Family Law Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Any Proposals Today?

From the Washington Post:

Leap days disrupt our calendar, and with it — if history is any indication — our entire societal sense of decorum. Clutch your pearls and ready your smelling salts for what you’re about to hear: On a leap day, women are permitted to propose to men, according to tradition.


Men who declined a lady’s proposal had to pay the woman a forfeit, in the form of money, a kiss, or sometimes, a silk dress. The tradition evolved to inspire Sadie Hawkins Day (based on the bold “Li’l Abner” character), sometimes celebrated in November, in which women can take the lead in asking men to a dance.

Read more here.


February 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FL Alimony Law

From the Miami Herald:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A House panel has given the green light to a bill that would overhaul what critics say is the state's antiquated alimony law.

Rep. Ritch Workman's bill (HB 549) Thursday cleared the House Judiciary Committee by a 17-1 vote. The Melbourne Republican said the measure would ensure alimony is fair to both ex-spouses.

Read more here.


Read more here:

February 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Embryo Open Adoption

From Today:

Carmen Olalde really wanted children. She went through years of infertility treatment and IVF, then a difficult pregnancy, to have her twins. And as her twins turned four, she realized that two kids were enough.

But she still had four frozen embryos from her last IVF cycle.  And so she made a decision that put her at the frontier of reproductive ethics. She donated the embryos to a Virginia couple also suffering from infertility, whom she met via a website ad – on the condition that the donation be "open," and they send regular photos of any resulting child and hopefully keep in touch by e-mail and phone.

Read more here.


February 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Profs on VAWA

Professors Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Donna Coker, Julie Goldscheid, Leigh Goodmark, Valli Kalei Kanuha, James Ptacek, and Deborah Weissman have spoken out about the Violence Against Women Act ("VAWA") reauthorization bill:

The VAWA reauthorization bill would extend funding for important services; provide additional
protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and
would ensure that tribal courts have jurisdiction over domestic violence that occurs on tribal
land. We urge Congress to pass this bill!

But while we applaud much that is in the bill, we are concerned that like its predecessors, the bill
focuses a significant amount of funding on criminal justice responses and much less on economic
and racial justice initiatives that would support efforts to stop domestic violence. We urge
Congress to do more to address economic and racial inequalities that make poor women--
particularly poor women of color, undocumented women, and Native American women, more
vulnerable to intimate violence. We urge Congress to recognize that economic policies that
result in widespread unemployment and downward mobility increase domestic violence. We
further urge Congress to recognize that as important as criminal remedies may be for some
victims, a focus on criminal justice remedies will never be sufficient to empower women. Many
women who experience domestic violence do not want the current limited menu of criminal
justice responses. We urge Congress, therefore, to consider and support programs that explore
alternatives to the current criminal adjudication models, and that address the underlying causes
of abuse.

Download further remarks in PDF here:

Download VAWA


February 28, 2012 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Trademarking Baby Name?

From the Mail Online:

She appeared on her father's single at just a few hours old, so it comes as no surprise that Beyoncé and Jay-Z's daughter Blue Ivy is a brand in the making.

According to reports in the US, the new parents have moved to trademark their one-month-old baby's name.

The power-couple have filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect Blue Ivy's name against others using it.

Read more here.


February 27, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Russian Fertility Rates

From Mail Online:

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was mocked by his own countrymen today after urging Russians to start having more sex to put a stop to the country's declining population.

In one of his more controversial presidential election campaign pledges, Putin vowed to give cash incentives to mothers who have a third child, to help encourage more births.

Read more here.


February 25, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Outsourcing in Exchange for Romance

From the Washington Post:

Two top economists, who happen to be a couple raising a daughter, think that paying others to do chores, including the bulk of childcare duties, may be an under-appreciated secret to stronger marriages.

Read more here.

Meanwhile, Slate has published relevant "Dear Prudence" advice:

Q. Housekeeper: This is a problem I am sure a lot of people would love to have. My boyfriend and I are in our late 20s and we both have good salaries. We talked about moving in together and we are fairly compatible. But here is the thing: He has a housekeeper. (That sound you hear is all my girlfriends rolling their eyes.) I do not think we need a housekeeper. Two people keeping a two bedroom apartment clean should be manageable. He thinks that if he hates to clean and can afford to pay somebody else he should. While I can't see anything outright wrong with that, part of me feels like he is indulgent and immature. I don't like to do a lot of things, but I do them anyway. He told me that if we let the housekeeper go then I will be totally responsible for all the cleaning. I think that is also unreasonable. Why can't he just pick up after himself? What if we can't afford a housekeeper in the future? Will he have any idea how to be self-reliant? Is it so wrong that I think we should be responsible for keeping such a small space clean?

A: Please dump this guy so he can find someone who will appreciate that a man who wants to pay someone a fair wage to keep his apartment clean is a keeper.

Read it here.


February 24, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage in MD

From AP:

Gay marriage is all but legalized in Maryland after the legislature gave its final OK Thursday to the law that's being sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley, who said he expects to sign it sometime this week.

The state Senate voted 25-22 for the law. The vote comes less than a week after the House of Delegates barely passed the measure.

Maryland will become the eighth state to allow gay marriage when O'Malley — who sponsored the bill — signs the legislation. The Democrat made the measure a priority this session after it stalled last year.

Read more here.


February 23, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Misdemeanor...Elementary School Tardiness?!

From the Washington Post:

Amy and Mark Denicore are headed to a full-blown trial to defend themselves against charges that they violated Virginia law by making their kids late to elementary school too often.

Read more here.


February 23, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Too Poor to Marry?

The New York Times recently ran an article suggesting that marriage is largely for the rich, here.  Read the response of the National Review online here.


February 22, 2012 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rosenberg: "Liberalism Unsettled: Freedom and Status in the Promise of Marriage"

Anat Rosenberg (Radzyner School of Law) has posted "Liberalism Unsettled:  Freedom and Status in the Promise of Marriage" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This paper examines the tension between freedom and subjection under liberalism; but, rather than emphasize either side of the binary, my aim is to articulate the terms of duality, and provide an account of the social life of liberal thought. To do so, I revisit the nineteenth-century promise of marriage. 

The promise of marriage represented a conceptual fusion of the liberal ideals of contract and sentiment, central to rise of the free market and the conjugal family, and of the counterforces of status - particularly gender and class. While the former marshaled the hope of free will as a new basis for the social order, subjection lurked in the latter. The fusion threw the hopes and tensions of the liberal hypothetical into sharp relief, and turned the promise of marriage into a central cultural locus for Victorians. 

I rely on an interdisciplinary reading of the promise’s fortunes in contract law and canonic novels to examine the terms on which liberalism engaged with status. The examination reveals two historical strategies. One was containment: considerations of status were contained within the conceptual liberal frameworks of sentiment and contract, and, in consequence, reduced in magnitude. A second was withdrawal: the application of the liberal framework was bordered and limited, but the delimitation was construed as inconsequential, because liberalism retained relevance in areas conceptualized as the core of social relations. 

Contra familiar accounts, which treat the opposition between liberal ideals and status in terms of mutual exclusion, and take the persistence of status to mean that liberalism has been a (partially) failed hope or a form of apologetics for power, containment and withdrawal tell a more complex story. The liberal rejection of status did not entail an attempted elimination but rather a new interpretation of status’s legitimate workings within social relations. Containment and withdrawal teach us of the distinctive ways in which liberalism, as a social phenomenon – rather than an ideal philosophical construct, processed, adapted to, and also transformed, forces of status.


February 21, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Picking a Spouse

The blog "Barking up the wrong tree" reviews what studies say about picking a marital partner.  Read it here.


February 21, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Berenos: "Time to Move On? The International State of Affairs with Respect to Child Relocation Law"

Yildiz Maria Berenos (Utrecht Univ. School of Law) has posted "Time to Move On?  The International State of Affairs with Respect to Child Relocation Law" (8 Utrecht L. Rev. 1 (2012)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract

By surveying binding law in civil and common law jurisdictions and non-binding law produced by national, regional and international organizations, this article tries to map the international state of affairs with respect to child relocation. Various legal topics that have concerned legislatures are discussed. It appears that - worldwide and more specifically within Europe - great variety exists with respect to child relocation law, which leads to legal uncertainty. As a consequence, parents often do not know how to act in case of child relocation. This might have a negative effect on other issues, such as child abduction. Harmonization of law on child relocation seems necessary to diminish the existing legal uncertainty. It is concluded that the development of a European or international non-binding law instrument that addresses both national and international relocation cases could be a first step in the harmonization process.


February 20, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The Costs of Expecting

From Daily Mail:

The financial strain of having a baby can come as a shock to many.

But a new study has found costs start to mount up even before the baby's birth.

Findings revealed that first-time parents spend an average of £1,786 in preparation for their newborn.

Meanwhile a wealthy six per cent fork out nearly £10,000, from decorating the nursery to freezing stem cells in the hope of medical breakthroughs.

Despite having limited funds, two thirds of expectant parents turned to credit cards or took out loans and a quarter reported financial woes after the birth.

Read more here.




February 20, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lafferriere: "Artificial Reproductive Techniques and Parenting: Trends and Paradoxes"

Nicholas Lafferriere (Universidad Catolica Argentina) has posted "Artificial Reproductive Techniques and Parenting:  Trends and Paradoxes" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The increasing use of artificial reproductive techniques generates very complex problems concerning parent-child juridical relations. Posthumous insemination, heterologous fertilization procedures, and surrogate motherhood raise questions as to the traditional ways in which we establish parenthood. This paper analyzes trends in comparativefamily law and proposes responses to the challenges presented by artificial reproductive techniques. First, it considers the juridical issues that arise from the use of donor gametes, with special attention to the question of donor anonymity. Then the paper considers basic principles that should guide law and policy in this area, and proposes conclusions as to the right to identity, the commodification of the human body, the traceability of gametes, the exploitation of women, and other matters. The paper considers same-sex marriage (with special attention to a recent Argentinian law recognizing them); and it considers the possibility of “two-mother” or “two-father” families. The complexities of the different combinations of biological parents, donors, and surrogate mothers are considered. The paper concludes by identifying the problems intrinisic to these reproductive techniques and by emphasizing the need for strong legal measures to assure the human dignity of the unborn child and the transmission of life, with special consideration to family law.


February 19, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Quantifying Life Satisfaction

The blog "Barking up the wrong tree" recounts the value attributed to certain relationships: "a better social life can be worth as much as an additional $131,232 a year in terms of life satisfaction," "a happy marriage is worth $105,000 a year," and "seeing friends and family regularly is worth $97,265."  See how much bad health and a divorce cost you in terms of life satisfaction, here.





February 18, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Back to Marriage

From the Huffington Post, an article authored by June Carbone and Naomi Cahn:

As we celebrated Valentine's Day this week we should be aware that underlying the many stories on the changing nature of marriage and relationships is a central irony: The college-educated middle class that embraced the sexual revolution is now leading the way back into marriage. And this group has more stable families because of the combination of two qualities hard for everyone else to find. The first is a flexible approach to family roles. Men who help with the children and women with six-figure incomes are very much in demand. The second is good jobs: Over the last 30 years, the number of men with stable employment has stayed even with women only at the top. The result is remaking the definition of domestic success.

Read more here.


February 17, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Divorce Hurts Young Couples Most

From Michigan State University:

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Divorce at a younger age hurts people’s health more than divorce later in life, according to a new study by a Michigan State University sociologist.

Hui Liu said the findings, which appear in the research journal Social Science & Medicine, suggest older people have more coping skills to deal with the stress of divorce.

Read more here.


February 16, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Shared Parenting Presumption in England?

From the Guardian:

Fathers will get improved contact with their children following divorce, amid plans to rewrite the law governing custody disputes.

A ministerial working group will decide how to amend the Children's Act 1989 and might include in it a "presumption of shared parenting". The changes are part of an overhaul in family law that is described by the Law Society as "the most important" in more than 20 years.

Currently, family courts decide to leave children with their mothers in the vast majority of divorce cases, meaning that one in three children – around 3.8 million – is living with their father absent from their lives. Just 8% of single parents in Britain are fathers living with their children, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Read more here.


February 15, 2012 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Name Regrets

From Daily Mail:

Picking a baby name is a difficult task for many parents.

And new research suggests that more than half (54 per cent) go on to regret their original choice.

Around 49 per cent of those surveyed said the name they originally chose for their newborn failed to reflect its personality later in life.

Read more here.


February 15, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)