Family Law Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Attorney Disqualified From Representing Former Senator's Wife in Child Custody and Divorce Case

From Newsday:

A Nassau judge has disqualified the attorney for the estranged wife of former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato from representing her in the couple’s child custody battle and divorce case, ruling that lawyer Thomas Liotti “acted against the best interests of the children” during an April encounter.

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Lorintz wrote in his Tuesday decision that the disqualification of Katuria D’Amato’s attorney is “necessary to protect the rights” of the couple’s 9-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.

The former senator’s attorney, Stephen Gassman, made a motion for Liotti’s disqualification after the Garden City attorney drove his client, a nanny and the children from Lido Beach to another client's house in Plainview in April without notifying the lawyer for the children.

Read more here

October 31, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Australia's Divorce Rates At Its Lowest in 40 Years

From the Daily Mail:

Australia's divorce rate has hit its lowest level in 40 years, as it's revealed that more couples are living together first and marrying later than ever before.   

In 1996, the divorce rate was at 2.9 per 1,000 people, dropping to 1.9 in 2016 despite population increases, the total of 52,466 divorces in 1996 falling to 46,604.

In 1975, the rate was at 1.8 per 1,000 people, which comes close to the 1.9 rate today, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Read more here

October 30, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 29, 2018

Kansas Man Found Guilty for Encasing Toddler in Concrete

From CBS News:

 A Kansas man has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the horrific abuse and slaying of a 3-year-old boy whose body was found encased in concrete in the laundry room of his home. Stephen Bodine, 41, of Wichita, was convicted Wednesday in the May 2017 death of Evan Brewer. The child's body was found four months after his death. Bodine was also found guilty of child abuse, aggravated child endangerment and two counts of kidnapping. He will be sentenced December 17.

Prosecutors called dozens of witnesses and presented more than 550 pieces of evidence during an emotional six-day trial, including parts of the concrete tomb found in the rental home where the boy had lived with his mother, Miranda Miller, and Bodine. Jurors saw videos and photos showing Evan being abused, including footage of him chained and naked in a basement, being berated by Bodine and Miller, and forced to stand in a corner for hours.

Read more here. 

October 29, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Transracial Adoptees On Their Racial Identity and Sense of Self

From NPR:

The story Nicole Chung was told about her adoption was always the same: "Your birth parents had just moved here from Korea. They thought they wouldn't be able to give you the life you deserved."

Her adoptive parents were white Catholics living in Oregon who told the story with joy: explaining that Chung was born 10 weeks premature, that her birth parents worried she would struggle all her life, that they believed adoption was the best thing for her.

As a child, Chung, the editor-in-here.chief of Catapult and a founding member of The Toast, accepted this story much in the same way all of us accept the narratives presented to us about the lives our families had before us. Chung writes that the story was a "kind of faith, one to rival any religion, informing our beliefs about ourselves and our families and our place in the world." Though she liked the prepackaged myth of her birth parents as selfless, wanting only the best for their daughter, as she became older Chung started to wonder if the story was the entire truth.

Read more here.

October 28, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Legal Battle Over Missouri Clinic Could Foretell Abortion Fights in Other States

From NPR:

When Angela Huntington arrived at work on a Wednesday morning in early October, she had to do something she dreaded: turn patients away.

Huntington is the manager at the Columbia Health Center in Columbia, Mo., a Planned Parenthood site that recently had to halt its abortion services in the midst of a highly publicized legal fight in the state.

Since another Missouri law requires a 72-hour waiting period between counseling about abortion and having the actual procedure, Huntington needed to call every patient on the day's schedule. She told them they could come to her clinic for the counseling but would have to go elsewhere for the abortion.

The only other place in the state that they could turn to for an abortion was in St. Louis, a two-hour-drive away.

Read more here.

October 27, 2018 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 26, 2018

IVF Kids May Suffer From High Blood Pressure

From Business Standard:

Turns out, kids born through fertilization may be more likely to develop

A research published in the Journal of the found a higher average blood pressure among teens born through IVF than in children conceived naturally.

For the study, researchers compared 54 teens conceived through IVF with 43 of their friends who had been conceived naturally. The teens' average age was 17.

In adults, a blood pressure above 120/80 is considered high. But in children and adolescents, a normal blood pressure depends on age and height. If a youngster has a higher blood pressure than 90 percent to 95 percent of other males or females his or her age and height, then the child may have high blood pressure.

Read more here.

October 26, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Protecting Kids in Divorce Mediation

From Lawyers.com:

Going through a divorce can be an emotional time for all parties. When children are involved in the divorce, there can be special challenges. Many divorcing couples share the primary goal of protecting their children from additional stress during this time. For this reason, divorcing parents often choose the mediation process over a traditionally litigated divorce.

Mediation can be less stressful on children for several reasons. Most mediations are held at neutral locations, not in courthouses, which can reduce the level of anxiety, should a child need to appear. The divorce mediator will be specially trained to help both sides with fair negotiations and required compromises.

Mediation often reduces the combative nature of divorce, by allowing the parties to focus on the children’s interests over their own. When engaging in the mediation process, parents can follow a few simple rules to help their children during this difficult period. Many courts in Maryland require mediation as part of the divorce process. Many people choose to hire a mediator outside of the court system, prior to a court filing. Both can be very helpful.

Read more here.

October 25, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), Mediation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

India Supreme Court Decriminalizes Adultery

From NPR:

India's Supreme Court has struck down a colonial-era law that made adultery illegal, calling it arbitrary and saying it is unconstitutional because it "treats a husband as the master."

Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code makes it a crime for a man to have intercourse with another man's wife "without the consent or connivance of that man."

The law gives a husband exclusive right to prosecute his wife's lover — and does not grant a wife power to do the same. It does not penalize the woman, nor any married man who has sex with an unmarried woman.

Read more here.

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Why Prince Harry and Meghan Won't Have Full Custody

From Country Living:

Juggling the complicated protocol of the royal family is always going to be difficult. As Meghan Markle has learned since she first began dating Prince Harry, there’s rules and expectations for all aspects of life. But if you thought that the leg crossing and wardrobe choices were confusing enough, just wait until you hear how things work when it comes to having children-especially now that Meghan Markle is expecting their first child next spring.

According to reports, the royal family operates with a strange custody agreement when its couples have their own children, which states that, actually, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has full legal custody over the young royals. Royal expert Marlene Koenig explained to news outlets: “The sovereign has legal custody of the minor grandchildren.”

Confused? It’s a seriously backdated regulation, as Koenig continued: “This goes back to King George I [who ruled in the early 1700s], and the law’s never been changed. He did it because he had a very poor relationship with his son, the future King George II, so they had this law passed that meant the King was the guardian of his grandchildren.”

Read more here.

 

October 23, 2018 in Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 22, 2018

Catholic Church Sex Abuse in Pennsylvania

From Time.com:

The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, using subpoenas to demand confidential files and testimony from church leaders, according to two people familiar with the probe.

The subpoenas, served last week, follow a scathing state grand jury report over the summer that found that 301 “predator priests” in Pennsylvania had molested more than 1,000 children over several decades and that church leaders had covered up for the offenders.

Now federal prosecutors are bringing the Justice Department’s resources to bear, according to two people who were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Read more here.

October 22, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Proposed narrow definition of 'Gender' threatens Transgender people.

From The New York Times:

The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a government wide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.

A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programs, including in education and health care, recognizing gender largely as an individual’s choice and not determined by the sex assigned at birth. The policy prompted fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other arenas where gender was once seen as a simple concept. Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were incensed.

Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

Read more here

October 21, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 19, 2018

Exploitation of Non-molestation Order!

From The Guardian:

The number of non-molestation orders – issued by courts to prevent domestic abuse – has rocketed by 37% over the past five years because they are being exploited to secure legal aid, according to the charity Families Needs Fathers.

The “weaponisation” of court procedures by “angry and vengeful parents” is encouraging false allegations and fuelling conflict between separating couples, the head of the organisation has claimed.

The figures are based on the latest quarterly statistics produced by the Ministry of Justice. Since 2013, when the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (Laspo) came into force the number of non-molestation orders issued by English and Welsh courts has increased from fewer than 20,000 to more than 26,000 a year.

Read more here

October 19, 2018 in Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Child Abduction

From The Guardian:

Three men and a woman have been accused of helping parents abduct their own children across Australia in contravention of family law orders.

Detectives say as part of a two-year investigation 10 missing children have been located with a parent who had abducted them.

“Five of these are believed to be linked to this group of people,” federal police assistant commissioner Debbie Platz said in a statement on Thursday.

Read more here

October 18, 2018 in Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans), International, Resources - Children & the Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Forced to choose between Family and Freedom!

From the Guardian:

United Nations body has taken the “extraordinary” step of calling on Australia to review its domestic laws in a ruling that it had breached multiple international human rights laws.

The ruling coincides with the Australian government being taken to the UN over alleged breaches of international law by indefinitely separating more than 60 members of 14 refugee families on Nauru.

The working group on arbitrary detention, established by the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1991 to report to the Human Rights Council, had examined the case of Edris Cheragi, an Iranian man and Christian convert who sought asylum in Australia.

Read more here

October 17, 2018 in International, Marriage (impediments), Resources - Civil Rights & Family Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

UK Supreme court rules on right of unmarried mother to Widow's allowance

From The Guardian:

Denying the unmarried mother of four children a widowed parent’s allowance is illegal, the supreme court has ruled, in a decision that significantly extends the rights of unmarried couples.

By a majority of four to one, the court’s justices declared the government’s refusal to pay up to £117 a week in benefits breached the family’s human rights. It will put pressure on ministers to consider making urgent changes to the law.

The judgment follows a hearing earlier this year in Belfast where the court was told that withholding the allowance from Siobhan McLaughlin amounted to discrimination against all children born out of wedlock.

Read more here

 

October 16, 2018 in Cohabitation (live-ins), Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Criminal Conviction for failure to pay Spousal and Child maintenance

From Times Live:

A top Durban businessman on Monday began serving an effective four and half years' prison sentence after being criminally convicted of failing to pay spousal and child maintenance.

Krugersdorp magistrate Abdul Khan also attached his assets‚ the sale of which will enable his ex-wife to recover the more than R1-million she is owed.

Legal experts said this was one of the toughest sentences they have heard of for a criminal contravention of the Maintenance Act - which are usually handled through alternative dispute resolution.

 

Read more here

October 15, 2018 in Child Support Enforcement, International, Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Romania's Top Court Rules LGBTQ Couples Have Same Family Rights As Heterosexual Couples

From HuffPost:

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s top court has ruled that gay couples should have the same family rights as heterosexuals, a judgment that comes before a national referendum seeking to ban same-sex marriage.

The Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples had the same rights to a private and family life as heterosexuals and should “benefit from.... legal and juridical recognition of their rights and obligations.”

The Oct. 6-7 referendum is seeking to limit the constitutional definition of family to heterosexual, married couples.

Read more here. 

October 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Call For Royal Commission Scrutiny In Australian Family Law System

From ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):

A royal commission into family law should be considered if reforms currently underway do not address serious failings in the system, according to the outgoing Chief Justice of the Family Court.

Chief Justice John Pascoe has told the National Family Law Conference in Brisbane family law had become increasingly complex.

Earlier this year, Attorney-General Christian Porter announced plans to merge the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court, promising it would ease the significant delays and costs for people stuck in the system.

Read more here

October 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 12, 2018

California Divorce Courts Now Treat Pet Custody The Same As Child Custody

From Inquisitr:

Recently, a bill was signed by the Governor of California which granted judges the authority to settle pet custody disagreements similarly to the way that they handle child custody disputes. The law may be the first of its kind, revealing a lot about how the role of the family pet has changed over time.

According to Snopes, Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill. The law will take effect on January 1, 2019. Prior to the bill’s signing, pets were treated as property — likened to material goods such as TV’s or other inanimate objects — in California divorce courts. Now, however, judges will have to decide upon the ownership of a pet in the same way as they do when determining the custody of a child.

Read more here

October 12, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Singapore Holds Monthly Talks To Guide Couples Through Divorce

From The Straits Times:

People contemplating divorce or going through one will be able to get practical guidance by attending public talks conducted by lawyers.

Titled About Family Justice: Divorce In Singapore - What You Need To Know, the talks cover the divorce process and procedure, as well as provide information on the help services available to litigants at various stages.

The talks were developed by the Family Justice Courts in collaboration with the Law Society Pro Bono Services (LSPBS), Community Justice Centre and Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS).

Read more here

October 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)