Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Child Support Enforcement in Virginia

From Washington Post:

A slow-moving but seismic shift is taking hold in Virginia’s child support enforcement community of judges and lawyers and case managers. That shift, still underway, has seen the rise of new partnerships between child support enforcement, the courts, social service agencies and fatherhood programs seeking to figure out what’s keeping parents from paying the child support they owe. And then — this is the seismic part — helping those parents  address their issues instead of locking them up. The state’s Intensive Case Monitoring Program joins a national movement nearly a decade in the making in which problem-solving measures in child support enforcement have been replacing punitive ones.

As they say in child support, there is a difference between deadbeat and dead-broke, and discerning it is key. Civil contempt is meant to coerce a parent to pay and get out of jail, says Craig Burshem, the director of Virginia’s Department of Social Services Division of Child Support Enforcement. “It’s not meant to be a debtor’s prison.”

Read more here.


January 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Parental Autonomy or Neglect?

From USA Today:

The parents of three young children are petitioning child protective services, saying the state of Washington unlawfully removed the children from their home after the mother gave birth to the two youngest in an unassisted home delivery.

However, child protective services countered that a home delivery alone would not trigger intervention.  Read more here.


January 5, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New HBO Show

From CBS News:

Sarah Jessica Parker is reportedly posed for a return to HBO, a decade after finishing her run on the network as Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City."  Play Video Sarah Jessica Parker on shoe line: "I wanted a shoe that I would be proud offering"  HBO is nearing a deal for a new comedy called "Divorce" that would likely star and be produced by Parker, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Read more here.


January 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Divorce City

From the Washington Post:

He’s a fabulously wealthy fashion tycoon. She’s a former Miss Malaysia with an Imelda Marcos-scale shoe fetish.

They have homes in five countries and, after 43 years of marriage, share one big problem: They can’t agree on where to get divorced.

So for the past two years, Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng and Pauline Chai have been slugging it out in the courts, spending millions of dollars in legal fees to decide where they’ll ultimately divide the hundreds of millions left in the bank: Malaysia or England.

Read more here.


January 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!


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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pet Custody

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Family law attorney Mandy McKellar valued her cats so much that she included them in a prenuptial agreement with her husband — “just in case.”

By the time they divorced this summer, the couple also had acquired two dogs. Now all five pets live with McKellar in her Las Vegas home, although she has offered to let her ex-husband take the cat they adopted.

“He can come back and get her at any time,” McKellar said of the cat. “She hates the dogs.”

Although McKellar and her husband went through an uncontested divorce, lawyers and judges who handle Family Court cases know that breakups often turn bitter. Couples fight over their children, their houses, and yes, even their pets.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers announced in February that 27 percent of the respondents in a recent survey had noticed an increase in the number of couples who fought over custody of a pet during the previous five years. Most of the time, those disputes involved a dog.

Read more here.


December 31, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Burma's Proposed Family Law

From Human Rights Watch:

Burmese President U Thein Sein and National Assembly Speaker U Thura Shwe Mann should reject proposals for discriminatory marriage legislation that would strip Buddhist women of the right to freely choose whom they marry, Human Rights Watch said today.


The proposed law, seen by Human Rights Watch, restricts Buddhist women to marrying only Buddhists. It requires individuals holding other religious beliefs to convert to Buddhism before marrying a Buddhist, and seek written parental consent of the bride. The proposed law also sets out a 10-year prison sentence and confiscation of properties of any non-Buddhist who seeks to marry a Buddhist in violation of the law.  

Read more here.



December 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Census Data Changing?

From Pew:

The Census Bureau has proposed dropping a series of questions about marriage and divorce from its largest household survey of Americans, touching off a debate about the usefulness of such data.

Since 2008, the bureau’s American Community Survey has asked a subset of the U.S. population about their relationship status, including whether they have been married, widowed or divorced within the past year. The survey also asks how many times a person has been married and when he or she last got married, which can be used to look at marital stability.

The bureau proposed eliminating these questions, and two others, in part because it is under pressure from Congress to justify every question on the survey, which some political conservatives would like to eliminate because they say that it invades people’s privacy. But two vocal groups — academic researchers and some conservative advocates for heterosexual marriage — say it is important to have the data in an era when marriage is declining.

The proposal is open for public comment through Dec. 30. The agency will then review the feedback and send a recommendation to the Office of Management and Budget, which makes the final decision. Any changes would take effect in 2016.

Read more here.


December 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

PA's Child Custody Standards

Read a review of Pennsylvania's child custody standards, changed back in 2010, here.


December 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Forced to Pay for College

From Margaret Ryznar, writing for the Huffington Post:

The recent Caitlyn Ricci case -- which resulted in a set of divorced parents forced to pay $16,000 for their adult daughter's college tuition at Temple University despite their strained relationship with her -- has drawn significant attention to the post-majority educational support laws that exist in a few states.

These laws seek to provide more than the basic child support required in a divorce or paternity case: they aim to provide college tuition support. The laws differ by state: some take into account the parent's financial capacity and the child's ability (although a college admissions letter may be enough to prove ability), some ignore a parent's role (or lack thereof) in choosing the college, and some provide parents access to the child's college transcripts. Some states have statutes permitting such support, while others have court precedent allowing it.

There are no analogous laws that apply to married parents, who are never forced by the law to pay for any part of their children's college education. But, married parents might pay anyway -- and willingly so. On these grounds, the Supreme Court of Washington upheld a post-majority educational support statute. According to the court, the statute simply remedied the economic disadvantages facing children of divorced parents, who likely would have received greater financial support if their parents had remained married.

Read more here.


December 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 26, 2014

On Bias

From the New York Times:

A FATHER and his son are in a car accident. The father is killed and the son is seriously injured. The son is taken to the hospital where the surgeon says, “I cannot operate, because this boy is my son.”

This popular brain teaser dates back many years, but it remains relevant today; 40 to 75 percent of people still can’t figure it out. Those who do solve it usually take a few minutes to fathom that the boy’s mother could be a surgeon. Even when we have the best of intentions, when we hear “surgeon” or “boss,” the image that pops into our minds is often male.

Our culture’s strong gender stereotypes extend beyond image to performance, leading us to believe that men are more competent than women. Managers — both male and female — continue to favor men over equally qualified women in hiring, compensation, performance evaluation and promotion decisions. This limits opportunities for women and deprives organizations of valuable talent.

To solve this problem, business leaders, academics and journalists are working to raise awareness about bias. The assumption is that when people realize that biases are widespread, they will be more likely to overcome them. But new research suggests that if we’re not careful, making people aware of bias can backfire, leading them to discriminate more rather than less.

Read more here.


December 26, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

merry christmas

December 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Billion $ Divorce

From Sean Williams (University of Texas), guest blogging for Concurring Opinions:

A few weeks ago, an Oklahoma judge was tasked with dividing Harold and Sue Ann Hamm’s $2Billion marital estate. And the judge’s only guidance was to divide it in any way that was, in his mind, “fair,” “just,” and “reasonable.”  Billion dollar divorces like this one highlight long-known problems with divorce law. Namely, that courts have wide and almost unreviewable discretion over many aspects of a divorcing couples’ lives.  When I ask students in my family law class how they would divide a particular marital estate, I generally get a lot of variation.  Many people choose 50%-50%, a substantial number choose 66%-34% or 75%-25%, but there are always a lot of students who choose more extreme divisions, like 90%-10%.  This highlights the lottery-like aspect of many family law issues.

But what can be done? I want to float a controversial idea, and then very briefly explain why it deserves serious attention.

Here’s the idea: Let local governments (like city councils) weigh in on how local judges should exercise their discretion.

Read more here.


December 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!


November 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Public Service Announcement in China

A shampoo ad doubles as a public service announcement against divorce in China--see it here.


November 22, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Billion Dollar Divorce

From CBS News:

It's the kind of money that most Americans can't comprehend, but for one ex-wife it's an injustice.

Sue Ann Hamm, the ex-wife of Oklahoma oil tycoon Harold Hamm, plans to appeal a divorce settlement that awarded her $1 billion. While that might seem like plenty to most people, Hamm's argument is that the judgment shortchanges her, according to Reuters.

Over the course of their 26-year marriage, the value of Harold Hamm's Continental Resources (CLR) stock rose to $18 billion. That means Sun Ann Hamm's $995 million divorce settlement, which was ordered on Monday by Oklahoma County Court Judge Howard Haralson, represents just 6 percent of the marital wealth.

"She feels that an award of less than 6 percent of the couple's wealth, which had grown during the marriage up to the date of the trial by more than $18 billion, is not equitable," her attorney Ron Barber told the Oklahoman newspaper.

Read more here.


November 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Divorce in Iran

From Reuters:

Weddings in Iran have long been an over-the-top affair with families spending thousands of dollars to celebrate a union. But now some couples are splurging on an entirely different sort of nuptial celebration: a divorce party.

Local media outlets and blogs have been abuzz for months about lavish parties, complete with sarcastic invitations and humorous cakes, for couples splitting up. The phenomenon has become so widespread in Tehran and other large cities that one prominent cleric said couples who throw these parties are “satanic”.

Still, the divorce parties are a sign of an undeniable trend: divorce in Iran is soaring. Since 2006, the rate of divorce has increased more than one a half times to the point where around 20 percent of marriages now end in divorce.

Read more here.


November 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Separation Worse Than Divorce

From Huffington Post:

Divorce may seem daunting, but that's not the worst part of the dissolution of a marriage: being separated is, according to a new Gallup poll.

After surveying 131,159 adults across the U.S. for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the researchers found that those who are separated experienced significantly more daily stress than those who were married or divorced. Fifty-one percent of separated Americans reported feeling stressed the day prior to taking the survey, while only 38.6 percent of married Americans and 44.1 percent of divorced Americans claimed to feel the same way.

Read more here.


November 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Big Divorce Case Will Influence Law?

From Bloomberg:

Chris Hohn, one of the most successful U.K. hedge-fund managers, may recast the country’s divorce law if he wins more than half the family assets in his split from his wife.

A judge may rule as soon as this week in Hohn and Jamie Cooper-Hohn’s dispute over their $1.3 billion estate and roles in the $4.3 billion charitable foundation they created with their fortune. The case, which may lead to the country’s largest divorce settlement, could change the law for the super rich if the judge accepts Hohn’s argument that his financial talents constituted a special contribution to the marriage.

Read more here.


November 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Huntington: "Failure to Flourish: How Law Undermines Family Relationships"

Here is the Balkinization symposium on Professor Clare Huntington's book Failure to Flourish, and the collected posts (with contributions from Professors Elizabeth Scott, Solangel Maldonado, Robert Emery, Robin Lenhardt, and Linda McClain).


November 17, 2014 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)