Family Law Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baxter-Kauf: "Breastfeeding in Custody Proceedings: A Modern-Day Manifestation of Liberal and Republican Family Traditions"

Kate Baxter-Kauf has posted "Breastfeeding in Custody Proceedings:  A Modern-Day Manifestation of Liberal and Republican Family Traditions" (forthcoming Richmond J. L. & Pub. Int.) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This article explores the relationship between breastfeeding in custody proceedings and the supposedly discredited common law coverture and tender years doctrines. It argues that the case of custody disputes highlights the contradictory nature of family law through the relationship between parental autonomy, the privatization of dependency, and the judicially determined appropriateness of maternal relationships.


November 30, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Divorced Fathers' Rights in England

From the British Guardian:

Fathers who have gone through divorce or separation will not be granted a legal right to guarantee that their child has "a meaningful relationship with both parents", according to a long-awaited report on family law.

The Family Justice Review draws back from one of its key interim recommendations that had raised the hopes of groups such as Fathers 4 Justice, which campaigns for improved paternal access rights.

The review also condemns the lengthy court delays involved in care cases and calls for a statutory, six-month limit to be imposed on reaching decisions in child protection cases "save in exceptional circumstances".

Read more here.


November 30, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Charturvedi & Mandakini:"'You Can Use My Uterus' - New Horizons of Law Relating to Surrogacy"

Preeti Charturvedi (National Law Univ., Orissa at Cuttack) and Churchi Mandakini have posted "'You Can Use My Uterus' - New Horizons of Law Relating to Surrogacy" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Mothers have been considered symbolic of god and the misfortune of childlessness cannot be elucidated. The problems in conceiving forced women to think of an alternative and started the whole business of surrogate mothers. Surrogacy has been the centre of burning debates and has received arguments for and against its legalisation. With the advancement of technologies, gestational surrogacy has been possible where the partner’s sperm is implanted into surrogate’s uterus. Surrogacy is presumably considered legitimate because no Indian law prohibits surrogacy. But this silence of law can obviously not be interpreted as a green signal for any future surrogacy arrangement. However, the changing face of law is now going to usher in a new rent-a-womb law as India is set to be the only country in the world to legalise commercial surrogacy by virtue of Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill, 2010. This paper is a humble attempt to discuss the pros and cons of the bill and it also puts forward few contentions of recognising/legalising surrogacy contracts in the country.

Jeremy Bentham looked upon ‘law’ as an instrument for securing the “greatest good of the greatest number”. Surrogacy is becoming a practice to earn. The paper also sheds light on how the intended parents are established as the legal parents of the child. Surrogacy is a boon or a bane? This controversial question is the spotlight of the 228th Law commission Report on which this paper focuses upon.

This paper will address the need for legalization of surrogacy from the perspective of fundamental right. Surrogacy has inscrutable impact on the primary unit of the society i.e. family, and therefore, connivance of Law about this knotty issue may prove to be a regrettable step in the future. The paper also submits that if the society allows organ donation, blood donation, wet nursing and other such analogies then why not surrogacy? In my opinion this issue of use of new reproductive technology must be dealt with meticulously by the legislature of our time and reluctance about legalising surrogacy must be relinquished.


November 29, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Manian: "Functional Parenting and Dysfunctional Abortion Policy: Reforming Parental Involvment Legislation"

Maya Manian (Univ. of San Francisco) has posted "Functional Parenting and Dysfunctional Abortion Policy:  Reforming Parental Involvment Legislation" (forthcoming Family Court Review) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

Abortion-related parental involvement mandates raise important family law issues about the scope of parents’ power over their children’s intimate decisions. While there has been extensive scholarly attention paid to the problems with parental involvement laws, relatively little has been said about strategies for reforming these laws. This article suggests using insights from family law relating to functional parenthood and third party caregiving as a basis for crafting more capacious methods of ensuring adult guidance for teenage girls facing an unplanned pregnancy. Recent developments in family law bolster the case for reforming parental involvement legislation to allow teenagers to consult with designated adults other than their parents. Enlisting other trusted members of the community to assist pregnant teenagers should assuage those who want to guarantee that adolescents consult with an adult in a time of crisis, while also giving leeway to the well-documented concern that some teenagers reasonably fear discussing pregnancy with their parents.


November 29, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Remedy: Recreating Wedding Pictures with Ex-Wife?

From the New York Times:

Of all the many things that make up a wedding, few are more important than the photographs.

Long after the last of the cake has grown stale and the tossed bouquet has wilted, the photos endure, stirring memories and providing vivid proof that the day of one’s dreams took place.

So it is not particularly surprising that one groom, disappointed with his wedding photos, decided to sue. The photographers had missed the last dance and the bouquet toss, the groom, Todd J. Remis of Manhattan, said.

But what is striking, said the studio that took the pictures, is that Mr. Remis’s wedding took place in 2003 and he waited six years to sue. And not only has Mr. Remis demanded to be repaid the $4,100 cost of the photography, he also wants $48,000 to recreate the entire wedding and fly the principals to New York so the celebration can be re-shot by another photographer.

Re-enacting the wedding may pose a particular challenge, the studio pointed out, because the couple divorced and the bride is believed to have moved back to her native Latvia.

Read more here.


November 29, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Marriage in Commercials

A fun look at the perception of marriage and family in commercials is here.


November 28, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"Any fool can have a baby, it takes a smart woman to get paid for it"... a quote from an Indian surrogate candidate interview in the NYT.  The article further points out:

Since 2002, when commercial surrogacy was legalized in India, the surrogacy industry has boomed, becoming a key part of the country’s lucrative medical tourism market. The cost of surrogacy for prospective parents is about $14,000 in India, compared with an estimated $70,000 in the United States. A 2008 study valued the assisted reproductive industry in India at $450 million a year.

Up to now, India’s laws have not addressed directly the complexities of surrogacy, though an assisted reproductive technology bill is before Parliament and expected to be ratified by early next year. But a team of researchers from Sama, a nongovernmental women’s health organization, has raised concerns about the bill in a recent paper...

The legislation attempts to regulate the clinics and doctors engaged in reproductive technologies and their relationship with prospective surrogate mothers.

While Sama welcomes this attempt to govern the industry, it fears the legislation favors the rights of the commissioning couple over those of the surrogate mother. The bill makes it clear that women engaged in commercial surrogacy will have no rights over the child they have contracted to bear. The proposed law does not spell out what a surrogate mother would be paid in the case of a miscarriage or other complications during pregnancy.

Read more here.


November 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 25, 2011

British Columbia's Ban on Polygamy Constitutional, Court Holds

From the New York Times:

OTTAWA — British Columbia’s highest court ruled Wednesday that Canada’s 121-year-old criminal law banning polygamy is constitutional.

The ruling stemmed from a failed prosecution in 2009 of two leaders of a breakaway Mormon sect in British Columbia and might have implications for followers of other religions that allow polygamy. In a 335-page decision that followed 42 days of hearings, Robert J. Bauman, the court’s chief justice, found that women in polygamous relationships faced higher rates of domestic, physical and sexual abuse, died younger and were more prone to mental illnesses. Children from those marriages, he said, were more likely to be abused and neglected, less likely to perform well at school and often suffered from emotional and behavioral problems.

Read more here and read the Court's decision here.


November 25, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 24, 2011


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November 24, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"You can’t choose your sons, but you can choose your sons-in-law"

From the Freakonomics blog:

What happens when the heir to a family business isn’t up to the job? Not great things, apparently. But the Japanese have a solution: adult adoption. Rather than hand the firm to a less-than-worthy blood heir, Japanese families often adopt an adult to take over. This tradition is the subject of Vikas Mehrotra‘s paper “Adoptive Expectations: Rising Sons in Japanese Family Firms,” which is featured in our latest podcast and hour-long Freakonomics Radio special “The Church of Scionology.” (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen live via the media player, or read the transcript here.) 

America and Japan have the highest rates of adoption in the world – with one big difference. While the vast majority of adoptees in the U.S. are children, they account for just 2% of adoptions in Japan. The other 98% are males around 25 to 30. Mehrotra believes this is the key to one of Japan’s unique differences. Across the developed world, family firms under-perform professionally-run businesses. But in Japan, it’s the opposite. Japan’s strongest companies are led by scions, many of them adopted. “If you compare the performance under different kinds of heirs, blood heirs versus adopted heirs, the superior performance of second-generation managed firms is pretty much entirely attributable to the adopted heir firms.”

Read more here.


November 23, 2011 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Law on Sperm Donation

George Washington Law Professor Naomi Cahn recently discussed the law regarding the fertility industry on NPR.  Read the transcript here.


November 22, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Privacy vs. Misinformation

From the

THE PRESIDENT of the family division of the high court of England and Wales has just ruled that extensive information concerning a family law dispute, including the names of the two parents in the case, be published. Sir Nicholas Wall did so to counter misinformation about the case being broadcast on the internet.

The case was taken by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, which sought the publication of information about the case following a campaign of misinformation on the internet and in e-mails sent by the mother and a group of her supporters.

The misinformation, centring on the unfounded claim that the father had sexually abused their child, was circulated among parents in the child’s school and to the father’s employer and threatened the welfare of the child, who was living with her father.

Read more here.


November 21, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

National Adoption Day

From the Sacramento Bee:

National Adoption Day 2011 will be held on Saturday, November 19. Celebrated across the United States, more than 350 community events are held each year to finalize the adoptions of children in foster care and celebrate adoptive families.

This year, National Adoption Day will include events ranging from courtroom adoptions to local celebrations, in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Thanks to the volunteer efforts of adoption advocates, policymakers, judges and lawyers, more than 35,000 children have been adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day during the last 11 years.

Read more here.


November 19, 2011 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Divorcee Sale

From Good Morning America:



November 18, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Higher Weight, Higher Child Custody Disputes

From the Wall Street Journal:

The nation's waistline is expanding, and so too is the role of obesity in child-custody battles in the U.S.

Family-law practitioners and legal experts say mothers and fathers in custody lawsuits are increasingly hurling accusations at each other about the nutrition and obesity of their children, largely in attempts to persuade judges that their kids are getting less-than-optimal care in the hands of ex- and soon-to-be-ex-spouses.

Read more here.


November 17, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Padding Divorce Bills

From the Telegraph:

Baroness Shackleton, Britain's highest-profile divorce lawyer, has increased the bills of celebrity clients beyond the time she recorded having spent on their cases...

Madonna and Sir Paul McCartney appear to have been charged hundreds of thousands of pounds more than the hourly rate would have demanded, documents show, a practice known as “marking up”.

The Conservative peer, who represented the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York in their divorces and remains solicitor to Princes William and Harry, appears to have charged her clients more than twice as much as the rate for the actual number of hours she had recorded as having spent on their cases, according to internal time sheets.

Read more here.


November 16, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

If You Don't Want It...Put A Ring On It?

From the Times of India:

For too long, the world's divided the married and the divorced into the haves and the have-nots. And what is it that the married "have"? A husband, babies, that smug smile, but more importantly, they have that ring.

To lessen this chasm, New-York based jewellers Spritzer and Furman have come out with a USD 3200 (Rs 1.48 lakh) divorce ring with 18-carat gold and 4 full-cut diamonds. It's bigger than Kim Kardashian's, and jazzier too! It has a broken golden heart with a diamond lightening bolt piercing through it to make heartbreak a lot more stylish.

Read more here.




November 15, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 14, 2011


Divorce Impacts Small Businesses

From Reuters:

According to the 2009 U.S. Census, there were 9.2 divorces for every 1,000 men and 9.7 divorces for every 1,000 women. Most business owners don't head into marriage thinking about doomsday scenarios, but when divorce is imminent, small businesses are at significant risk, as leadership and financial resources may be stretched thin.

"Are we seeing businesses go under?" said Andrew Zashin, a Cleveland, Ohio-based divorce attorney whose clientele includes high-net-worth small business owners. "The answer is yes."

There is a bright spot. The availability of so-called "no-fault divorce" throughout the entire U.S. is approaching its one-year anniversary in October, twelve months after the state of New York joined the rest of the country by allowing couples to end marriage without allegations or proof of fault.

No fault divorce sidesteps the often-embarrassing litany of legally recognized grounds. Depending on the state, these claims can range from emotional abuse to adultery - and they can make the divorce process a painful, public spectacle.

"(No fault) advances preserving business because it helps people get divorced amicably," said Zashin, who over the years has faced bullying from angry spouses, including one man who brought a concealed sword to his law office and threatened him with it. "They can talk."

Read more here.


November 14, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rosenbury: "Working Relationships"

Laura Rosenbury (Wash. U. St. Louis) has posted "Working Relationships" (35 Wash. Univ. J. L. & Policy 117 (2011)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In this Essay written for the symposium on "For Love or Money? Defining Relationships in Law and Life," I extend my previous consideration of friendship to the specific context of the workplace, analyzing friendship through the lens of the ties that arise at work instead of those assumed to arise within the home. Many adults spend half or more of their waking hours at work, in the process forming relationships with supervisors, co-workers, subordinates, customers, and other third parties. Although such relationships are at times primarily transactional, at other times they take on intimate qualities similar to those of family relationships or friendships. Workplaces are thus often sites of both intimacy and production, much like the home is a site of both intimacy and production, even though the law assigns production to the workplace and intimacy to the home.

This combination of intimacy and production means that workplace ties are often a component of workplace success rather than a simple byproduct of that success or a negative distraction from it. Workplace friendships foster connections that may lead to promotions and higher status, and such connections may also provide care and support to workers in increasingly uncertain and competitive workplace environments. Some legal scholars have categorized these effects as favoritism and have considered ways to eliminate that favoritism in order to promote meritocracy and antidiscrimination goals in the workplace. This Essay takes a different tack, examining relationships in the workplace to challenge legal understandings of both work and family, particularly the assumption that purported merit-based success can be separated from intimacy or care. Part I examines the ways that current legal analysis largely ignores relationships at work or constructs them solely as threats to workplace equality. Part II draws on social science literature to illustrate that personal relationships are neither irrelevant to the workplace nor always at odds with antidiscrimination goals, even as they may replicate patterns of inequality not currently addressed by antidiscrimination law. Part III then sets forth an agenda for future legal consideration of affective bonds at work that does not collapse work relationships into family, or define them against family, but instead examines the flow of intimacy in and out of the home, the workplace, and other spaces both public and private, and productive and intimate.


November 13, 2011 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)