Family Law Prof Blog

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

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Despite The Odds, Indiana Gets Migrant Children, Workers To School

Written by Peter Balonon-Rosen for Wyfi Indianapolis:

Alex Rodriguez dials an unfamiliar number on his cell phone.

“Yes?,” a voice on the other end answers. On speakerphone, the phone booms inside Rodriguez’s parked silver Ford Escape.

“This is Alex,” Rodriguez says. “I’m on the way to your home so that I can complete the enrollment for the kids.”

An estimated 3 million migrant workers travel the nation each year, following work. Depending on the season, Indiana farms employ between 2,000 and 20,000. And like anyone in the nation under 22, migrant workers and children are entitled by law to an education.

And that’s where Rodriguez comes in. He serves Indiana’s southwest region as one of Indiana’s six migrant education recruiters. His mission is simple: Find, recruit and enroll migrant children and workers for public school services.

Today he sets out from a Wal-Mart parking lot in Vincennes. It’s the closest thing he has to an office.

He often parks here and finds prospective students. After all, he says, everyone comes to Wal-Mart.

“Just a minute ago, there was a bus full of migrant workers from Mexico,” Rodriguez says with a laugh, as he pulls away. “I didn’t know they were here.”

The Indiana Department of Education runs a program specifically aimed at educating migrant workers and children. It operates across the state. Anyone under 22 qualifies for the public service if they or their family has moved for seasonal field or farm work. Regardless of citizenship.

“If it’s a youth 18 or older, maybe by themselves or a group of them, I usually think about English classes and some vocational programs that we have,” Rodriguez says. “If it’s a family I think about the program for the kids.”

To actually enroll children means tracking people down.

Read more here.

April 30, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

5-year-old refuses to cooperate with his outdoorsy family

From The Washington Post:

Q: It is nearly impossible to get my 5 1 /2-year-old boy to cooperate with our plans on the weekends, whether it be a family hike or a birthday party. Even if I get the whole family wanting to stay home and relax, he’ll still pick fights with everyone, especially his 7 1 /2-year-old sister. What’s an outdoor-loving family to do?

A: I have no idea why your son doesn’t want to go out with all of you, but this is the essential question, right? Why would he prefer to sit at home and fight with his sister? Why doesn’t he like hiking? “Why” is the question that will always lead us to what we parents can do (or not).

One interesting point captured my attention: You (or the rest of the family as well as you) place a high value on being outside. I noted this because it is common to have three-fourths of a family love an activity while the other person hates it. There are a couple of reasons for this: No. 1, hating something that everyone else loves is the quickest way to get attention. Remember, children will do anything to belong in a family, be it positively or negatively. Although it feels miserable that your son is holding everyone captive in the house, he is getting lots of attention.

Read more here.

April 29, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Plan for a successful family vacation

From the Stanly News & Press:

Vacations provide a chance to rest, recharge and experience new locales. Family vacations also provide an opportunity to make lasting memories parents and their children will remember forever.

According to the 2016 American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, 70 percent of Americans expected to travel for leisure in 2016. In addition, the Family Travel Association notes that between 35 and 40 percent of family travel is multigenerational. That means extended families comprise a large part of the travel market, even if trips are not associated with traditional family vacations. "Experimental travel," or visiting locations that stray from the norm, has grown in popularity as people are more concerned with experiences than simply seeing a particular location.

Family trips are one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry. Families traveling together can heed the following advice to ensure their next trip is successful.

Read more here.

April 28, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Hobbit" humans may finally have a place in the family tree

From the New Atlas:

In 2003, archaeologists from Indonesia and Australia discovered the bones of a new species of human, named Homo floresiensis, in a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores. Its short stature – about 3.5 ft (1.1 m) – quickly earned Homo floresiensis the nickname of the "hobbit", and ever since its discovery, scientists have been debating where it fits on the human evolutionary tree. According to a new study from the Australian National University (ANU), the species branched out from a common ancestor of ours much earlier than previously thought.

Just how close a relative to us is the hobbit? One theory suggests that they are just modern humans, albeit ones suffering from a congenital condition called microcephaly, which leads to a much smaller brain, head and body. A more widely accepted origin story says floresiensis evolved from Homo erectus, an ancestor of ours that lived between 1.9 million and 70,000 years ago, but on closer inspection, the ANU researchers don't believe that's the case, either.

Read more here.

April 27, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Does death penalty bring closure to victim's family?

From PBS News Hour:

The last time anyone saw Julie Heath alive was Oct. 3, 1993, when the 18-year-old set out to visit her boyfriemd in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

A week later, a hunter discovered Heath’s body, less than eight miles from where her broken-down car was found. She wore a black shirt, socks and underwear, but they were inside-out. Her black jeans were partially unzipped. Her throat was slashed.

Police later arrested Eric Randall Nance for Heath’s murder. Investigators said he picked her up near her vehicle, before DNA evidence proved he raped and killed her. In 1994, he was handed the death penalty. At the time, 80 percent of Americans nationwide favored of the death penalty, according to a Gallup poll. But the only reason Belinda Crites needs to support the death penalty is “what Eric Nance did to my cousin.”

“She wasn’t just my cousin, she was my best friend,” Crites told the NewsHour. “He tore my whole family apart.”

Read more here.

April 26, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Remembering an earlier refugee crisis, and a family who risked their lives to help

From the Washington Post:

In 1943, when Refik Veseli, a photographer’s apprentice, smuggled his mentor Moshe Mandil and Mandil’s family across Albania to escape the Nazis, he didn’t see himself as particularly heroic.

Mandil, who had already fled the Nazis in Yugoslavia, was his friend, and it seemed natural to 17-year-old Veseli to help. Veseli’s parents, who were Muslim, agreed, and they hid the Mandils and another Jewish family in their home in the village of Kruje for over a year as Jews were slaughtered across Europe.

Had the two families been discovered, the Veselis could have been killed. But it never occurred to them to turn the families away. Like Albanians of all faiths, they followed “besa,” a code of honor that requires protecting guests with your life, regardless of their religion or creed, and treating them as part of the family.

On Sunday, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Adas Israel Congregation in Northwest Washington honored the Veseli family and inducted them into its Garden of the Righteous, reserved for non-Jews who risked their lives to help Jews during the Holocaust.

Veseli died in 2000; his wife and two of his children traveled from New Jersey and Massachusetts to attend the ceremony, which included Albanian and Jewish folk singing and the addition of the family’s name to a plaque in the garden.

Read more here.

April 25, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Divorce Attorney’s Murder A Chilling Reminder Of The Dangers Of Family L

From the American Law Institute:

On March 22, attorney Sara Quirt San was shot and killed by her client’s estranged husband. Her killer’s rampage included murdering two of his wife’s co-workers, before driving to Sann’s office and gunning her down, and subsequently killing a detective setting up a perimeter around the gunman’s house. The shooter himself died of several gunshot wounds.

Unfortunately, family law attorneys face the constant threat of violence. In February, attorney Bryan Young and his divorce client was killed. In 2011, a 73-year-old man killed retiring attorney Jerrold Shelley in his office over a divorce five years earlier. At the time, the National Law Journal noted that at least five other family lawyers had been killed or violently attacked over just the prior year.

Lawyers often interject themselves into hurt feelings and — as recent events show — all lawyers face dangers. But lawyers working in family law navigate the most raw hurt feelings, touching the most intimate human relationships. That raises the risk of horrific violence, and that’s before taking into account that a history of violence is often involved in divorces.

Read more here.

April 24, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

In world first, Singapore court rules parents deserve kids with their genes

From Asia Times:

Blood is thicker than water, or so the saying goes, reflecting the value we put on biological relationships. But is it something the law should recognize?

Singapore’s Supreme Court recently ruled on a case that asks this very question, and it gave a fascinating answer: parents have a strong interest in “genetic affinity” with their children, one that can merit compensation if subverted.

Genetic affinity is an entirely new legal standard. It has no clear precedent in any jurisdiction. But the court made a compelling argument that it has a sound basis in the way we value family and heredity.

Read more here

April 23, 2017 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Here's how much the average family in their 50s has saved for retirement

From CNBC:

By age 50, your golden years are just around the corner.

To be financially ready to retire by 67, retirement-plan provider Fidelity Investments says you should aim to have eight times your salary by age 60.

Are Americans on track? 

According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), many Americans have some catching up to do. The mean retirement savings of a family between 50 and 55 years old is $124,831. For families with members between 56 and 61, the mean retirement savings is $163,577.

Read more here.

April 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Boycott Those Who Misuse Triple Talaq, Says All India Muslim Personal Law Board

From The Huffington Post:

Those using triple talaq recklessly and without justification should be made to face social boycott, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) said on Sunday at the conclusion of its executive meet here.

The body, which represents major sects, also came out with a code of conduct for divorce, in case the separation becomes inevitable. It notably does not recommend instant divorce or triple talaq as a way of separation.

"It has been decided in the executive meet that men who arbitrarily use triple talaq should face social boycott," AIMPLB member Kamal Farooqui told IANS.

Read more here

April 22, 2017 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Trump Signs Law Taking Aim at Planned Parenthood Funding

From The New York Times:

President Trump signed legislation on Thursday aimed at cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other groups that perform abortions, a move cheered by conservatives who have clamored to impose curbs on reproductive rights.

The measure nullifies a rule completed in the last days of the Obama administration that effectively barred state and local governments from withholding federal funding for family planning services related to contraception, sexually transmitted infections, fertility, pregnancy care, and breast and cervical cancer screening from qualified heath providers - regardless of whether they also performed abortions. The new measure cleared Congress last month with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tiebreaking vote in the Senate. 

Read more here

April 21, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s Unusual Divorce Filing Says About Their Split

From People:

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck continue to be a united front — even through their divorce.

The former couple officially filed divorce papers on Thursday — coordinating the filing of near-identical documents at the same time. In a somewhat unusual legal move, they both cited in pro persona, a legal term which means that, at least on the record, they are representing themselves and don’t cite a lawyer representing them.

That’s a way of keeping their case extra-private as well as signifying it’s amicable, says Peter M. Walzer, an L.A. certified family law specialist who’s not involved with their divorce.

“In most cases, because celebrities don’t want the public to see [the agreement], they agree privately and they file in pro per — which means they are representing themselves,” Walzer said. “All they’ll submit is a judgment of dissolution of marriage.” The couple can keep their more detailed divorce agreement — and any disputes — private.

Read more here

April 20, 2017 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

D.C. Ends Quarter-Century-Long Ban on Surrogacy

From PRWeb:

On April 7 of this year, a new District of Columbia law officially took effect, ending a ban on surrogacy arrangements that had stood for 25 years. The new law paves the way for safe and legal surrogacy in the District of Columbia, and empowers DC citizens to utilize this collaborative reproduction process to build their families without having to travel to states in which surrogacy has long been permitted.

Critically, the law provides for the establishment of legally protected families — including requirements for any surrogacy agreement, independent legal representation, appropriate mental health and medical counseling and evaluation, and the process to establish parenthood for the resulting child — while ensuring legal protections for all parties involved.

The District of Columbia can now serve as a model for other states looking to enact clear legislation for those seeking to build families through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) with the aid of a surrogate or a donor. (Surrogacy and related legal issues fall under state jurisdiction, and the legal permissibility of surrogacy vary widely from state to state.)

Read more here.

April 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Gay marriage proposal to be debated by Kirk Assembly

From BBC:

Gay marriages may soon be able to take place in the Church of Scotland.

A report to be debated at the Kirk's General Assembly in May said ministers should be permitted to perform same-sex ceremonies.

It also said the Kirk should apologise for failing to recognise the Christian vocation of gay people.

The report has been welcomed by the Reverend Scott Rennie, the gay minister whose appointment to an Aberdeen parish in 2008 caused controversy.

It will be presented to the General Assembly by the influential Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland, which challenges and expresses the theology of the life and work of the Kirk.

Read more here.

April 18, 2017 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Carrillo: Financial Intimate Partner Violence: When Assets and Transactions Become Weapons, Financial Intimate Partner Violence: When Assets and Transactions Become Weapons

Jo J. Carrillo (UC, Hastings College of the Law) has posted the following paper on SSRN: 

Financial Intimate Partner Violence: When Assets and Transactions Become Weapons, Financial Intimate Partner Violence: When Assets and Transactions Become Weapons, 22:2 Domestic Violence Report 17 (2017). ISBN 1086-1270. Here is the abstract:

Financial Intimate Partner Violence: When Assets and Transactions Become Weapons introduces the concept of financial intimate partner violence. The article compares Alaska's criminal law based domestic violence prevention approach with California's civil law based domestic violence prevention approach. The focus is on how each state system adjudges property management and control rights in a divorce, dissolution, or break-up; and on how domestic violence restraining orders are and can be effectively used to prevent or address financial domestic violence.

April 15, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Online Services to Return to First Marriage

From BBC:

A number of online services are charging "divorced" Muslim women thousands of pounds to take part in "halala" Islamic marriages, a BBC investigation has found. Women pay to marry, have sex with and then divorce a stranger, so they can get back with their first husbands.

Read more here.

April 14, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Adopted But Not Citizen


She was 9 months old, a baby named Thuy Tran, when she was airlifted to an Arkansas refugee center in the last, desperate days of the Vietnam War.

She was adopted by a military family, moved to South Jersey, played soccer and lacrosse at Rancocas High School, went on to Burlington County College — no longer Thuy Tran but Denise, an American name for an American girl.

The trouble started when she applied to become a Philadelphia police officer in the mid-1990s.

When she sought her birth certificate, officials at the federal immigration office delivered shocking news: She wasn’t a U.S. citizen. She didn’t even have a green card, which provides for legal permanent residency.

Read more here.

April 13, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Religious Protection in Adoption

From U.S. News & World Report:

South Dakota joined three other states Friday that have enacted laws giving broad legal protections to faith-based organizations that refuse based on their religious beliefs to place children in certain households.

Before signing the bill, Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard said he was concerned private child-placement agencies acting in the best interest of a child could be subject to a lawsuit when denying placement to someone in a "protected class," such as members of the LGBT community. He hopes the legislation would forestall that.

Before Friday, Daugaard was mum on the measure that supporters say preemptively protects religious adoption and foster care agencies from things like state funding cuts, revoked licenses and denied contracts if South Dakota were to eventually ban discrimination based on sexual orientation as several other states have done.

Libby Skarin, policy director of ACLU South Dakota, said Daugaard's decision shows South Dakotans that he cares about private agencies more than the needs of children. She said the group is exploring legal challenges to the new law and is encouraging kids and adults who feel negative impacts to step forward. 

Read more here.


April 12, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Nebraska State Supreme Court on Same-Sex Couples Fostering

From CNN:

The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld a decision to strike down a ban on same-sex couples becoming foster parents.

The court compared the ban on its decision to "a sign reading 'Whites Only' on the hiring-office door."
Since 1995, same-sex couples had been barred from becoming licensed foster-care providers in Nebraska.
Read more here.

April 11, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Nonmarital Mothers

From Naomi Cahn (George Washington Law), writing for the Institute for Family Studies:

We know that nonmarital mothers today are more likely to give birth in a cohabiting union than on their own. But what do we know about those unions and the reasons that women become pregnant? Professor Jennifer Barber of the University of Michigan gives us some new answers through the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study at the University of Michigan. Her study sheds a novel light on family formation among unmarried couples—and potentially on the legal and policy debates that underlie these issues.

Professor Barber’s work builds on the well-known Fragile Families and Child-Wellbeing Study, which followed almost 5,000 children born between 1998 and 2000 in large U.S. cities; approximately three-quarters of their parents were unmarried. The Fragile Families research dramatically changed our images of unmarried families. The groundbreaking study showed that contrary to the popular assumptions of the time, the majority of unmarried mothers were in relationships with the fathers of their children at the time of the birth, and the majority of the fathers remained involved with their children for at least a period of time after a break-up with the mother.

This new research from the RDSL provides even more—and very different— information about unmarried mothers. Instead of starting once the children are born, it follows young women before they become pregnant and often before they have entered the relationships that produce the pregnancies. It also includes both women who became pregnant and those who did not, providing a robust basis for comparisons between the two groups.

Read more here.

April 10, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)