Family Law Prof Blog

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

Monday, December 31, 2012


December 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Best Marriage Proposals of 2012

See them here.


December 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stalled Adoptions

From the New York Times:

The Carrs are among the 4,000 Americans who found themselves stuck in limbo when Guatemala shut down its international adoption program in January 2008 amid mounting evidence of corruption and child trafficking. Officials here and in Washington promised at the time to process the remaining cases expeditiously.

But officials and prospective parents say that bureaucratic delays, lengthy investigations and casework hobbled by shortages of staff and resources have left hundreds of children stranded in institutions for years. Today, 150 children — including Geovany — are still waiting in orphanages and foster homes here while the Guatemalan authorities weigh whether to approve their adoptions to families in the United States.

Read more here.


December 29, 2012 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Divorce's Impact on Stock

From Bloomberg BuisnessWeek:

Divorce has come to China. Once considered taboo, splitting up got much easier in 2003, when the state did away with a rule requiring that employers approve divorces. Last year China’s national divorce rate was 22 percent, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

China’s raucous tabloid press is voraciously feeding off the trend, especially when it comes to covering high-profile divorces. Last summer, venture capitalist Wang Gongquan announced over the popular microblog Sina Weibo that he was leaving his wife for his mistress: “To all friends and relatives, to all colleagues, I am giving up everything and eloping with Wang Qin,” he tweeted. “I feel ashamed and so am leaving without saying goodbye.” In October newspapers revealed details of 61-year-old real estate mogul Wang Shi’s impending divorce and his alleged affair with a 31-year-old actress.

Investment analysts also take a keen interest in these big-money divorces, for the simple reason that many of the tycoons and their soon-to-be-ex-spouses control big chunks of their companies’ stock. In that way, the potential corporate fallout from a divorce is greater in China than in the U.S., says Andrew Collier, managing director of Orient Capital. “Shareholding in the U.S. tends to be more diffuse,” he says.

Read more here.


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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

First Same-Sex Divorce in Israel

From NBC News:

An Israeli court has awarded the country's first divorce to a gay couple, which experts called an ironic milestone since same-sex marriages cannot be legally conducted in the Jewish state.

A decision this week by a family court in the Tel Aviv area "determined that the marriage should be ended" between former Israeli lawmaker Uzi Even, 72, and his partner of 23 years, Amit Kama, 52, their lawyer, Judith Meisels, said on Tuesday.

Read more here.


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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Interfaith Holidays

From the Herald News:

Trim the tree. Light the menorah. For some interfaith couples, celebrating the holidays isn’t a “December dilemma.”

When Swansea resident Kim Reynolds, and her husband, Mark, first got married they celebrated Hanukkah, for her Jewish background, and Christmas, for his Catholic roots. And even after their son Aaron was born, they continued to put up a Christmas tree and light the menorah every December.

Reynolds and her brother, who also has children, are both in interfaith marriages so when the kids were young, the two families would “make a big deal out of both holidays,” she said.

Read more here.


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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays


December 25, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 24, 2012

More on Divorce on Sesame Street

This week (this article was updated December 13, 2012), Sesame Street debuted a video online in which Muppet Abby Cadabby talks about her parents’ divorce.  The video marks the first time the show has tackled the subject of divorce.  However, the show has no plans to air the video on television, at least not in the near future.  The show airs segments on TV that are applicable to all children.  Their previous attempt of spotlighting it had a horrible outcome.  In 1992, the show created a segment depicting Snuffleupagus’ parents breaking up and Snuffy being unsure of whose cave he would live in.  It never made it past the preschool-aged focus group; it made the children confused and in tears.

Read more here.


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

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Naomi Cahn's "The New Kinship: Constructing Donor Conceived Families"

Naomi Cahn’s book, The New Kinship:  Constructing Donor Conceived Families, is now out from New York University Press, the second in their series Families, Law and Society.  Be sure to check it out at the NYU Press booth at AALS.

The series, Families, Law and Society, is an ongoing series devoted to family law subjects, broadly defined, so should you have an idea or a manuscript that you would like to discuss, either contact Nancy Dowd, the series editor, at, or the NYU Press editor, Clara Platter, at Both Nancy and Clara will be at AALS also.

December 22, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Winter


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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Another Adoption Agency Closes

From the

Marywood Children and Family Services, a 91-year-old Austin adoption agency that struggled in recent years with financial problems and plummeting placements, will close at the end of this month.

The group, a ministry of Catholic Charities of Central Texas, will shutter its doors Dec. 31, said Barbara Budde, director of the Office of Social Concerns at the Catholic Diocese of Austin. Two staffers will be laid off. Another two have already transitioned into other jobs at the diocese and the executive director plans to retire.

Read more here.


December 20, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ranch for Kids in Case


The dispute between a ranch for troubled children adopted abroad and the Montana officials who want it either regulated or closed may come down to how a judge defines what a church is.

On one side, Ranch For Kids owner Joyce Sterkel says her boarding school in Eureka near the Canadian border should be free from state oversight because of an exemption in the law for ministries of local churches. She and the head of the Epicenter International Missions Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding in October 2011 making the ranch an “adjunct ministry” of Epicenter.

On the other side, a state Department of Labor and Industry board charges that Sterkel is hiding behind the religious exemption to skirt its fees and regulations. The regulators say Sterkel only entered into the adjunct ministry agreement after the board sent her a cease-and-desist letter for operating without a license.

Read more here.


December 19, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cambodia Lifts US Adoption Ban


Cambodia has decided to lift its 3-year-old ban on adoptions of children by U.S. citizens, the country's foreign ministry has announced.

Secretary of State Long Visalo made the announcement Monday after meeting with U.S. Ambassador Susan Jacobs, a special adviser for children's issues, the Phnom Penh Post reported.

Read more here.


December 18, 2012 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Parents React

Jacoba Urist writes for NBC:

Parents everywhere reacted with the same horror to the shooting massacre at a Newton, Conn., elementary school that killed more than two dozen people, 20 twenty of them small children. But moms and dads don't speak with one voice when it comes to what this tragedy should mean for gun control. While all are united in their desire to protect the nation's children, they are deeply divided when it comes to how that should happen in terms of guns.

Read more here.


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

Custody in Digital Age

From the New York Times:

MOST divorced couples would probably prefer not to see each other. Ever again. But when you share custody of your children, you have to assume a certain amount of face-to-face time amid the endless back-and-forthing.

Think of the clashing summer vacation plans, the who-goes-to-Lucy’s-birthday-party, the “Max forgot his homework again” at Dad’s. And those devilish contretemps that can arise if Mom, for example, decides to keep her house kosher while Dad serves the children pork chops. Or if her new boyfriend is suddenly sleeping over on “her” nights to host the children.

Let’s just say that no matter how well ex-spouses and still-parents coordinate, there’s a good chance of teary phone calls, angry exchanges during drop-off, and all-out fights about who’s not saving enough for college, often played out smack in front of the children.

Read more here.


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

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tips for Holiday with In-Laws



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

Friday, December 14, 2012

Child Custody Dispute

From ABC News:

A judge has ordered a Utah couple to return their adopted toddler to her biological father after it was revealed that his wife gave up the child without the father's knowledge or permission.

The couple, Jared and Kristi Frei, now has 60 days to return the 21-month-old girl to her father Terry Achane, a U.S. Army drill instructor. But the Freis' lawyer told that they will not give up the girl, whom they call Leah, and will appeal the judge's ruling.

Read more here.


December 14, 2012 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Internet Changing Adoption

For an interesting account of how the internet is changing adoption, Download Adoption1 and Download Adoption2.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

December 13, 2012 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Foster Parents

From the Star:

A couple who had three foster children removed from their care because of their membership of the UK Independence Party (Ukip) have said council leaders should consider resigning after they failed to apologise.

The South Yorkshire couple said the council had told them they can only care for white children.

They said they would not have taken on the three children - a baby girl, a boy and an older girl - from an ethnic minority background if they were racist.

Read more here.


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

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Family Law Case Before U.S. Supreme Court

From Margaret Ryznar, writing for the Huffington Post blog:

Many parents embroiled in child custody cases might only dream of bringing their cases to the highest court in the land, yet this became reality for Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Lee Chafin last week, when oral arguments were heard by the United States Supreme Court in his case, Chafin v. Chafin, 11-1347.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case by granting rare mid-summer cert in the case in 2012. Chafin is further unique because only approximately 1 percent of all cases presented to the Supreme Court are heard, and among those, few are family law cases, which are ordinarily heard in the state courts. However, a circuit split between the American federal appellate courts on Hague Convention return cases such as this one provided Sergeant Chafin with a compelling question to bring to the United States Supreme Court.

Read more here.


December 12, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)