Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, September 18, 2021

France to Offer Free Contraception for Women Up to 25

From The New York Times:

“It is unbearable that young women cannot protect themselves, cannot have contraception if they choose to do so because it is too expensive for them,” said Olivier Véran, the country’s health minister, on France 2, a public broadcaster. The government had noticed a decline in the use of contraceptives among “a certain number of young women,” he said.

The government said it would set aside about 21 million euros, or almost $25 million, to pay for all types of contraceptives — including IUDs — and consultations on their use. The age of 25 was chosen as a threshold, Mr. Véran said, “because it is an age that corresponds, in terms of economic life, social life and income, with more autonomy.”

The announcement was in stark opposition to much of the debate over women’s reproductive rights in some other countries. In the United States, a near total ban on abortion in Texas came into effect last week making it the most restrictive state in the U.S. Poland’s government implemented a ban on almost all abortions in January, spurring widespread protests.

Read more here

September 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 17, 2021

Kentucky Reaches Settlement Over Placement Of Foster Kids

From The Associated Press:

The settlement came from a two decades-old federal lawsuit alleging religious coercion of children and discrimination of LGBTQ people by Sunrise Children’s Services. Sunrise is a religious-based agency run by the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation for Church and State said they reached the settlement with state officials last week.

Kentucky officials have agreed to take steps to try to ensure children are not subject to religious proselytization and discrimination because of sexual orientation, according to a news release from the ACLU and Americans United.

Sunrise, also a defendant in the lawsuit, opposed the settlement and said it would appeal, the Courier Journal reported. The agency has declined to place children with same-sex couples or hire openly gay employees.

Read more here. 

September 17, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Educated Women Increasingly Likely To Have First Baby Before Marriage

From The Hub at Johns Hopkins University:

College-educated women are much more likely than ever before to have a first child outside of marriage, a new Johns Hopkins University study finds.

Women with degrees are also more likely to be married at the time of their second birth, suggesting a historic shift among the educated away from starting families with marriage to starting them with a baby. The findings by Johns Hopkins University sociologist Andrew Cherlin are published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

"The place of marriage in the sequence of life events for emerging adulthood may be shifting among college graduates."

The proportion of first births outside of marriage has increased at all educational levels but the increase has been greatest among women with college degrees, he found.

Cherlin points to several likely reasons for the marked change, chiefly money problems, including college debt and lower economic returns from a college degree, and the widespread cultural acceptance for single parenthood and unmarried couples living together.

Read more here.

September 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

As Courts Reopen, Divorce Filings Are on the Rise

From The New York Times:

According to figures from the Superior Court of California, divorce filings are up significantly in Los Angeles over the last five months, as compared with the same period in 2020. And some lawyers and relationship experts say that divorce filings in New York and other states are also on the rise.

Of course, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to know whether the higher rates are because more people want to get divorced or because many courtrooms were closed during the pandemic, creating a backlog.

Mr. Wilson is a relationship expert and “breakup coach” in Nashville, who collects data from the thousands of surveys he sends to married couples. Two months ago, 2,704 married individuals responded to Mr. [Wilson]’s most recent survey regarding the effect on marriages from the reopenings after lockdowns. 

Among the survey’s questions was: “Since the reopening following the lockdowns of 2020/2021 and a significant return to normal from the changes of the Covid-19 pandemic, has your marriage relationship been impacted?” Twenty-one percent of respondents answered that the pandemic had harmed their marriage, a 10 percent increase from a survey asking the same question the year before

Read more here. 

September 15, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Morongo, 3 other tribes ask U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Indian Child Welfare Act

From The San Bernadino Sun:

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians and four other tribes from across the nation have joined the federal government in petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a law that gives adoption preference for American Indian children in state foster care to American Indian families.

In a petition filed Sept. 3, the tribes are essentially requesting that the high court leave intact the Indian Child Welfare Act, a law enacted in 1978 amid a trend that saw an “alarmingly high percentage” of American Indian children separated from their families by nontribal public and private agencies.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who is of American Indian descent, also has petitioned the Supreme Court to uphold the law, while the state of Texas, on behalf of Chad and Jennifer Brackeen, have petitioned the high court to repeal the law, claiming it is unconstitutional.

ICWA has withstood legal challenges for more than 40 years, but in the past four years federal judges have been divided on its constitutionality.

Read more here

September 14, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 13, 2021

Mexico’s Supreme Court Greenlit Abortion. Will Doctors and Nurses Listen?

From The New York Times:

Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is not a crime, setting a national precedent that puts the country on the path to becoming the most populous nation in Latin America to allow the procedure. Thousands of people have faced criminal investigations in recent years for ending their pregnancies, and the court’s unanimous decision last week should enable them to get any charges dropped, legal experts said.

As an emboldened women’s rights movement increasingly took to the streets in Mexico, the nation edged toward broader access to abortion, with several states decriminalizing the procedure before the Supreme Court ruling. But as in Argentina, which legalized abortion last year only to have many doctors refuse to provide the procedure on moral grounds, those changes have created sharp divisions in a country with one of the world’s largest numbers of Catholics.

In fact, lawmakers in Mexico enshrined a doctor’s right to refuse to perform any procedure that goes against his or her personal beliefs in 2018 — a contentious issue that the Supreme Court is expected to take on this week that could ultimately determine how widely available abortion is in practice.

The court is considering whether to require that public hospitals have medical professionals on staff who are willing to perform abortions, or that patients must be transferred to facilities that do. The justices are also deciding whether to prohibit medical professionals from harassing or preaching to women who want abortions, a move that could fundamentally change the way doctors and nurses are allowed to treat people who seek to end their pregnancies.

Read more here

September 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Indiana: Guidance On Restraining Order

From IndyStar:

The Indiana Civil Protection Order Act allows for victims of domestic or family violence, sexual assault, stalking, harassment or child sex grooming to obtain protection orders against the alleged perpetrators. A person must file a petition with the courts to formally request a protection order.

the most important thing when filing a petition for a protection order is "specificity." Petitioners should be prepared to describe the relationship with the subject of the order, called the respondent. They should be able to describe when the incident happened, what happened, how and who was present during the incident. 

The terms of a protection order will vary depending on the situation and what the petitioner asks. Most commonly, the order will prohibit the respondent from having direct and/or indirect contact with the petitioner. 

Read more here.

 

September 12, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Online Child Support Case System

From GlobeNewswire:

Kansas Department for Children and Families has elected a business service process company to re-platform its child support case management system affecting approximately 131,000 children and their parents in the state.

Today, roughly half of state child support agencies still rely on legacy mainframes, incurring high costs to operate and making it difficult to modify and find technical resources to support. By using advanced code and data conversion tools, Conduent’s migration will help Kansas accelerate project completion times and avoid retraining agency staff. The newly migrated system will not require users to change how they access or use the system, resulting in a seamless transition.

A more effective Child Support Case System is much needed for the department as it will help accelerating the speed and lead to a better working environment for the workers.

Read more here.

September 11, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 10, 2021

Guam: Licensure Requirement Of Child Adoption Agencies

From The Guam Daily Post:

Sens. Telo Taitague, Sabina Perez and Joanne Brown and Speaker Therese Terlaje have introduced Bill 179-36, legislation that would require adoption agencies to be licensed by the Department of Public Health and Social Services, and mandate the agency to adopt interim rules and other licensure requirements.

Public Law 36-39 streamlines the adoption process and also incorporates adoption agencies into the process.

P.L. 36-40 expands the Newborn Infant Safe Haven Act by allowing a mother to relinquish custody of the child to emergency medical service personnel under certain parameters. The law also inserts adoption agencies into the chain of custody for infants relinquished under the Safe Haven Act.

The Bill addresses the abuse issues among adoption agencies. Currently, anyone can open adoption agencies and this opens the door for fraud and abuse. Following the Haiti earthquake in 2010, 47 children were adopted. It was discovered the children weren't orphans, and those who 'found' them were child traffickers," Bill 179 stated, quoting an article from an unnamed local media organization.

Read more here.

September 10, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Alabama Among 20 States, Including Indiana, Fighting For LGBTQ+ Discrimination Protection

From AL.Com

Attorneys general from 20 states sued President Joe Biden’s administration Monday seeking to halt directives that extend federal sex discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, ranging from transgender girls participating in school sports to the use of school and workplace bathrooms that align with a person’s gender identity.

The Biden administration in part took a stand against laws and proposals in a growing number of states that aim to forbid transgender girls from participating on female sports teams. The state attorneys general contend that the authority over such policies “properly belongs to Congress, the States, and the people.” The lawsuit asks a judge for a number of declarations about Title IX in schools and Title VII in the workplace.

Joining Tennessee in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

Read more here.
 

September 9, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Divorce Couple "Should Not" Treat Each Other Too Nice In The Court, It Might Affect The Decision

From WKRC TV Cincinnati:

A couple appealed for the matter of dissolution via a virtual hearing in Kentucky, and judge ordered the couple to go back counseling despite the fact that the couple had already gone through several counselings throughout the years before filing the petition for dissolution and clearly expressed their decision to divorce was a mature decision. The reason is that they behaved nicely and respectfully to each other during the hearing.

The proof of a "irretrievably broken" marriage is a requirement in Kentucky before the court can enter the decree for dissolution. Under Kentucky State Law, court shall try its best to preserve the integrity of marriage and to safeguard the family relationships. This is unusual, however. Both sides' attorneys agreed that this ruling was unexpected in the duration of their family law practices. 

The marriage lasted for about 13 years. The reason of not pursue a dissolution earlier is for the consideration of this couple's child. Both attorneys agree that selfless behavior and commitment to put their child first is exactly what a couple should do, and say it should not be mistaken for anything otherwise.

Read more here.

September 8, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

A Move For Equity, Church In Wales Will Offer Special Blessings To Same-Sex Married Couples

From The Guardian:

The Anglican church in Wales will offer special blessings to same-sex married couples after a historic vote welcomed by campaigners for equality.

The move puts the Welsh church at odds with the Church of England, which forbids clergy to bless same-sex marriages. It falls short of allowing same-sex marriages in church, and includes a “conscience clause”, allowing individual clergy to decide whether or not to offer blessings.

The blessing of same-sex register-office marriages would be “experimental” for a five-year period under the bill passed by a two-thirds majority at a meeting of the Church in Wales’s governing body in Newport.

Read more here.

September 7, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 6, 2021

Texas: What May Happen After The Strictest Anti-Abortion Law In Effect?

From The Guardian:

The most radical abortion law in the US went into effect on 1 September after the US supreme court did not step in by the 31 August deadline to block it, after an emergency appeal to the highest court, despite concerted legal campaigns. The near-total abortion ban in Texas empowers any private citizen to sue an abortion provider or anyone deemed to have helped a women get an abortion against the law, although not the patient themselves.

The federal law commonly known as the Face Act prohibits physically obstructing or using the threat of force to intimidate or interfere with a person seeking reproductive health services. Though there are anti-abortion laws in other states, Texas’s law differs significantly because it leaves enforcement up to private citizens through lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors, partly as a way to avoid legal review.

Justice department officials have also been in contact with prosecutors, including US attorneys in Texas and the FBI field offices in the state, to discuss enforcing the federal provisions. DOJ promises to protect citizens who attempt to seek reproductive health services from violence under the Face Act. Joe Biden called the law unconstitutional and promised efforts by his administration to counter its effects as quickly as possible. 

Read more here.

September 6, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Virginia School Board to Pay $1.3 Million in Transgender Student’s Suit

From The New York Times:

A school board in Virginia has agreed to pay $1.3 million in legal fees to resolve a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former student whose efforts to use the boys’ bathroom put him at the center of a national debate over rights for transgender people.

Gavin Grimm’s battle with the Gloucester County school board began in 2014, when he was a sophomore and his family informed his school that he was transgender. Administrators were supportive at first. But after an uproar from some parents and students, the school board adopted a policy requiring students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms for their “corresponding biological genders.”

Mr. Grimm sued the school board. The legal battle pushed him into the national spotlight as Republican-controlled state legislatures introduced a wave of “bathroom bills” requiring transgender people to use public restrooms in government and school buildings that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.

Read more here. 

September 5, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 4, 2021

UN Peacekeepers Fathered Dozens Of Children In Haiti. The Women They Exploited Are Trying To Get Child Support.

From Buzzfeed News:

UN peacekeepers fathered dozens of children while they were stationed in Haiti between 2004 and 2017, often with women they were providing money and food to — behavior UN policy “strongly discouraged” because of the “inherently unequal power dynamics.”

All but one of their claims for child support from UN peacekeepers have stalled in Haiti’s courts. Lawyers representing the women said the UN and the peacekeepers’ home nations are withholding some of the documents needed to move forward, and that judges are reluctant to rule against an international institution or countries that are supplying Haiti with critical resources, including funding, training, and jobs that offer a path out of the country — or a handsome salary.

A UN spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the organization has provided “documentation and information to the mothers as well as to the national authorities of Haiti,” and that 31 Haitian women and 36 children are receiving assistance that “varies in accordance to their individual needs” and includes funds for the upcoming school year.

After nearly four years, only one judge — in the case of Jui — has issued a favorable judgment for a woman filing a child support claim against a UN peacekeeper. But because it is nearly impossible to enforce the ruling in Uruguay, Joseph said that all he can do now is tell other UN member countries about the ruling in hopes they increase diplomatic pressure.

Read more here

September 4, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 3, 2021

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Broadly Interprets Anti-Retaliation Provision of Domestic Violence Leave Statute

From JD Supra:

Enacted in 2014, the DVLA requires employers to provide up to 15 days of paid or unpaid leave per year to an employee who is, or whose family member is, a victim of abusive behavior, provided that the employee is using the leave for a purpose enumerated in the statute, such as seeking medical attention or appearing in court. The DVLA also prohibits employers from taking adverse action against or otherwise discriminating against employees who exercise their rights under the statute, and from interfering in an employee’s exercise or attempted exercise of the same.  

On August 25, 2021, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Osborne-Trussell v. Children’s Hospital Corporation that a nurse whose employment was terminated prior to her start date after disclosing to her employer that her abuser had violated the terms of a harassment prevention order could pursue a claim against her employer for violation of the Massachusetts Domestic Violence and Abuse Leave Act’s (“DVLA”) anti-retaliation and non-interference provisions. The SJC ruled that the plaintiff asserted a viable claim under the DVLA despite the fact that the plaintiff had not formally requested leave under the statute.

Read more here

September 3, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Do US Teens Have The Right To Be Vaccinated Against Their Parents’ Will? It Depends On Where They Live

From The Conversation via The Associated Press:

In 2013, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine advocated “policies and strategies that maximize opportunities for minors to receive vaccinations when parents are not physically present.”

However, there’s no federal law mandating this right in the United States. Instead, there’s a state-by-state patchwork of widely varied regimes. In some, parental consent is always mandatory. In others, there are laws that establish the conditions under which minors can decide for themselves . . ..

As of 2021, roughly one-third of U.S. states have passed laws establishing the “mature minor doctrine”: a legal framework allowing minors to independently obtain health care without parental consent, within specified limitations. Some, but not all, specifically include vaccination.

In other states, minors may still be able to make their own medical decisions thanks to state court rulings establishing the mature minor doctrine.

Read more here

September 2, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Summary Judgment in Divorce Case Granted Due To Well-Written Postnuptial Agreement

From The New York Law Journal:

The Supreme Court, Westchester County, recently issued a significant matrimonial decision and order clarifying that under Domestic Relations Law (DRL) §170(7), if all ancillary issues are resolved via a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment on his or her cause of action for divorce. The decision in Fiasconaro v. Fiasconaro, Index No. 64458/2019 (July 13, 2021) (Nancy Quinn Koba, J.) demonstrates the critical importance of a well-drafted, rock-solid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in the era of no-fault divorce.

After the husband established his prima facie entitlement to a judgment of divorce, the wife ultimately had the burden of convincing the court that triable issues of fact existed, and failed to do so.

The husband prevailed in this case due to the agreement. The decision illustrates that a thorough, unambiguous, rock-solid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement will be found to satisfy the provisions of DRL §170(7).

Read more here. 

September 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Child Care Workers Quitting Over Delta

From the Atlantic:

Rasheed Malik, an associate director of research at the Center for American Progress, told me that the contagiousness of Delta and cases of breakthrough infections are prompting many child-care providers to reconsider their line of work. “The Delta variant has really changed the calculus for many people. They saw this coming fall as the light at the end of the tunnel. Now it’s looking like last fall,” Malik said. “It’s a lot of uncertainty piled on uncertainty piled on risk for child-care workers right now.”

...

About 35 percent of child-care workers lost their job early in the pandemic, and only about two-thirds have returned to work, according to Malik. Many of these workers—including employees of day-care programs, part-time babysitters, and full-time nannies—were already hesitant to resume their job and expose themselves to the coronavirus. Now Delta has heightened that feeling. Prior to the pandemic, Sittercity.com, an online platform that matches families and babysitters, had an average of one sitter for every five families seeking care. During the pandemic, that ratio got worse, dropping to one sitter for every 10 families. By the end of July, the ratio was 1 to 14, Zenobia Moochhala, the site’s CEO, told me.

Read more here.

August 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 30, 2021

No Parenting Time Until Parent Vaccinated

From the Chicago Sun Times:

In what many say is the first ruling of its kind, a divorced Pilsen mother has had her child visitation revoked by a Cook County judge because she is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

On Aug. 10, Cook County Judge James Shapiro barred Rebecca Firlit, the mother of an 11-year-old boy, from seeing her son.

Firlit’s attorney, Annette Fernholz, said her client and the ex-husband have been divorced for seven years and sharing custody.

Fernholz said the issue was not raised by her ex-husband.

Rather, the judge asked Firlit if she was vaccinated during a child support hearing via Zoom, and when she said no, the judge stripped her of all parenting time with her son until she gets vaccinated.

Read more here.

August 30, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)