Family Law Prof Blog

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

Sunday, November 18, 2018

DC Schools to Give Families "Non-Binary" Option

From The Washington Post:

The District’s public school system is slated to become among the first in the nation to let families select “non-binary” — rather than male or female — when indicating the gender of their child on enrollment forms.

The option is scheduled to go into effect for the next school year, and school system leaders said it is part of a broader effort to ensure that transgender and non-binary students feel welcome in classrooms in the nation’s capital.

“We value the whole child at [D.C. Public Schools], and have worked diligently to ensure our schools are safe and inclusive for all students, staff, and families,” interim chancellor Amanda Alexander said in a statement. “Whether through policies, programs, affinity groups, or our enrollment forms, [D.C. Public Schools] is proud to be a leader in affirming, supporting and welcoming LGBTQ students.”

Read more here.

November 18, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vaccine Disputes in Divorced Florida Families


Floridians sometimes have differences of opinion about whether vaccinations are safe for children. When a divorcing, divorced or unmarried parent’s belief about whether vaccinations are in the best interests of his or her children conflict with that of the other parent, it is a good idea to talk to an attorney about legal issues and potential legal remedies, depending on the circumstances.

First, there may be government or school regulations or policies requiring certain vaccinations as well as opt-out procedures in some cases. An attorney can advise you about this in your particular jurisdiction.

Parents may be able to negotiate a settlement agreement that determines who has legal responsibility and rights to make medical decisions for the child like whether to vaccinate. An agreement concerning custody matters such as parental responsibility for major life decisions like those concerning health care is called a parenting plan.

Read more here.

November 18, 2018 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Birdnesting Gives Kids One Home After Divorce. Does It work?

From NBC news:

No matter how you spin it, getting divorced is tough — especially if you have kids. Even if the decision to part ways is clearly the best (or only) one, the resulting separation can be traumatizing for children. Research shows that the best way to avoid risking the well-being of kids going through this difficult process, is to keep it as low-conflict and amicable as possible.

How do you do that? For some divorcing or divorced parents, the answer is ‘nesting’ (also called 'birdnesting'). This means to keep the family residence intact as a home where both parents rotate living with their children, while otherwise dwelling in separate residences.

Sherri Sharma, partner at Aronson, Mayefsky & Sloan, LLP, a matrimonial law firm in NYC typically sees divorcing parents who take a nesting approach by keeping the main house and then sharing a separate apartment, which they individually occupy when not “at home” with the children.

Read more here.

November 17, 2018 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Russian Polygamist with Three wives

From Daily Mail Online:

A Russian polygamist with three 'wives' has revealed he punishes them by banning sex for a month if they annoy him.

Ivan Sukhov, 34, from the city of Vladimir in Russia's western Vladimir Oblast region, says he dreams of having more wives and at least 50 children.

According to Russian law, he can only have one official wife. His other two partners live with him by mutual agreement. 

Before becoming a polygamist, Sukhov lived with his legal wife Natalia Sukhova for 11 years.

Read more here

November 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

“Stick a spoon” in marital dispute: Domestic violence is Everyone's Business!

From The New York Times:

Sao Paulo, Brazil -The scenes, captured by security cameras, are gruesome: A man pummels and kicks his wife in the garage of their building. She tries to flee, but he forces her into the elevator. They go up to their fifth-floor apartment.

Less than 20 minutes later, he takes the elevator back down — to fetch her bloody, lifeless body, which had plummeted to the sidewalk below.

The footage from the night of July 22, first broadcast Sunday on the popular television program Fantástico, has been playing repeatedly on national television. The graphic, blow-by-blow view into what domestic violence really looks like is challenging the widespread notion that you shouldn’t “stick a spoon” in marital disputes.

Read more here

November 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Brazil's New Sexual Harassment Law

From Huffington Post:

A woman is sexually harassed every 20 hours on São Paulo’s sprawling public transit system, according to a HuffPost Brazil analysis, despite a new law in Brazil aimed at curbing the pervasive problem.

More than 80 percent of women in Brazil have been harassed in public spaces, according to a 2016 YouGov survey. Perpetrators historically rarely faced more than a fine, experts say, but can now be sentenced to up to five years in prison thanks to a law that took effect in September.

The Sexual Harassment Law was passed earlier this year amid an uproar over the arrest and swift release of a man who ejaculated on a fellow bus passenger. The crime was considered a misdemeanor.

Read more here

November 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Custody battle headed to Private trial

From USA Today:

The dragging-on divorce and custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie is set to go to a trial next month because they  can't agree about the future of their six children despite two years of lawyering and leaking.

And if Pitt and Jolie have their way, it will all happen behind closed doors. If it happens at all.

The couple could still reach an agreement out of court and put the messy breakup of their family behind them but lately their ability to see eye-to-eye seems to have deserted them.

Still, a source familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly said both sides "are still working together to find an out-of-court settlement.”

Read more here

November 8, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Ethiopia moves towards Gender Equality as it appoints its first female president

From CNN News:

Ethiopia's parliament has appointed the country's first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, in a move hailed as setting a new standard for women in the East African nation, the Prime Minister's chief of staff announced Thursday.

Sahle-Work, 69, has served since June as the United Nation's special representative to the African Union as an under-secretary-general. She also has held top diplomatic posts representing Ethiopia in France and Djibouti.
Sahle-Work replaces Mulatu Teshome, who resigned the presidency Wednesday.
Read more here

November 7, 2018 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Papers

The Canadian Journal of Family Law is seeking submissions for Vol. 32(1), due for publication in spring 2019. The Journal invites the submission of articles, commentaries and book reviews pertaining to all aspects of family law from members of the legal, social science, psychological, medical, political science and other disciplines. All submissions are reviewed by qualified external readers.

Manuscripts intended for publication should be typewritten, double spaced, either in English or in French. The Journal would prefer submissions by e-mail using Word for Windows format. Quotations should be distinguished from the text by single spacing. Articles, ideally, should not exceed forty typewritten pages - 8,000 to 10,000 words and follow the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation. If the article is a long one or contains complex material, the use of subheadings to break up the text is encouraged.

Please send manuscripts and/or questions to

November 7, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Britain's Supreme Court ruling on Bakery's refusal to bake Gay-marriage cake


From The New York Times:

Britain’s Supreme Court supported on Wednesday the right of a Belfast bakery to refuse to bake a cake with a message supporting same-sex marriage, finding that its Christian owners could not be compelled to reproduce a message contrary to their beliefs.

Although the person who requested the cake was gay, a five-judge panel found that the bakery owners’ refusal was based not on his sexual orientation, but on their Protestant faith’s opposition to gay marriage.

“There was no discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation,” said the judgment, which overturned the rulings of two lower courts.

Read more here

November 6, 2018 in Current Affairs, International, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Frozen embryo storage tank failure shatters family dreams

From CNN News:

When Kate and Jeremy Plants were making plans for their 2014 marriage, they had no idea the future they would face. Just months after they tied the knot, Kate was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, a deadly form that the American Cancer Society says takes more lives than any other female reproductive cancer.

Because treatment could affect Kate's fertility, doctors encouraged the newlyweds to consider banking Kate's embryos so they could have children someday.
"So every other day for two weeks, we drove 45 minutes each way to the doctor," Kate recalled. "There were shots in stomach multiple times a day; I was high on hormones; it was very stressful. And the whole time, I don't know if the cancer is spreading, and I'm thinking, 'Do I have time for this?' "
Read more here

November 5, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Living Together Prior to Marriage Linked to Divorce?

From The Atlantic:

Late last month, the Journal of Marriage and Family published a new study with a somewhat foreboding finding: Couples who lived together before marriage had a lower divorce rate in their first year of marriage, but had a higher divorce rate after five years. It supported earlier research linking premarital cohabitation to increased risk of divorce.

But just two weeks later, the Council on Contemporary Families—a nonprofit group at the University of Texas at Austin—published a report that came to the exact opposite conclusion: Premarital cohabitation seemed to make couples lesslikely to divorce. From the 1950s through 1970, “those who were willing to transgress strong social norms to cohabit … were also more likely to transgress similar social norms about divorce,” wrote the author, Arielle Kuperberg, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. But as the rate of premarital cohabitation ballooned to some 70 percent, “its association with divorce faded. In fact, since 2000, premarital cohabitation has actually been associated with a lower rate of divorce, once factors such as religiosity, education, and age at co-residence are accounted for.”'

Read more here

November 4, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Sex Abuse Conviction Not Valid Reason to Reduce Child Support Payments for Canadian Grandfather

From CBC News:

A conviction for sexually abusing your granddaughter is not an acceptable reason to reduce your monthly child support payments, a B.C. judge has ruled.

In a disturbing case recently heard in Port Coquitlam's provincial court, Judge Thomas Woods said a local father had no one but himself to blame for his trouble finding work after he was convicted of sexual interference involving his young granddaughter.

 On the one hand, the man didn't try very hard to find new work so that he could keep up with his child support, the judge said. On the other, a criminal conviction does not justify reducing those payments.
Read more here.

November 3, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Over 200 Migrant Children Remain in Federal Custody

From NPR:

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, about how many migrant children remain separated from their parents, and the reasons why.


All right, now an update on the migrant children who were separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Two hundred forty-five children remain in federal custody. That's according to government data analyzed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU has been tracking these children, and it was the ACLU's lawsuit against the Trump administration that led to a federal court order to reunite these families.

We are joined now by ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt. Welcome.

Read more here

November 2, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Japanese Child Custody Laws Disfavor Foreign Divorced Parents

From Japan Today:

Emmanuel, Stephane, Henrik and James come from very different backgrounds, but they share the same painful experience of battling Japan's legal system -- in vain -- for access to their children after divorce.

Once married to Japanese women, they say they were prevented from contact with their children when their relationships disintegrated, sometimes even after court rulings in their favor.

Tough laws and patriarchal cultural norms that overwhelmingly see mothers granted sole custody after a divorce -- 80 percent of the time, according to official figures -- mean that fathers rarely see their children again.

Read more here

November 1, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Attorney Disqualified From Representing Former Senator's Wife in Child Custody and Divorce Case

From Newsday:

A Nassau judge has disqualified the attorney for the estranged wife of former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato from representing her in the couple’s child custody battle and divorce case, ruling that lawyer Thomas Liotti “acted against the best interests of the children” during an April encounter.

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Lorintz wrote in his Tuesday decision that the disqualification of Katuria D’Amato’s attorney is “necessary to protect the rights” of the couple’s 9-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.

The former senator’s attorney, Stephen Gassman, made a motion for Liotti’s disqualification after the Garden City attorney drove his client, a nanny and the children from Lido Beach to another client's house in Plainview in April without notifying the lawyer for the children.

Read more here

October 31, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Australia's Divorce Rates At Its Lowest in 40 Years

From the Daily Mail:

Australia's divorce rate has hit its lowest level in 40 years, as it's revealed that more couples are living together first and marrying later than ever before.   

In 1996, the divorce rate was at 2.9 per 1,000 people, dropping to 1.9 in 2016 despite population increases, the total of 52,466 divorces in 1996 falling to 46,604.

In 1975, the rate was at 1.8 per 1,000 people, which comes close to the 1.9 rate today, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Read more here

October 30, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 29, 2018

Kansas Man Found Guilty for Encasing Toddler in Concrete

From CBS News:

 A Kansas man has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the horrific abuse and slaying of a 3-year-old boy whose body was found encased in concrete in the laundry room of his home. Stephen Bodine, 41, of Wichita, was convicted Wednesday in the May 2017 death of Evan Brewer. The child's body was found four months after his death. Bodine was also found guilty of child abuse, aggravated child endangerment and two counts of kidnapping. He will be sentenced December 17.

Prosecutors called dozens of witnesses and presented more than 550 pieces of evidence during an emotional six-day trial, including parts of the concrete tomb found in the rental home where the boy had lived with his mother, Miranda Miller, and Bodine. Jurors saw videos and photos showing Evan being abused, including footage of him chained and naked in a basement, being berated by Bodine and Miller, and forced to stand in a corner for hours.

Read more here. 

October 29, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Transracial Adoptees On Their Racial Identity and Sense of Self

From NPR:

The story Nicole Chung was told about her adoption was always the same: "Your birth parents had just moved here from Korea. They thought they wouldn't be able to give you the life you deserved."

Her adoptive parents were white Catholics living in Oregon who told the story with joy: explaining that Chung was born 10 weeks premature, that her birth parents worried she would struggle all her life, that they believed adoption was the best thing for her.

As a child, Chung, the editor-in-here.chief of Catapult and a founding member of The Toast, accepted this story much in the same way all of us accept the narratives presented to us about the lives our families had before us. Chung writes that the story was a "kind of faith, one to rival any religion, informing our beliefs about ourselves and our families and our place in the world." Though she liked the prepackaged myth of her birth parents as selfless, wanting only the best for their daughter, as she became older Chung started to wonder if the story was the entire truth.

Read more here.

October 28, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Legal Battle Over Missouri Clinic Could Foretell Abortion Fights in Other States

From NPR:

When Angela Huntington arrived at work on a Wednesday morning in early October, she had to do something she dreaded: turn patients away.

Huntington is the manager at the Columbia Health Center in Columbia, Mo., a Planned Parenthood site that recently had to halt its abortion services in the midst of a highly publicized legal fight in the state.

Since another Missouri law requires a 72-hour waiting period between counseling about abortion and having the actual procedure, Huntington needed to call every patient on the day's schedule. She told them they could come to her clinic for the counseling but would have to go elsewhere for the abortion.

The only other place in the state that they could turn to for an abortion was in St. Louis, a two-hour-drive away.

Read more here.

October 27, 2018 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)