Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, August 31, 2019

UAE Wife Seeks Divorce After "Suffocating From Husband's 'Extreme Love'"

From New York Post:

A married United Arab Emirates woman reportedly is seeking a divorce — claiming her life is “hell” because she feels suffocated by her husband’s “extreme love,” according to reports.

The unnamed woman told a Shariah court in Fujairah that she wants to divorce her spouse after one year of marriage due to his overwhelming adoration for her, the Khaleej Times reported on Friday.

Read more here

August 31, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 30, 2019

New Zealand Finally Attempting To Decriminalize Abortion

From CNN:

Veronica was 21 years old and scared.

It all started with a break-up. Her long-term boyfriend left her for her friend. Heartbroken, she ended up having a one-night stand with an older guy.
After the condom broke, he gave her $20 ($13) for the morning after pill, which doesn't require a prescription in New Zealand. She took it but a month later, in the final semester of her teaching degree, she found out she was pregnant.
Veronica -- who asked CNN not to use her real name out of concern for her privacy -- wanted to get an abortion. But it wasn't that simple.
Read more here.

August 30, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Planned Parenthood Withdraws From Title X Due To Trump's Abortion Rule

From NPR:

Planned Parenthood is leaving the federal Title X family planning program rather than comply with new Trump administration rules regarding abortion counseling.

The new rules, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year, prohibit Title X grantees from providing or referring patients for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency.

Read more here

August 29, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Anti-Abortion Groups Now Backing Down From Abortion Bans

From Vox:

When legislators in Tennessee debated a bill earlier this month that would ban abortion as soon as a pregnancy can be detected, opposition came from a surprising place: anti-abortion groups.

Though the groups National Right to Life and Tennessee Right to Life oppose abortion, they also oppose the Tennessee ban, because they believe it would never stand up in court. If such a ban were to make it to the Supreme Court, the groups worry it would fail: “There is no objective evidence that we have more than one vote to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said James Bopp, general counsel of the National Right to Life Committee, which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization,” in testimony against the bill.

Read more here.

August 28, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Tasmanian Law Enforcement Struggle With Domestic Violence Within Organization

From Australian Broadcasting Corporation News:

Charlotte's involvement with police spanned about seven years and ranged from positive dealings to interactions so traumatic that she, for a time, stopped reporting the family violence perpetrated by her now ex-husband. 

In some instances, she felt Tasmania Police was dismissive or insensitive, leading her to feel ashamed and embarrassed.

"I felt that if the police weren't able to protect me and to respond appropriately, then who could?" Charlotte* said.

Tasmania Police, a White Ribbon-accredited workplace, has made eradicating family violence a priority.

But new figures released to the ABC under right to information laws show the force has been grappling with incidents of family violence within its own ranks.

Read more here

August 27, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 26, 2019

Canadian Sperm Donor's Name Taken Off Birth Certificate

From CBC News:

The name of a sperm donor will be removed from his child's birth certificate following a recent Quebec Court of Appeals decision, which has reignited calls for the province to legally recognize families with more than two parents.

In the case of Family X, the sperm donor to a lesbian couple sought to have his name included on the birth certificate after the couple split and the non-biological parent transitioned from female to male.

Read more here

August 26, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 23, 2019

Family Law Clinic Faculty Position Announcement

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law invites applications for a full-time faculty position at the rank of Assistant, Associate, or Full Clinical Professor to teach in and direct the School’s Family Law Clinic. This position is part of a system of contracts progressing to presumptively renewable long-term contracts, separate from the University’s tenure stream. The position will begin on July 1, 2020.

The Clinic’s primary mission is to provide an excellent experiential learning opportunity for our students, while also providing legal services to low-income individuals involved in family law disputes. As currently constituted, students enrolled in the Family Law Clinic provide assistance to persons appearing pro se in the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, a program sanctioned and valued by the judges sitting in that court. The candidate hired for the position will have the opportunity to shape the future direction of the Clinic.  Therefore, candidates should be prepared to share their thinking about how the Clinic might be adapted or reformed to best advance its dual missions in light of changes in legal education, the legal profession, and society. Duties of the Clinical Professor include classroom teaching, including the possibility of teaching doctrinal courses; supervision of second- and third-year law students as they advise pro se family court litigants and undertake related projects; administrative duties relating to the Family Law Clinic; community outreach and fundraising; and participation in faculty governance of the School of Law. 

Qualifications include admission to practice in Pennsylvania or willingness to seek admission to the Pennsylvania bar; substantial experience in the field of family law and, preferably, clinical pedagogy; excellent supervisory and communication skills; the ability to work effectively with a diverse group of students, clients, and other constituents; and an interest in developing clinical experiences for students in the Family Law Clinic within a community that supports interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative teaching opportunities.

To apply, please provide a letter of interest, resume, and list of three references addressed to Professor Mary Crossley, Chair, Appointments Committee, at Write “Family Law Clinic Application” in the subject line of the email. The deadline for applications is September 3, 2019.

The University of Pittsburgh is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer (EEO/M/F/Vets/ Disabled). In furtherance of our strong institutional commitment to a diverse faculty, we particularly welcome applications from minorities, women, and others who would add diversity to our faculty.  Recruitment is subject to approval by the University’s Provost. 

August 23, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Gupta-Kagan: "America's Hidden Foster Care System"

Josh Gupta-Kagan has posted to SSRN his recent article America's Hidden Foster Care System, Stanford Law Review (forthcoming 2020).  Here is the abstract:

In most states, child protection agencies induce parents to transfer physical custody of their children to kinship caregivers by threatening to place the children in foster care and bring them to family court. Both the frequency of these actions – this Article establishes that they occur tens and likely hundreds of thousands of times annually – and their impact – they separate parents and children, sometimes permanently – resemble the formal foster care system. But they are hidden from courts because agencies file no petition alleging abuse or neglect and from policymakers because agencies do not generally report these cases. 

While informal custody changes can sometimes serve children’s and families’ interests by preventing state legal custody, this hidden foster care system raises multiple concerns, presciently raised in Supreme Court dicta in 1979. State agencies infringe on parents’ and children’s fundamental right to family integrity with few meaningful due process checks. Agencies avoid legal requirements to make reasonable efforts to reunify parents and children, licensing requirements intended to ensure that kinship placements are safe, and requirements to pay foster care maintenance payments to kinship caregivers.

This Article explains how the present child protection funding system and recent federal financing reforms further incentivize hidden foster care without regulating it. Moreover, relatively recent state statutes and policies codify the practice without providing much of any regulation. In contrast to this trend, this Article argues for regulation – the opportunity for a parent to challenge the need for the custody change in court, limits on the length of time such custody changes can remain in effect without more formal action, the provision of counsel to parents (using money from a separate recent change in federal child protection funding), and requiring states to report cases in which its actions lead to parent-child separations.

August 22, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Epstein's Money

From Naomi Cahn (GW), writing for Forbes:

In the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s death, there are numerous disturbing issues about the possibility of justice for his victims. Victims are angry that his death cuts off one form of closure for them: a criminal case ends when the defendant dies. So there will be no criminal trial for him, although prosecutors are looking at cases against his co-conspirators. 

But a criminal trial would not have resulted in any financial payments to his victims. Of course, prosecutors could bring a civil forfeiture suit to seize some of his assets if there is evidence that they were used to facilitate a crime, and victims could then petition the Department of Justice for that money. That could be a lengthy process.

But victims have a more direct way of proceeding. They can turn to civil law, to tort law suits. The good news there is that, unlike in a criminal trial, some new suits can be brought, even though Epstein is dead. 

Read more here.


Indeed, the first suit has already been filed in a New York court by Jennifer Araoz. She claims  that he “committed repeated sexual assault and battery” upon her when she was 14 and 15, and the complaint documents those assaults in painful detail.  His actions, and those of his co-conspirators, she claims, resulted in “extreme emotional injuries” to her. The suit asks for both compensatory and punitive damages.

August 21, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Plunkett: "Sharenthood"

A podcast available here, Professor Leah Plunkett (UNH Law) discusses her upcoming book Sharenthood, which covers the intersection of digital privacy and parenting. Produced and Hosted by A. J. Kierstead.

Learn more about Professor Plunkett, pre-order the book, and get the first chapter for free at

August 20, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 19, 2019

New Divorce Laws Can Streamline Cases

from WHMI radio

Recent changes in divorce law have made it easier and less expensive for couples who agree that it is time to end their marriage.

New court rules are in place simplifying the process in family law cases for parties who can come to an agreement prior to filing for divorce. Denise Couling of Couling Law and Mediation said that many people don’t realize that when they file for divorce, they are entering into a lawsuit that is bound for trial if a settlement isn’t reached. While most cases end up not going to trial, this can still prove to be a stressful time for parties both mentally and on their pocketbooks, paying for attorneys.

Read more here

August 19, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Georgiadis & Ryznar: "Regulating What Has Yet To Be Created: An Introduction"

Millie Georgiadis (IU School of Medicine) & Margaret Ryznar (IU McKinney School of Law) have posted to SSRN their paper Regulating What Has Yet To Be Created: An Introduction, Texas Law Review Online, Forthcoming.  Here is the abstract:

The emerging field of synthetic biology — with the potential for engineering life from scratch — has inherited the laws and regulations of its biotechnology precursor. Yet, synthetic biology allows scientists to do entirely new things. This Article considers the resulting legal and ethical issues, after surveying the technological capabilities developed by the field of synthetic biology.

August 19, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

United Kingdom's "Unfair" Child Welfare Rules

From Human Rights Watch:

Imagine you and your partner work but don’t bring home enough money to support your two children, so you rely on social security assistance to help cover basic necessities like food and housing. Then you have a third child. Your costs and bills suddenly increase, yet the state says your third child is not entitled to any additional support.

That’s now the reality for thousands of people in the United Kingdom under a “two child limit” policy on social security support. Introduced in 2017, this arbitrary policy unfairly penalizes poorer families with three or more children.

Read more here

August 18, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 17, 2019

What India's Criminalization Of Instant Divorce Could Mean For Indian Muslims

From The Atlantic:

In January 2016, Afreen Rehman, a resident of Jaipur, in northwest India, was recovering from a road accident when her husband sent a letter to her maternal uncle and grandfather.

Syed Ashar Ali Warsi had handwritten the word talaq thrice. Their marriage of 16 months was over.

Warsi had used an interpretation of Islamic law that allows a husband to annul a marriage by uttering the word talaq—Arabic for “divorce”—three times. The practice is commonly known as “triple talaq,” or instant divorce.

Read more here.

August 17, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Federal Court Temporarily Blocks Arkansas 18-Week Abortion Ban

From CNN:

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Arkansas' 18-week abortion ban from going into effect on the grounds that it would cause "irreparable" harm to women seeking abortions.

The Tuesday ruling also blocks a new law barring providers from performing an abortion if the woman's decision to terminate the pregnancy was based on a diagnosis that the fetus has Down syndrome and another law requiring providers to be certified in obstetrics and gynecology. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in Juneagainst Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge challenging all three measures as unconstitutional.
Read more here

August 16, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

New Zealand Drafts Bill To Legalize Abortion

From CNN:

New Zealand's justice minister, Andrew Little, introduced a bill on Monday aimed at legalizing abortion in the country.

The new bill would change the status of abortion from a criminal issue to a health issue, according to a statement from Little. Such a move would dramatically increase access to abortions, which are currently only legal in New Zealand in cases of fetal abnormality, incest or if the mother's health is at risk.
"Safe abortion should be treated and regulated as a health issue; a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body," Little said in the statement.
Read more here.

August 15, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

ICE Actions For Kids Left Behind During Mississippi Raids

From NBC News:

WASHINGTON — In the wake of the largest-ever immigration raid in a single state, child welfare services were left grappling with children who came home from school to find their parents had been arrested at one of the seven Mississippi food processing plants targeted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday.

The agency said it took some precautions to ease the burden on families, but as one ICE official said, "We are a law enforcement agency, not a social services agency." The official said that any advance notice to welfare agencies or schools could have alerted undocumented immigrants to the raid and botched the operation.

Read more here

August 14, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Russian Couple Could Potentially Lose Custody Of Child Post-Protest

From The Washington Post:

MOSCOW — Moscow’s ombudsman for children’s rights and members of a presidential council have expressed outrage over Russian prosecutors trying to take a 1-year-old boy from his parents because they allegedly brought him to an unauthorized protest.

The ombudsman, Yevgeny Bunimovich, denounced the custody removal request prosecutors filed Tuesday as “political blackmail involving children” and said he wrote Moscow’s chief prosecutor to urge dropping a criminal case against the parents.

Read more here

August 13, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Ohio Family Sues Fertility Clinic After Finding Out Father And Daughter Are Not Related

From NBC News:

An Ohio family using a home DNA test found that their 25-year-old daughter is not related to her father, according to a lawsuit they filed against a hospital and two fertility practices.

Joe Cartellone said his family made the discovery earlier this year after buying an Ancestry DNA kit to learn more about their Italian heritage, the family's lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas said.

Read more here.

August 12, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Federal Court Blocks Arkansas Abortion Ban

From CNN:

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Arkansas' 18-week abortion ban from going into effect on the grounds that it would cause "irreparable" harm to women seeking abortions.

The Tuesday ruling also blocks a new law barring providers from performing an abortion if the woman's decision to terminate the pregnancy was based on a diagnosis that the fetus has Down syndrome and another law requiring providers to be certified in obstetrics and gynecology. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in Juneagainst Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge challenging all three measures as unconstitutional.
Read more here.

August 11, 2019 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)