Family Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, September 13, 2019

Get Alimony Insurance Before Getting Married In Egypt

From OZY:

If you cannot afford divorce, don’t get married. That’s the philosophy Egypt is turning to, on the back of skyrocketing living costs and escalating divorce rates. And it’s an approach that could be adopted more widely throughout a region not traditionally known for gender rights.

The number of Egyptian divorces rose by nearly 7 percent in 2018 to 211,500, up from 198,300 in 2017, according to the state-run Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. The divorce rate, meanwhile, has climbed since 2010 from 1.9 to 2.2 divorces for every thousand Egyptians in 2018. At the same time, the marriage rate is falling, from just over 10 per thousand in 2016 to around 9 in 2018. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s government is battling to fix the problem.

Read more here

September 13, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Is Money The Root Of Divorce?

From Forbes:

For decades, the prevailing wisdom on marital satisfaction over time has been one of steady decline. Spouses begin marriage full of happiness and enthusiasm. Over time, however, the initial excitement cools and satisfaction settles into a state of subdued contentment. Researchers call this the “honeymoon-is-over” effect or, pejoratively, the “honeymoon-then-years-of-blandness” pattern.

Recent research, however, has called this perspective into question. Newer studies, for instance, have found that it is common for spouses to exhibit high levels of marital satisfaction long after tying the knot.

Read more here

September 12, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Fertility Clinic Must Hand Over Sperm Donor List


A Livingston fertility clinic was ordered by a judge to turn over a list of sperm donors after a couple claimed the facility mistakenly impregnated the wife with the sperm of someone who was not her husband.

The Verona couple, who are now divorced, say they learned of the mistake by the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas after noticing their daughter was developing Asian features. The couple, who are white, took a DNA test and learned that the husband was not the daughter’s biological parent, their lawsuit said.

Read more here.

September 11, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Google Maps Directing Women Seeking Abortions to "Pro-Life Clinics"

From VICE:

There’s just one abortion clinic left in North Dakota, and it’s in Fargo. But if you’re searching for a clinic around the state’s second-largest city, Google Maps won’t tell you about it.

Instead, searching Google Maps for “Where can I get an abortion in Bismarck, North Dakota?” will bring up results not only for a facility that doesn’t offer abortion but also for North Dakota Right to Life — an organization that lobbies to end abortion.

Read more here

September 11, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

European Doctor Prescribing Abortion Pills To American Women Online Sues FDA

From NPR:

A European doctor who prescribes abortion pills to American women over the Internet is suing the Food and Drug Administration in an effort to continue providing the medications to patients in the United States.

The lawsuit being filed Monday in federal court in Idaho names several federal officials, including U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Read more here

September 10, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 9, 2019


From Women's Health:

The rules of relationships aren't so simple and finite (sorry, Elle Woods), but having a set of mutual "rules" in place—especially when your brand of romance is a polyamorous relationship—is one smart way to keep your love life a bit less complicated.

I put "rules" in quotes because, let's be real, no one wants to be held to strict expectations or standards in matters of love. These rules are more like guidelines for you and your partners to go over at the start of and throughout your relationship, and they ensure that you’ll have the necessary measures in place to set and stick to boundaries across all parties.

Read more here.

September 9, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

College Course Teaches There Are No Soul Mates

From The Atlantic:

Research shows that practically every dimension of life happiness is influenced by the quality of one’s marriage, while divorce is the second most stressful life event one can ever experience.

Yet nearly half of all married couples are likely to divorce, and many couples report feeling unhappy in their relationships. Instructors of Northwestern University’s Marriage 101 class want to change that. The goal of their course is to help students have more fulfilling love relationships during their lives. In Marriage 101 popular books such as Mating in Captivity and For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage are interspersed with meaty academic studies. Students attend one lecture a week and then meet in smaller breakout groups to discuss the weekly topics, which range from infidelity to addiction, childrearing to sexuality in long-term relationships.

At first glance this class may seem a tad too frivolous for a major research university. But the instructors say it’s not an easy A and its reputation as a meaningful, relevant, and enlightening course has grown steadily over the 14 years it’s been offered. In fact, teachers are forced to turn away eager prospective students every year. This spring, the enrollment will be capped at 100. The class is kept to a manageable size so that students can grapple at a deeply personal level with the material during their discussion sessions.

Read more here.

September 9, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Regulating Fertility Services

From Adam Wolf & Naomi Cahn, writing for USA Today:

More than 1 in 10 women of child-bearing age seek fertility-related services, resulting in 77,000 live births each year. That's nearly 2% of all children born in the United States. How is it, then, that the assisted reproductive technology (ART) industry in America has less oversight and regulation than in such places as Estonia and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates? We are allowing headline-grabbing cases of fertility center abuses to pile up month after month and taking no action though there is clearly a growing problem

One of the consequences of an unregulated industry is that we do not know how often American fertility centers fail the people they are intended to serve. In 2016, a national ratings website found that 18% to 24% of fertility patients reported damaged or destroyed samples, among a host of other errors. The lawsuits filed against ART facilities and those who operate them paint an increasingly disturbing picture.

Read more here.


September 8, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Marriage Decreases Dementia

A new study finds that:

All unmarried groups, including the cohabiting, divorced/separated, widowed, and never married, had significantly higher odds of developing dementia over the study period than their married counterparts; economic resources and, to a lesser degree, health-related factors accounted for only part of the marital status variation in dementia. For divorced/separated and widowed respondents, the differences in the odds of dementia relative to married respondents were greater among men than among women.

Read it here.

September 7, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 6, 2019

SC Most Recent to Abolish Common Law Marriage

From the Desert News:

South Carolina is the most recent state to abolish common-law marriage, with a ruling from the state Supreme Court that calls the institution outdated and paternalistic.


Linda McClain, professor of family law at Boston University [said] “Common-law marriage cases can be pretty messy when you have facts that are all over the place.”

“The function was historically to normalize things, to take people who are deviating from the norm and to bring them under the protective umbrella, the moral umbrella, of marriage. But that’s the ethical debate today, whether you should treat people as married if they didn’t consciously take on marriage.”

Besides Utah, states that recognize common-law marriage are Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Rhode Island, Oklahoma and Texas. The District of Columbia also does, and New Hampshire provides for a marriage to be established after the death of one partner, “an after-the-fact remedy,” McClain said.

McClain said she found the justices’ reasoning remarkable, given that South Carolina is “not exactly the most liberal state.” But the ruling is in line with prevailing legal thought, which is “marriage is a right, but there’s also the right not to have marriage imposed upon you.”

The lack of a uniform legal standard, however, results in uneven outcomes, which is why a committee comprised of legal scholars across the nation is working on a proposal for a framework all states could potentially adopt. Naomi Cahn, a professor of law at George Washington University Law School, is a member of the Economic Rights of Unmarried Cohabitants Committee, and said the panel hopes to have a proposal within two years. Members are looking into practices across America and across the world, Cahn said.

Read more here.

September 6, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 5, 2019

New Jersey Bill, if Passed, could Safeguard Children Against Cyberbullying

From New York Times 

The bullying started with some teasing and mean comments, but escalated significantly when Mallory Grossman, 12, a cheerleader and gymnast from New Jersey, began middle school. It spread to social media where a group of children tormented her.

They took pictures of Mallory at school, without her knowledge, posted them online and taunted her with text messages containing screenshots of the vicious comments made about her. “They called her horrible names, told her you have no friends and said, when are you going to kill yourself,” said her mother, Dianne Grossman.

Ms. Grossman frequently reported the bullying to the school, but the harassment continued. She said that by the time she found out about the full scope of the cyberbullying, it was too late. Mallory died by suicide on June 14, 2017.

“The vicious things Mallory’s peers said about her became her reality,” her mother said. “No matter how untrue they were, she started believing it. Words matter — they have the ability to cause significant harm.”

September 5, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

New York Law Removes Unnecessary Step For Children Charged with Felonies

From The Appeal 

Until late last year, New York was one of just two states in the country that automatically prosecuted 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. Then lawmakers passed sweeping legislation in 2017, designed to treat children in the criminal legal system differently.

But as a result of the legislation, known as Raise the Age, the majority of the nearly 2,000 children who have gone through the courts since its passage must return to court a second time to hear charges against them and make their pleas, creating what advocates denounce as a needless step in an already traumatic process. On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that would get rid of that step. 

Under Raise the Age, children 16 and younger who are charged with a felony are processed through a separate section of adult criminal court known as the “youth part.” (On Oct. 1, 17-year-olds will be eligible for youth part hearings.) These proceedings are overseen by judges trained in family law, who are supposed to transfer the majority of cases to family court, allowing for an exception in cases in which a child uses a deadly weapon, causes “significant physical injury,” or engages in illegal sexual conduct, according to the bill text. 


Read more here 

September 4, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Contributors

The editor of Marriage and Divorce in America: Issues, Trends, and Controversies, a two-volume encyclopedia set, seeks contributors. This set will combine authoritative encyclopedia entries, insightful essays, and illuminating primary documents to provide a sweeping overview of the historical evolution, current characteristics, and social, economic, and political impact of both marriage and divorce in America.

Users of this resource will gain valuable insights into broad trends changing the landscape of American society, such as divorce rates, delayed marriages, and trends in marriage and divorce among various socioeconomic groups. Entries will range from 500-1,500 words.

For a list of available potential topics and more information, please email Jaimee L. Hartenstein, Ph.D., CFLE

September 4, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Seymore: "Ethical Blind Spots in Adoption Lawyering"

Malinda Seymore (Texas A & M) has posted to SSRN her recent article, Ethical Blind Spots in Adoption Lawyering, University of Richmond Law Review (forthcoming).  Here is the abstract:

Lawyers engaged in adoption work often call it “happy law,” and consider adoption –finding a child for yearning  parents,  finding parents  for a needy child –an unmitigated good. That attitude  can mask the fact that  all adoption  begins with loss.  One family loses a child so that another family can gain one. A lawyer’s assurance that she is engaged in positive work can lead to ethical blind spots  that  ignore the complexities of adoption  practice. And while the touchstone  of adoption  is the best interests  of the child, the primacy in legal ethics of the interests of the client, who is rarely the child, skews  that focus. This article discusses ethical issues relevant to adoption  attorneys, centeringon the Model Rules of Professional  Conduct most applicable to adoption  practice, as well as the lessons from behavioral ethics that  inform the ethical blind spots common in the practice. Rules relating to competency and  confidentiality, conflicts of interest and dual representation, and the lawyer’s role as counselor are particularly germane. Since legal ethics can be both descriptive and normative, this  article addresses  both what  the ethical requirements of professional responsibility  are, and what  they should be in adoption  practice. This article sketches the contours  of ethical lawyering  in adoption  in order to shine light on the ethical blind spots  adoption  attorneys  should avoid, and to  suggest some solutions  from behavioral ethics to  eradicate blind spots.

In this article, Prof. Seymore drills down on the subject of adoption lawyering, a subject she touched on in her previous article, Adopting Civil Damages: Wrongful Family Separation in Adoption, in which she argued for suing adoption agencies and lawyers for wrongful actions in securing an adoption.  It was published in the Washington & Lee Law Review, and is available here.


September 3, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 2, 2019

Public Vote on New Mssouri Abortion Law Faces Time Crunch

From KMBC News

Missouri's top election official says abortion-rights advocates can start collecting signatures to get a public vote on a new law restricting abortions.
But advocates say Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's Wednesday decision leaves them with only two weeks to collect enough signatures.

The law would ban abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy. It includes an exception for medical emergencies but not rape or incest.

Read more here

September 2, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

32nd Annual Domenick L. Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition

February 28 – 29, 2020


The Gabrielli National Family Law Competition is held each year at Albany Law School focusing on current issues in the field of family law.  Last year’s problem addressed: (1) whether the parents’ failure to provide Puberty Blocking Treatment for their child, who identifies as transgender, constitutes medical neglect; and (2) whether it is in that child’s best interests to grant an order of visitation to the grandparents, who support the child’s transgender identity, which results in family tension and dysfunction because the parents do not.


Our final round panel of judges traditionally include state and federal judges, as well as, distinguished professors and practitioners in the area of family law.


Key Dates:

11/07/2019      Registration/Postmark Deadline

12/02/2019      Problem released (online)

01/14/2020      Briefs Postmarked

02/28/2020      Preliminary Rounds

02/29/2020      Octofinal, Quarterfinal, Semifinal & Final Rounds


Costs: The registration fee is $300 per team and a law school may register up to two teams consisting of either two or three competitors; payment by check or credit card is accepted.


Awards: The competitors and coaches will receive a t-shirt for participating in the event. All participants are invited to attend a formal dinner where awards will be announced for the teams who display excellence in oral advocacy, brief writing and overall team performance.


To learn more about this event, please visit


To register for this event please click here


Please contact Brian J. Palamar at with any questions.


September 2, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Astronaut Accessing Bank Account From Space Sparks Criminal Allegations Amidst Divorce

From The Irish Times:

Summer Worden, a former US air force intelligence officer living in Kansas, has been in the midst of a bitter separation and parenting dispute for much of the past year. So she was surprised when she noticed that her estranged spouse still seemed to know things about her spending. Had she bought a car? How could she afford that?

Worden put her intelligence background to work, asking her bank about the locations of computers that had recently accessed her bank account using her login credentials. The bank got back to her with an answer: One was a computer network registered to Nasa.

Read more here.

September 1, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)