Family Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day




February 14, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day for Cheaters

From the Chicago Tribune:

Everyone knows Valentine's Day is Feb. 14. Not quite as as many may know that Feb. 13 is Mistress Day, though, and that's probably a good thing. But we thought it might be a good time to learn a little more about cheating. So we went to, a dating site primarily for married people looking to get lucky outside their marriages, to find out more.

"Seventy-nine percent of married men that we polled plan to spend Feb. 13 with their mistress," said Noel Biderman, the founder of "Since our launch in 2002, we've interviewed tens of thousands of women over the years and discovered there was a behavior pattern where people were making sure that around certain holidays, if you were leading a double life — you paid attention to those lives."

Read more here.


February 13, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Loving v. Virginia--in a Valentine's Day HBO Movie

HBO is showing a wonderful movie documenting the Lovings' struggle leading up to the famous Supreme Court case regarding interracial marriage--on Valentine's Day:




Hat Tip: RL

February 13, 2012 in Film, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Single Life

The Washington Post just ran an interesting story about people who have not yet found love...and lived to tell about it.  Read it here.


February 12, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rozen: "The Marriage Tax is Down But Not Out"

Harvey S. Rozen (Princeton Univ. Dept. of Econ.) has posted "The Marriage Tax is Down But Not Out" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The public debate surrounding the Tax Reform Act of 1986 has paid little attention to the tax consequences of being married. Specifically, there has been virtually no discussion of the possible existence of an implicit "marriage tax"--the increase in the joint income tax liability of a man and woman when they marry. This lack of concern appears to be due to the perception that the new law has lowered marginal tax rates to such an extent that the magnitudes of marriage taxes (and subsidies) are inconsequential. In this paper, I show that to the contrary, the new law created large taxes on being married for some couples, and large subsidies for others. On the basis of a tax simulation model, I estimate that in 1988, 40 percent of all couples will pay an annual average marriage tax of about $1100, and 53 percent will receive an average subsidy of about $600. One striking result that emerges from the analysis is the relatively large marriage tax that will be borne by some low income couples with children. For such couples, the marriage tax can amount to 10 percent of joint gross income. Hence, the new tax law appears to quite "anti-family" for some low income workers.


February 12, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review of "Coming Apart"

Law professors June Carbone and Naomi Cahn review Charles Murray's new book "Coming Apart."  Read it here.


February 11, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Prison Release in Exchange for Divorce


Israel's supreme rabbinical court of appeals upheld a ruling to keep a man imprisoned until he grants his wife a bill of divorce.

Meir Gorodetzki was sent to prison by the court for refusing to give his wife a divorce, or "get," in 2001, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

The maximum sentence for the offense is 10 years imprisonment.

Read more here.

February 11, 2012 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Davidson: "Mother's Baby, Father's Maybe!--Intestate Succession: When Should a Child Born Out of Wedlock Have a Right to Inherit from or Through His or Her Biological Father?"

Camille Davidson (Charlotte School of Law) has posted "Mother's Baby, Father's Maybe!--Intestate Succession:  When Should a Child Born Out of Wedlock Have a Right to Inherit from or Through His or Her Biological Father?" (22 Columbia J. Gender & Law 531 (2011)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

When the renowned chess genius Bobby Fischer died, his body was exhumed in order to determine whether his genetic samples matched samples from a child whose mother claimed he fathered outside of a marital union. Bobby Fischer was domiciled in Iceland and under Icelandic law, if there had been a genetic connection, the child would have been the sole legal heir of his intestate estate. The law is not so clear in the United States. Each state has enacted laws of intestate succession. While the laws in all fifty states provide that a child born out of wedlock is automatically his or her mother's legal child, state statutes vary substantially as to when that same child is entitled to an intestate inheritance from or through his or her genetic father.

If Fischer, the Chicago native, had been domiciled in North Carolina at his death, even if DNA had established a genetic relationship between Fisher and the child, the child would still have been precluded from inheriting her father's estate. In North Carolina, a biological or genetic connection is not enough to constitute a paternal legal heir without strict compliance with statutory formalities. In contrast, if Fischer had been domiciled in Georgia, and through clear and convincing evidence a genetic relationship was established, the child would inherit from her father's estate as his legal child. As one can see, in the United States, paternal inheritance depends on the state of the father's *532 domicile. As such, when we discuss the out of wedlock child and his or her right to inherit family wealth through intestate succession, the old adage “Mother's baby, father's maybe” comes to mind.

In this paper, I suggest that each of the fifty states should, like Georgia and other similarly situated states, follow the trend of Icelandic law in the area of intestate succession. Specifically, where clear and convincing evidence (either before or after a father's death) determines that a father is the genetic parent of a child, and there has been no formal adoption of the child, such child should be entitled to an intestate share of his or her father's estate in the same manner as a child born to a married parents.


February 10, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

$40k for Kindergarten

From the New York Times:

THERE are certain mathematical realities associated with New York City private schools: There are more students than seats at the top-tier schools, at least three sets of twins will be vying head to head for spots in any class, and already-expensive tuition can only go up.

Way up.

Over the past 10 years, the median price of first grade in the city has gone up by 48 percent, adjusted for inflation, compared with a 35 percent increase at private schools nationally — and just 24 percent at an Ivy League college — according to tuition data provided by 41 New York City K-12 private schools to the National Association of Independent Schools.

Indeed, this year’s tuition at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory  ($38,340 for 12th grade) and Horace Mann ($37,275 for the upper school) is higher than Harvard’s ($36,305). Those 41 schools (out of 61 New York City private schools in the national association) provided enough data to enable a 10-year analysis. (Over all, inflation caused prices in general to rise 27 percent over the past decade.)

The median 12th-grade tuition for the current school year was $36,970, up from $21,100 in 2001-2, according to the national association’s survey. Nationally, that figure rose to $24,240 from $14,583 a decade ago.

Read more here.


February 10, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Adler: "Federalism and Family"

Libby Adler (Northeastern Univ. School of Law) has posted "Federalism and Family" (8 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 197 (1999).  Here is the abstract:

This article takes up the axiomatic place of family law under federalism. Family is often depicted as belonging squarely in the state law domain, reflecting its nature as a matter of moral deliberation, rather than of, say, commerce or constitutional rights. This article demonstrates, however, that family law is a matter of federal law in an endless number of substantive areas, from immigration and taxation to privacy in the marital bedroom and the relative rights of putative and presumed fathers. It asks how the innumerable exceptions to the rule about family law’s place under federalism come to be rationalized. The answer, the article argues, has to do with the fact that the state-federal divide with respect to family maps onto the private-public divide that has long vexed feminists. The constant creation of exceptions to the general rule that family law is state law serve to preserve family’s allegedly moral character and obscure individualist dimensions of family.


February 9, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Same-Sex Marriage in Washington

From the NYT:

SEATTLE — Washington was poised Wednesday to become the seventh state to allow same-sex couples to marry after the State House gave final passage to such a bill. Gov. Christine Gregoire promised to sign it.

Read more here.


February 9, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Enter the Baby Dragons

From Newser:

Babies born in the Chinese year of the dragon are believed to have lives marked by success and fortune—so China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other countries are expecting a baby boom to begin right around Jan. 23. That's the first day of the Chinese New Year, and this year the 12-animal zodiac returns to the dragon. Twelve years ago, births in Hong Kong increased 5%; Chinese state news expects a similar figure for China this year, the BBC reports. It's a boon for baby-centered industries: Diaper sales are likely to jump 17%.

Read more here.


February 9, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Protecting Assets by Adopting Lover

From the Daily Mail:

When a man wants to spend the rest of his life with a woman, he often extends an offer to her to become part of his family.

But International Polo Club Palm Beach founder John Goodman, 48, did so in a very unorthodox way.

The multimillionaire trust-fund heir adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend Heather Laruso Hutchins last fall, after being accused of drunk driving in a 2010 accident that left 23-year-old Scott Wilson dead.

Read more here.


February 8, 2012 in Adoption, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

9th Circuit Finds Prop 8 Unconstitutional

From the NYT:

LOS ANGELES – A federal appeals court panel ruled on Tuesday that a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in California violated the Constitution, all but ensuring that the case will proceed to the United States Supreme Court.

The three-judge panel issued its ruling Tuesday morning in San Francisco, upholding a decision by Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who had been the chief judge of the Federal District Court of the Northern District of California but has since retired. Like Judge Walker, the panel found that Proposition 8 – passed by California voters in November 2008 by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent -- violated the equal protection rights of two same-sex couples that brought he suit. The proposition placed a specific prohibition in the State Constitution against marriage between two people of the same sex.

Read more here.


February 7, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Stępień-Sporek, Stoppa, & Ryznar: "The Rules on the Administration of Community Property in Poland"

Anna Stępień-Sporek, Paweł Stoppa, and Margaret Ryznar have posted "The Rules on the Administration of Community Property in Poland" (forthcoming, International Survey of Family Law) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The Polish rules on the administration of marital common property underwent significant changes in 2005. Previous regulations, having their roots in the pre-1989 communist regime of Poland, appeared insufficient for the current capitalist economy and today’s dynamically developing society. The previous management of common property, based on the unclear dichotomy between ordinary and extraordinary actions, created practical judicial problems and undermined the stability of legal relationships established without the consent of the other spouse. The new law, based on the general principle of self-management except for particularly important actions, seems preferable, although it is not completely free of shortcomings and still requires periodic review. This article describes the most notable differences between the old and new rules on the administration of common marital property, and introduces readers to the field of the administration of common property pursuant to the relevant new regulations.

February 7, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sharing Passwords as Love

From The New York Times:

Young couples have long signaled their devotion to each other by various means — the gift of a letterman jacket, or an exchange of class rings or ID bracelets. Best friends share locker combinations.

The digital era has given rise to a more intimate custom. It has become fashionable for young people to express their affection for each other by sharing their passwords to e-mail, Facebook and other accounts. Boyfriends and girlfriends sometimes even create identical passwords, and let each other read their private e-mails and texts.

They say they know such digital entanglements are risky, because a souring relationship can lead to people using online secrets against each other. But that, they say, is part of what makes the symbolism of the shared password so powerful.

Read more here.


February 6, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

First Divorce Party in Indian Entertainment

From the Times of India:

For the first time, the Indian audience will witness a divorce party. Separation calls for celebration in Ashwini Chaudhary's Jodi Breakers, produced by Prasar Vision.

Read more here.


February 4, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Alimony in the Case of Two Husbands, but Not Bigamy


NEW YORK, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A New York woman who wound up with two husbands at the same time can keep the support payments from her first husband, court records show.

A recent court decision said husband No. 1, Daniel Silber, can stop paying $60,000 in annual support, but Eda Silber, 37, of Long Island can keep the $300,000 she's already been paid, the New York Post reported Monday.

And even though Eda Silber married husband No. 2, George Frenkel, before her divorce from Daniel Silber became final, she's not a bigamist under law because there was no state marriage license involved in her second wedding, the court said.

Read more here.

February 3, 2012 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mommy Tattoos


DALLAS - Many women are choosing tattoos as a way to celebrate their children, both publicly and privately.

The trend has grown even more popular in recent years with celebrity moms like Angelina Jolie, Nicole Richie and Jessica Alba showing others tattoos and the love for their kids are nothing to hide.

Read more here.


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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pictures of the Loving's from Famous Supreme Court Case

From the Daily Mail:

Just 45 years ago, 16 states deemed marriages between two people of different races illegal.

But in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the case of Richard Perry Loving, who was white, and his wife, Mildred Loving, of African American and Native American descent.

The case changed history - and was captured on film by LIFE photographer Grey Villet, whose black-and-white photographs are now set to go on display at the International Center of Photography.

See the amazing and historical pictures, and read more, here.


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