to the practicalities of how to divide the holidays and it is not too late to try to grapple with the arrangements if they are still undecided. But if you do not have time for a court application and cannot agree the arrangements, how can you tackle this?

Christmas is an emotive time and especially so if it is the first one for a separated family who have traditionally spent Christmas together in previous years. For one parent, they will be facing the prospect that they might not be there for their favourite parts of the celebration. Even when you have done it a few times, it can still feel like a bleak exposé of your new reality.

The important thing at this stage – as it is with all matters festive – is not to panic and to take stock.

Read more here.

December 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Family Law Incubator

From the Financial Post:

Alberta’s economic woes and rising unemployment rate have triggered a rise in the number of people who cannot afford family law services in the province. That will change when the University of Calgary opens its Family Law Incubator in late 2017.

Spearheaded by one of Calgary’s senior family law practitioners, Tony Young, the incubator’s ambitious goal is to be a centre of excellence and to offer a first-choice articling program for students interested in family law.

Situated at the University of Calgary’s campus building in the Downtown West End, and just steps from the C Train, the incubator will also act as a pilot project that, once successful, can be implemented in other cities across Alberta or even Canada. The new 2,000-square-foot open-concept office will run wireless and cloud-based systems and provide four articling jobs for law graduates.

Read more here.

December 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Family Law Incubator

From the Financial Post:

Alberta’s economic woes and rising unemployment rate have triggered a rise in the number of people who cannot afford family law services in the province. That will change when the University of Calgary opens its Family Law Incubator in late 2017.

Spearheaded by one of Calgary’s senior family law practitioners, Tony Young, the incubator’s ambitious goal is to be a centre of excellence and to offer a first-choice articling program for students interested in family law.

Situated at the University of Calgary’s campus building in the Downtown West End, and just steps from the C Train, the incubator will also act as a pilot project that, once successful, can be implemented in other cities across Alberta or even Canada. The new 2,000-square-foot open-concept office will run wireless and cloud-based systems and provide four articling jobs for law graduates.

Read more here.

December 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 16, 2016

More Child Support in NJ if Child Gifted

From NJ.com:

Divorced parents of a gifted child may be required to pay additional child support to develop their child's talent, an Ocean County judge has ruled.

In reaching his conclusion on Oct. 21 about the parents of a 13-year-old Ocean County girl, Superior Court Judge Leonard Jones said basic child support payments usually cover the costs of a child's extra-curricular activities, but that additional support can be ordered when those activities help advance a child's potential.

In this case, the mother of the teen - referred to as Julie in the judge's decision - asked her ex-husband to pay half of their daughter's costs of pursuing an acting career, including clothing, travel, make-up, dues and coaching. Her former husband objected, insisting those expenses are covered by the $113 he pays in weekly child support.

Read more here.

December 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)