Sunday, January 31, 2010
CNN recently covered 10 bizarre divorce settlements; they are worth a look. Included is Marvin Gaye’s story:
Marvin Gaye was a tremendous singer, but he wasn't
always so great at keeping track of his personal finances. He spent lavishly,
which meant that he often couldn't cover his bills.
He was having particularly big trouble footing the
bill for his 1977 divorce from Anna Gordy, so Gaye's lawyer worked out a novel
settlement: Gaye would record a new album and give all of the royalties to
Gordy as alimony.
Gaye headed into the studio and recorded the double album "Here, My Dear" to fulfill this deal with Gordy. Unfortunately for Gordy, critics and audiences didn't love Gaye's divorce-themed concept album; although today's critics praise the album, it was the singer's worst charting record of the 1970s.
Read the rest here.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
This article discusses a
demographic crisis in China that arguably rises to the level of "gendercide." Women in China
Several factors work
interdependently to cause a serious shortage of women in China.
This gender imbalance has caused an
increase in prostitution and human trafficking in China.
Friday, January 29, 2010
From Jo Miles and our friends across the pond:
The 4th Conference of the
Commission on European Family Law, The Future of Family Property in Europe,
takes place at the University of Cambridge, April 8-10.
The programme for the early career researcher workshops and plenary sessions is available on the conference website: www.cefl2010.org. We look forward to a stimulating discussion across the 3 days of the conference!
The early booking period closes at the end of January, after which the basic conference fee rises to £225 – we encourage you to book as soon as possible! A student rate (£75) is available for undergraduate and masters’ level students (but not doctoral candidates). Booking for the conference and accommodation can be done via the website address above. Please email any queries to the conference organisers on [email protected]
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that a family adopting a Ukrainian child who turned out to have severe physical and mental disabilities may not vacate the Ukrainian adoption using a California statute which allows adoptive parents to set aside adoptions of children with certain disabilities. The court held that the statute applies only to California adoption orders, and thus may not be used by a family with a judgment of adoption from a foreign court.
The facts raise a number of interesting issues (most not discussed in the case) about the recourse of adoptive parents and the fate of children adopted abroad when the adoptive parents are no longer willing to maintain the relationship. In this case, the adoptive parents placed the child in foster care several years before seeking to vacate the judgment of adoption. Should such children be returned to their home countries? Should their adoptive parents bear the burden of their support, particularly when the adoptive parents have a means of escaping the support obligation for similar adoptions perfected in the United States?
Read the opinion here.
For fans of Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love), here’s a CNN interview with the writer on her new book Committed, which covers her view of marriage following a bitter divorce and (happy?) remarriage. We’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future, with a movie version of Eat, Pray, Love coming out late this summer, starring Julia Roberts.
Here’s an interesting excerpt from the CNN interview, which can be accessed in its entirety here:
CNN: Marriage has often been portrayed as
something that protects women. But you found in your book that it benefits men
the most. Were you surprised by that?
Gilbert: It's surprising, though it
shouldn't be. Looking at study after study, it becomes quite chilling to see
how very much benefited men are by marriage. Married men perform in life
exceptionally better than single men, they live longer, they're richer, they're
CNN: And yet men are often reluctant to
enter into marriage.
Gilbert: Which is the big irony. They have
to be dragged kicking and screaming into something that will benefit them
enormously in life. And the cruel irony is that the people who drag them
kicking and screaming into it -- the women -- are the ones who often find that
they've gotten the short end of the stick.
Women give more and as a result they give up more.
I think the other problem is that women go into marriage with such high expectations, really inflated romantic ideas about what this relationship is going to be. Men go into marriage with virtually no expectations whatsoever. Ten years later, the men are delightfully surprised to find out that it's actually kind of nice, and the women have sort of had to take a nose dive from what they thought it was going to be.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The Tennesee Supreme Court has ruled that a $17 million class action settlement fee received by a husband-attorney after his wife filed for divorce is marital property subject to equitable division. The decision is consistent with the wealth of jurisprudence on marital and community property - acquisitions that are the result of effort, skill, or industry expended during marriage should be susceptible of being shared. But to reach this decision, the Court had to creatively interpret a Tennessee statute which requires that property be "owned by either or both spouses as of the date of filing of a complaint for divorce" to qualify as marital property.
Shmueli: "What have Calabresi and Melamed got to do with Family Affairs? Women Using Tort Law in Order to Defeat Jewish and Shari’A Law"
Benjamin Shmueli has posted What have Calabresi and Melamed got to do with Family Affairs? Women Using Tort Law in Order to Defeat Jewish and Shari’A Law, Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice (forthcoming 2009), on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Intrafamilial tort actions have become increasingly
common. Children sue parents, and spouses sue each other or their ex-spouses.
These actions create a fascinating intersection between tort law, which
generally deals with relationships between strangers, and family law, which
generally concerns the regulation of relationships between intimates. This is
especially interesting when these situations create a clash between secular
tort law and religious Jewish and Shari’a law. This Article charts new
territory by exploring the legal, social, and law and economics implications of
these emerging legal actions at the intersection of tort law and family
I use the now-famous Calabresi and Melamed
framework (Guido Calabresi & A. Douglas Melamed, Property Rules, Liability
Rules, and Inalienability: One View of the Cathedral, 85 HARV. L. REV. 1089
(1972)) of primary and secondary remedies drawn from different entitlement
regimes in order to provide a theoretical foundation to explore the emerging
use of tort law to provide remedies for family disputes. I focus in particular
on categories of disputes in which family law either refuses or is unable to
provide adequate remedies for harms caused by one family member against
another. The Calabresi and Melamed framework will help illustrate five circles
of civil-tort actions in the service of the family unit, in some of them there
is a real clash between secular tort law and religious Jewish or Shari’a law.
But beyond just presenting the issues, this framework will have great
importance in providing a theoretical-tort basis for understanding new and
future developments in case in which there are real conflicts between tort law
and family law.
Ultimately, this Article asks, among other questions: Can women indeed defeat religious Jewish and Shari’a law, using secular tort law? What are the characteristics of the relationships between intrafamilial tort litigation and religious Jewish and Shari’a law? Are rights connected to personal status tradable, i.e. can they be transferred or sold? Can the family court fill an active and legitimate role in creating deals on behalf of the state, under which a family member is recognized as having injured the rights of another family member on the plane of personal status? Should the state allow for the damaged personal status right to be priced, e.g., by setting a price tag on the infringement by using tort law?
Benjamin Shmueli has also recently posted many other articles, as well, available here once you enter author's name into the search field.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Interesting Time magazine article discuss a study using Census data to conclude that college-educated men sustain the greatest economic benefit from marriage.
How's this for unintended consequences? Some of the biggest beneficiaries of the women's movement have been married men. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, married men have a 60% higher median household income than they did in 1970, even adjusted for inflation. Unmarried men, on the other hand, only got a 16% bump.
The reason for the rise is that more men are marrying women who make more money than they do, mainly because there are more high-income women to go around. In 1970, just 4% of men ages 30 to 44 had wives who brought in more bacon than they did. By 2007, more than a fifth (22%) of men in that age bracket have wives who out-earn them. Members of this thriving demographic are effectively doubling their income or more when they wed, without doubling their costs.
The study, which drew on household income data from the Decennial Census and the 2007 American Community Survey, conducted annually by the U.S. Census Bureau, showed that the biggest gainers were married, college-educated men. The biggest losers were unmarried men who did not complete high school or who only had a high school diploma. After adjusting for inflation, the 2007 cohort had lower household incomes than their 1970 counterparts. "The steeper decline in marriage among the less educated has contributed to a steeper decline in their income," says one of the study's authors, D'Vera Cohn.
Read the full article here.
The results of two new studies (loosely) pertaining to families have been announced:
1. A new study
suggests that women who live with a mate put on a few more pounds than otherwise. According to the New York Times, “After
adjusting for other variables, the 10-year weight gain for an average 140-pound
woman was 20 pounds if she had a baby and a partner, 15 if she had a partner
but no baby, and only 11 pounds if she was childless with no partner.” Read about it here.
2. The link between crime and abortion has been suggested by John Donohue and Steven Levitt, and now there’s mounting evidence of a link between abstinence and IQ—students with IQs above 100 and below 70 were significantly more likely to have abstained than those in between 70 and 100. In other words, those abstaining are either below or above average smart (as measured by IQ)--maybe parents don't have to do the birds and the bees talk for this group? Not according to this article, which argues "the talk" needs to be reiterated to reduce the recent rise of teen pregnancy rates. Read about more about the IQ study here.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Minerva Center for
Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are
organizing an international, interdisciplinary conference
on the Protection of Children and Families during Armed
Conflict. This event will examine legal, social and
political mechanisms that protect children and families in
the course of international and domestic armed conflicts.
The conference will take place in Jerusalem from the 6th to
the 8th of June 2010.
Recipients of this call for papers are invited to submit
proposals to present a paper at the symposium. Authors of
the selected proposals will be offered flight expenses to
Israel and accommodations for the duration of the
Invited speakers who have already confirmed their
participation include Prof. Jaap Doek (Vrije Universiteit,
Amsterdam; former Chairperson, UN Committee on the Rights
of the Child), Prof. Carolyn Hamilton (University of Essex;
Director, Children's Legal Centre) and Prof. Michael
Wessells (Professor of Clinical Population and Family
Health, Columbia University; Professor of Psychology,
Randolph-Macon College; Senior Advisor on Child Protection,
Christian Children's Fund).
NEED FOR THE CONFERENCE:
The need for a conference is made salient by the events of
the second Lebanon War in 2006 and by the Palestinian-
Israeli conflict involving Gaza in 2008-2009, in both of
which children were injured and killed and families
suffered. This need continues in the current stage in the
conflicts of the Middle East, which continue to endanger
families and children.
The importance of studying the impact of political conflict
on children and families, and of preventing that impact
arises from a number of empirically-based factors. First,
armed conflicts are unfortunately a part of life in many
parts of the world and are not likely to disappear soon.
Second, children are among the most vulnerable people in
any conflict, since they are not fully developed
individuals. Third, families play a central role in the
socialization of children so that damage to the structure
and function of a family will add considerably to the
suffering of the children. Fourth, developmental research
shows that the risks and traumas experienced in childhood
may be long-lasting and lead to poor developmental
outcomes. Finally, there is evidence that exposure to armed
conflict may lead to a perpetuation of the trauma and
conflict across generation.
Children are affected by political violence, not only in
their experiencing of it but in the potential for this
experience to affect the rest of their lives. While
international legal safeguards for children exist, and
there has been extensive research on the effects of
exposure to political violence, the topic of protection of
children in conflict has not received adequate research
attention, and actual protection efforts have been weak and
inconsistent. There is too little thinking about protecting
children and families in one's own society, and even less
on protecting those on the "other side".
GOALS OF THE CONFERENCE:
The proposed conference will engage researchers, policy
makers and child advocates from the fields of international
law, the social sciences and medicine. The goals of the
1. Presentation and exchange of ideas on the prevention of
adverse effects on children and families as a result of
2. Dialogue between researchers and professionals who deal
with children's rights directly. As part of the
conference we strive to bring Israeli and Palestinian
researchers security personnel, and representatives of
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to discuss
approaches to prevent harm to children and families on
both sides of a conflict.
3. Formulation of concrete proposals to all warring states
and parties which may significantly reduce the impact
of armed conflict on children and their families.
4. Publication of relevant papers in a volume designed to
influence future research and practice in child
protection and intervention during armed conflict.
FORMAT OF THE CONFERENCE:
We are inviting figures from the international community as
well as Israelis and Palestinians to present their research
and engage in a dialogue concerning the protection of
children in armed conflict. Speakers will present papers
relating to the following issues: effects of political
violence on children and families; rehabilitation of
children and families; the role of the communications media
in encouraging or discouraging protection for children and
families; and the ethical, legal, political and
organizational aspects of affording protection to children
and families in armed conflict.
The participants in the conference will discuss the
background for the observance and the violation by
different sides in an armed conflict of the international
conventions on human rights and children's rights, as well
as effective ways to encourage compliance with these
PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE:
Researchers interested in addressing these questions, or
other questions related to the topic of the conference, are
invited to respond to this call for papers with a one-page
proposal for an article and presentation, along with a
brief curriculum vitae (CV). Proposals should be submitted
no later than 15 February 2010 by e-mail to:
CONTACT: The Minerva Center for Human Rights
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Email: [email protected]
All applicants should receive notification of the academic
committee's decision by 10 March 2010. Short written
contributions (of approximately 8-10 pages) based on the
selected proposals will be expected by 25 May 2010. Full-
length papers based on presentations made at the conference
will be considered by the organizers for inclusion in a
book or law journal symposium to be published following the
CHAIR, CONFERENCE ACADEMIC COMMITTEE:
Prof. Charles Greenbaum
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
FONDA -- A Montgomery County
The Cressys were issued appearance
tickets to appear in the Town of Glen Court at a later date.
Hoffman said the Cressys have since submitted a
home-schooling curriculum, which he has approved.
An arrest seems a little harsh, especially on child endangerment charges. Some might suggest that the most problematic and unsafe school districts in the country should face child endangerment charges themselves.
For more on the
Monday, January 25, 2010
The blogosphere is buzzing with updates from the the Proposition 8 trial in California. For excellent coverage, check out:
Constitutional Law Prof Blog, which has an updated post on the case here.
Box Turtle Bulletin, which is doing a day-by-day tracking of the case here.
A well-known British retailer has launched a divorce gift registry. Stock up now for your separating friends and family!
"With so many couples now living together before they marry, the wedding gift list concept is now regarded as more of an upgrade service, rather than stocking up the first home with the basics," said Peter Moore, head of retail services at Debenhams.
"However, a divorce means that one partner will be leaving their marital home and therefore be left without any essentials in their new house."
Items the store expects to be popular choices among divorcees include cookware, cutlery, crockery, glasses, bedlinen, towels and small electrical goods such as toasters and microwaves, as well as non-iron shirts, large plasma screen TVs and computer games.
Read more here.
One story from London
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Douglas A. Kahn (University of Michigan Law School) recently posted Alimony Treatment for a Single Payment, 125 Tax Notes__ (2009), on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The author concludes that, contrary to the IRS and the Tax Court’s position, a single lump sum payment to a divorced spouse can qualify for alimony treatment in some circumstances subject to the front-loading rules. The author also contends that to conform to the requirement of the alimony provision, a payment of a divorced spouse’s legal or medical expenses under a divorce or separation instrument should qualify for alimony treatment even though those payments usually will not satisfy the literal terms of the statute.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
This short piece examines the changing meaning of marriage and the family in the U.S. Among other developments, the piece chronicles: the changing role and legal status of women in marriage; race restrictions in marriage; the legal recognition of same-sex relationships; and the increasing numbers of nonmarital families. The article is the lead piece in the Summer 2009 issue of the ABA Human Rights magazine devoted to the New American Family.
France is set to introduce a new offense: psychological violence between married couples or partners living together. This is an unusual venture into regulating matters within a family. There is some concern, however, that the law will be abused and turn into a he said/she said debacle. Nonetheless, the numbers are sobering: almost 3 women die weekly in France after being assaulted by a partner or ex-partner. Read more here. For editorials on the subject, see here and here.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Marital rape is one manifestation of violence in the home. It involves more additional injuries than sexual assault by any other type of perpetrator. Yet, there is a dearth of literature in Australia – a silence that appears to have continued despite recent legislative changes that have abolished the immunity of husbands from prosecution for rape.
The current article examines three dimensions of the crime and how they are experienced by the victims and constructed within the courts: incidence, the dynamics or nature, and the effects. Differences are apparent with few rapes prosecuted, the nature of coercion interpreted narrowly by the court without a recognition of the range of duress that can be a part of a violent marriage, and the harms often minimized by judges who see the rapist’s marital tie to his victim as a mitigator. These examples indicate the need for women’s experiences to be validated and their reality reconstructed in the society and in the law.
For me, these removal cases are perhaps the most unfortunate ones following a divorce because often a parent has legitimate reasons for moving to different parts of the world, even when at the risk of hurting the other parent’s relationship with the child. This is particularly true in international marriages—and I suspect it will become a sticking point should Elin proceed with a divorce from Tiger.