Friday, September 9, 2016

4th Amendment & Civil Offenses

From Orin Kerr, writing for the Washington Post/The Volokh Conspiracy:

In a fascinating new decision by Judge William Pryor, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit answered an interesting Fourth Amendment question: Can a judge issue an order to arrest someone for violating a civil offense? In the case, United States v. Phillips, a Florida state judge issued an order that the suspect should be arrested because he had committed civil contempt for failure to pay his child support. The court ruled that the order was a valid warrant for Fourth Amendment purposes and that the arrest was therefore valid.

Read more here.

September 9, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Inheritance & Divorce

From Naomi Cahn and Amy Zeittlow, writing for Family Studies, the Blog of the Institute for Family Studies:

A recent court case caught our attention, and we’ll provide a slightly modified version of the case here (the names have been changed for privacy). Soon after “Charles” and “Dena” married, Charles’ father, “Frank” set up a trust to benefit his “issue,” that is, his “lawful blood descendants.” The purpose of the trust was the “comfortable support, health, maintenance, welfare and education” of the recipients. During a little more than two years of their more than 10-year marriage, Charles received $800,000 from the trust, money that “augmented” his family’s “upper middle-class lifestyle.” Once Charles filed for divorce, he received no more money from the trust because “the trustees deemed it too risky to distribute funds to [Charles] at a time when he might be required to share the funds with [Dena], a nonbeneficiary.” As part of the divorce, the courts had to decide whether Dena had any legal rights to Charles’ interest in the trust. The trial court judge valued Charles’ interest in the trust at more than $2 million, included it as part of the marital property to be divided, and awarded Dena with 60 percent of that amount. After several appeals, the Massachusetts Supreme Court determined that Charles’ interest in the trust was not “sufficiently certain” to be treated as marital property.

Read more here.

September 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

National Family Law Moot Court Competition

29th Annual Domenick L. Gabrielli

National Family Law Moot Court Competition

March 2 – March 4, 2017

The Gabrielli National Family Law Competition is held each year at Albany Law School focusing on current issues in the field of family law.  Last year’s problem involved a mother and her same-sex partner who contracted with a known donor to conceive their own child through artificial insemination.  The competitors’ arguments focused on whether a state’s artificial insemination statute should be read in conjunction with the state’s three-parent statute to allow a biological father to seek parental rights over a child conceived using artificial insemination.  Also, the competitors argued whether granting parental rights to the biological father under the three-parent statute would be in the best interest of the child.

Our final round panel of judges traditionally include state and federal judges, as well as, distinguished professors and practitioners in the area of family law.

Key Dates:

11/08/2016   Registration/Postmark Deadline

12/01/2016   Problem released (online)

01/17/2017   Briefs Postmarked

03/02/2017   Preliminary Rounds

03/03/2017   Octofinal & Quarterfinal Rounds

03/04/2017   Semifinal & Final Rounds

Costs: The registration fee is $300 per team and a law school may register up to two teams consisting of either two or three competitors.

Awards: The competitors and coaches will receive a t-shirt for participating in the event. All participants are invited to attend a formal dinner where awards will be announced for the teams who display excellence in oral advocacy, brief writing and overall team performance.

To learn more about this event, please visit

To register for this event please click here

Please contact Kayla C. Champagne at [email protected] with any questions.

September 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Student Scholarship Call for Papers: Sarah Weddington Writing Prize

If/When/How, in collaboration with the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Center for Reproductive Rights and Justice at U.C. Berkeley School of Law, is pleased to announce the Call for Submissions for the twelfth annual Sarah Weddington Writing Prize for New Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights. 


This year, the Writing Prize invites submissions on all reproductive rights and justice topics. The suggested theme is: Balancing Burdens and Benefits after Whole Woman's Health v. Hellertstedt. Please refer to the attached Call for Submissions for guidance on this theme, as well as additional requirements. 


The deadline for submissions is Monday, February 27, 2017.


Winning authors will receive cash prizes: $750 (1st place), $500 (2nd place), or $250 (3rd place). The first place winner will also have a chance at publication with the NYU Review of Law and Social Change. All winning authors will also receive copies of Melissa Murray's and Kristin Luker's Cases on Reproductive Rights and Justice


Please submit applications for the Sarah Weddington Writing Prize here:


September 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Call for Student Papers

Hofstra Law and AFCC sponsor an annual Family Law Writing Competition for law students. The competition requires the students to research and write a legal paper discussing any area of family law.   Download the call for papers here.





September 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Post-Vacation Divorce

From Bloomberg:

The post-vacation hangover may be dangerous for your marriage.

Filings for divorce spike twice a year, in March and August, according to a new study. University of Washington sociology professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini found divorce filings seem to follow the annual schedule of family holidays: lowest in November and December, then peaking in March after the passage of winter holidays and Valentine's Day. Filings drop in April and don't spike again until August—after July, the most popular month for vacations.

"Family life is governed by a 'social clock' that mandates the observations of birthdays, holidays and other special transitions," Brines and Serafini write in the study, presented this weekend at the annual conference of the American Sociological Association. Their study provides "the first systematic, quantitative evidence of a pronounced and durable 'seasonal' pattern in the timing of filings for divorce."

Read more here.

September 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 5, 2016

‘Toxic environment’ for sons accused of campus sex offenses turns mothers into militants

From The Washington Post:

In the course of a year, Sherry Warner-Seefeld went from high school teacher to activist promoting fairness for students accused of sexual misconduct. Explaining why, for her, means revisiting a night of shock and a phone call she will never forget.

She was grading social science papers on a cold, late January evening in Fargo, N.D., when her cellphone rang, she told The Washington Post.

It was her son, Caleb Warner, calling to tell her he had heard from a dean at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. A woman with whom he had had a short sexual relationship, the dean told him, had accused him of sexual misconduct, of nonconsensual sex, that she alleged had occurred on the night of Dec. 13, 2009.

Read more here.

September 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Irish women live-tweet journey to Great Britain for abortion

From CNN:

An Irish woman live-tweeted her journey to the United Kingdom to have an abortion this weekend. The woman, and a friend who accompanied her, began posting early Saturday morning from the Twitter account Two Women Travel.

Abortion is illegal in the Republic of Ireland, except in certain circumstances, and more than 165,000 women traveled from Ireland to Great Britain for the procedure between 1980 and 2015, according to the United Kingdom's Department of Health.
The pair described their mission as "Two women, one procedure, 48 hours away from home."
Most of the tweets were directed at Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, with an early morning post from Dublin Airport reading "boarding, it's chilly, @EndaKennyTD."
Read more here.

September 4, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

India to Enact a New Law on Surrogacy - Foreigners Barred from Seeking Services of an Indian Mother


For the past two decades, India has been the place for foreigners who seek to have a child through surrogacy, the states of Gujarat and Kerala being in the forefront with well-established clinics, doctors and middlemen, all working in tandem to ensure a foreign couple or even a single parent be blessed with a child and who were ready to loosen their purse by approximately USD 30,000.

Such was the clamor surrounding surrogacy in India that it led to the mushrooming growth of several commercial firms and even law firms claiming specialty in surrogacy law and assisting foreigners to have their child in India through a surrogate Indian mother.

Several foreign companies too entered India by establishing their own companies (our firm had established one such company – Proactive Family Solutions Private limited) to assist nationals from around the world identify a surrogate mother in India, negotiate the fee to be paid by them to the Indian mother for carrying the child in her womb, navigate the foreigners through the maze of paperwork (which in fact was meagre given the fact that India did not have a law on surrogacy and will not have one till the new Bill becomes law), and even assist the child in obtaining a passport and a visa to leave the country.

Read more here.

September 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 2, 2016

China wants to stop domestic violence. But the legal system treats it as a lesser crime.

From The Washington Post:

In a courtroom in the Chinese heartland, a defense attorney made his final pitch.

That his client, Zhang Yazhou, killed his wife was not in question. At 5:25 in the evening on Feb. 21,  Zhang walked into his wife’s hospital room. They argued. He strangled her, digging his fingers deep into the flesh of her neck.

By the time nurses entered the room, Zhang was gone and Li Hongxia, just 24, was dead.

Since Zhang confessed on television and in court, the issue at hand was the sentence. Li’s family and their lawyer asked for the death penalty, which is common in China, describing a year of escalating abuse that culminated in a brutal murder.

Read more here.

September 2, 2016 in Domestic Violence, International, Resources - Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Higdon: "Divorce and the Serial Monogamist: The Ex Ante Costs of Legalized Polygamy"

Michael J. Higdon (University of Tennessee College of Law) has posted his article Divorce and the Serial Monogamist: The Ex Ante Costs of Legalized Polygamy on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The question of whether the fundamental right to marry might also include the right to polygamy is one that has long intrigued legal scholars. In the wake of Obergefell v. Hodges, that question has taken on even greater significance. Although other scholars have attempted to answer this question, this Article does so in a novel way. Specifically, this Article looks at the practice of polygamy through a law and economics lens, exploring the ex ante consequences of legalization, not on practicing polygamists, but on serial monogamists — i.e., those who never intend to have more than one spouse at any given time but are, nonetheless, prone to marry more than one person in their lifetime. When looked at in that manner, the degree to which legalized polygamy would harm the state becomes much more evident. After all, if polygamy were legal, the current laws prohibiting bigamy would no longer be in operation. In turn, separating couples would lose one of the strongest incentives they currently face to pursue formal divorce in lieu of simply deserting one another. In essence, then, a serial monogamist could marry multiple times in his lifetime without ever getting a divorce, safe in the knowledge that his actions are no longer subject to a criminal charge of bigamy. Such actions — dubbed “sequential polygamy” — are quite harmful to the state’s substantial interest in protecting its citizens from financial harms. Indeed, the current law of divorce is designed to encourage separating couples to elect that formal course of action so as to provide the state some assurance that those leaving a marriage are not doing so to their financial detriment. With the legalization of polygamy then, goes the prohibition against bigamy, thus eroding the state’s ability to encourage divorce as a means of protecting all its citizens; but in particular its poorest citizens, who would likely be hardest hit by any societal shift away from formal divorce.


September 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Women's Wages

From FiveThirtyEight:

The gender wage gap has narrowed significantly over the past 50 years. In 1964, according to data from the Census Bureau, the typical woman working full time made about 59 cents on the dollar earned by a man; by 2004, that had risen to 77 cents. (These calculations don’t take into account differences in experience, industry or other factors.) More recently, however, progress for women has nearly stalled out: In 2014, the latest data available, women earned 79 cents for every dollar earned by men, a 2-pennies-an-hour improvement over a decade.2

Other measures of women’s progress in the workforce — their rate of employment, the likelihood that they will work in a historically male-dominated field, the rate at which they run big companies — show a similar pattern of what researchers Martha J. Bailey and Thomas A. DiPrete, in a new essay, call “five decades of remarkable but slowing change” for American women.

Bailey and DiPrete’s essay serves as the introduction to a remarkable new collection of papers from the Russell Sage Foundation that examines the progress that women have — and haven’t — made over the past half-century. It isn’t a simple story. The U.S. has already made major, albeit incomplete, progress on many of the most obvious causes of gender inequality — explicit discrimination on pay,3Estimates for the amount of outright wage discrimination — a woman making less than an equally qualified man in the same job — vary by industry and by who is doing the analysis. But most economists agree on two things: The gap is much smaller than it used to be but hasn’t disappeared. overt barriers to employment, taboos against working while raising children. What is left is a tangle of cultural norms, implicit biases, individual preferences and other, subtler forms of discrimination that are much harder to change or even to measure.

Read more here.

September 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)