Family Law Prof Blog

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

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Amazon Increases Parental Leave, Offers Paid Paternity Leave for First Time

From PBS NewsHour:

Amazon announced to its employees today that it has increased the amount of leave time it is giving to new parents, joining a host of other tech companies that are extending benefits in order to attract top talent.

Amazon’s policy change comes after a blistering New York Times investigation in which the company was lambasted for fostering a harsh work culture. The article included examples of women who felt they were penalized for trying to spend time caring for children or relatives. It’s a portrayal the company disputes.

Under the policy, all new parents, including those who are adopting a child, will get six weeks of paid leave. This means that birth mothers, who already had 10 weeks of leave, will now have 16 weeks of leave time, or 20 if they qualify for an additional four weeks of medical leave. New fathers, who previously did not have paid leave time, will now be able to take paid time off.

Additionally, Amazon is introducing a “leave share program” where employees can give some of their leave to a partner at another company. Under this program if the partner does not have paid parental leave, the Amazon employee returns to work, and the partner will be paid by Amazon to stay home. Returning to work, primary caregivers will have the option of working part-time for their first eight weeks back.

Amazon’s changes also come in the wake of Netflix's highly publicized policy of giving new parents unlimited time off during the first year after their child’s birth or adoption. Other tech companies such as Facebook, Apple, Google and Yahoo all offer maternity leave of at least 16 weeks for birth mothers, and at least six weeks paternity leave for fathers and non-biological parents.

Read more here.

November 15, 2015 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

U.S. Navy Considering Extending Paternity Leave

From Medina County Gazette:

The Navy’s top officer said Tuesday the service is considering extending paternity leave for new fathers.

The Navy currently awards married fathers up to 10 days of paid leave upon the birth of a child. In July, the Navy tripled paid maternity leave for female sailors and Marines to 18 weeks.

A female sailor asked Navy Adm. John Richardson during a meeting with hundreds of service members at a Pearl Harbor pier whether the Navy might increase paternity leave as well.

Richardson said it was something officials in Washington were now discussing.

Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens called about 10 sailors who became new fathers within the past year to the front of the pier and asked them how much paternity leave the Navy should offer.

The group quickly discussed the issue, and then replied their consensus was that the Navy should give 30 days of paternity leave.

Richardson said he’ll take that opinion back to Washington.

Read more here.

October 25, 2015 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Where Do Fathers Receive the Most Paternity Leave?

From Forbes:

70 countries around the world now provide paid paternity leave for fathers. The length of time offered and the average payment level differ drastically between countries, according to the World Economic Forum, based on an OECD report. Even though South Korea and Japan offer dads the most paid time off work, very few men avail of it due to cultural perceptions that raising a child is primarily the mother’s task.

While fewer than 2 percent of fathers in Japan and South Korea take paternity leave, 89 percent of dads take time off in Sweden. In countries where the paternal leave on offer is relatively short and well paid, more fathers tend to take the opportunity to use it.

Read more here.

September 13, 2015 in Paternity | 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)

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)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Family Law Faces Bieber

From on the reported suit to establish (minor) Justin Bieber's paternity:

Teen idol Justin Bieber allegedly lost his virginity – and impregnated a young woman – during a 30-second tryst after a concert in Los Angeles late last year, according to a paternity suit filed Monday. reports that Mariah Yeater, 20, filed court papers on October 31 stating that Bieber is the father of her three-month-old child.

Yeater could also be opening her up to a potential statutory-rape probe, however, as Bieber would have been 16 when the alleged incident occurred. 

California’s age of consent is 18.

Bieber's rep strongly denies the charges, telling "While we haven't yet seen the lawsuit, it's sad that someone would fabricate malicious, defamatory, and demonstrably false claims. We will vigorously pursue all available legal remedies to defend and protect Justin against these allegations."

Regarding the statutory rape possibiilty, Steve Cron, a California defense lawyer, told the New York Post: “Under a normal situation, no harm, no foul ... I would think [prosecutors] might let it go. But under these circumstances, the DA’s office has to show they’re not treating women differently, not treating a celebrity differently, [and] they might have to do something.”

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for December 15.

Read the full article here.


November 2, 2011 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

$50 Million New York Case Challenging Paternity Presumption

The New York Times ran a story last weekend about a great filiation case - worth $50 million - working its way through that New York Court system that challenges the old presumption that the husband of the mother is the father of a child born during the marriage.  A good read during exam season!  Read the  piece here.


April 21, 2011 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Family Law Firm, Just for Male Clients

Monday, September 6, 2010


My friends (of both genders) keep drooling over this arrangement, so, back by popular demand, here’s another post dedicated to it:

From Slate:

Over the past 15 years, the streets of Stockholm have filled up with men pushing strollers. In 1995, dads took only 6 percent of Sweden's allotted 480 days of parental leave per child. Then the Swedish government set aside 30 leave days for fathers only. In 2002 the state doubled the “daddy only” days to 60 and later added an "equality bonus" for couples that split their leave. Now more than 80 percent of fathers take some leave, adding up to almost a quarter of all leave days. So in the middle of, say, a Monday afternoon in March, the daddies and their strollers come at you both singly and in waves, the men usually either striding fast and stone-faced or pushing the stroller nonchalantly with one hand, cell phone glued to their ear.


I had expected great physical comedy in Daddyland—fathers covered with diaper leakage, babies covered with motor oil, men forcing resentful toddlers into soccer matches. I realize now how insensitive to my Swedish brothers this was. Swedish dads of my generation and younger have been raised to feel competent at child-rearing. They simply expect to do it, just as their wives and partners expect it of them (even though women still do far more child-related work in general). It's eye-opening in a really boring way.

The working world has adjusted accordingly. Most companies seem to fill parental-leave vacancies with short-term contracts, and these seem to function as good tryouts for permanent employment. It all feels pretty organic in a globalized world of flat organizations and gender equality, of employees who are not locked into one assignment or skill set.

Read more here.  And, somewhat relatedly, Happy Labor Day!


September 6, 2010 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Buying Mini Afflecks and Carells

From NBC LA:

Choosing a sperm donor can be overwhelming for many couples and even more challenging to those who are trying to go it alone. There is a ton of information one has to sift through: donor's blood type, favorite color and even high school G.P.A. However, what the donor looks like is one aspect expecting mothers won't be able to see.

A local sperm bank is looking for a way around that issue by using some familiar faces. The California Cryobank is using celebrities to categorize what the donor looks like. But don't expect to walk in and ask for a "George Clooney" or "Brad Pitt" because the bank won't put any donor in that category for fear there would be such a run on the vials. Guess you'll just have to settle for the "Steve Carell," " Ben Affleck" or "Bill Gates."

Read more here.


August 4, 2010 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Parness & Townsend: "For Those Not John Edwards: More and Better Paternity Acknowledgments at Birth"

Jeffrey A. Parness & Zachary Townsend (Northern Illinois University College of Law) have posted "For Those Not John Edwards: More and Better Paternity Acknowledgments at Birth" (forthcoming University of Baltimore Law Review) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract.

When former U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate John Edwards (finally) declared his paternity of Quinn, born of sex to Rielle Hunter, many assumed he could then begin to raise as well as financially support the child he once publicly shunned. Many assumed legal paternity could arise through a court order, if not Rielle’s wishes. Had he been on the Maury Povich television show, the positive genetic tests would have prompted the host to declare John the father. Yet notwithstanding these declarations, there would be no childrearing by John if Rielle determined he should have no contact with Quinn, even if Rielle sought child support from John and even if Quinn’s best interests favored contact between her and John. For genetic fathers like John whose bedmates are not like Rielle, there are often no opportunities to present Christmas gifts.

As John and Rielle were never married and as Rielle was not married to another, Quinn was a nonmarital child with no federal constitutional legal father at birth. At birth, John may have had a federal constitutional opportunity interest in establishing parentage, seized by stepping up to parental responsibilities. Yet, as John only declared paternity two years after birth, after denying fatherhood and prompting another man to declare his genetic ties with Quinn, he may have been too late to seize the federal opportunity interest in order to fully parent Quinn without Rielle’s cooperation. Only with Rielle’s consent could John now complete a voluntary paternity acknowledgment, a prerequisite to placing John on Quinn’s birth certificate. And with Rielle’s opposition, any paternity lawsuit by John to establish regular contacts with Quinn would most likely fail even though any paternity lawsuit to establish John’s financial support of Quinn would most likely succeed.

Popular misconceptions about legal paternity for nonmarital children born of sex largely arise due to confusion and ignorance about voluntary paternity acknowledgments. Our exploration of the federal and state acknowledgment laws reveals that a John Edwards is often no new father with legal childrearing rights so that without a Rielle Hunter’s help, his relationship with a Quinn would be limited to checks in the mail.

Voluntary acknowledgment laws are especially important today because about 1.7 million nonmarital children are born of sex each year in the United States, with about one third, like Quinn, having no legal father at birth. In 1940, there were only about 90,000 nonmarital children. Like Quinn, some of today’s fatherless children have late arriving declarations about genetic ties, and perhaps paternal child care. Far more nonmarital children remain fatherless, though possibly the subject of later suits seeking child support.

Many nonmarital children will be born fatherless under law even though U.S. governments proclaim that these children should have both a mother and father under law at birth. Voluntary paternity acknowledgment laws can better prompt dual parentage. After reviewing contemporary acknowledgment forms, we suggest laws to prompt more, and more reliable, paternity acknowledgments, and thus more legal fathers at birth for nonmarital children.


July 23, 2010 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Aspirational Lying?

From Slate:

A new Boston College study makes the modern American dad look positively Swedish in his dedication to his children and his zeal to participate equally in raising them. The yearlong qualitative study of 33 first-time fathers, released yesterday, found that they viewed themselves as sharing family responsibilities 50-50 with their wives and claimed to devote an average of 3.3 hours each workday to child care. The new dads openly gushed about the way parenthood had changed their priorities and career aspirations. "I love being a father so much more than I thought I would," said one study participant about his new baby girl. "The highlight of my day is in the morning when I hear her start to wake up and I can just go in there and pick her up."

Unfortunately, the study also suggested that the men were lying.  Read more here.


July 8, 2010 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Account of Father’s Day

Here is a great account of Father’s Day, its history, and its slightly consumerist nature.


July 6, 2010 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Paternity and Minor’s Standing under IL Law

The Illinois appellate court recently affirmed the circuit court’s finding of nonpaternity based on DNA testing even though respondent had signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP) and the birth certificate.  The court held that the minor, by and through the guardian ad litem, had standing to challenge the paternity of the respondent because the child was not in privity with either party when they executed VAP.  The case is In re M.M , No. 1-09-3468 (May 21, 2010, 1st Div.).  Read the opinion here.


June 23, 2010 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fellowship Opportunity in Reproductive Rights

From Columbia Law School and the Center for Reproductive Rights:

The Center for Reproductive Rights – Columbia Law School Fellowship (“CRR-CLS Fellowship”) is a two-year, post-graduate fellowship offered by the Center for Reproductive Rights (“the Center”) and Columbia Law School (“the Law School”). The Fellowship is designed to prepare recent law school graduates for legal academic careers, with a focus on reproductive health and human and human rights. Fellows will be
affiliated with the Center and the Law School and will participate in the intellectual life of both programs.

The CRR-CLS Fellowship is a full-time, residential fellowship for up to two full years starting in July 2010. The Fellow will be a member of the community of graduate fellows at the Law School and will be integrated into the legal and policy work of the Center and will have work space at both locations. The Fellow will also have access to
law school facilities, including the library and on-line research resources, and faculty events. It is expected that the Fellow will work closely with an assigned Law School faculty mentor.

Read the full fellowship announcement here.


October 18, 2009 in Alternative Reproduction, Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Case Law Development: False Statements in Divorce regarding Paternity Do not Equal Extrinsic Fraud on the Court

The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court's dismissal of an action claiming extrinsic paternity  fraud regarding children alleged in a 2005 divorce judgment to be born of the marriage.  However, the court found that the dismissal could not properly be based on the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel.
The court reasoned that extrinsic fraud may be a basis for reopening a judgment, but went on to note that the ex-husband's claim here — Wife's false averments in a divorce petition and her sworn testimony in court regarding his paternity of their two children — was intrinsic fraud only.
Walker v. Walker, Mo. Ct. App., WD69198, (January 13, 2009)
opinion online (last visited January 21, 2009)

January 21, 2009 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Teen Pregnancy

Family Law Prof Blog previously drew your attention to an interesting op-ed by two Family Law Prof colleagues, June Carbone of University of Missouri-Kansas City and Naomi Cahn of George Washington University, in, from St. Louis.  (September 5, 2008).

Now The New Yorker's November 3, 2008 issue features Margaret Talbot's article, Red Sex, Blue Sex: Why do so many evangelical teen-agers become pregnant, quoting from Naomi Cahn and June Carbone.  Talbot writes:

Two family-law scholars, Naomi Cahn, of George Washington University, and June Carbone, of the University of Missouri at Kansas City, are writing a book on the subject, and they argue that “red families” and “blue families” are “living different lives, with different moral imperatives.” (They emphasize that the Republican-Democrat divide is less important than the higher concentration of “moral-values voters” in red states.) In 2004, the states with the highest divorce rates were Nevada, Arkansas, Wyoming, Idaho, and West Virginia (all red states in the 2004 election); those with the lowest were Illinois, Massachusetts, Iowa, Minnesota, and New Jersey. The highest teen-pregnancy rates were in Nevada, Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas (all red); the lowest were in North Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Maine (blue except for North Dakota). “The ‘blue states’ of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic have lower teen birthrates, higher use of abortion, and lower percentages of teen births within marriage,” Cahn and Carbone observe. They also note that people start families earlier in red states—in part because they are more inclined to deal with an unplanned pregnancy by marrying rather than by seeking an abortion.

It's great to see Family Law Profs being part of this important conversation!


October 27, 2008 in Abortion, Adoption, Child Abuse, Paternity | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Political Platforms on Family Law Issues

The political parties are in the process of drafting their national party platforms for the 2008 election and, as expected, there is some attention to family law issues.

The draft 2008 Democratic National Platform is interesting both for what it says and what it does not say.  A section on "fatherhood" states that "too many fathers are missing."  The party supports "removing tax penalties on married families and expanding maternity and paternity benefits," as well as rewarding those "who are responsibly supporting their children by giving them a tax credit" and will "crack down on men who avoid child support payments" and "ensure that payments go directly to families instead of bureaucracies." (page 44 lines 34-44).  There is a section on "empowering families" with an extensive discussion of policies on health care, employment, "work and family," and women.  Of particular interest is a pledge to "expand the Family and Medical Leave Act" to "enable workers to take leave to care for an elderly parent, address domestic violence, or attend a parent-teacher conference," and to work with states to make leave paid rather than unpaid.  (page 10 lines 31-35).  In a subsection entitled "Choice" the platform provides: "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right."  There is also strong support for "access to affordable family planning services and comprehensive age-appropriate sex education," and a mention of "caring adoption programs." (page 45 line 19-31).  There is also this single line: "We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us."  (page 47 lines 8-9).

The draft of the 2008 Democratic National Platform, in pdf format from CNN/TIME, is available here.

The Republican National Platform Committee is apparently still in progress - - - the committee is soliciting input for its 2008 platform here.

The draft of the 2008 Green Party Platform includes a section on youth, a call for equality regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity in civil marriage and child custody, a section on protecting abortion and contraception (specifically including the "morning after pill") and is available here.

The 2008 Constitution Party Platform calls for to the government to "secure and to safeguard the lives of the pre-born."  The platform opposes "government funding of 'partner' benefits for unmarried individuals," "any legal recognition of homosexual unions," and "efforts to legalize adoption of children by homosexual singles or couples," and is available here.

(RR  August 16, 2008)

August 16, 2008 in Abortion, Child Support Enforcement, Domestic Violence, Marriage (impediments), Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Case Law Development: Paternity Acknowledgment and Child Support Order = Parent Status

The New Hampshire Supreme Court, interpreting the word "parent" in its custody statute, found that a trial court erred in dismissing a man's petition for parental rights and responsibilities of the six-year-old child he had helped raise since birth, despite the fact that the DNA testing ordered at mother's request showed that he was not the biological father.  The man had signed an acknowledgment of paternity at the hospital when the child was born and later had a child support order entered against him.  The New Hampshire Court held that this was sufficient to make his a parent entitled to bring an action for parenting time.

In the Matter of J.B. and J.G., (New Hampshire Sup. Ct. August 6, 2008)
Read the opinion online (last visited August 14, 2008 bgf)

August 15, 2008 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Case Law Development: DNA Testing and Dismissal of Paternity Actions

The Supreme Court of Wyoming, in a case of first impression, interprets its state paternity statute regarding the impact of a DNA test excluding paternity.  The disputed provision reads: "If the scientific evidence resulting from the genetic tests conclusively shows that the defendant could not have been the father, the action shall be dismissed."  In this case, father submitted a genetic test excluding his paternity but took no further action.  Over a year later,  the laboratory contacted the court to notify it that it had discovered an error in the testing -- it had switched samples.  When it re-ran the test with the correct samples, defendant was established to have a 99.99% probability of paternity.  The court then ordered additional genetic testing, which also pointed to defendant as father.

Father argued that the court lacked any authority to order further testing because the statute required the court to sua sponte dismiss the paternity action once the first test had been submitted excluding him as father.  The court found otherwise:

The cases relied upon by RK do not, however, establish that the plain language of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 14-2-111(f) mandates dismissal in the absence of an appropriate motion. The statute does not establish a timeframe for dismissal, nor does the statute require the district court to dismiss paternity cases on its own initiative. There was nothing to prevent RK from filing a motion to dismiss the paternity action, but RK did not file such a motion until after the court had received information undermining the reliability of the Test 1 results. Stated differently, at the time RK moved for dismissal, the genetic test had not "conclusively" established that RK was not the father. We also note that there is no requirement in the statute that dismissal be with prejudice. In the absence of a dismissal with prejudice, the State could have re-filed the action in August 1994 when the laboratory's error became known. In sum, RK asks this Court to read far more into the statute than is justified by its plain text. The court's failure to dismiss the action, sua sponte, did not violate the plain language of the statute. Accordingly, the paternity action was still pending at the time the laboratory revealed its mistake.

Father also argued that the trial court had applied the paternity statute in effect at the time of the decision rather than at the time the action was filed. The earlier statute had been more generous in the range of evidence permissible to rebut a paternity test. Thus, father argued, the trial court improperly excluded testimony of an expert witness.  The Supreme Court agreed that the trial court erred in this exclusion but found it harmless error in the context of the two subsequent genetic tests establishing father's paternity.

RK v. State ex rel. Natrona County, 2008 WY 1 (January 8, 2008)
Opinion online (last visited January 9, 2008 bgf)

January 10, 2008 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)