Family Law Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Research on Adverse Childhood Experiences

From Family Law Week:

Research conducted by Liverpool John Moores University on behalf of the NHS has found that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) contribute to poor life-course health and social outcomes. The fact that ACEs are linked to involvement in violence, early unplanned pregnancy, incarceration, and unemployment suggests a cyclic effect where those with higher ACE counts have higher risks of exposing their own children to ACEs.

Read more here.


July 31, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In't Family Law Cooperation

From Belta:

Belarusian and Italian lawyers have started the cooperation in matters of international family law, BelTA learnt from the press service of the National Bar Association.

The National Bar Association signed an agreement with Italy’s Studio Legale, under which the parties undertake to develop cooperation on matters related to the rights of individuals and legal entities of Belarus and Italy, share the analysis of background information, teaching and research materials. The subject of the contract is also the development of cooperation in matters concerning the development of legislative and other normative acts, the organization of conferences and seminars.

Read more here.


July 30, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pet Custody Cases Across the Pond

From the Telegraph:

PETS are increasingly at the centre of tug-of-war battles between separating couples.

And many mistakenly think the Family Court can help resolve pet custody disputes.

The trend has emerged in research by law firm Slater and Gordon.

A family lawyer of 30 years, Heather McKinnon said pets were moving up the ranks of hotly contested "assets'' in a break-up.

Read more here.


July 29, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The "40% of Breadwinners are Women" Statistic is Misleading

From Margaret Ryznar, writing for the Huffington Post:

Margaret Ryznar

The Pew Research Center recently announced that mothers are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of American households. Forty percent, in many minds, invokes the image of an almost equal participation of moms and dads in the workforce and at home. Commentators and media outlets have seized the opportunity to discuss the father's domestic role and the disproportionate impact of the recession on men. Many have viewed this as the advancement of women in the workforce.

However, a closer look at the numbers, in conjunction with birth data, suggests otherwise. Notably, while mothers are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households, the same percentage of births are to unmarried mothers. Although the two populations do not perfectly overlap -- not every female breadwinner is a single mother -- they do to a surprisingly significant extent. Specifically, 8.6 million (63 percent) of women breadwinners in the United States are single mothers. A further analysis of the numbers reveals the startling fact that 25 percent of all breadwinners in the United States are single mothers earning a median income of $23,000 per year.

Read more here.


July 27, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cost of Divorce on Retirement

From Family Law Week:

Divorced retirees expect a £13,800 annual retirement income, compared with £16,400 for those who have not.

Divorce reduces average expected retirement income by around £2,600 a year (16 per cent), according to a survey conducted by Prudential. People who are planning to retire in 2013 and have been divorced expect to retire with an annual income of £13,800 compared with £16,400 for those who have not divorced.

Read more here.


July 26, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Marriage Rates in England & Wales

From Family Law Week:

The latest statistics on the marriage rate – provisional figures released by the Office for National Statistics for 2011 – show that in that year the number of marriages in England and Wales increased by 1.7% to 247,890, from 243,808 in 2010.

Read more here.


July 25, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Forced Fatherhood

An editorial from the New York Times:

Women’s rights advocates have long struggled for motherhood to be a voluntary condition, and not one imposed by nature or culture. In places where women and girls have access to affordable and safe contraception and abortion services, and where there are programs to assist mothers in distress find foster or adoptive parents, voluntary motherhood is basically a reality. In many states, infant safe haven laws allow a birth mother to walk away from her newborn baby if she leaves it unharmed at a designated facility.

If a man accidentally conceives a child with a woman, and does not want to raise the child with her, what are his choices? Surprisingly, he has few options in the United States. He can urge her to seek an abortion, but ultimately that decision is hers to make. Should she decide to continue the pregnancy and raise the child, and should she or our government attempt to establish him as the legal father, he can be stuck with years of child support payments.

Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?  Should men have more control over when and how they become parents, as many women now do?


The legal scholar Jane Murphy has argued that a new definition of fatherhood is emerging in our laws and court decisions which privileges a man’s biological tie to a child over other criteria. In a 2005 article in the Notre Dame Law Review, Murphy wrote about paternity “disestablishment” cases in which men who have assumed the father role in a child’s life seek genetic testing to avoid the obligations of legal fatherhood, typically when they break up with the child’s mother. Her research shows that replacing the limited “mother’s husband” conception of fatherhood with a narrow biologically based one still leaves many children legally fatherless.

Read more here.


July 24, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Privacy in Family Law Cases in England

From the Times:

The cloak of secrecy is to be lifted from family courts in a landmark decision giving greater rights to tens of thousands of parents and their children every year.

Judgments determining custody battles, care orders and whether children should be rehomed will in future be published unless there are “compelling reasons” not to.

Read more here.


July 23, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Annulment & Wills Fraud

From the Courthouse News Service:

    A man who married in secret by checking his allegedly incapacitated bride out of a nursing home may not be entitled to her estate, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled.
     Nancy Ellen Laubenheimer died at Virginia Highlands Health and Rehabilitation Center in February 2009 while her stepdaughter, Patricia Mudlaff, was petitioning for permanent guardianship.
     Though Laubenheimer had never adopted Mudlaff or her two siblings, she had been married to their father for 30 years before his death in 2001. Laubenheimer's will in 1999 said the bulk of her estate should go to those three children if her husband predeceased her.
     Joseph McLeod moved in with Laubenheimer some time later. Laubenheimer's failing health included a series of strokes, diabetes, renal failure and hypertension. Six months before Laubenheimer was judged by doctors as incapacitated and admitted to a nursing home in October 2008, a nurse had told the sheriff's department that a man named "Clark McLeod" was not letting Laubenheimer get the care she required.
     Laubenheimer had been in the nursing home just two or three weeks when McLeod removed her twice to obtain a marriage license and then get married at the courthouse.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

July 22, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Stay-at-Home Parents' Access to Credit

From Margaret Ryznar, writing for the Huffington Post:

The rules  on stay-at-home parents' access to credit have been reversed twice in the past four years but, interestingly, without much media attention along the way. This is despite the fundamental impact of the reversals on stay-at-home parents' ability to open a card in their names or to extend their credit lines without having a joint account with their spouses.

Read more here and see the underlying law review article here.


July 20, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 19, 2013

IN Mom Fighting for Custody in Cyprus

From the Indianapolis Star:

In a desperate attempt to stay close to her two children, Marla Theocharides packed her belongings and moved in April from Northern Indiana to ­Cyprus, where her ex-husband has kept their kids for more than two years.

On a number of occasions, her attempts to spend time with Katerina, 7, and Marcus, 4, have been thwarted by their father, who has denied visitation and ignored an order from a court in South Bend that grants custody of the children to their mother.

It’s yet another international custody dispute, similar to that of another Hoosier mom who traveled to Greece earlier this year in order to get her son back. That case ended happily for Alissa Zagaris, whose son is now with her in Noblesville.

Read more here.


July 19, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Baby Veronica's Mom Speaks

From Washington Post:

Christy Maldonado lives in Oklahoma. This month she filed a brief urging the Supreme Court of South Carolina to finalize her birth daughter’s adoption by Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

In the summer of 2009, I made the most difficult decision of my life: to place my baby, Veronica Rose, with adoptive parents. Many know her as “Baby Girl” or “Baby Veronica” because her adoptive parents and I fought all the way to the Supreme Court for Veronica’s right to be treated like a human being — not property owned by a Native American tribe.

I am Latina and not a member of any tribe. When I became pregnant, I was already a single mother with two children, in a relationship that was on the rocks. I thought hard about my options and decided I could not have an abortion. I was briefly engaged to Veronica’s biological father, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation, but our relationship was over by my third trimester.

Read more here.


July 18, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Human Eggs for Research

From Naomi Cahn and June Carbone, writing for the LA Times:

In the United States, there is a competitive market in human eggs provided for reproductive purposes. An "extraordinary" egg donor can earn as much as $50,000 when she offers her eggs to an infertile couple. In California, however, that same "extraordinary" individual would receive nothing, aside from payment for her direct expenses, if she provided those same eggs for research purposes. That could change soon.

A bill co-sponsored by four female Democratic legislators would allow women to sell their eggs for research, just as men can sell their sperm. But is the proposal, which has gone to the governor after passage in both the state Senate and the Assembly, a good idea?

Read more here.


July 17, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

CA Sperm Donor Bill

From the LA Times:

For at least two decades, the California family code stated that sperm donors were not to be considered the fathers of the children they helped conceive. That was supposed to protect both the men donating sperm — often anonymously and for money — and the women who used it to get pregnant but who didn't want the donor involved in the child's life. Two years ago, the code was amended to allow an exception when the donor and the woman had a written agreement to the contrary, signed before conception.

But the law hasn't kept pace with advances in assisted reproductive technology and changes in the public's perception of what constitutes a family. Today, families are defined more broadly, and a man is more likely to donate sperm to, say, a friend or an unmarried girlfriend who is trying to get pregnant through artificial insemination — and he is more likely to maintain a relationship with a child who is subsequently born.

A bill passed by the state Senate and awaiting action in the Assembly would smartly update the family code by giving some sperm donors legal recourse to argue for parental rights in cases in which the mother at first agrees and then changes her mind.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

July 16, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Abortion in TX

From the New York Times:

The Texas Senate gave final passage on Friday to one of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the country, legislation championed by Gov. Rick Perry, who rallied the Republican-controlled Legislature late last month after a Democratic filibuster blocked the bill and intensified already passionate resistance by abortion-rights supporters.

Read more here.


July 15, 2013 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Adoptions for Profit in Japan

From the Japan Times:

Two adoption agencies for young children in Tokyo received a total of about 83 million yen in donations from adoptive parents in the three years to fiscal 2011, it has been learned.

The two organizations almost always asked adoptive parents to make contributions, The Yomiuri Shimbun has found, and one entity received nearly 2 million yen for a single case.

The Child Welfare Law prohibits arranging the adoption of young children for profit. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has told local governments to research adoption agencies, as it suspects that such large donations could be considered de facto payments for these organizations’ services, a violation of the law.

Read more here.


July 13, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage/Adoption in MI

From the Detroit Free Press:

A federal judge says he’ll hear arguments Oct. 1 on the legality of Michigan’s ban on gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples.

Judge Bernard Friedman set the date Wednesday in what could be a ground-breaking lawsuit filed by two Detroit-area nurses who are lesbians.

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer and three adopted children live under one roof in Hazel Park. But Michigan law bars the women from jointly adopting each other’s kids.

Read more here.


July 12, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Family Law Forms in OH

From the News-Herald:

Effective July 1, attorneys and pro se parties — those without attorney representation — can now access 28 standardized forms for domestic relations proceedings.

The Ohio Supreme Court approved the forms for family law proceedings to increase access to justice.

The forms are for divorces, dissolutions, motions for change in custody and visitation, child support and parenting plans.

They can be completed online or printed out to finish by hand.

Read more here.


July 11, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Single Fathers on Rise

According to Pew, the rise of single fathers has increased a ninefold Increase since 1960.  Download the Pew Report here.      


July 10, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)