Family Law Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

FL Proposed Child Support Law

From the Florida Bar:

Drunken drivers would be required to pay child support if they kill a minor’s parent or guardian if a Central Florida lawmaker gets her way.

Rep. Carolina Amesty, R-Orlando, filed HB 79 on September 26 for the 60-day regular session that convenes in January.


Dubbed “Bentley’s Law,” the measure is modeled after a Missouri law and being championed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“To the victim of the impaired drivers, Bentley’s Law allows for another avenue of restitution to help ensure justice,” according to a statement on the MADD website.

The measure would authorize a court to order a motorist convicted of drunken driving in a fatal accident to pay child support to a surviving parent or guardian until the child turns 18. It would also authorize a judge to withhold payments from the perpetrator’s paychecks.

Read more here.

November 29, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

More Adoptions By Same-Sex Parents

From GBH News:

Five years ago, Kelley and Sarah McGuire were getting ready to welcome their first child.

Kelley McGuire spent four days in labor and ended up having an emergency C-section. Sarah McGuire was right there with her through the ordeal.

“She was a champ,” Sarah McGuire recalled, “and my son was healthy.”

They put both of their names on the birth certificate, just like they did when Kelley McGuire gave birth to their daughter a year and a half later.

Then, they grew more and more concerned about the political climate. Last year, the Supreme Court rolled back nearly half a century of protections for abortion with the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling, which on its own made families fearful. And one particular paragraph in Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion stood out; he took aim at the 2015 court case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

The McGuires got a lawyer to officially adopt their own children.

“Given an absence of federal legislation, what would ensure that I had parental rights for my own kids?” Sarah McGuire said.

Family law attorneys have always strongly recommended that same-sex couples go through the costly and lengthy adoption process so that their parentage can’t be challenged in cases that involve sperm donors or surrogates — even when both partners are on the birth certificate, like the McGuires. Every attorney that GBH News spoke to for this story said that the number of same-sex couples looking to shore up their parentage has spiked since last summer, and that it’s a trend their peers in other states have also seen.

Data in family court is notoriously scant, making the magnitude of the trend hard to pin down. While individual cases are private, one category of adoptions that includes same-sex couples’ “confirmatory” adoptions, as well as cases like step-parent adoptions, rose by a third in Massachusetts’ 2023 fiscal year, a year that began just six days after the Dobbs decision. And each of the 10 Massachusetts adoption attorneys who responded to inquiries from GBH News say they saw the same change, though some say the surge has since died down.

“We should not have to adopt our own children. It is insulting and ridiculous to have to do that,” said attorney Joyce Kauffman, who practices in LGBTQ+ family law. “But my feeling is: it’s an insurance policy. So you want to protect your parentage, you do an adoption.”

Read more here.

November 28, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Birth Order

From the Atlantic:

Being an eldest daughter means frequently feeling like you’re not doing enough, like you’re struggling to maintain a veneer of control, like the entire household relies on your diligence.

At least, that’s what a contingent of oldest sisters has been saying online. Across social-media platforms, they’ve described the stress of feeling accountable for their family’s happinessthe pressure to succeed, and the impression that they aren’t being cared for in the way they care for others. Some are still teens; others have grown up and left home but still feel over-involved and overextended. As one viral tweet put it, “are u happy or are u the oldest sibling and also a girl”? People have even coined a term for this: “eldest-daughter syndrome.”

That “syndrome” does speak to a real social phenomenon, Yang Hu, a professor of global sociology at Lancaster University, in England, told me. In many cultures, oldest siblings as well as daughters of all ages tend to face high expectations from family members—so people playing both parts are especially likely to take on a large share of household responsibilities, and might deal with more stress as a result. But that caregiving tendency isn’t an inevitable quality of eldest daughters; rather, researchers told me, it tends to be imposed by family members who are part of a society that presumes eldest daughters should act a certain way. And the online outpour of grievances reveals how frustratingly inflexible assumptions about family roles can be.

November 28, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 27, 2023

Global Views on Same-Sex Marriage

From Pew:

Attitudes about same-sex marriage vary widely around the world, according to several Pew Research Center surveys fielded in 32 places in the last two years. Among the surveyed publics, support for legal same-sex marriage is highest in Sweden, where 92% of adults favor it, and lowest in Nigeria, where only 2% back it.

In the United States, where the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationally in 2015, 63% of adults support it and 34% oppose it. But views are highly fractured along political and demographic lines.

For example, Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party are nearly twice as likely as Republicans and Republican leaners to support same-sex marriage rights (82% vs. 44%). Similarly, nearly three-quarters (73%) of Americans under the age of 40 say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally – 16 percentage points higher than the share of Americans 40 and older who agree (57%).

Read more here.

November 27, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The "Shefault Parent"

From Above the Law:

The school did not call me — it called my husband.  As it should have. After all, he is listed as the primary contact on the school contact form.

Which brings me to a question: Who is the default parent in your family?

You know. The one who makes all the doctors appointments, schedules all the play dates, is listed as the primary contact on all the school forms, and makes sure that the kid(s?) remain mostly alive and hopefully well as they venture through their school years. I’m willing to bet that in your family, the default parent is actually the shefault parent.

(I can’t take credit for the term “shefault.”  Eve Rodsky, author of “Fair Play” and “Unicorn Space” coined the phrase to call attention to the enormous invisible burden of care-giving and family planning that is so predominately borne by the women in hetero families.)

Read more here.

November 27, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Eviction Impacts Children Most

From the New York Times:

The Americans most at risk of eviction are babies and toddlers, according to new data that provides the fullest demographic picture yet of who lives in rental households facing eviction nationwide.

Children under 5 make up the largest group by age of those whose households have had an eviction filed against them, weathering instability during crucial years for their development.

These children are typically invisible in legal documents that track eviction cases and that name only adults and leaseholders summoned to court. But by linking hundreds of thousands of eviction filings to detailed census records, researchers at Princeton, Rutgers and the Census Bureau have identified the other people living in these homes.

Read more here.

November 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Buying Invite to Wedding

From the New York Times:

Bollywood films have frequently depicted grand Indian weddings filled with dance sequences — take, for example, “Jodhaa Akbar” (a three-and-a-half-hour long feature centered around a royal marriage) and “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…” (or nearly any movie starring Shah Rukh Khan, for that matter). The romantic drama series “Made in Heaven” on Amazon Prime follows a wedding planning company in Delhi, and there’s even a plotline involving one character profiting from inviting foreign tourists to the weddings in the newly released second season.

American media has also grasped onto Indian weddings to pulp for colorful scenes, like in the 2008 classic romantic comedy “27 Dresses,” in which Katherine Heigl changes into a sari in a cab, while rushing to a Hindu-Jewish wedding. More recently, Netflix’s “Murder Mystery 2” featured Adam Sandler in a cream-colored sherwani and Jennifer Aniston in a lehenga. Offscreen, Nick and Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s 2018 wedding at Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, publicized via Instagram posts and magazine spreads, led to countless jaw-drops (some coverage stirred controversy, too).

Join My Wedding, promoted by the founder, Orsi Parkanyi, as the “the Airbnb of weddings,” is capitalizing on the public interest in lavish Indian weddings by allowing tourists to purchase tickets to one of the most publicized, celebrated — and sacred — aspects of Indian culture.

Read more here.

November 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 24, 2023

Economy Continues to Impact Holidays

From Forbes:

The toy industry is wishing for a holiday season that is strong enough to salvage a very tough year.

After seeing unprecedented sales growth during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, and flat sales in 2022, toy sales are expected to be down significantly this year, even with a strong fourth-quarter finish.

Industry experts are predicting holiday 2023 will outperform last year’s ho-hum holiday season, but say it won’t be enough to make up for weak sales during the first nine months of the year.

Isaac Larian, Founder and CEO of MGA Entertainment, maker of Little Tikes, LOL Surprise, Rainbow High, Bratz and other toy lines, and this year’s bestselling Miniverse collectibles, said he believes 2023 will prove to be “one of the toughest years for the toy industry that I have seen in 44 years.”


But these potential holiday bestsellers aren’t likely to lift overall toy sales into the positive range, in part due to decisions by toy manufacturers to keep toy prices lower this year. Toy companies had expected U.S. consumers to be pressured in November in December, either by ongoing inflation, or a growing recession, and planned their holiday 2023 toys, and price points, with that in mind.

Read more here.

November 24, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

free-turkey-clipart-images-free-clipart-images – Anna-Jonesboro Community  High School

November 23, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Head Start Salary

From PBS:

A new plan from the Biden administration could significantly increase salaries for thousands of low-paid early childhood teachers caring for the country’s poorest children but might force some centers to reduce their enrollment.

The Health and Human Services agency’s proposed federal rule would require Head Start programs, which are struggling nationwide with staffing shortages, to raise teachers’ salaries to put them on par with local public schoolteachers, and to beef up benefits.

The requirement could raise wages by as much as $10,000 for Head Start teachers over the next seven years, the agency estimates.


Head Start teachers, many of whom are required to have a bachelor’s degree, make about $39,000 a year on average — far less than educators with similar credentials. Head Start teacher turnover has doubled over the last decade, with the federal government estimating 1 out of every 5 Head Start teachers left their classroom last year.

Read more here.

November 22, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Divorce During the Holidays


With the arrival of pumpkin spice in everything from coffee to donuts, signs of the fall season are upon us. Fall is the gateway to celebrations such as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa—and with holiday schedules, family gatherings, and parties, high emotions and stress are never too far behind. For those going through or recently emerging from a divorce, this time of year can bring a more profound sense of anxiety with a wide range of challenges and emotional hurdles. Coping with the end of a marriage and settling into your “new normal” during the holidays requires resilience, self-care and a mindful approach.

We often associate holidays with joyful family gatherings. But the reality is that divorce changes the entire family dynamic. This may be the first time you and your immediate family are not with your children for a specific holiday. While you may be comforted knowing that next year’s holiday will be your turn, if you alternate the celebrations, there’s no question that the first year will be particularly hard.

Since emotions can run high during the season, it’s important to be flexible with plans and expectations. Things are not as they used to be, and they may not go exactly as you want them to for every holiday—and that’s perfectly fine. Try to employ a less structured mindset about how things must be and allow room for spontaneity, like meeting friends for brunch, going on a weekend getaway, or adjusting pickup times for your kids. If you are dealing with split custody and your child will not be with you on a big holiday, all is not lost. Plan your celebration for when you are together, even if it’s a random Saturday. This can be a very special day that you both look forward to, and it can even be the start of a new annual tradition you create together.

Read more here.


November 22, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Marriage in Society

From Slate:

I don’t know when I realized marriage was becoming this thing people were talking about. But when I tried to go back and forensically figure it out, it led me to some weird places. Like, Fox News in the wake of the midterms last November. You remember this moment: A whole bunch of Donald Trump’s favored candidates had lost, and host Jesse Watters thought he knew why.

“Married women, married men go for Republicans by double digits. But single women and voters under 40 have been captured by Democrats,” Watters said. “So, we need these ladies to get married. And it’s time to fall in love and just settle down. Guys, go put a ring on it.”


As this marriage discourse snowballed, Rebecca Traister took note. After all, she wrote a whole book on women who are delaying or even avoiding marriage. It’s called All the Single Ladies. She says we’re in the “epoch of single women.” And, she knows, this dawning epoch scares people. Every few years she notices a panic.

It moves in waves,” Traister said. But over the past month, this conservative panic burst into the mainstream. You might have noticed one article after another—in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic—arguing that marriage is good for you, makes you richer, makes your kids more successful. Some took this a little further, arguing marriage should be a policy goal.

That really revved Traister up. Think tanks, economists, mainstream media, they love touting more marriage as the answer to all kinds of problems experienced by Americans. It’s wrong. It’s bad,” she said. “It’s not a good prescription for a million reasons.”

On Thursday’s episode of What Next, I spoke with Traister about why just getting married will not fix what’s ailing you. Sorry, Grandma. Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Read more here.


November 21, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 20, 2023

Same-Sex Couples in Japan

From BBC:

When Aki and Hikari were looking to rent a house together in Tokyo, they were told by real estate agents that the places they liked "were for couples".

"We are a couple," they would respond. The answer they were given: "This is a house for a man and woman couple."

The women, both in their 30s, have been together for seven years - now they are mothers to a baby. They coo and fuss over the infant, swap feeding and nappy-changing duties, and take turns to stay with him so one of them can get some sleep. They can't stop talking about their new baby formula machine.

Yet, in the eyes of the law, the government and a conservative Japanese society, they're not a legitimate couple. Despite the support around them, they have kept their relationship a secret from many people. It's why they don't want to reveal their real names. They say they are being extra-cautious for their son given that taboos around same-sex couples still persist.

Read more here.

November 20, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Marriage Language

From Yahoo! Finance:

A new meme trend known as “marriage language” has couples sharing all the funny things they say to each other when nobody else is around — and TikTok appears to be very amused by it.

Not to be confused with a “love language,” which refers to the various ways people express love in a relationship, “marriage language” is much more specific to each couple. It includes things like silly words or nicknames, funny catchphrases and other inside jokes that a couple develops over the course of their relationship.

In some cases, it even has people airing their private quirks for the first time ever.

Read more here.

November 19, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Life Expectancy

From CNN:

Women in the United States can expect to live nearly six years longer than men, as disparities in deaths from Covid-19 and drug overdoses drive the life expectancy gap to the widest it’s been in decades.

Overall, life expectancy in the US fell more than two and a half years since the start of the pandemic — down to 76.1 years in 2021, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Life expectancies for both men and women were affected, but not equally.

Read more here.

November 19, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 18, 2023

 Napoleon & Josephine Bonaparte

From Biography:

In many ways, the marriage of Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte from 1796 to 1809 mirrored the tumultuous time in which they became emperor and empress of France. More than 200 years later, their unexpected rise to power during the turn of the 19th century is the subject of director Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated biopic Napoleon.


However, his 13-year union with Josephine was compelling in its own way, as well as a key part of the famed leader’s life and the new movie. Among other things, the couple argued over money and experienced a prolonged struggle to produce an heir. Ultimately, these hardships drove them apart and led them both to rather unsatisfying fates.

Read more here.

November 18, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)



DEAR MISS MANNERS: My best friend and I have very frank and open communications on most topics, but there is one issue I feel very unsure about properly handling.

She and her husband have an extremely acrimonious relationship, and are together only because of the practicalities of caring for their children, who have special needs. She usually wishes me a happy anniversary, and I always plan on returning the greeting -- but when the date rolls around, it feels trite and offensive to wish her a happy anniversary fresh after hearing about their most recent battle.

It seems rude to not acknowledge the occasion, but given the state of their marriage, I can’t come up with a way to tactfully commemorate their milestone. Is there any good way to handle this situation?

Read the advice here.

November 18, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 17, 2023

Saving for College

From NPR:

With tens of millions of federal student loan borrowers returning to repayment, my inbox has been brimming with questions about student loans and various repayment rules.

But I've also been hearing one intriguing question, over and over, that isn't directly about loans or repayment, so much as it is about how to avoid them entirely. And it's coming from parents of kids who've not yet traded in their sticker collections for student loans.

"I've got one little guy who's about six years old," Caleb Queern, of Austin, Texas, told me recently. "And my questions are, number one: How much should we be saving between now and the time my little guy is ready for college? And number two: What's the best way to save for it?"

Read more here.

November 17, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Marrying At Home

From the New York Times:

From stoops and staircases to backyards and balconies, couples are choosing the comforts of home and the emotional bonds they have with their spaces as wedding locations.

Read more here.

November 16, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

How to Get Kids to School on Time

From the New Yorker:

Tips for Transporting Children by Bike in New York

See more cartoons here.

November 15, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)