Family Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Adoption in Nebraska

States all across America are celebrating November as Adoption Awareness Month.  In Nebraska, children in foster care in the state waiting for a family are highlighted.  Even though the process can be quite lengthy, adoptive parents can have a positive effect on children.  Almost 500 adoptions occur each year in the state.

Read more here.


November 30, 2012 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

FCPA Issues in Hosting Foreign Adoption Officials

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Department of Justice blessed a plan by 19 non-profit child-adoption agencies to bring foreign officials to the U.S., saying it wouldn’t violate a U.S. foreign bribery law.

Read more here.


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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Adoption in Iowa

From Radio Iowa:

Events across Iowa this month aim to raise awareness about the thousands of Iowa kids in foster care and the hundreds who are eligible for adoption. Corinne Sills is a post-adoption support specialist in Mason City, part of Iowa Kids Net.

Sills says more than 400,000 children are in foster care nationwide due to abuse, neglect, abandonment and other family issues. “There are approximately 6,100 Iowa children in foster care and that includes those that are in foster homes, relative homes, group care institutions and pre-adoptive homes,” Sills says.

Also, some 750 children in Iowa are legally eligible for adoption. As part of National Adoption Month, she says there will be candlelight vigils held at locations across Iowa. “It’s to raise awareness of the 104,000 children in the United States waiting to be adopted,” Sills says.

Read more here.


November 28, 2012 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Australian Arrangements

From Quantum Valeat, an interesting family law blog:

A new study mapping when children spend time with their father after divorce, has revealed a shift away from children only spending time with their father every second weekend.

Read more here.



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

Marriage Over Phone

From the Washington Post:

Noel Tshiani wasn’t at his wedding — he listened by phone in another country to the ceremony in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to court records — but he’s just as married as if he’d stood at his bride’s side. And soon, he’ll be just as divorced and responsible for alimony and child support, a Maryland court has ruled. 

Tshiani, a World Bank employee, was working in another African country when he and Marie-Louise Tshiani married in a 1993 ceremony. He answered questions and listened to the ceremony by telephone, while his cousin stood in his place for the ceremony, court records say. The exchange among families included money, clothes and a goat, and within days, the bride flew to join her husband, according to court records.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals, in upholding the divorce and nearly $6,000 a month in alimony, child support and other financial payments, said the ceremony may have been unusual but is considered a marriage like any other under state law.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

November 27, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Adoption Tax Credit

From Bradenton Herald:

November is designated as Adoption Month in Florida.

Special events are happening all over the state to highlight the number of children available for adoption in Florida. In the 12th Circuit, events are centered around a picnic where potential adoptive families have the opportunity to meet and have fun with some of the local children who are available for adoption. On Nov. 16, the circuit will celebrate Adoption Day in the court where 23 children will be adopted into forever families.

Adoption Month presents an opportune time to take action if you are a family thinking of adoption. Private adoption can cost $30,000 or more. Adopting a child from foster care can have minimal or no out-of-pocket cost. On Dec. 31, 2012, the Federal Adoption Tax Credit expires. Families who adopt a child before the 2012 deadline may qualify for a $12,650 tax credit that can be used against a tax liability for up to five years. After Dec. 31, the only tax assistance available will be a $6,000 non-refundable credit for the adoption of a special needs child.

Read more here.


Read more here:

November 27, 2012 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Modern Family, Real Life Issues

Modern Family's Ariel Winter, who plays "Alex Dunphy"on the hit show, is in the midst of a heated battle with her real-life mother.  Court papers filed October 3 reveal custody was taken away from mother Chris Workman and given temporarily to Winter's older sister.  Winter claims her mother hit her and emotionally abused her.  Workman claims the incident stems from her filing charges against Winter's 18-year-old boyfriend after she caught him in bed with her 14-year-old daughter.

Read more here.


November 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Eyer: "Marriage This Term: On Liberty and the 'New Equal Protection'"

Katie R. Eyer (Rutgers School of Law -- Camden) has posted "Marriage This Term: On Liberty and the 'New Equal Protection'", 60 UCLA L. Rev. Disc. 2 (2012).  Here is the abstract:

The story of equal protection’s demise is a familiar one. It has been decades since any new group has been afforded heightened scrutiny. Even for established protected groups, retrenchment in applicable standards has devitalized meaningful equal protection coverage. As a result, scholars such as Kenji Yoshino have contended that we are at “the end of equality doctrine as we have known it” — that we are, in effect, in a post–equal protection era. In this new era, there are minimal opportunities for securing protections under the Equal Protection Clause, and the liberty protections of the Due Process Clause have superseded equality as the primary engine of constitutional change. Yoshino names this new era the “new equal protection” and suggests that subordinated groups focus their efforts on liberty — rather than equality — in seeking civil rights protections. 

This Essay suggests that reports of equal protection’s demise — and of liberty’s ascendancy — may be premature. Using the LGB marriage rights movement as a focal point — and in particular the six cases pending certiorari review at the Supreme Court this term — this Essay explores the possibility that full equal protection inclusion for new groups remains plausible, and that, indeed, the LGB rights movement may be on the cusp of securing such inclusion. The Essay discusses the implications of this possibility for Yoshino’s framework and, in particular, the strategic risks that may attach to relying on liberty-based arguments for a group that is on the cusp of achieving formal equality.


November 25, 2012 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Nevada Supreme Court Case

Two justices of the Nevada Supreme court heard a lesbian parental-rights case on Monday, November 5, in Carson City.  The two women birthed a child together via in vitro fertilization back in 2008.  Since then, the relationship has gone sour.  However, the justices realized that no official guardian was appointed in lower-court proceedings, and they were "troubled" by the fact the child had no legal voice in the hearings about whether or not the birth mother has parental rights.  Biological mother Veronica Damon's lawyer Bradley Schrager argues Nevada state statutes "don't automatically grant parental rights to" Sha'Kayla St. Mary, the "gestational surrogate" (said by Schrager).  St. Mary's lawyer Joseph Nold argues his client's name is on the birth certificate in the form of a hyphenated last name for the child, and "both women signed a fertility clinic document before St. Mary underwent in vitro fertilization of eggs from Damon fertilized by an anonymous sperm donor."  The court made no immediate ruling.

Read more here.


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

Friday, November 23, 2012

WA Adoption Support

From the Seattle Times:

How many families who adopted special needs children that were in state custody could use less support from the state of Washington? The Legislature told the state Department of Social and Health Services to ask.

The department recently sent letters to more than 9,000 families, asking them to make a voluntary reduction in their monthly support payments, The Columbian reported Monday (

Read more here.


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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Table

November 21, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IVF, but not for Genetic Children

From the Los Angeles Times:

Dr. Ernest Zeringue was looking for a niche in the cutthroat industry of fertility treatments.

He seized on price, a huge obstacle for many patients, and in late 2010 began advertising a deal at his Davis, Calif., clinic unheard of anywhere else: Pregnancy for $9,800 or your money back.

That's about half the price for in vitro fertilization at many other clinics, which do not include money-back guarantees. Typically, insurance coverage is limited and patients pay again and again until they give birth — or give up.


Zeringue sharply cuts costs by creating a single batch of embryos from one egg donor and one sperm donor, then divvying it up among several patients. The clinic, not the customer, controls the embryos, typically making babies for three or four patients while paying just once for the donors and the laboratory work.

People buying this option from Zeringue must accept concessions: They have no genetic connection to their children, and those children will probably have full biological siblings born to other parents.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

November 21, 2012 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Marriage Penalty

From Nevada Appeal:

There are several proposals about income tax rates in the future. Most of those proposals have a “threshold” of $200,000 for single taxpayers and $250,000 for joint returns.

The new, additional 3.8 percent Medicare Surtax starts Jan. 1, 2013, for taxpayers with adjusted gross income above those thresholds who have investment income.

What I don't understand is why the joint return threshold is not twice what it is for a single person.

If a single person has a allowable Adjusted Gross Income of $200,000 before the 3.8 percent surtax may apply, why wouldn't a couple filing a joint return have a threshold of $400,000? Instead, the couple starts paying this at only $250,000.

Is Congress suggesting a way for high-income taxpayers to save tax is that they get divorced and file as single persons?

Read more here.


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

Women at Work

Monday, November 19, 2012

Helping an Ex

From the Huffington Post:

Su Dan, 32, of China, gave part of herself -- literally -- to her former ex-husband, Tian Xinbing, 39, when she donated a portion of her liver to him.

Dan and Xinbing divorced in July after 10 years of marriage. Two months later, Xinbing was diagnosed with liver cancer and late-stage cirrhosis. After learning that her ex was tenth on the donor waiting list, Dan offered to donate part of her liver.

In China, though, the law states that only blood relatives and spouses are eligible to give living organ donations, so the pair remarried in August.

Read more here.


November 19, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Odd Business

From the Daily Mail:

Spooning peacefully in a double bed, this pair could be any normal couple on a Sunday morning. 

But revisit the scene an hour later and Jackie Samuel will be curled up in the arms of another man.  The 29-year-old is a professional cuddler.

She turned to snuggling with strangers to help pay for her studies and provide for her young son.  Read more:

Read more here.



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

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fathers' Visitation in England

From BBC:

Separated fathers are to gain the legal right to spend time with their children unless they are likely to harm them.

The changes to access laws were announced in a letter to MPs from the Children's Minister Edward Timpson.

The letter says both parents should have the chance "to play a positive role in their children's lives when it is safe and in their best interests".

The 2013 change is seen as unnecessary by legal experts, but welcomed by fathers' rights groups.

Read more here.


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

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Factor in Relationship Satisfaction

From the University of Texas's website:

AUSTIN, Texas — Individuals who have their first sexual experience later than average may have more satisfying romantic relationships in adulthood, according to a new study from The University of Texas at Austin.

The study by Paige Harden, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and the Population Research Center, suggests that those who had a later first sexual experience were also less likely to be married and had fewer romantic partners in adulthood.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: SH

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

National Adoption Day Tomorrow

From Las Cruces Sun-News:

The local incarnation of National Adoption Day arrived a bit early — most of the rest of the country holds similar events Nov. 17 — but the meaning remains the same. Families, social workers and members of the legal community hope to raise awareness of America's foster children awaiting a permanent and loving home.

According to the National Adoption Day website, there are more than 100,000 such foster children nationwide. Deanna Ault, an adoption social worker with the state's Children, Youth and Families Department, said there are 77 foster children awaiting permanent homes in Doña Ana County.

Read more here.


November 14, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Study on Abortion

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has published a study in Obstetrics & Gynecology.  The study, published on Thursday, October 4, enrolled 9,256 women ages 14-45 from the St. Louis region into the Contraceptive Choice Project between August 2007 and September 2011.  Many of the women were poor, uninsured, had a low education, and had a previous unintended pregnancy; they were either not using a "reversible" contraception method or were wanting to switch to a new one.  After being provided free, FDA-approved birth control for three years (2008-2010) in the form of their choice, the women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies than expected.  4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women (adjusted for age and race) in the study saw unintended pregnancies, as compared to the national rate of 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women.  The results were also lower than the rate in the St. Louis area (13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women).

Read more here.


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