Family Law Prof Blog

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

Monday, August 8, 2016

Marco Rubio Says No to Abortions Procured After Infection of the Zika Virus

From CBS News:

Florida has been the area hardest hit in America by the Zika virus. The Zika virus is known to cause severe microcephaly and other birth defects in fetuses when the mother is bit by a mosquito affected with the virus.

Florida Senator, Marco Rubio, has stated that he "[believes] that all human life is worthy of protection of [Florida's] laws," and that "when you present it in the context of Zika or any prenatal condition, it's a difficult question...If I'm going to err, I'm going to err on the side of life." Rubio does not agree that a woman should be allowed to procure an abortion based on a fetal precondition, such as the Zika virus.

Read more here.

August 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Father of woman 'locked up' in Saudi Arabia must allow her to return to UK

From The Guardian:

A Saudi academic who allegedly imprisoned his 21-year-old daughter must allow her to return to the UK by 11 September, a high court judge has ruled.

Amina al-Jeffery – who grew up in Swansea and has dual British and Saudi Arabian nationality – says her father, Mohammed al-Jeffery, an academic, locked her up at his home in the Saudi city of Jeddah because she “kissed a guy”.

Lawyers representing Amina al-Jeffery had taken legal action and asked Mr Justice Holman to look at ways of helping her. The judge, who analysed the arguments at a public hearing in the family division of the high court in London in July, has ruled that she must be returned to the UK by 11 September.

Read more here.

August 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Child Maltreatment History Should Be a Bar to Being a Foster Parent

 From Youth Today:

It’s just common sense: An adult's past criminal history or history of child maltreatment is not to be balanced against the safety of a child. This is not to say a person with any criminal record should be barred as a foster parent, but certainly an applicant with a substantiated history of child maltreatment, no matter how far in the distant past, should be permanently barred.

Foster care agencies have a legitimate reason to inquire about a prospective foster parent’s criminal and child maltreatment history, be it an inquiry, arrest, charge or conviction. Why? Quite simply, the agency seeks to maximize child safety.

In addition, a good background check helps identify a superior applicant while simultaneously reducing the agency’s potential liability. In many states, the agency responsible for approving foster parent licenses is permitted to waive or not even take into account an applicant's child maltreatment or criminal history if the offense happened many years ago or if the agency's internal risk analysis indicates no cause for concern.

Read more here.

August 5, 2016 in Adoption, Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

US sues North Carolina over transgender bathroom law

From The Indiana Lawyer:

A potentially epic clash over transgender rights took shape Monday when the U.S. Justice Department sued North Carolina over the state's bathroom law after the governor refused to back down.

In unusually forceful language, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said North Carolina's law requiring transgender people to use public restrooms and showers corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate amounts to "state-sponsored discrimination" and is aimed at "a problem that doesn't exist."

"What this law does is inflict further indignity on a population that has already suffered far more than its fair share," she said, speaking directly to residents of her native state. "This law provides no benefit to society, and all it does is harm innocent Americans."

Billions of dollars in federal aid for North Carolina — and a potentially landmark decision regarding the reach of the nation's civil rights laws — are at stake in the dispute, which in recent weeks has triggered boycotts and cancellations aimed at pressuring the state into repealing the measure.

Read more here.

August 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

When Friends Buy a Home Together

From The New York Times:

For some New Yorkers who have been priced out of New York City’s real estate game, pooling resources with friends and siblings has become the quickest path to homeownership. And while sharing a front door can put even the best relationships to the test, some are finding it’s worth the risk.

For Laurie Savage, a writer and restaurant server, and her husband, Garette Henson, a filmmaker, both 36, the arrival of their son, Fox Henson, almost 2, sparked the idea of buying real estate with a friend. That friend was Alix Frey, 37, whom they had met when they were all students at Sarah Lawrence College.

The group recently moved into a three-story two-family townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Ms. Frey, the director of theBlum & Poe gallery in Manhattan, occupies the top level while the couple have the lower level, including the basement and the backyard. The parlor level is divided between the Savage/Hensons and Ms. Frey.

For assistance in their search for a place to buy, the three, who had rented apartments in the same brownstone in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, for eight years, turned to Marina T. Schindler, a saleswoman at Compass real estate and one of Ms. Frey’s close friends.

“It’s a really good way for people to work the system,” Ms. Schindler said. “Not everybody has that money for a down payment. They realize if they team up, they get more bang for the buck.”

Read more here.

August 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Man who 'imprisoned' daughter loses legal bid to restrict media

From The Guardian:

An academic accused of imprisoning his 21-year-old daughter at their home in Saudi Arabia has failed in an attempt to limit reporting of the case.

Amina al-Jeffery – who grew up in Swansea and has dual British and Saudi nationality – said her father, Mohammed, locked her up because she “kissed a guy”.

Lawyers representing Amina al-Jeffery have taken legal action in London in an attempt to protect her and have asked Mr Justice Holman to look at ways to help her.

The judge analysed the case at a public hearing in the family division of the high court in London and lawyers are due to file final documentation on Monday. Holman is scheduled to deliver a ruling on Wednesday.

Read more here

August 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Co-Parenting Tips Before School Starts

From The Huffington Post:

I watched producer, Garry Marshall’s, Mother's Day last night with my stepdaughter, and learned this morning of his unfortunate passing yesterday. Thanks to Mr. Marshall, for two, fun-filled hours we sat back and giggled as we watched superstars like Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts stumble over the normal issues that arise with most blended families. Garry Marshall tackled it all: interfaith marriage, divorce, remarriage, gay marriage, step parenting and adoption. The movie was epic, and a hilarious reminder of where our blended family has traveled over the past several years. It gave us a chance to look at the behaviors of others on a screen, while considering our own real-life behaviors. As they say, we’ve come a long way, baby.

But, this post isn’t a movie review. It is a reminder that though blended families are just like any other family (dare I say, maybe better??!!), we do have to work just a tad bit harder to make sure that our children are raised in supportive, loving environments.

Read more here.

August 1, 2016 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

New York City Wants to Move 16- and 17-Year-Olds From Rikers Jail to Bronx Center

From The New York Times:

Under intense pressure to improve conditions in the jail complex on Rikers Island, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has developed a plan to move 16- and 17-year-olds to a dedicated jail for youths in the Bronx.

The cost to carry out the plan is expected to be about $300 million, officials said.

The plan calls for the city to reconfigure the Horizon Juvenile Center, which is currently used to hold 14- and 15-year olds, to house the 16- and 17-year olds who are typically sent to Rikers.

A 2015 Settlement with the Department of Justice on reform at Rikers called on the city to seek an alternative location to house inmates under 18, although it stopped short of requiring it.

New York is the only state other than North Carolina that prosecutes all children 16 and older as adults if they are accused of a crime. In New York City, they are likely to wind up at Rikers, a notoriously brutal lockup. There are currently about 200 inmates who are 16 or 17 at Rikers, down from about 330 in 2013.

Read more here.

July 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ohio Abortion Law Found Unconstitutional


The Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals held that an Ohio law requiring abortion clinics to have a written transfer agreement with nearby hospitals created an undue burden on a woman's right to have an abortion because there were "'virtually non-existent health benefits'  created by the regulations." The court cited Whole Woman's Health et al. v. Hellerstedt, which came down from the Supreme Court in June of 2016.

Read more here.

July 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Dead Letter Law in Virginia Sends a Message to Same-Sex Couples

From the The Washington Post:

The United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the same constitutional rights to marriage as straight couples. The ruling allows same-sex marriage nationwide; however, many states, including Virginia, still have laws on their books that bar same-sex marriages.

Many believe that the act of keeping those laws around is a symbolic way of saying that same-sex couples are not equal to straight couples. Others are working tirelessly to overturn the Supreme Court's ruling.

Read more here.

July 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Father-Son Relationship Not Repudiated: Father Forced to Pay College Expenses

From the The Indiana Lawyer:

The Indiana Court of Appeals held that when a son and father had not fully repudiated their relationship even though the father did not seek to enforce his parenting time rights, the father was still responsible for a portion of the child's college expenses.

Read more here.

July 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Designer Babies? Most Say "No Thanks"

From the International Business Times:

American adults have express distrust in regard to the emerging field of biomedical technologies used for human enhancement. A survey completed by the Pew Research Center found that many Americans fear a world where "designer babies" are common. This kind of science, while relatively new, still has the ability to become more pronounced in every day life in the very near future. 

Many of those surveyed, even when questioned about using the technologies toward solving health crises, were concerned about widening the gap between "haves" and "have nots" due to the anticipated expenses that would likely arise in utilizing these new scientific therapies.

Read more here.

July 27, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Netflix Original-Tallulah-Takes on the Non-Nuclear Family and Blurred Lines

From LA Weekly:

The Netflix original Tallulah is being released on July 29, 2016. The film's story line involves a young, homeless woman who happens to find herself babysitting a child being neglected by her "woefully inept" mother. The protagonist ultimately takes the child, and the result could be that audiences find themselves deciding whether there are blurred lines involved in kidnapping, rescuing a child, and the implications of a non-nuclear family.


Read more here.

July 25, 2016 in Adoption, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Guardian view on Ellie Butler’s murder: human fallibility?

From The Guardian:

The family justice system has few admirers. Its clients come into contact with it at moments of stress and anger. It has to make the hard decisions that parents have been unwilling or incapable of making for themselves. Its judges are highly trained; they work within a clear legal framework. But in the end, they are still humans making human judgments, vulnerable to human error – occasionally on a tragic scale.

It was a ruling by an experienced high court judge that sent Ellie Butler, aged six, to live with, and soon to die at the hands of, her father, Ben Butler. Only a few months after her return, he subjected her to such a violent attack that he killed her. Sentencing him for the murder on Tuesday, the judge told him: “You are a self-absorbed, ill-tempered, violent and domineering man who, I am satisfied, regarded your children and your partner as trophies.” This was the same man who four years earlier was sent home in charge of his daughter with another judge’s warm and sympathetic character assessment ringing in his ears. “I wish the parents well,” said Mrs Justice Hogg, “they deserve joy and happiness.”

Read more here.

July 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Bizarre New Zika Infection in Utah

From The Atlantic:

Scientists are bewildered by a new and disturbing development involving the Zika virus in Utah, where a patient who contracted the virus recently died. Officials announced on Monday they’re investigating how a person who cared for the patient who died also became infected.

“Based on what is known now, the person has not recently traveled to an area with Zika and has not had sex with someone who is infected with Zika or who has traveled to an area with Zika,” the Utah Department of Health wrote in a statement on Monday. “In addition, there is no evidence at this time that mosquitoes that commonly spread Zika virus are in Utah.”

The department described the deceased as someone who had “a uniquely high amount of virus in the blood.” The death marked the first known Zika fatality in the United States.

Read more here.

July 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Opportunity: Be a Facilitator at Marion County Unrepresented Litigants Family Law Facilitation Program

From the IndyBar:

Dear Senior Judge/Domestic Relations Attorney,

I am writing to you to invite you to participate in Marion County’s new Unrepresented Litigant (“URL”) Family Law facilitation program. In October of 2015 Marion County received a Court Reform Grant from the Indiana Supreme Court.

The purpose of the Court Reform Grant is to provide lawyer/facilitators (“facilitators”) who can give direction on family law matters and civil procedure to URLs without providing legal advice. The program will be coordinated through the Family Resource Center to aid and assist the increasing caseload in family law cases spurred on by URLs.

As a facilitator your duties would include: assisting in financial screening, discussing the issues and difficulties of self-representation and the complex issues involved in family law matters involving children and assets, the consequences of mishandling a legal proceeding and the benefits of legal representation. You may also make recommendations to the Family Resource Center Coordinator of those URLs for whom a referral to the appropriate legal service provider or pro bono counsel would be appropriate. Depending on the URLs financial circumstances, they may qualify for legal assistance or pro bono counsel through our partners at Heartland.

Read more here.

July 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Carolyn Hax: A separated couple is struggling to find a way to reconcile

From the Washington Post:

Dear Carolyn: I’ve been separated from my wife of 19 years and three kids for a few months. The separation stemmed from my infidelity — a mistake I made to run from my marital problems instead of to communicate, try to work through them and take a stand for my happiness. It was cowardly, and I regret it deeply.

We are in couples counseling and both want to find a way to reconcile, but we are struggling to get there. She can’t forgive me, and I am unable to convince her I am sorry enough without completely submitting and denying my authenticity.

I miss my kids terribly and this is hard on them. The truth is, though, that I want to reconcile only to unify the family. For all our sakes, personally and financially. Spending time alone with my wife is something I dread, as she is angry, judgmental and constantly telling me all the things I’m doing wrong. This describes our marriage previous to the infidelity.

When is it time to give up and move on? I’m living half a life.


Read more here.

July 22, 2016 in Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review of Splitopia

Professors Naomi Cahn (GW) & Jana Singer (UM) recently reviewed Splitopia by Wendy Paris--Download it here.

July 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Central States Law Schools Conference

Registration is now open for the Central States Law Schools Association 2016 Scholarship Conference, which will be held on Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24 at the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks, ND. We invite law faculty from across the country to submit proposals to present papers or works in progress.
CSLSA is an organization of law schools dedicated to providing a forum for conversation and collaboration among law school academics. The CSLSA Annual Conference is an opportunity for legal scholars, especially more junior scholars, to present on any law-related topic in a relaxed and supportive setting where junior and senior scholars from various disciplines are available to comment. More mature scholars have an opportunity to test new ideas in a less formal setting than is generally available for their work. Scholars from member and nonmember schools are invited to attend. 

Please click here to register. The deadline for registration is September 2, 2016.  

Hotel rooms are now available for pre-booking. The conference hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn in Grand Forks. The hotel phone number is (701) 775-6000. When booking, identify yourself as part of the “UND School of Law” block to receive a daily rate of $89. Please note that conference participants are responsible for all of their own travel expenses including hotel accommodations.

For more information about CSLSA and the 2016 Annual Conference please subscribe to our blog.
We look forward to seeing you in Grand Forks!


The 2016 CSLSA Board
For more information about CSLSA, visit our website at or contact a board member.

July 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Programme aims to help people affected by 'parental alienation'

From The Guardian:

Parental alienation – a phenomenon where one parent poisons their child against the other parent – has become such a feature of the most difficult family breakdowns that Cafcass, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, is to offer targeted support for those affected following a government-funded intensive therapeutic pilot programme.

Distinct from the all-too-common acrimony between divorcing parents, the syndrome is an internationally recognised phenomenon. In America and Canada, “parenting coordinators” are ordered and supervised by the courts to help restore relationships between parents and children identified as “alienated”. In Mexico and Brazil, alienating a child from a parent is a criminal act.

Psychiatrist Richard Gardner developed the concept 20 years ago, defining it as “a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent.”

Read more here.

July 20, 2016 in Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds), Resources - Child Custody, Resources - Child Support, Resources - Children & the Law, Resources - Divorce, Visitation | Permalink | Comments (0)