Family Law Prof Blog

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

Sunday, July 31, 2016

New York City Wants to Move 16- and 17-Year-Olds From Rikers Jail to Bronx Center

From The New York Times:

Under intense pressure to improve conditions in the jail complex on Rikers Island, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has developed a plan to move 16- and 17-year-olds to a dedicated jail for youths in the Bronx.

The cost to carry out the plan is expected to be about $300 million, officials said.

The plan calls for the city to reconfigure the Horizon Juvenile Center, which is currently used to hold 14- and 15-year olds, to house the 16- and 17-year olds who are typically sent to Rikers.

A 2015 Settlement with the Department of Justice on reform at Rikers called on the city to seek an alternative location to house inmates under 18, although it stopped short of requiring it.

New York is the only state other than North Carolina that prosecutes all children 16 and older as adults if they are accused of a crime. In New York City, they are likely to wind up at Rikers, a notoriously brutal lockup. There are currently about 200 inmates who are 16 or 17 at Rikers, down from about 330 in 2013.

Read more here.

July 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ohio Abortion Law Found Unconstitutional


The Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals held that an Ohio law requiring abortion clinics to have a written transfer agreement with nearby hospitals created an undue burden on a woman's right to have an abortion because there were "'virtually non-existent health benefits'  created by the regulations." The court cited Whole Woman's Health et al. v. Hellerstedt, which came down from the Supreme Court in June of 2016.

Read more here.

July 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Dead Letter Law in Virginia Sends a Message to Same-Sex Couples

From the The Washington Post:

The United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the same constitutional rights to marriage as straight couples. The ruling allows same-sex marriage nationwide; however, many states, including Virginia, still have laws on their books that bar same-sex marriages.

Many believe that the act of keeping those laws around is a symbolic way of saying that same-sex couples are not equal to straight couples. Others are working tirelessly to overturn the Supreme Court's ruling.

Read more here.

July 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Father-Son Relationship Not Repudiated: Father Forced to Pay College Expenses

From the The Indiana Lawyer:

The Indiana Court of Appeals held that when a son and father had not fully repudiated their relationship even though the father did not seek to enforce his parenting time rights, the father was still responsible for a portion of the child's college expenses.

Read more here.

July 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Designer Babies? Most Say "No Thanks"

From the International Business Times:

American adults have express distrust in regard to the emerging field of biomedical technologies used for human enhancement. A survey completed by the Pew Research Center found that many Americans fear a world where "designer babies" are common. This kind of science, while relatively new, still has the ability to become more pronounced in every day life in the very near future. 

Many of those surveyed, even when questioned about using the technologies toward solving health crises, were concerned about widening the gap between "haves" and "have nots" due to the anticipated expenses that would likely arise in utilizing these new scientific therapies.

Read more here.

July 27, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Netflix Original-Tallulah-Takes on the Non-Nuclear Family and Blurred Lines

From LA Weekly:

The Netflix original Tallulah is being released on July 29, 2016. The film's story line involves a young, homeless woman who happens to find herself babysitting a child being neglected by her "woefully inept" mother. The protagonist ultimately takes the child, and the result could be that audiences find themselves deciding whether there are blurred lines involved in kidnapping, rescuing a child, and the implications of a non-nuclear family.


Read more here.

July 25, 2016 in Adoption, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Guardian view on Ellie Butler’s murder: human fallibility?

From The Guardian:

The family justice system has few admirers. Its clients come into contact with it at moments of stress and anger. It has to make the hard decisions that parents have been unwilling or incapable of making for themselves. Its judges are highly trained; they work within a clear legal framework. But in the end, they are still humans making human judgments, vulnerable to human error – occasionally on a tragic scale.

It was a ruling by an experienced high court judge that sent Ellie Butler, aged six, to live with, and soon to die at the hands of, her father, Ben Butler. Only a few months after her return, he subjected her to such a violent attack that he killed her. Sentencing him for the murder on Tuesday, the judge told him: “You are a self-absorbed, ill-tempered, violent and domineering man who, I am satisfied, regarded your children and your partner as trophies.” This was the same man who four years earlier was sent home in charge of his daughter with another judge’s warm and sympathetic character assessment ringing in his ears. “I wish the parents well,” said Mrs Justice Hogg, “they deserve joy and happiness.”

Read more here.

July 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Opportunity: Be a Facilitator at Marion County Unrepresented Litigants Family Law Facilitation Program

From the IndyBar:

Dear Senior Judge/Domestic Relations Attorney,

I am writing to you to invite you to participate in Marion County’s new Unrepresented Litigant (“URL”) Family Law facilitation program. In October of 2015 Marion County received a Court Reform Grant from the Indiana Supreme Court.

The purpose of the Court Reform Grant is to provide lawyer/facilitators (“facilitators”) who can give direction on family law matters and civil procedure to URLs without providing legal advice. The program will be coordinated through the Family Resource Center to aid and assist the increasing caseload in family law cases spurred on by URLs.

As a facilitator your duties would include: assisting in financial screening, discussing the issues and difficulties of self-representation and the complex issues involved in family law matters involving children and assets, the consequences of mishandling a legal proceeding and the benefits of legal representation. You may also make recommendations to the Family Resource Center Coordinator of those URLs for whom a referral to the appropriate legal service provider or pro bono counsel would be appropriate. Depending on the URLs financial circumstances, they may qualify for legal assistance or pro bono counsel through our partners at Heartland.

Read more here.

July 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Bizarre New Zika Infection in Utah

From The Atlantic:

Scientists are bewildered by a new and disturbing development involving the Zika virus in Utah, where a patient who contracted the virus recently died. Officials announced on Monday they’re investigating how a person who cared for the patient who died also became infected.

“Based on what is known now, the person has not recently traveled to an area with Zika and has not had sex with someone who is infected with Zika or who has traveled to an area with Zika,” the Utah Department of Health wrote in a statement on Monday. “In addition, there is no evidence at this time that mosquitoes that commonly spread Zika virus are in Utah.”

The department described the deceased as someone who had “a uniquely high amount of virus in the blood.” The death marked the first known Zika fatality in the United States.

Read more here.

July 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Carolyn Hax: A separated couple is struggling to find a way to reconcile

From the Washington Post:

Dear Carolyn: I’ve been separated from my wife of 19 years and three kids for a few months. The separation stemmed from my infidelity — a mistake I made to run from my marital problems instead of to communicate, try to work through them and take a stand for my happiness. It was cowardly, and I regret it deeply.

We are in couples counseling and both want to find a way to reconcile, but we are struggling to get there. She can’t forgive me, and I am unable to convince her I am sorry enough without completely submitting and denying my authenticity.

I miss my kids terribly and this is hard on them. The truth is, though, that I want to reconcile only to unify the family. For all our sakes, personally and financially. Spending time alone with my wife is something I dread, as she is angry, judgmental and constantly telling me all the things I’m doing wrong. This describes our marriage previous to the infidelity.

When is it time to give up and move on? I’m living half a life.


Read more here.

July 22, 2016 in Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review of Splitopia

Professors Naomi Cahn (GW) & Jana Singer (UM) recently reviewed Splitopia by Wendy Paris--Download it here.

July 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Central States Law Schools Conference

Registration is now open for the Central States Law Schools Association 2016 Scholarship Conference, which will be held on Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24 at the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks, ND. We invite law faculty from across the country to submit proposals to present papers or works in progress.
CSLSA is an organization of law schools dedicated to providing a forum for conversation and collaboration among law school academics. The CSLSA Annual Conference is an opportunity for legal scholars, especially more junior scholars, to present on any law-related topic in a relaxed and supportive setting where junior and senior scholars from various disciplines are available to comment. More mature scholars have an opportunity to test new ideas in a less formal setting than is generally available for their work. Scholars from member and nonmember schools are invited to attend. 

Please click here to register. The deadline for registration is September 2, 2016.  

Hotel rooms are now available for pre-booking. The conference hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn in Grand Forks. The hotel phone number is (701) 775-6000. When booking, identify yourself as part of the “UND School of Law” block to receive a daily rate of $89. Please note that conference participants are responsible for all of their own travel expenses including hotel accommodations.

For more information about CSLSA and the 2016 Annual Conference please subscribe to our blog.
We look forward to seeing you in Grand Forks!


The 2016 CSLSA Board
For more information about CSLSA, visit our website at or contact a board member.

July 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Programme aims to help people affected by 'parental alienation'

From The Guardian:

Parental alienation – a phenomenon where one parent poisons their child against the other parent – has become such a feature of the most difficult family breakdowns that Cafcass, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, is to offer targeted support for those affected following a government-funded intensive therapeutic pilot programme.

Distinct from the all-too-common acrimony between divorcing parents, the syndrome is an internationally recognised phenomenon. In America and Canada, “parenting coordinators” are ordered and supervised by the courts to help restore relationships between parents and children identified as “alienated”. In Mexico and Brazil, alienating a child from a parent is a criminal act.

Psychiatrist Richard Gardner developed the concept 20 years ago, defining it as “a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent.”

Read more here.

July 20, 2016 in Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds), Resources - Child Custody, Resources - Child Support, Resources - Children & the Law, Resources - Divorce, Visitation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Marital Home Purchased Before Marriage: How Is It Treated?


When a person buys a home before he or she is married, this property is usually considered his or her own separate property. However, the other spouse may have a right to some of the home’s equity upon divorce despite this classification. Also, steps may have been taken so that the property is no longer considered separate and is now subject to division in the divorce action.

By Agreement

If the couple entered into a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and this agreement specifies information about the property, the terms of the agreement will dictate how the property is divided, if at all.

Common Law Divorce

The vast majority of states use a common law system regarding property ownership. In these states, the deed, registration or other ownership documents often indicate which party owns what. If both parties’ names are on the title, they each own a half interest in the property. Property that was owned prior to the marriage is usually considered separate property, along with individual gifts, inheritances, personal injury awards, property acquired in just one spouse’s name that is not used for the benefit of the other spouse and property agreed to be separate.

Read more here.

July 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Boys 'twice as likely to fall behind girls' in early years

From BBC News:

Save the Children says a quarter of boys in England - 90,000 - started reception class struggling to speak a full sentence or follow instructions.

The report, based on a University of Bristol study, says children who start school behind often never catch up.

A Department for Education spokesperson said "we are making a significant investment in the early years sector".

The report compared girls' and boys' scores in the early language and communication goals of the Early Years Foundation Stage assessment.

This assessment is taken at the end of Reception by all pupils in England.

Children are expected to be able to listen and express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners' needs.

Read more here.

July 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pakistani model's brother says he killed her for 'honor'

From Fox News World:

The brother of slain Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch on Sunday confessed to strangling her to death for "family honor" because she posted "shameful" pictures on Facebook.

Baloch, who had become a social media celebrity in recent months, stirred controversy by posting pictures online taken with a prominent Muslim cleric. She was found dead on Saturday at her family home in the central city of Multan.

Police arrested her brother, Waseem Azeem, and presented him before the media in Multan, where he confessed to killing her. He said people had taunted him over the photos and that he found the social embarrassment unbearable.

"I was determined either to kill myself or kill her," Azeem told The Associated Press as he was being led away.

Read more here.

July 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Controversial Pro-Life Governor is Chosen as Vice Presidential Candidate

From USA Today:

On Friday, July 16, Donald Trump made the announcement that Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, will be his running mate. Pence has been in the national spotlight due to his controversial recent bill regarding restrictions on access to abortions in Indiana. Reactions to Trump's announcement were "immediate" for pro-life and pro-choice groups.

Planned Parenthood has long stood against Pence's endeavors in Indiana and the selection of such a candidate sends a "terrifying message" to women across the nation.

Read more here.

July 16, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Jacobs: Parental Parity: Intentional Parenthood's Promise

Melanie B. Jacobs recently published Parental Parity: Intentional Parenthood's Promise, 64 Buffalo Law Review 465 (2016) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Parental Parity begins a critical dialogue regarding the reformation of legal parentage. Scholars have been advocating for more than a decade that courts and legislatures eschew traditional status based parentage (e.g., birth and biology) in the context of parentage establishment when assisted reproductive technologies (“ARTs”) are used. Parental Parity sets forth a much bolder agenda: to use intentional parenthood as the default framework to establish all legal parent-child relationships at birth. Intentional parenthood is a superior parentage establishment doctrine because it appropriately captures who should and should not be a parent. It avoids the over and under inclusive problems of traditional status based parentage. Most importantly, intentional parenthood yields parental parity: the doctrine’s neutrality prevents inherent discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, marital status, and class. While other scholars have written about the issue of intentional parenthood, no other scholar has specifically advocated for intentional parenthood as the default basis for establishing all parent-child relationships at birth. Parental Parity represents the culmination of my previous scholarship advocating against status-based parentage and sets forth a broader agenda and proposal to reform parenthood in the 21st century.

Read more here.

July 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Statistics Concerning Marriage Among British Population Shows a Move Away from Traditional Marriage

From Family Law Week:

Since 2002, Brits have been trending toward a less-than-traditional view of marriage. Many are marrying later, if at all, and are choosing cohabitation over traditional nuptials.

Read more here.

July 14, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Flynn--Possible Republican Vice President Nominee--States that Women Should Have the Right to Choose

From the Los Angeles Times:

After meeting with Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, Michael Flynn is rumored to have been vetted for the Vice Presidency. While being questioned about domestic relations, including same-sex marriage and abortion, the possible nominee stated that he did not believe these were big issues in America—stating that he is more concerned about national security. This runs counter to the ideologies of many Republicans—especially the idea that women should be able to have the right to terminate a pregnancy.

Read more here.

July 13, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)