Family Law Prof Blog

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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year


December 31, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lack of Education in Juvenile Detention

From The Atlantic:

At the Onondaga County Justice Center in Syracuse, New York, between 2015 and 2016 more than 80 teenage offenders were regularly locked in solitary confinement. They’d spend 23 hours a day, seven days a week, in dimly lit cells measuring roughly half the size of an average parking space. In lieu of regular schooling, they were given photocopied pages of a high-school equivalency workbook, which they were left to complete, or not, without supervision or review. These circumstances are far from isolated: Across the country, young offenders in solitary confinement experience gaps in their education that can leave them unprepared to return to school upon release—if they return at all.

Read more here.


December 31, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ohio Law Prevents Abortions in Down Syndrome Cases

From CNN:

(CNN) Ohio is prohibiting doctors from performing abortions in cases where tests reveal the fetus has or likely has Down syndrome.

Republican Gov. John Kasich signed the legislation Friday and the law goes into effect in 90 days. "The governor is pro-life and supports policies that protect the sanctity of life," press secretary Jon Keeling tells CNN.

Read more here.

December 30, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Sexual Abuse Study Shows Babies and Toddlers at Risk

From The Metro:

A groundbreaking study of child abuse images has found a indirect correlation between the age of the victim and the severity of the image.


Children aged two and under are most likely to suffer abuse constituting a category A image – penetrative sexual activity, sexual activity with an animal, or sadism. Research from the Internet Watch Foundation found that Category B images, which involve non-penetrative sexual activity, were steadier throughout different age groups.


Read more here.

December 29, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hetero Men Marry to Avoid Inheritance Tax

From The Guardian:

Two Irish men have married in Dublin to avoid paying €50,000 in inheritance tax on a house.

Best friends Matt Murphy and Michael O’Sullivan are both heterosexual, but decided to get married when they discovered how much tax would have to be paid on the house Murphy, 83, intended to leave in his will to O’Sullivan, 58, who is his carer.

Read more here.

December 28, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

New Tax Bill and Changes to Alimony

From USA Today:

NEW YORK — Congress' giant tax overhaul is poised to reach virtually every corner of American life — even Splitsville.

Republicans delivered their sweeping plan to an exultant President Donald Trump, who signed it into law Friday. One provision scraps a 75-year-old tax deduction for alimony payments. The new rules won't affect anyone who divorces or signs a separation agreement before 2019.

Many divorce experts worry that the change will make negotiations tougher and lead to less spousal support as cash goes to taxes instead. Congressional tax writers say it's only fair to married couples.

Read more here.

December 27, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Christmas After Divorce

From the Huffington Post:

We aren’t a broken home, but we are a two-house home. My ex-husband and I split nearly 10 years ago—when our eldest was three and our baby was just six months old. The boys have grown up in two houses—it is all they can remember.

I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it is stable. They spend half the week with each of their parents—we don’t do the every-other-day thing, but instead he gets them three nights in a row, then I get them four nights in a row. The boys always know which house they will be at on any given day. My ex and I sit together at sporting events and school concerts, and we talk—ok, text—frequently about things like bedtime and expectations. Sure, there’s always “Mama’s house, Mama’s rules,” and “Daddy’s house, Daddy’s rules,” but we try to be relatively consistent and not allow the kids to play us off each other. Our kids have never seen us argue.

Read more here.

December 26, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas


December 25, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Iraq Rejects Proposed Amendments To Personal Status Law

From Human Rights Watch:

(Beirut) – Iraq's parliament has rejected proposed amendments to Iraq’s Personal Status Law (PSL) that would allow religious judges to impose discriminatory law on family matters, Human Rights Watch said today.

The amendments would have covered areas including inheritance and divorce, and, by giving powers to impose family laws to certain religious communities, would have allowed girls to be married as young as age 8 under some of these laws. The head of the women’s rights committee in parliament rejected the initiative in mid-November, blocking the bill. However, two leading women’s rights organizations say that some parliament members have threatened to continue to push for the amendments to secure votes in some parts of the country in the May 2018 parliamentary elections.

“Parliament’s women’s rights committee has made a great contribution to Iraqi society in rejecting this effort to scuttle Iraq’s family law protections,” said Belkis Wille, senior Iraq researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Threats by lawmakers to dismantle protections under the current law and restore discriminatory laws would be devastating to women’s rights.”

Read more here.

December 24, 2017 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 22, 2017

Spousal Benefits In Limbo for Gay Couples in Houston

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear Houston’s appeal of a lower court ruling that threw into doubt the city’s spousal benefits to gay married municipal employees, allowing a case that tests the reach of the landmark 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide to proceed.

The justices left intact a June ruling by the Republican-dominated Texas Supreme Court that revived a lawsuit backed by a conservative group aimed at blocking Houston from offering such benefits.

“This is an incredible early Christmas present from the U.S. Supreme Court for taxpayers,” Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values, a conservative group that advocates “biblical, Judeo-Christian values” that backed the lawsuit, said in a statement.

Read more here.

December 22, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Social Media and Divorce

From the HuffPost:

Every morning, as I drink my morning cup of coffee, I scroll through my Facebook news feed, and it does not take me long before I come across a “friend’s” post that causes me to shake my head, and think “Why would they post that?” In today’s social media savvy world, people are often quick to send out a tweet, update their Facebook status, or post an item without thinking first. Maybe I think this way because I am a divorce attorney, but I cringe when I read some of these posts. If you are going through a contentious divorce, about to go through a divorce or just finalized your divorce, or you and your spouse are engaged in a heated custody battle, please heed this simple advice:

a) THINK BEFORE YOU POST: Before you hit the post or tweet button, think to yourself: if this post is printed out and introduced as evidence in my divorce or custody matter, how does it reflect upon me? Does it show poor parental judgment? Does it show immaturity? Will it be used against me in Court? Would my spouse show it to my children? For example, posting about your late night out drinking wine might not be smart to discuss with a custody matter pending and children are involved. Hey, Mommies, everyone likes a good glass of wine once in a while, but during your divorce is not the time to post about it.

Read more here.

December 21, 2017 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Custody Litigation Myths

Professor Joan Meier (GW Law), writing to the Washington Post:

The Dec. 12 front-page article “Shared-parenting bills may reshape custody battles” seemed to take for granted a long-standing myth about custody litigation: that fathers are losing. The reality is that fathers have been winning far more than mothers for decades and that joint custody or shared parenting is already the overwhelming norm in state family courts.

The preference for mothers went out with women’s lib; as long ago as the 1980s, studies found that the vast majority (94 percent in one study) of fathers who actively sought custody received sole or joint custody and that fathers received primary physical custody far more than mothers. This preference for fathers manifests in punitive responses to mothers who resist equal “sharing” of the joint “property” (child).

Read more here.

December 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Charter Schools

From the Atlantic:

It was June 2007, and I was following the mayor around as he took a victory lap celebrating record-high test scores. “Who’s excited about summer?,” Bloomberg asked a group of 5-, 6-, and 7-year-olds seated in front of him at their new Harlem elementary school, which had opened the previous August. He ticked off the fun things they might do once school let out, like go to the pool. The school’s principal, Eva Moskowitz, spoke next. She didn’t “want to contradict the mayor,” she said solemnly, “but there’s going to be some swimming, but there’s also going to be some reading.” Later, the mom of a kindergartner told me just how serious the principal was. To keep up with the school’s reading requirements, she and her son regularly hauled 50 books home from the library. What were you doing in kindergarten?

I had visited impressive schools before, but none quite like this one. The kids, who congregated in a corner of a large public-school building on West 118th Street, were a sight with their orange-and-blue uniforms and blue backpacks. But the person who made the biggest impression was Moskowitz herself. She stalked the school corridors more like a rear admiral than a pedagogue, rattling off to whomever would listen the obstacles she was up against: union rules governing sink repair, school bells ringing on a cryptic schedule, doors requiring custom fixes. She was either paranoid or plagued, probably some of both. Feeling under siege, she could either defend or attack. She picked the Napoleon option.

Like other charter schools—which operate independently of a school district’s control but are still publicly regulated and funded—Harlem Success Academy, as the school had been named, was starting up slowly, serving 165 kindergartners and first-graders in its inaugural year. But already Moskowitz had set herself apart. While other charter-school leaders ran only a handful of schools in a given state, she planned to open 40 more schools like this one. All in New York City, and all in a single decade.

Read more here.

December 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Brexit & Family Law

From LexisNexis:

Resolution, the Family Law Bar Association and the International Academy of Family Lawyers have published a paper which sets out the options for family law following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and warns that a lack of progress on Brexit negotiations could leave tens of thousands of families and children in limbo.

In 'Brexit and Family Law' the organisations say that the current reciprocal agreements between the UK and other EU member states must be maintained after Brexit, in order to provide safeguards and reassurance to those families and their children affected by divorce or separation, and involved in cross-border EU-UK family or child protection cases.

Read more here.

December 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Phone App Helps Floridians Navigate Family Court

From Tallahassee Democrat:

A new phone app can help the tens of thousands of low-income Floridians who must  defend themselves in family court because they can't afford a lawyer.

The Florida Courts Help app provides access to information and documents needed to divorce, seek a protection order, adopt and other family law matters.

Read more here. 

December 17, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Court Lottery in Dublin

From the

Where a person lives has an impact on their access to the family law courts, a leading expert has said.

Dr Geoffrey Shannon, the State's special rapporteur on child protection, said there was "a real geographical lottery" when it came to how quickly cases could be heard and the type of facilities available.

There are major differences in the experiences of litigants in the Dublin metropolitan region, where there are dedicated child and family law courts, and those who live elsewhere, he said.

In many courts outside of Dublin such cases may only be listed once a month or may only be listed for the end of the day, for privacy reasons.

His comments came ahead of the Law Society's annual Family and Child Law Conference, which is due to hear calls for the Government to deliver on commitments to modernise the family law courts system.

Read more here.

December 17, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Biological Parents' Rights Ended At Adoption

From The Indiana Lawyer:

A biological mother and father who consented to the adoption of their child cannot 13 years later seek custody. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court ruling to that effect Friday, finding that to rule otherwise would “lead to a patently absurd result in this case and potentially many others.”

Read more here. 

December 16, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Domestic Violence Laws in Armenia

From the Armenian Weekly:

The National Assembly of Armenia today adopted legislation aimed at combating domestic violence by introducing criminal and administrative liability against those found guilty of the newly defined crime.

The law was passed with 73 votes for and 12 against, with 6 abstentions, after debate and some resistance from a few parliamentarians.

Read more here.

December 16, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Koseki Issues in Japan

From the Japan Times:

On Nov. 29, the Kobe District Court dismissed a suit against the state filed by a woman in her 60s who claimed that the law that allows only men to deny paternity of a child is unconstitutional, since it discriminates against women. She said the law meant she was unable to register her daughter as the child of her second partner, because the law presumed her estranged husband was the father. The judge explained his decision by saying the law in question “represents a compromise between the need to match biological and legal fathers, and ensuring stable paternal relations by determining them promptly.”

In other words, it makes the government’s job easier, and the government has the final say in deciding who the father of a child is. It also implies that women can’t be trusted.

In an interview that appeared in the Nov. 15 Mainichi Shimbun, Masataka Endo, one of the leading experts on Japan’s koseki (family register) system, which is what was at issue in the Kobe case, pointed out that the koseki’s main function is “moralistic” in that it designates the Emperor’s subjects, sets the parameters of an individual’s family and defines who is Japanese. It has no practical purpose — it cannot be used for census-taking or identification — but rather positions a person in a “virtuous line of descent,” thus unifying the nation. This concept of “pure blood” Japanese is a “legal fiction” that is “out of step with current realities,” Endo says. And yet the koseki is deemed irreplaceable, and so by extension poses a serious problem for the minority of Japanese who don’t have them.

Read more here.

December 15, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Same-Sex Parental Rights

From U.S. News:

HONOLULU (AP) — National gay rights advocates are watching how a child support fight between a divorced lesbian couple plays out in Hawaii, likely the first such case before a state Supreme Court, experts say.

A woman wants to sever her parental rights to a child her ex-wife gave birth to and is appealing a family court ruling denying that request to the Hawaii Supreme Court, which is set to hear arguments Thursday.

Read more here.



December 14, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)