Family Law Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mothers of Drug-Addicted Babies Could Lose Parental Rights Under KY Bill

From Newsweek:

A change in Kentucky law could mean that children born addicted to drugs would be labeled as neglected and abused at birth. In addition, mothers could have their parental rights terminated and lose their children if they are not enrolled in a drug-treatment program. State lawmakers say the change is meant to address the increasing number of drug-addicted babies born in the Bluegrass state.

Read more here. 

February 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

McLaughlin in AZ

From NCLR:

The Supreme Court of the United States announced today that it will not review the decision in McLaughlin v. McLaughlin, an Arizona Supreme Court case that found a woman to be the legal parent of the child she and her same-sex spouse conceived through assisted reproduction during their marriage. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Arizona attorney Claudia Work, and Ropes & Gray LLP represented the mother who sought to be recognized as a parent in this case.

As the Arizona Supreme Court recognized, the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Obergefell v. Hodges and Pavan v. Smith require states to treat married same-sex parents and married different-sex parents equally under the law. The Arizona Supreme Court explained: “It would be inconsistent with Obergefell to conclude that same-sex couples can legally marry but states can then deny them the same benefits of marriage afforded opposite-sex couples.”

Read more here.

February 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Alabama May Leave the Marriage Business

From National Public Radio:

Couples – gay or straight — looking for a marriage license in Pike County, Ala. won't get one from local probate judge Wes Allen.

"We have not issued any marriage licenses since Feb. 9, 2015," Allen says.

That's when a federal judge struck down Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage. The state's then Chief Justice Roy Moore told local officials they weren't bound by the federal court ruling. That threw Alabama's marriage license system into chaos – some offices closed altogether.

Read more here.

February 27, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Georgia Senate Passes Faith-Based Adoption Bill

From The Brunswick News:

Debate was lengthy, and at times personal and emotional, and when the question was called, the state Senate approved a controversial faith-based adoption bill Friday by a 35-19 vote.

“Other states have failed to provide legal assurance that these agencies would not be in breach of contract or find themselves subject to unnecessary suits,” Sen. William Ligon, R-White Oak, said while presenting Senate Bill 375. “In our hearings, we had an agency that operates in Georgia — they came and they said if they had the assurance provided with this bill, that they would then feel that they were safe, that they were capable of contracting with the state. And they could provide up to 50 homes a year to children in our foster care system.

Read more here. 

February 26, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Child Support Lagging

From Bloomberg:

Deadbeat parents left a trail of hardship in 2015.

Less than half of parents holding child custody -- 43.5 percent -- received the full amount of child support due that year, according to newly released U.S. Census Bureau data. Meanwhile, three in 10 custodial parents received no payment at all in 2015 - the highest amount since at least 1993.

Read more here.

February 26, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

PA Couple Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse, Starvation

From Fox News:

A Pennsylvania couple has pleaded guilty in a case in which prosecutors say three children were so starved for food they peeled paint off the walls to survive.

Joshua and Brandi Weyant pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of aggravated assault, conspiracy, false imprisonment, unlawful restraining and child endangerment.

Police, acting on anonymous tip, discovered the three children, a 6-year-old boy and two girls, ages 4 and 5, locked inside a room at the couple's Halifax Township home in December. Prosecutors say two of the children were close to dying of malnutrition.

Read more here.

February 25, 2018 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Studies on Divorce

From Yahoo! News:

It’s often easy to see the reasons why a marriage didn’t work out with hindsight – but is it possible to spot the warning signs in advance?

Yes, according to several scientific studies – which highlight statistical pointers and other little signs, which mean a couple are more likely to split up.

Last year saw the highest rise in divorce rates in England and Wales for more than two decades, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Studies often highlight simple things, like how couples speak to one another – or their family’s marital history – as a pointer to whether things might go wrong further down the line.

Here’s five science-backed signs that you might be heading for trouble in your relationship.

Read more here.

February 25, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Iranian Women Breaking Their Silence

From CNN:

The bravery of the women recently protesting in Iran stiffened my resolve to participate in the 2018 Women's March in Los Angeles. As a decadelong advocate for women, I felt compelled to use my freedom of expression to demand theirs. Though I walked alongside people of diverse political persuasions, I felt empowered by a common purpose -- a world in which the rights of women and girls are protected and respected.

While I was encouraged by the numerous signs supporting women, I was disheartened that in this time of female solidarity we were largely ignorant of our counterparts in Iran, who just weeks prior to our march had risked arrest or worse to take to the streets and demand their inalienable rights.
 
On December 27, 2017, a brave Iranian woman named Vida Movahedi, a 31-year-old mother, stood peacefully on a box in the middle of a busy Tehran sidewalk, and silently waved her government-mandated veil from the end of a stick. This basic freedom that women take for granted in nearly every country in the world -- to feel the wind on our bare heads -- is illegal in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
 
Read more here.

February 24, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 23, 2018

El Salvador's Strict Abortion Ban Too Severe

From Amnesty International:

The release of a woman forced to spend a decade behind bars in El Salvador after having pregnancy-related complications resulting in stillbirth must open the door for an end to the country’s extreme anti-abortion law, said Amnesty International.

Teodora del Carmen Vásquez was freed on Thursday after a court reduced her sentence, but at least 27 women remain imprisoned under the total abortion ban, according to women’s human rights organizations in the country.

“It’s encouraging to see Teodora stepping out of jail, where she should have never been in the first place, but El Salvador is still far from fully ensuring the rights of women and girls in the country,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

Read more here.

February 23, 2018 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Maine Divorce Rate Falling...Like in Rest of U.S.

From Sun Journal:

Divorce rates aren’t usually considered super romantic, especially when it feels like they’ve been rising for generations. But in Maine, the annual number of failed marriages has dropped by 30 percent over the past decade, according to statistics compiled by the state Department of Health and Human Services. During the same period, Maine marriages rose about 2 percent.

Does that mean Mainers have found the secrets to a happy marriage? Probably not. Nationally, the divorce rate has declined at a similar rate, according to statistics compiled by the National Center For Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Researchers say the overall decline is likely fueled by the fact that people are waiting longer to get married, are generally more selective and feel less pressure to tie the knot. Plus, more people are living together first and getting a good idea of what married life is all about – that it’s not all candy hearts and candle-lit dinners, after all.

So it seems that waiting, choosing carefully and taking your time are all very romantic, in the long-term. And Mainers seem to have a pretty good handle on that concept.

Read more here.

February 23, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Judge Gives Grandparents Custody of Transgender Teen

From CNN:

A Hamilton County, Ohio, judge on Friday gave custody of a transgender teen to his grandparents rather than his parents, allowing them to make medical decisions regarding his transition.

The parents didn't want the teen, a 17-year-old who identifies as male, to undergo hormone treatment and refused to call him by his chosen name, triggering suicidal feelings, according to court testimony. The parents wanted custody in order to make medical decisions for the teen and prohibit the treatment that his medical team had recommended.
 
Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon had instructed that the family's names not be released.
 
Read more here.

February 22, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

IL Proposal to Lower Age for Babysitting & Leaving Child Alone

From Illinois News Network:

An Illinois lawmaker wants to lower the age at which children can be left home alone.

Current Illinois law states any child under the age of 14 cannot go without adult supervision for “an unreasonable amount of time”. State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, says that’s a problem.

“I think there’s a lot of issues where people have been or could be charged for leaving what most people would find an acceptably mature student or child to be on their own for a little while,” Sosnowski said. “I think we’re really out of touch with where other states are in terms of the law.”

The measure, filed as House Bill 4296, would allow children 12 or older to be left home alone. It also would permit that child to babysit younger siblings. Sosnowski says this would allow single and working parents additional flexibility without risking neglect charges.

 

 

February 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Legal Father Can't Set Aside Paternity

From The Indiana Lawyer:

A legal father seeking to set aside paternity of his two non-biological children has lost his appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals, which found the father failed to meet the legal requirements for paternity rescission.

After E.S.F. gave birth to B.M., B.S.M. signed a paternity affidavit for the child knowing he was not the biological father. He signed the same affidavit for O.M., though he suspected he also might not have been his biological father, either.  

Several years after the children were born, E.S.F. filed petitions to establish support of B.M. and O.M. based on the paternity affidavits. The Marion Circuit Court entered judgments of paternity and support, which B.S.M. moved to set aside under Indiana Trial Rule 60(B). He also moved for genetic testing of the children.

Read more here.

February 21, 2018 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cryptocurrency Fortunes in Divorce

From Business Insider:

A UK law firm is advising on three divorce cases involving cryptocurrencies.

UK law firm Royds Withy King said on Wednesday that it is working on three cases where "spouses are seeking the disclosure and a potential share of cryptocurrency assets."

The cases involve bitcoin, litecoin, ripple and ethereum.

Read more here.

 

February 21, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ethiopia Bans Foreign Adoption

From CNN:

Ethiopia has banned the adoption of Ethiopian children by foreign families, according to the country's state-run News Agency ENA, citing concerns over abuse.

Ethiopian officials previously suspended adoptions back in November, but allowed pending cases to continue through the process, according to the US Department of State.
 
Children adopted by foreign families in the past have been exposed to "various crimes and social crisis in the country they grew up in," ENA said.
 
Read more here.

February 20, 2018 in Adoption, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Effort for Equal Custody Law in IL

From NPR:

Illinois is joining 35 other states this year attempting to give divorced couples equal parenting time. The issue is stirring debate among family law attorneys, mental health professionals, parents and others.  

The proposed changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act would start parents off with 50-50 custody of the children involved. Advocates say this will eliminate any preconceived ideas that one parent is better suited for parenting over the other. They say this also gives fathers the opportunity to step up and be involved, especially when courts often award custody to mothers.  

Read more here.

February 20, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Couples Delaying Marriage

From Fox News:

Newly-engaged couples are increasingly delaying their nuptials because of financial reasons, according to new research.

The study of 5,000 married US adults revealed that couples are increasingly delaying their wedding plans due to the rising costs of getting hitched.

The new survey displayed how marriage proposals have evolved over the past decade, including a surge in the number of couples who now say getting married caused a significant financial burden.

Read more here.

February 19, 2018 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

In Loco Parentis in PA

From the Legal Intelligencer:

In what is becoming one of the hottest topics in Pennsylvania Child Custody Law, in loco parentis took center stage before the Superior Court in the recent case of MJS v. BB v. BB, ___ A.3d ___, 2017 Pa. Super 327 (Oct. 17). This case is one of three cases to address in loco parentis status by a litigant in a child custody case recently. The recent case of KW v. SL andML v. GG, addressed in loco parentis status and parties with whom a child was placed for adoption. A week prior to the present case being decided, the superior court also addressed in loco parentis status in the case of CG v. JH, which pertained to a same sex couple. Both cases were reported on by this author in April 2017 and December 2017, respectively.

The case of MJS pertains to a grandmother who intervened in a child custody case, was found to have in loco parentis status, and granted primary physical custody of the child in question. The facts of the MJS case, according to the opinion, in part, are as follows: LMS was born in 2010 to BMB (the mother) and MJS (the father). During the first five years of LMS’ life, “he lived with the mother at grandmother’s home …” The father, who lives approximately one hour away from the grandmother, exercised partial physical custody of the child on alternating weekends pursuant to an informal custody arrangement.

Read more here.

February 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Surrogacy Contracts Enforceable in Iowa

From Omaha World-Herald:

DES MOINES (AP) — The birth mother of an 18-month-old girl who agreed to be paid as a surrogate to have the baby, is not legally the child’s parent, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday in an emotional case that concluded surrogacy contracts can be enforced in Iowa.

The ruling means the girl remains with the Cedar Rapids couple, the only parents she has known since leaving the hospital after birth.

It was the first time the state’s highest court has weighed whether surrogacy contracts can be enforced.

Read more here. 

 

February 18, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Lawyers & Abortion Discussion

From the Washington Post:

A major legal services group for immigrant children told its lawyers nationwide not to discuss abortion access, even if minors in custody ask for help understanding their legal rights, for fear it would jeopardize a multimillion-dollar contract with the Department of Health and Human Services.

The constraints on what government-funded lawyers can say to young detainees was contained in an email from the nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice, which said it acted after a phone call with an HHS employee. Vera’s instruction to lawyers comes as the Trump administration has tried in court to block access to abortion procedures for undocumented teens in federal custody.

“We know for a fact that there is a very real risk to the entire legal services program for children in [Office of Refugee Resettlement] custody if issues other than immigration are addressed in consultations or representation, the abortion issue in particular,” a Vera official cautioned in a Feb. 2 email obtained by The Washington Post.

Read more here.

February 18, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)