Thursday, April 30, 2015

Owing Child Support

From the New York Times:

By his own telling, the first time Walter L. Scott went to jail for failure to pay child support, it sent his life into a tailspin.

He lost what he called “the best job I ever had" when he spent two weeks in jail. Some years he paid. More recently, he had not. Two years ago, when his debt reached nearly $8,000 and he missed a court date, a warrant was issued for his arrest. By last month, the amount had more than doubled, to just over $18,000.

Read more here.

Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn


April 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Eyer: "Brown, Not Loving: Obergefell and the Unfinished Business of Formal Equality"

 Katie R. Eyer (Rutgers School of Law -- Camden) has posted  Brown, Not Loving: Obergefell and the Unfinished Business of Formal Equality125 Yale L. J. F. 1 (2015), on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

There are numerous parallels between this Term’s same-sex marriage case of Obergefell v. Hodges and 1967’s Loving v. Virginia. In both instances, the Court’s taking up of marriage has followed decades of organizing and social movement evolution vis-à-vis a broader underlying civil rights project. In both instances, marriage has had special symbolic significance as an area of marked, sometimes visceral, opposition among the social movement’s opponents. 

But this Essay contends that—although the parallels between Obergefell and Loving are substantial—there is at least one key distinction between the two: their position vis-à-vis the institutionalization of a formal equality regime. Thus, while Loving arguably marked the end-point of the institutionalization of a regime of formal equality vis-à-vis race, Obergefell stands much closer to its beginning. Indeed, despite the accumulation of impressive legal and social gains, the L/G/B rights movement arguably remains far closer to Brown (and its unsettled posture vis-à-vis formal equality) than it is to Loving. 

This Essay argues that this lack of explicit formal equality guarantees matters. Most obviously, there are important arenas of L/G/B equality where L/G/B plaintiffs continue—due to the lack of a formal equality backdrop—to regularly lose their claims. More fundamentally, the absence of the type of moral messaging and coercive capacity that an explicit anti-discrimination regime provides poses substantial questions about whether the contemporary L/G/B legal regime can effectuate the important deterrence and culture change objectives of anti-discrimination law.


April 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Same-Sex Marriage Case: Obergefell

From NPR:

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed closely divided Tuesday over the question of gay marriage, with Justice Anthony Kennedy likely holding the deciding vote.

Kennedy, who over the past two decades has written the court's three decisions recognizing and expanding gay rights, seemed conflicted on the question of marriage.

He was tough on gay-marriage advocates, declaring that the definition of marriage as between as man and a woman "has been with us for millennia, and it's very difficult for the court to say, oh well, we know better."

But when the lawyers defending state bans on gay marriage argued that there is no "dignitary" value in marriage, Kennedy bristled.

"I thought that was the whole purpose of marriage," he said. "It bestows dignity on both man and woman in a traditional marriage ... and these parties say they want to have that same ennoblement."

As the argument unfolded Tuesday morning, justices on both the liberal and conservative sides wrestled with the question of individual rights, the right to marry, and the traditional definition of marriage.

Read more here.


April 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 27, 2015

MN Family Law Changes Proposed

From StarTribune:

A package of proposals to reform family law in Minnesota are the result of more than a decade of negotiations capped with difficult but successful compromise, a group of bipartisan lawmakers said Thursday.

The changes, which range from altering child support and parenting time changes to clarifying penalties for parents who deny parenting time to another parent, are the work of lawmakers and family law attorneys.

Lawmakers have long debated the state’s laws governing custody and parenting time. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed legislation in 2012, urging the more than 30 collaborators in the legislative and family law arenas to return to the table with more compromise.

Read more here.

April 27, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


From CNN:

Robert Boardwine's path to fatherhood was unconventional, but Virginia's appeals court said Tuesday he is legally entitled to be a part of his son's life.

Boardwine's friend, Joyce Bruce, had used his sperm and a turkey baster to get pregnant. She thought after she learned she was with child that they should just be friends.

She also thought that because they never had sex, she was entitled to be the boy's sole parent, according to court documents.

The Court of Appeals of Virginia decided differently in weighing the commonwealth's assisted conception statute and denying Bruce's appeal to deny Boardwine visitation.

Read more here.


April 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fertility Agreements

From Daily News:

The legal battle actress Sofia Vergara is waging with ex-boyfriend Nick Loeb over frozen embryos is one that couples have fought since at least the early 1990s.

“It’s coming up more and more frequently,” said George Washington University Law School Professor Naomi Cahn.

“I recommend that at the time of undergoing fertility agreements people not only sign agreements but think about this really carefully . . . The options are: Do you want the embryos destroyed? Do you want to divide them? Do you want to donate them to research? It’s important to think about that during a time of relative harmony with your partner,” she said.

Read more here.



April 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Series on Families, Law, and Society

Families, Law, and Society is a fascinating book series from NYU Press, see the book line up here: Download Families, Law, and Society Book Series

General editor Nancy E. Dowd (University of Florida) notes:

"All of these wonderful volumes are part of a series on families and society that I serve as the series editor.  It is an ongoing series, so should you have an idea for a book, or proposal, or near final manuscript, please do not hesitate to get in touch."


April 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"A New Juvenile Justice System"

A New Juvenile Justice System is being published mid-May.  Download Juvenile Justice Flyer and discount form.

Edited by Nancy E. Dowd, Foreword by Charles J. Ogletree , Jr., A New Juvenile Justice System aims at nothing less than a complete reform of the existing system: not minor change or even significant overhaul, but the replacement of the existing system with a different vision. The authors in this volume—academics, activists, researchers, and those who serve in the existing system—all respond in this collection to the question of what the system should be. Uniformly, they agree that an ideal system should be centered around the principle of child well-being and the goal of helping kids to achieve productive lives as citizens and members of their communities.


April 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 10, 2015

"Destination Divorces"

From Quartz:

I was sipping wine on the balcony of my apartment in Santa Monica with my soon-to-be ex-husband, our son fast asleep in the next room. “It feels like the Caribbean out here,” my almost-ex said. “I figured out why. That huge palm tree is making rustling sounds like in the Caribbean.”

“You’re right,” I said looking up at the fat palm across the street, rising over the buildings, taller than our townhouse back in Hoboken, New Jersey. We’d recently moved to California together, apart—after splitting up—and both still found ourselves dazzled by the splendor of our new environment. We’d been separated for two years by that point, but hadn’t yet made it legal. “I think we should get divorced in the Dominican Republic,” my almost-ex continued perhaps recalling our past tropical idylls.“It has such a great history.”

I knew something of that history. My parents divorced in the Dominican Republic in 1973 rather than accuse each other of moral or legal turpitude in our home state of Ohio—the only way you could end a marriage in most states and many countries back then. The first comprehensive no-fault divorce law in the US had just gone into effect in California three years earlier, under then-governor Ronald Reagan, but Ohio had not yet followed suit. The exact details varied by state and by country, but in general, before no-fault, you could only sue for divorce if you could prove you had the grounds acceptable in your state—like having a spouse who had committed adultery or abandonment, abused you, been incarcerated, or in some cases, proved unable to have “intimate relations.”

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

April 10, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)