Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

dracula1

October 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Study Examines Sexual Satisfaction in Marriage v. Cohabitation

From The Daily Nebraskan:

Being sexually satisfied can be a priority for many adults. In fact, the decision of whether to cohabitate or marry may be a stressor if sex becomes less satisfying for a couple, depending on which they choose.

Professor Larry Gibbs, a postdoctoral research associate in the sociology department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, became interested in the topic of sexual satisfaction among heterosexual couples who are married versus those who simply cohabitate. He said this emanated from a broader discussion on relationship quality and stability.

“My team and I examined the association between sexual satisfaction and pregnancy intentions among married and cohabiting women,” Gibbs said. “Our findings were supported by prior research that marriage provides a protective sexual health effect.”

Gibbs teamed with UNL faculty, graduate students and colleagues from Oklahoma State University and Alfred University on research projects focusing on sexuality, health and family.

In a paper presented at the Population Association of America in 2015, along with colleagues from UNL, OSU and AU, Gibbs examined the association between sexual satisfaction and pregnancy intentions among married and cohabiting women.

Read more here.

October 31, 2015 in Cohabitation (live-ins) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Call for Papers

Call for papers 2016 (2) 3

October 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Caregivers

From the Washington Post:

Anne-Marie Slaughter has come to regret that her site-crashingly popular Atlantic piece had the title “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All." For one, she has since decided it's not just women who can't have it all. What's more, she says, "having it all" isn't even the point.

In her new book, Unfinished Business, she asserts that the real problem isn't about work-life balance—it's that we utterly devalue the importance of caregiving roles in our society. The conversation with Slaughter, who now leads the Washington-based think tank New America, has been edited for length and clarity.

Read it here.

October 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Intel Expands Fertility and Adoption Benefits to Entice Female Employees

From TODAY.com:

Intel announced this week that it planned to quadruple fertility benefits and triple adoption benefits for its employees, upping the ante for large tech firms that are trying to woo female workers by offering greater than average healthcare coverage.

Because one in eight women nationally struggle with fertility, Intel said boosting benefits for people struggling in that area is just good for business.

"This initiative is basically trying to help our employees at a time when any research says that it's very stressful, specifically, people trying to start a family," said Richard Taylor, Intel's director of human resources.

Women account for a little more than 24 percent of Intel's workforce, and the company hopes that figure will grow.

"What we wanted to do was to keep the talent we've got, and also help to attract even more talent," Taylor said.

Intel announced in a blog post Monday that beginning in 2016, it would boost its fertility benefit coverage from $10,000 to $40,000 for medical services. It also would increase related prescription services from $5,000 to $20,000.

In addition, employees no longer need a medical diagnosis for fertility coverage, which will help some same-sex couples. Intel also said it will triple adoption assistance to $15,000 per child.

Read more here.

October 30, 2015 in Adoption, Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

End of China's 1-Child Policy

From CNN:

From street corners to social media, Chinese have hailed the ending of the country's one-child policy -- but it seems few rushed to their bedrooms to celebrate.

"I want to have a second child but I won't," said Wendy Zhang, a 33-year-old pharmacist in Xi'an. "We both have to work, so no one would have time to take care of our children and our life would be too stressful."

China announced that all couples would now be eligible for a second child on Thursday, reversing a controversial 35-year-old policy, but it seems that it may not have an immediate impact.

Some 100 million couples are expected to benefit from the relaxation of the rule, but of the more than 50,000 people responding to an Internet poll posted by a journalist on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, only 20% said they both wanted, and could afford, a second child.

Read more here.

October 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

South Australia Fertility Clinics Struggling to Keep Up With Increasing Demand for Donor Sperm

From ABC Online:

Fertility clinics in South Australia say they are struggling to keep up with an increasing demand for donor sperm.

They said rising infertility rates along with a greater number of same-sex couples and single women requesting treatments have contributed to the shortage in donated sperm supplies.

Repromed Fertility Specialists general manager Dr Hamish Hamilton said more sperm donors are needed, but numbers had been steadily declining over the past decade.

"Back in the 80s and 90s sperm donors could donate anonymously and the screening processes weren't as tight as they are now," he said.

Under legislation, those conceived through a donor are entitled to know the identity of their biological parents.

"Every sperm donor now has to agree to be contacted in 18 years time when the child reaches 18 years of age," he said.

"So that rigour around the recruitment of donor sperms means there are less donors willing to donate."

Dr Hamilton said the increase in demand at Repromed could also be attributed to a greater number of women looking to start a family later in life.

Read more here.

October 29, 2015 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oklahoma City Adoption Attorney Accused in Child Trafficking Case

From NewsOK:

A longtime Oklahoma City adoption attorney was accused Thursday in a child trafficking case of cheating adoptive parents out of thousands of dollars.  

Prosecutors allege the attorney, Robert Golden Boren, created a fake company to unlawfully charge adoptive parents more than the actual living expenses of the birth mothers. They also allege he overcharged the parents for so-called social services.

"In essence, Boren reported the expense he charged the adoptive couple but NOT what was actually paid," Oklahoma City police Detective Priscilla Helm wrote in a court affidavit. "This allowed a profit for Boren that was hidden from the adoptive couples, the birth mothers and the Courts.” 

The detective reported Boren received more than $110,000 in illegal profit between 2009 and 2013 on cases she examined. 

Read more here.

October 28, 2015 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How 3 Young Girls and an Arkansas State Official Became the Center of Adoption Controversy

From ABC News:

An adoption controversy in Fayetteville, Ark., has ignited a debate over the controversial practice of "re-homing" and caring for adopted children that have been abused.

The adoption involves three little girls, who ranged in age from 9 months to 4 years old when it started. Their biological mother, who had a history of drug abuse and had lived with a string of abusive men, was deemed unfit to care for them. She called Justin and Marsha Harris to take her daughters.

ABC News "20/20" has declined to name the biological mother and the three girls out of respect for their privacy.

What happened next led to months of what the couple said were "terrified, sleepless nights" and a dispute about whether they should have taken the little girls in the first place.

Read more here.

October 27, 2015 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Abortion Group Asks Top House Republican to Investigate New Videos Posted Online

From Fox News:

A trade group for abortion providers is asking a top House Republican to investigate after secretly recorded videos were posted online by a conservative blogger who wrote that he got the footage from a congressional source.

The National Abortion Federation said Friday that the videos were recorded at recent meetings by the Center for Medical Progress, a small group of anti-abortion activists. The center's furtive recordings of Planned Parenthood officials discussing their retrieval of fetal tissue have sparked an uproar by conservatives and unsuccessful efforts by congressional Republicans to cut Planned Parenthood's federal funds.

The federation obtained a court order in San Francisco against public release of the footage. But in recent days, videos have been posted online at GotNews.com, a conservative website.

That website's founder, Charles C. Johnson, wrote on his site that he has obtained "all of the Planned Parenthood tapes" and got the recordings "from a source on Capitol Hill."

Read more here.

October 26, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

U.S. Navy Considering Extending Paternity Leave

From Medina County Gazette:

The Navy’s top officer said Tuesday the service is considering extending paternity leave for new fathers.

The Navy currently awards married fathers up to 10 days of paid leave upon the birth of a child. In July, the Navy tripled paid maternity leave for female sailors and Marines to 18 weeks.

A female sailor asked Navy Adm. John Richardson during a meeting with hundreds of service members at a Pearl Harbor pier whether the Navy might increase paternity leave as well.

Richardson said it was something officials in Washington were now discussing.

Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens called about 10 sailors who became new fathers within the past year to the front of the pier and asked them how much paternity leave the Navy should offer.

The group quickly discussed the issue, and then replied their consensus was that the Navy should give 30 days of paternity leave.

Richardson said he’ll take that opinion back to Washington.

Read more here.

October 25, 2015 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Better Marriage is Better for Your Health

From TIME: 

Studies have pretty consistently shown that being married and staying married is better for your health. The married population lives longer and gets less sick. But a new study out of Utah suggests that it’s only really happily married people who get the full benefit.

People often think of marriages as happy or unhappy, but they are rarely so easy to classify. Couples in what the researchers called “ambivalent marriages,” unions that are not bad enough to leave but still have distinctly negative attributes (and no, this is not all marriages—just about 75% of them, says the study), do not get many of the advantages of those whose marriages are very fulfilling, the researchers found.

The study, conducted by Brigham Young University psychology professor Wendy Birmingham, and published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, asked 94 couples about their spouse’s behavior and what the study romantically called their “interpersonal-functioning.” A quarter of the couples were genuinely happy and had no complaints. But three quarters of the marriages fell into the ambivalent category: mostly their spouses were great, but there was some areas in which they were unsupportive or overly negative.

“There was a high level of positivity in the marriage, but there was also negativity,” says Birmingham, who cites the example of a wife who’s a great partner but not happy with her man’s career, or a husband who’s a wonderful dad and lover but very critical. “These are people who are committed to the marriage. There’s just a lot of negativity, which is negating the positive physiological benefits.”

Read more here.

October 24, 2015 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Emancipation of Children for the Purposes of Child Support Obligations

From The National Law Review:

Emancipation is the process by which a minor is legally freed from control by their parents or guardians, and the parents or guardians are legally freed from any and all responsibility toward the child. In family law, emancipation most often occurs in the context of child support obligations. A child who is emancipated does not receive child support. Therefore, a supporting spouse (the one making the child support payments) is likely to seek emancipation of a child, while a dependent spouse (the one receiving the child support payments) will likely oppose emancipation. Typically, emancipation is sought when the child reaches the age of majority, but it can also occur before or after this date.

As established by numerous court opinions in New Jersey, emancipation can occur upon the child’s marriage, the child’s introduction into military service, by a court order based on the child’s best interests or by the attainment of an appropriate age. Regarding what is the “appropriate age,” emancipation does not automatically occur upon a minor reaching the age of majority. In Alford v. Somerset County Welfare Board, a New Jersey Appellate Court stated that, “while the age of majority has been established in New Jersey by law, there is no age fixed in law when a child becomes emancipated.” Subsequent cases affirmed this idea. Furthermore, in Newburgh v. Arrigo and Filippone v. Lee, it was determined that reaching the age of majority establishes only a prima facie case but not conclusive proof of emancipation, and can be rebuttable based upon the circumstances of each case.

Newburgh and Filippone are the leading cases in New Jersey regarding emancipation. They not only state that reaching the age of majority simply establishes a prima facie case for emancipation that can be rebutted, but also elaborate on what factors can be used to rebut this presumption. Together, they affirm the fact that the issue of whether a child is emancipated at age eighteen, with correlative termination of the right to parental support, if fact-intensive, and can easily vary based upon the specific circumstances of each case. Together, they also establish the fundamental question asked when determining if a child should be emancipated or not – has the child moved beyond the “sphere of influence” exercised by the parent and obtained an independent status of his or her own?

Read more here.

October 23, 2015 in Child Support Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

For Men in Prison, Child Support Becomes a Crushing Debt

From The Washington Post:

Earl L. Harris did not owe child support when he was sent to prison in 1997 for selling marijuana. He now concedes that dealing drugs may have been a stupid move for a new father.

But Harris, then 19, had grown up poor and dropped out of school, and the only legitimate work available to young, black men like him, he says, was a temp job without benefits.

“Nobody was hiring,” he said. “I got into hustling because I wanted to support my baby.”

The state of Missouri sent Harris to the penitentiary in Boonville, 250 miles from his home and baby daughter. His girlfriend moved on, later marrying someone else. After just two months in prison, Harris started getting the letters.

Child support. You owe: $168.

They came once a month, piling up debt.

Child support. You owe: $168. Arrears: $336. Arrears: $504. Arrears: $672. Plus interest and other fees.

Of the 2.2 million people incarcerated in the United States, about half are parents, and at least 1 in 5 has a child support obligation. For most, the debt will keep piling up throughout their imprisonment: By law or by practice, child support agencies in much of the country consider incarceration a form of “voluntary impoverishment.” Parents like Harris, the logic goes, have only themselves to blame for not earning a living.

Read more here. 

October 22, 2015 in Child Support Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Couples Sue Over Tribal Adoption Hurdles

From The Wall Street Journal:

For nearly four decades, couples wishing to adopt American Indian children out of troubled situations have faced several hurdles, including giving the child’s tribe a chance to find suitable tribal parents first.

Now some prospective adoptive parents, Indian birthparents and members of the adoption industry are challenging the laws and regulations involved.

“The laws once served a purpose, but these days they’re doing more harm than good to children,” said Kate Wicar of Erie, Colo. She and her husband were blocked last year by the Osage tribe from adopting a 3-year-old Oklahoma girl who is part Osage. The Osage Nation didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 to end what was then a common practice by state and private adoption agencies of pulling Indian children from their homes and placing them in state-run boarding schools or homes of non-Indian parents where they were thought to be better off. The law was aimed at giving tribes more say over the fate of Indian children, and keeping more families intact. It allows tribes to intervene in some child-welfare cases and requires a state that has temporarily moved an Indian child from its home to make “active efforts” to help the family retain custody.

People who identify as fully American Indian or Alaska Native make up 1.2% of the U.S. population, and children from those groups are about 1.7 times as likely to be adopted as other children, according to census data.

Read more here.

October 21, 2015 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Abortion Bus" Will Tour Ireland Selling Dangerous Abortion Drug

From Life News:

The Life Institute has said that it is ‘deeply shocking’ to see that abortion activists who plan to make access to illegal abortion pills available on a bus touring the country appear to be playing ‘fast and loose’ with women’s lives.

Today, Ruth Coppinger TD said that the abortion bus would ensure that women in Ireland could avail of the abortion pill by meeting the bus – but she admitted that no doctor would be present on the bus, and was dismissive of warnings from senior medical experts who warned that unsupervised use of the abortion pill could result in the death of the woman.

Dr. Sam Coulter Smith, Master of the Rotunda Maternity Hospital, in an interview with RTÉ’s Prime Time said that incorrect administration of the drug could lead to perforation of the uterus, and warned that this had caused women to die.

Spokeswoman Niamh Uí Bhriain said that the ‘abortion bus’ was a cheap publicity stunt but that it was deeply shocking that a TD would take part in an initiative that could lead to a woman to lose her life.

“Ruth Coppinger was interviewed by Morning Ireland today and it was put to her that medical experts said  it was dangerous for women to take the abortion pill unsupervised. Dr Sam Coulter Smith said that women had lost their lives because of unsupervised use of the abortion pill. But Ms Coppinger refused to call a halt to the abortion pill campaign.”

Read more here.

October 20, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Millennial Parents

From Time:

Until now, members of the millennial generation—those 20- and 30-somethings born from the late ’70s to the late ’90s—have mostly been busy following themselves. Helicopter-parented, trophy-saturated and abundantly friended, they’ve been hailed by loved ones as “special snowflakes” and cast as the self-centered children of the cosseting boomers who raised them. Now millennials have a new challenge that has shifted their focus: raising kids of their own.

Source: TIME-SurveyMonkey poll. See results here. Source: TIME-SurveyMonkey poll. See results here.

Millennial parents number more than 22 million in the U.S., with about 9,000 babies born to them each day. This growing cohort of parents is digitally native, ethnically diverse, late-marrying and less bound by traditional gender roles than any generation before it. Millennials, many of whom entered the job market during one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history, have helped shape a culture where everyone is expected to be on all the time—for their bosses, co-workers, family and friends. With a smartphone and a social network always at hand, they’re charting a course through parenthood that opens moms and dads to more public criticism—as well as affirmation—than anything previous generations have ever experienced.

At the same time, these young adults, having been raised to count individuality and self-expression as the highest values, are attempting to run their families as mini-democracies, seeking consensus from spouses, kids and extended friend circles on even the smallest decisions. They’re backing away from the overscheduled days of their youth, preferring a more responsive, less directorial approach to activities. And they’re teaching their kids to be themselves and try new things—often unwittingly conditioning their tiny progeny to see experiences as things to be documented and shared with the world.

Read more here.

October 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Report Details Economic Hardships for Inmate Families

From New York Times:

A survey of families that have a member in jail or prison has found that nearly two-thirds struggle to meet their basic needs, including 50 percent that are unable to afford sufficient food and adequate housing.

The report found that costs associated with incarceration, like traveling for prison visits, had pushed more than one-third of the families into debt. The research was conducted by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, Calif.; Forward Together; and more than a dozen community and civil rights organization that work with incarcerated people.

The focus on the economic hardships endured by families after an arrest is an often overlooked element of the nation’s criminal justice system, where 2.4 million people are in prison or jail — many of them fathers or mothers who were their family’s primary income earners, according to the report.

After an inmate’s release, a criminal conviction often means a family loses its ability to live in government-subsidized housing. And former inmates are barred from competing for various federal student grants and loans and have difficulty finding even menial work.

Twenty-six percent of the more than 700 former inmates surveyed for the study remained unemployed five years after their release, and the vast majority of others had found only part-time or temporary jobs, the report said.

 Read more here.

October 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

New Movement Aims to Share the Reality of Marriage

From The Washington Times:

A new group called the Marriage Reality Movement aims to help Catholics and others renew the vision of marriage in society.

“It is about formation for the evangelization of culture starting around the family dinner table,” Bill May, president of the California-based group Catholics for the Common Good Institute, told CNA Oct. 6.

“We start by helping people reintroduce marriage to the culture in non-religious language that precisely reflects the teachings of the Church.”

The Marriage Reality Movement launched on Sept. 30 in Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families. It has a website at takebackmarriage.org.

The organization, which is sponsored by the Catholics for the Common Good Institute, aims to build a coalition and promote effective educational materials about marriage.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, gave the keynote speech at the movement’s launch.

The archbishop said people should look for why marriage exists in nature: “to bring new children into the world and unite the man and woman to each other and to those children they bring into the world.”

Read more here.

October 17, 2015 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Alabama Judge Asks State's Supreme Court for a Way Out of Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

From ABC News:

An Alabama probate judge is asking the state's Supreme Court for a way out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Elmore County Probate Judge John Enslen filed a petition Monday that says the federal government, not state offices, should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The federal government is responsible for upholding and enforcing other laws created at the federal level and already issues licenses through numerous agencies, Enslen said in the petition.

The petition asks the court to order judges statewide not to issue same-sex marriage licenses or recognize licenses that Enslen says have been issued in contradiction to the Alabama Constitution.

"Born solely from a strained interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, the new same-sex marriage license is a child of the federal government, not the State of Alabama," Enslen wrote in the petition.

Enslen also asks that the Alabama Supreme Court declare it will only recognize same-sex marriage licenses if they have been issued by the federal government or by states that have their own gay marriage laws.

The petition is the second of its kind to be filed with the state's high court, said ACLU-Alabama Executive Director Susan Watson.

Read more here.

October 16, 2015 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)