Friday, January 31, 2014

Taxes after Divorce

From Forbes:

[T]here is a bit of financial intimacy that is more or less taken for granted.That would be a joint tax return for the final year of the marriage.  It might even be arranged, even prepared, by the half of the couple that had always tended  to it.  I would suggest that, in many circumstances this might be an even worse idea than a post-marital roll in the hay.

Read more here.


January 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January is Divorce Month?

A family lawyer writing for the the Huffington Post poses the quesiton whether January is the national divorce month:

January is upon us and the phones are starting to ring. It happens every year in our divorce law practice. It's the same old story: clients dissatisfied with the marital relationships, but not wanting to file for divorce until after the holidays.

Since I began my divorce law practice decades ago, it has never changed. It is like a department store having a sale. People are lining up on the phone to speak with an attorney and make an appointment to get started

Read more here.


January 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Joshi: "The Trouble with Inclusion"

Yuvraj Joshi has posted his article The Trouble with Inclusion, Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2014, on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Attempts are being made to include members of excluded groups in societal institutions. Inclusion has been proposed as the solution to the injustice caused by exclusion. Yet, inclusion does not always achieve justice and might sometimes perpetuate injustice. This Article provides a framework for understanding inclusion that may fail to achieve social justice and uses this framework to assess the inclusion of lesbians and gays within marriage (marriage equality) and of women and minorities within organizations (organizational diversity). The former case study examines the legal and social movement for recognizing same-sex marriage while the latter engages a range of contemporary debates, including workplace diversity, gays in the military, women in armed combat and gender mainstreaming at the UN. Each shows that inclusion is less likely to achieve social justice where it misconstrues injustice, maintains the status quo, decouples from justice, legitimizes the institution or rationalizes injustice.


January 29, 2014 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

KS Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support

From the ABA Journal:

William Marotta didn't intend to be a father when he responded to a Craigslist ad for a sperm donor in 2009, and the two women who sought one didn't want that result, either.

But, because they didn't have a physician perform the artificial insemination procedure, the written waiver of his parental rights that all parties agreed to doesn't comply with the requirements of a Kansas state statute, a judge ruled Wednesday in the Shawnee County District Court case. That means Marotta is officially the father of a child conceived by one of the women using his sperm and owes child support, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

The issue came to the court's attention when the Kansas Department for Children and Families sued Marotta for support in 2012. The state sought to have Marotta declared the child's father so that he can be held responsible for $6,000 that the state has already provided as well as for future child support. The state said Marotta's contract with the two women in which he waived his parental rights and responsibilities is invalidated by a 1994 state law.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

January 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Easier Divorce in France?

From Huffington Post:

France is considering a plan to allow divorces by mutual consent to proceed without a judge, simplifying a process that some critics say is already too easy.

Read more here.


January 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Divorce Ends Marriage...Truism?

From the Independent:

A British woman attempted to sue her former lawyers for professional negligence, claiming that, alongside a number of other allegations, they failed to advise that finalising divorce proceedings would inevitably cause her marriage to end.

Read more here.


January 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 24, 2014

More Alimony Recipients are Men

From Money News:

Divorce attorneys across the country are seeing a rise in men asking ex-wives for spousal support, also known as alimony.

Up-to-date numbers are hard, if not impossible, to come by. According to 2010 Census records, of the 400,000 people receiving spousal support, only 3 percent were men. Last year, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers surveyed its 1,600 members and found that 47 percent had noticed an increase in the number of women who are paying alimony.

Still, as women increasingly become the chief breadwinners, and with the rise of stay-at-home fathers, that 3 percent number is likely to rise, if it hasn't already.

Read more here.


January 24, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Australia Moves to 50/50 Divorce Division

From Family Law Week:

A landmark judgment in the Family Court of Australia has allowed an appeal by a wife and granted her 50% of the matrimonial assets.

Read more here.


January 23, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cohabitation Claue

From Inside Higher Ed:

The new Alabama State University president’s contract comes with strings attached -- to her love life.

Gwendolyn Boyd is coming back to her alma mater from Johns Hopkins University to shepherd Alabama State through a rough patch involving a damning audit aimed at the university. Boyd’s new contract is pretty standard -- $300,000 a year, a car and the presidential residence -- except she can’t have lovers staying overnight for an extended period of time.

Boyd, who is single, said she didn’t have a lawyer when she signed the contract but has no problem with the language.

“I do live alone, so it was not problematic for me,” she said.

But the phrasing may be illegal nonetheless, said Raymond Cotton, a Washington lawyer who has negotiated several hundred presidential contracts. Cotton, who represents boards and presidents alike, said he's never seen such language in any public or private college president’s contract.

Read more here.


January 22, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January Divorce Month

From CNN:

There was that distant-feeling New Year's kiss at midnight. Valentine's Day, a holiday based on setting hearts aflutter, was full of awkward pauses and glances over soufflé at the person you used to love. Come March, it's time to turn over a new leaf.

In recent years, January has earned the nickname "Divorce Month" -- a less appealing title than National Pet Month (May) or National Honey Month (September), though divorce can surely be both hairy and sticky.

While marital psychologists and divorce lawyers say January's more accurate description would be "I'm Starting to Research My Options Month," they agree there is some accuracy in the nomenclature.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

January 21, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Interview with BU Law Professor McClain

From  Rev. Amy Ziettlow, writing for the Huffington Post:

As legalization of same-sex marriage spreads to one-third of states including the recent vote in New Mexico and ruling in Utah and in Oklahoma, our understanding of marriage in general expands and thus our understanding of parenthood and family potentially expand as well. 

As part of the Institute for American Values' "New Marriage Conversation," both David Blankenhorn and I interviewed Linda McClain, Boston University law professor, known for her work in family law and feminist legal theory. In these conversations, we explore how the place of marriage, class, and parenthood are intricately intertwined in society. While the collective conversation in recent years has been dominated by the marriage equality debate (and rightly so), the time to consider the nuances of how marriage rights and responsibilities relate to a growing class divide and the journey to and in parenthood is now. You can watch the full interview below or click on the podcast link for an edited, 50-minute version.

Read more, and see the interview, here.


January 20, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Introducing the Weekend Divorce

From the Chicago Tribune:

Breaking up is hard to do—even when both husband and wife are ready to bring their marriage to an end. As a result, divorce can often be financially devastating and time consuming.

Against that backdrop, attorneys Sandra Young and Brian Garvey have developed an innovative antidote that is believed to be the first of its kind anywhere: “The Weekend Divorce.”

A centerpiece of their streamlined approach is booking a hotel conference room for two days and negotiating every detail of the divorce agreement and signing all documents by the time the couple leaves on Sunday. Both attorneys assess a flat fee for their services.

Read more here.


January 18, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 17, 2014

New Documentary on Divorce


A new documentary is opening this week in Atlanta and 15 other cities around the nation called 'Divorce Corp.' The film, narrated by television psychotherapist Dr. Drew Pinsky, presents information about how the industry of divorce has destroyed families and individuals across the nation.

Read more here.


January 17, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

More Parents Cohabitating

From Washington Post:

No longer taboo, living together has become a more common arrangement for U.S. couples who become pregnant while dating.

Soon-to-be-released government figures show a major cultural shift since the days of “shotgun weddings” aimed at avoiding family embarrassment. With marriage on the decline, the shift is helping redefine the traditional notion of family.

Read more here.


January 16, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Widiss: "Leveling Up after DOMA"

Deborah A. Widiss (Indiana University Maurer School of Law) has posted "Leveling Up after DOMA", 89 Indiana Law Journal__ (2014) (forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Even though the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act precluding federal recognition of same-sex marriages has been held unconstitutional, more than half of the nation’s same-sex couples remain ineligible for full federal marriage rights because they live in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. The common response to this problem is to urge Congress to enact a uniform “place of celebration” rule under which any lawful marriage would be recognized as valid for federal purposes, and many federal agencies have adopted this rule in implementing discrete statutes that reference marriage. This approach mitigates the inequity of current policy, but it has significant weaknesses that have not been adequately considered. It requires same-sex couples to travel out-of-state — and often very significant distances — to marry simply to claim federal benefits, imposing an unfair burden on same-sex couples and one which will likely further exacerbate class-based variation in marriage rates. And it increases the risk that some same-sex couples will become trapped in unwanted marriages, because jurisdictional rules typically require couples divorce in their home state and many states refuse to recognize same-sex marriages even to dissolve them.

This invited essay challenges the underlying assumption that state-licensed marriages should continue to be the exclusive mechanism for accessing core federal rights. It advocates instead creation of a federal domestic partner or “marriage” registry available to (at least) same-sex couples wherever they live. This would effectively “level up” federal marriage policy to address the discrimination against same-sex couples left in DOMA’s wake. It also suggests that a federal domestic partner registry could be structured to make at least some federal marriage rights more generally available to unmarried same-sex and different-sex couples who meet specific criteria. Even if, at some point, same-sex couples are permitted to marry in all states and the problem of derivative federal discrimination disappears, broader trends suggest that cohabitation and non-marital childbearing rates will continue to rise. A domestic partner registry could be a vehicle for more fairly and effectively distributing government benefits, rights, and obligations among diverse family forms.




January 15, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Correcting Birth Certificates

From the

Wyoming's U.S. senators are co-sponsoring legislation that would help parents of adopted children from abroad correct errors on their children's birth certificates.

Read more here.


January 14, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 13, 2014


From Judith Daar, writing for Virtual Mentor of the American Medical Association:

Family formation through assisted reproductive technologies (ART) accounts for 3 of every 100 children born in the United States today [1-3]. The demographic of ART-conceived children far exceeds the number of parent-child relationships formed through neonatal adoption, offering opportunities for parenthood that would have been elusive a generation ago. While the majority of ART usage involves couples undergoing in vitro fertilization using their own gametes—known as first-party assisted reproduction—a growing percentage of ART use involves third-party collaborators who assist in an individual’s or couple’s reproductive plan. These third party collaborators participate as sperm donors, egg donors, and gestational carriers; they are typically unrelated to the intended parent or parents and receive compensation for providing gametes or gestational services to the sponsoring prospective parent(s). The vast majority of third-party assisted reproduction scenarios proceed without complication or incident, but occasional mishaps do occur and are worthy of analysis [4].

In contrast to natural reproduction which enjoys the privacy and security of a closed two-party relationship, assisted conception is vulnerable to misconduct by the necessary presence of third parties in the reproductive equation. Ideally, all potential conduct attendant to a collaborative reproduction arrangement should be addressed by a written preconception agreement in which all parties participate voluntarily, transparently, and in good faith. In the event such an agreement is absent, deficient, or breached, intended parents, donors, surrogates, and physicians are best served by understanding their duties and the possible conflicts generated by each scenario. In a clinical practice that combines profound intimacy with arm’s-length negotiated transactions, incidents of malfeasance can cause devastating emotional, psychological, physical, and financial harms. I explore these potential harms through three paradigmatic cases—the deceitful donor, the disobedient surrogate, and the divorcing intended parents.

Read more here.


January 13, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Light Regulation of Donation Process

From Naomi Cahn & Jennifer Collins, writing for Virtual Mentor of the American Medical Association:

Jessica saw the ads on her college campus: egg donor wanted, high SAT scores, willing to pay, contact Egg Donors R Us. She was a financially struggling college junior, and the idea of helping people have children appealed to her. She called Egg Donors R Us and, after the receptionist asked her a few questions, she was invited to come to the clinic and fill out a questionnaire. It asked, for example, if she had dimples and freckles but not if she understood the medical procedures or risks involved in egg donation. She was given a provisional acceptance, had an interview with a nurse and a psychological consultant, and then had blood drawn for final eligibility checks.

A few months later, she was matched with a recipient and finally given the clinic’s informed consent form. She barely looked at it before signing; she was excited to begin the process that would help another woman as well as pay her tuition bills.

So just what did Jessica sign? What did it tell her? What legal requirements surround the informed consent form for donating eggs and sperm? Although approximately 12 percent of all assisted reproductive cycles in the United States (more than 18,000 cycles each year) involve donor eggs, and countless pregnancies are achieved every year using donor sperm, the donation process is only lightly regulated, particularly in the realm of informed consent.

Read more here.


January 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Right of First Refusal" IL

A “right of first refusal” provision in Illinois that requires one parent to seek child care from the other instead of using a third party is taking effect on January 14, 2014.  Read commentary on the law here.


January 10, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Birth Records Opened in OH


With a stroke of the pen..., the state moved to open the birth records of hundreds of thousands of adopted Ohioans.

Gov. John Kasich signed into law a bill that ultimately will allow adoptees, when they reach adulthood, to gain access to their adoption records, learn more about the medical history of their biological family and perhaps make contact with birth parents.

Read more here.


January 9, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)