Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nannies or Sister Wives?

From the HuffPost Blog, an intesting article, though discussions like these seem to imply that women should/do take on 100% of the child-rearing, instead of sharing this responsibility with the children's fathers, who, studies consistently show, are important to children:

What do you call the people you pay to take care of your children?

Nannies? Babysitters?

Julie Bowen calls then "sister wives." That is the term she used from the she accepted the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy and thanked "Alba and Amelia" who are taking care of our children when I'm not around to do it."

Read more here.


September 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Firm Advertising

Jennifer Smith writes for Family Law Prof Blog:

Using the Web to Generate Traffic to Your Firm

Over the last decade, the internet has all but replaced traditional phone book advertising for a variety of businesses. As such, there are certain adaptations that must be made to keep your brand in the eyes and the mind of potential clients and customers.

Law firms are no exception, as many people use search engines as one of the first (and sometimes only) criteria on which they base their legal decisions. For this reason, there are things you must do to improve your visibility on the world's largest search engines.

Write Engaging Content

The first thing you need to do is drive traffic to your website. This is most effectively done through the writing of timelessly relevant content. A lawyer who maintains a website with a frequently updated blog is much more likely to receive meaningful traffic than one who uses only static pages with contact information. There are plenty of frequently asked questions within your legal area of expertise. If you can find a way to briefly answer them in a general way, that will direct people to your site.

Be Mindful of Search Engines

If your first goal is to write content that brings people to your site, your next should be to write in a way that can be easily recognized and cataloged by web search crawlers. This includes optimizing your content with words relevant to your law firm, its location and its primary service areas. Keep in mind that "keyword rich" does not mean the same thing as "keyword saturated". Do not sacrifice quality content in an effort to stuff your articles with keywords.

Go Social

The internet is more than just creating content. You need to share it as well. Use social media to your advantage and create a free page advertising your business. Use calls to action to encourage your audience to visit and "like" you social media pages. You can then cross-market your content on both sites and encourage further connection with your audience.

Hire an SEO Professional

The idea of optimizing your site for search engines may seem daunting, or maybe you simply don't have the time to do all the work yourself. You should consider hiring someone to do this for you. Law firm SEO services from LexisNexis are a great place to start. They specialize in marketing for legal professionals, so you'll get catered service based on your specific needs.

Whatever you do, make sure your website is doing more than providing contact information for your firm. If you are not gaining meaningful traffic, you should consider changing your approach.

September 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cohabitation in UK

From the Guardian:

Cohabiting couples are for the first time as likely to have children as those who marry, according to a report on changing family relationships in the UK published on Thursday.

Cohabitation is increasingly seen as an alternative for long-term relationships and raising children, rather than as a "trial run" before marriage, the study commissioned by the Co-operative's new family law service suggests.

Read more here.


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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Daddy-Daughter Dances Violate State's Gender Discrimination Laws?

From NBC News:

The school system in Cranston, R.I., announced it is banning traditional father-daughter and mother-son activities, saying they are a violation of the state's gender discrimination law, the Providence Journal reported late Monday.

Superintendent Judith Lundsten told the newspaper the decision was in response to a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a single mother who said her daughter was not able to attend a father-daughter dance.

Read more here.


September 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sex Selection

From Slate:

Just over a decade ago, some doctors saw the potential profits that could be made from women like Simpson—an untapped market of young, fertile mothers. These doctors trolled online forums, offering counseling and services. They coined the phrase “family balancing” to make sex selection more palatable. They marketed their clinics by giving away free promotional DVDs and setting up slick websites.

These fertility doctors have turned a procedure originally designed to prevent genetic diseases into a luxury purchase akin to plastic surgery. Gender selection now rakes in revenues of at least $100 million every year. The average cost of a gender selection procedure at high-profile clinics is about $18,000, and an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 procedures are performed every year. Fertility doctors foresee an explosion in sex-selection procedures on the horizon, as couples become accustomed to the idea that they can pay to beget children of the gender they prefer.

Inside a fourth-floor office suite off a palm-tree-lined street in Encino, Calif., in an embryology lab, two men wearing maroon scrubs peer into high-tech microscopes. The men are fertilizing human eggs with sperm samples collected earlier that day. After fertilization and three days of incubation, an embryologist uses a laser to cut a hole through an embryo’s protective membrane and then picks out one of the eight cells. Fluorescent dyes allow the embryologist to see the chromosomes and determine whether the embryo is carrying the larger XX pair of chromosomes or the tinier XY. The remaining seven cells will go on to develop normally if the embryo is chosen and implanted in a client’s uterus.

Read more here.


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

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gossett: "If Charity Begins at Home, Why Do We Go Searching Abroad? A Call to Sunset the Portion of the Federal Adoption Tax Credit that Subsidizes International Adoptions"

DeLeith Duke Gossett (Texas Tech University School of Law) has recently posted her article If Charity Begins at Home, Why Do We Go Searching Abroad? A Call to Sunset the Portion of the Federal Adoption Tax Credit that Subsidizes International Adoptions, Lewis & Clark Law Review (forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Unlike the media frenzy that surrounded Angelina Jolie’s and Madonna’s international adoptions, noted director Steven Spielberg’s adoption of two African American children from the Los Angeles foster care system received very little fanfare. Spielberg went on to establish the Children’s Action Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding permanent homes for the thousands of children stuck “in the system” of foster care. He documented their stories and their hopes of someday being adopted. For many, however, adoption is a dream yet to be realized. 

Currently, nearly half a million children reside in United States foster care, some “aging out” without ever having been adopted. Beginning in the 1980s and carrying through the 1990s, Congress passed a series of legislative measures aimed at helping those children in the system. As incentive for placing children in permanent homes, and as part of the Adoption Promotion and Stability Act of 1996, a tax credit was made available for those who adopted children. Since that time, the federal adoption tax credit has risen to as high as $13,360 per child, some years as refundable and other years as non-refundable. 

On June 28, 2012, in a controversial 5-4 opinion, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act healthcare legislation championed by President Obama. A little known part of that legislation was the extension, expansion, and enhancement of the adoption tax credit provided by the federal government. Even though the act withstood judicial scrutiny, the high numbers are scheduled to sunset in December 2012, and revert to levels of $6,000. Petitioners are already lobbying Congress to renew it at the increased level for 2013. In fact, legislation was introduced earlier this year that would expand the credit and make it permanently refundable. 

In recent years, international adoption has become the new social trend, fueled by celebrity and evangelical circles alike (although arguably for different reasons), even though a large number of children remain in the foster care system. Children from other countries are now being imported to form the new American families, and those who adopt internationally, whether they receive $13,360, or even $6,000, are receiving the same tax benefits as those who adopt domestically. And while this may add to the diversity of our culture, and provide those adopting with a sense of fulfilling a higher purpose, the very ones who were the intended beneficiaries of the legislation, those “lost in the system,” remain there and are not being helped as the statute originally intended. Because the tax credit should be used to reclaim children from the foster care system — not to subsidize international adoptions — it is time to let the international portion of the tax credit sunset and focus taxpayer resources on those whom the tax credit originally sought to help.


September 24, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Palin & Johnston Custody Case Closed

From the Huffington Post:

JUNEAU, Alaska — A custody case between Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston has been closed, and an attorney says the two likely will work out any future differences regarding their 3-year-old son on their own.

Alaska court records show the case involving Sarah Palin's grandson Tripp was closed this month after a lack of activity.

Johnston attorney Rex Butler said Monday the best way to interpret the development is that the parties likely will resolve any problems themselves. An attorney for Bristol Palin didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: NC

September 22, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Whether Potty-Training Kids should be Allowed to Urinate Publicly

From Jacoba Urist, writing for NBCNews:

To pee or not to pee in public? That’s a hot debate among potty-training parents. Some say it’s no big deal for a small child to do an occasional “nature pee,” while others think public pottying should be a crime.

In some places it is. Philadelphia mom Caroline Robboy recently got slapped with a ticket – and a lecture on bad parenting – when she let her 2-year-old son pee in public. She and her three children went out to dinner at a Johnny Rockets, then visited a nearby clothing shop, where her 2-year old son announced he had to go. Robboy told NBC News the store wouldn’t allow them to use the restroom. 

Read more here.


September 21, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Family Law Film

Chaptered for classroom use, Talk to Strangers and its companion guide offer students perspectives on custody and access cases that until now have been available only to those who litigate them.  ALAN DERSHOWITZ calls Talk to Strangers a "wonderful film" that will provide insight to the counsel of divorcing parents.  ARTHUR BALBIRER, a past president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, declares the film a "must-see" for attorneys litigating custody.  THE LIBRARY JOURNAL hails its portrayal of the "bewildering and destructive" child custody process. Visit to preview the film and see for yourself.

September 20, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Call for Presentations: The National Center for Family Law at the University of Richmond School of Law

Call for Presentations:

The National Center for Family Law at the University of Richmond School of Law seeks presentation proposals relating to the role of cognitive bias and/or emotion in the practice and the evolution of family law, to be included in the Law School’s biennial State of the Family Symposium scheduled for September 15 – 16, 2013.  The 2013 Symposium theme is “The Divorcing Brain,” and, in addition to considering the role of cognitive bias and emotion in family law, will address topics including neuroscience of decision-making and the impact of cognitive bias on the lawyer-client relationship. We anticipate presentations will be between 20 to 50 minutes in length, depending on the topic

Submission Procedures:

Email an abstract or summary of the proposed presentation proposal as a Word or PDF document by 12/15/2012 to Professor Meredith Johnson Harbach, Applicants will be notified by January 31 whether their proposals have been accepted.

Symposium Details:

The Symposium will take place on the campus of the University of Richmond, Richmond, VA, beginning Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm and concluding at 5:00 pm on Monday, September 16, 2012, with solicited presentations on Monday. Dinner on Sunday and breakfast and lunch on Monday are included.

If you have questions about this call for presentations, please contact Meredith Johnson Harbach,, or Adrienne E. Volenik,

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Men vs. Women in the Economy

From David Brooks in the New York Times:

You’re probably aware of the basic trends. The financial rewards to education have increased over the past few decades, but men failed to get the memo.


Over the years, many of us have embraced a certain theory to explain men’s economic decline. It is that the information-age economy rewards traits that, for neurological and cultural reasons, women are more likely to possess.

To succeed today, you have to be able to sit still and focus attention in school at an early age. You have to be emotionally sensitive and aware of context. You have to communicate smoothly. For genetic and cultural reasons, many men stink at these tasks.

But, in her fascinating new book, “The End of Men,” Hanna Rosin posits a different theory. It has to do with adaptability. Women, Rosin argues, are like immigrants who have moved to a new country. They see a new social context, and they flexibly adapt to new circumstances. Men are like immigrants who have physically moved to a new country but who have kept their minds in the old one. They speak the old language. They follow the old mores. Men are more likely to be rigid; women are more fluid.

Read more here.


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

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Divorce Court" Judge Speaks on Marriage

An editorial by TV "Divorce Court" judge on HuffPost:

As the judge on "Divorce Court," I am familiar with, if not inundated by, the thematic mistakes made in marriages. Yes, I know the show is a bit extreme, voyeuristic, and, well, often a little silly, but when my husband and I were staring into the marital abyss, I learned a valuable lesson from "Divorce Court" that helped me out at home.

I learned this particular lesson from couples who couldn't figure out how they had gotten to "Divorce Court" in the first place. They had marriages that went awry in such small increments they didn't know what had happened. But before me they were forced to compress years' worth of trouble into a short presentation. Each telling me a different story the other was usually surprised to hear, they often found that they were coming apart not because one or both were wrong, but because of unexamined needs. Seeing that scenario play out before me over and over again helped me figure out what was going wrong in my own home.

Read more here.


September 17, 2012 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wife's Permission for Sperm Donations

From the Daily Mail:

A married woman whose husband donated sperm without her knowledge is calling for clinics to be forced to ask for a wife's consent.

The unnamed mother-of-one from Surrey said she feared that children fathered with the sperm – who would be half-brothers or sisters of her son – may one day 'disrupt' the family by getting in touch.

She has written to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority calling for guidelines on sperm donation to include the spouse's views – and says the sperm should be treated as a joint 'marital asset'. 

Read more here


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

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

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Family Interest Group

An editorial in the Washington Post:

Of all the interest groups and voting blocs courted in a campaign, the family reigns supreme. Presidential candidates from both parties frame themselves as good for families and, by extension, good for the country. And while targeting families seems like an inclusive strategy, it’s actually very exclusive: Candidates speak mostly to the experience of middle-class, married parents. They rarely talk about the struggles of the 30 percent of parents who are not married or the 18 percent of families with children who are in poverty, trying to enter the middle class.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

September 14, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Family this Election Cycle

From Law Professors June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, writing on the Oxford University Press Blog:

The 2012 presidential election may turn on marriage. Not marriage equality, though President Obama may garner campaign contributions and enthusiasm from his endorsement of same-sex marriage, and Mitt Romney may garner financial support and emotional resonance from his opposition. And not concern about family instability, though the GOP’s grip on those concerned about family values is unlikely to loosen. Instead, this election may turn on the changing balance between the married and the unmarried. Marriage, especially when combined with parenthood, primes even committed liberals for more conservative views. A lot less marriage — with the Great Recession accelerating the move away from formal unions — increases Democratic chances.

Read more here.


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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Symposium at Iowa

The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice is holding its annual symposium on March 7-8, 2012. Titled Modern Families: Changing Families, Challenging Laws, the symposium focuses on three specific areas within family law: families of racial minorities, LGBT families, and family interactions with the criminal justice system. The Journal would like to invite legal authors of all perspectives to submit proposals for articles for the symposium to fill Volume 17 of our publication. Articles or proposal submissions, along with a curriculum vitae, should be sent to Iain Johnson at The submission deadline is October 30, 2012.

Download Call For Papers.


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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Child Support


HOUSTON, Texas – A new law aims to help fathers who are forced to pay child support for children who aren’t theirs.

“Statistically, there are 128,000 men in Texas who are paying child support for kids who aren’t theirs,” said Dennis Fuller, a Dallas attorney who specializes in family law.

Read more here.


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

Monday, September 10, 2012

Marital Trio in Brazil

From CNN:

(CNN) -- Brazilian public notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues set off a firestorm by granting Brazil's first civil union to a trio, an act so unprecedented that there isn't a word for it in Portuguese.

Uniao poliafetiva is the label she created. "Polyfidelitous union" is her best guess in English.

The relationship involves three professionals in their 30s -- one man and two women -- who, she says, live together, love one another as equals and are like any other non-married cohabiting couple -- except they are three.

What Domingues did was legally register the trio as a "stable union," a civil union that extends all of the benefits of marriage, though there is debate about what rights the threesome will actually enjoy. In short, it recognizes the trio as a family entity for public legal purposes.

Read more here.


September 10, 2012 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ontario Ct. of Appeals Reinforces Arbitration

From Law Times:

The Ontario Court of Appeal has reinforced the validity of arbitration provisions with its decision late last month that it won’t vary spousal support in cases where there’s a separation agreement containing an exclusive arbitration clause.

In Grosman v. Cookson, the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the motion judge’s decision and found that the courts don’t have jurisdiction to vary spousal support terms in a separation agreement when it includes an exclusive arbitration provision.

Read more here.


September 8, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Funny Reviews of Bic Pens "For Her"



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