Family Law Prof Blog

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

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Scarier than Halloween: Polish Government Legalizes Involuntary 'Donation' of Embryos

From Above the Law 

The right to use assisted reproductive technology to conceive a child is severely limited in much of the world, including most of Europe and Asia. But despite the fact that I write about such restrictions on a weekly basis, I was shocked to read Anna Louie Sussman’s recent New Yorker piece. Sussman details just how bad the situation in Poland has become.

Sussman describes the changes in the country relating to in vitro fertilization (IVF) over the last few years, including its complex political and religious underpinnings, and the stories of a number of women negatively impacted by the new laws. Prior to 2015, there were no laws in Poland regulating IVF. As a result, fertility clinics were flourishing. In addition to married couples struggling with infertility, single women were utilizing fertility services, as well as donor sperm, to become parents.

Read more here

October 31, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Halloween

Image result for clip art Halloween

October 31, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Supreme Court Names Koch to Innovation Initiative


State Senator Eric Koch (R-Bedford) has been appointed to serve as a member of the Indiana Innovation Initiative established by the Indiana Supreme Court

The 13-member group appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court will work to foster innovation within the legal profession. The Court issued an order establishing the Indiana Innovation Initiative to maintain Indiana’s place as a national leader in legal reform.

“We must actively seek and cultivate opportunities to improve the practice of law and the justice system in Indiana, and that includes welcoming innovation,” explained Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush.

Read more here

October 30, 2019 in Abortion, Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Call for Signatures

In honor of International Day of Climate Action (October 24), a group of law professors have announced the Pledge to Reduce Academic Marketing Waste, which seeks to address the routine and indiscriminate use of paper-based flyers, newsletters, offprints and postcards by law professors and law schools.  Most of this material is discarded without ever being read.  However, law schools continue to produce and distribute these materials in an effort to increase or maintain their national and international rankings.
Continuing this practice is unconscionable in the current era, given the availability of electronic marketing options.  Limiting or eliminating reliance on paper-based materials will not only reduce the destruction of forests, it will also reduce carbon emissions generated as part of the printing and transportation processes.
Given the competitive nature of higher education, it is unlikely that individual law schools will act on their own initiative to stop or significantly curtail paper-based marketing for fear of risking their rankings.  However, positive results may be obtained by coordinating actions across numerous law schools. 
Individual faculty members as well as law schools both inside and outside the United States are therefore invited to join the Pledge to Reduce Academic Marketing Waste by emailing Prof. S.I. Strong ( to indicate their support.  The names of individual law professors and institutions who have adopted the Pledge will be published on a webpage housed at Pace University.  That webpage is regularly updated to show increased support for this initiative.
The language of the Pledge is as follows:
We, the undersigned, hereby pledge to reduce academic marketing waste, individually and institutionally, by limiting or eliminating the production and transmission of paper-based marketing materials and/or by encouraging the relevant decision makers at our institutions to adopt actions and polices consistent with that goal.  Reducing academic marketing waste can take a variety of forms, including but not limited to:  (1) reducing the size of paper-based marketing materials (eg, replacing newsletters with postcards); (2) reducing the frequency of paper-based marketing initiatives; (3) adopting an opt-in rather than opt-out approach to paper-based mailing initiatives; (4) replacing some or all paper-based marketing with electronic or other forms of marketing. 
Please feel free to forward this message to anyone at your institution or in your network who you think might be interested in joining the Pledge.  The current signatories can be seen here -

October 29, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Child Marriage in North Africa: Still Alot to Be Done

From World Economic Forum 

This year about 12 million of the world’s children will be married before they turn 18. UNICEF figures suggest about 18% of them will be boys and about 82% girls.

Child marriage is widespread across developing countries, cultures and religions. It violates the rights of children and has widespread and long term consequences. It is driven by gender inequality, poverty, patriarchal traditions and the precarious socio-economic position of women, especially in rural areas.

The practice continues in the Middle East and Africa, even though many countries have laws banning it. In West Africa, Niger has the highest prevalence: 76% of all marriages there involve children. It is followed by the Central African Republic with 68%, Mali with 52% and Guinea with 51%. In North Africa, the figure for Mauritania is 37%; Egypt 17% and Morocco 13%.

Read more here 

October 29, 2019 in Current Affairs, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 28, 2019

Arizona official charged in adoption scheme is suspended

From Fox News

    An Arizona elected official was suspended Monday after being charged in a multimillion-dollar adoption scheme that allegedly brought pregnant women to the U.S. to give birth and then paid them to put the babies up for adoption.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors suspended assessor Paul Petersen --  he has refused calls to resign --  for 120 days without pay. The board doesn't have the power to remove him from his office, which determines the value of properties for tax purposes in Phoenix and its suburbs.

Read more here



October 28, 2019 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (1)

Willis: "How a Spouse Can Profit by Paying Partner's Principal"

Steven J. Willis (University of Florida) has recently posted to SSRN his paper How a Spouse Can Profit by Paying Partner's Principal, 49 New Mexico Law Review 283 (2019).  Here is the abstract:

Many people marry already owning a residence. If marital or community funds service any related debt, issues regarding ownership or reimbursement arise upon divorce. Unfortunately, many (most?) state approaches are seriously flawed. As a result, spouses can profit (or suffer) from counter-intuitive behavior. Indeed, in California, Florida, and New Mexico the non-owner spouse can plausibly profit 600% by paying her spouse’s separate debt!

States, courts, and academics have long wrestled with the separate-house/separate-debt serviced-by-marital-funds scenario. While many have recognized existing formula flaws, none have proposed a workable solution. This article does. As it also demonstrates, many well-intended formulas produce results at great odds with what was intended. Although many state property division formulas deal with debt payments, none properly consider the financial, accounting, and economic consequences. Sometimes a state achieves a fair result, but more by happenstance than because of a valid economic formula. Often, state formulas reward bad decisions and punish good ones. Some are easily manipulated by devious (well-advised?) spouses.

In California and Florida, all it takes is “Honey, I love you... let me pay your debt.” Who would not fall for that? Read on, with the hope that you will not.

This article suggests an Economic Reimbursement Formula for most separate debts paid with marital funds. A spouse would owe reimbursement for the payment of separate liabilities – both interest and principal – equal to the present value of prior payments. This proposal differs from existing formulas in multiple
• It considers both interest and principal.
• It considers the timing of payments.
• It applies to secured and unsecured loans.
• It provides a reasonable return to the non-debtor spouse, using a predictable measure.

Additionally, the proposed formula could apply to the opposite situation: non-marital funds enhancing marital assets. The focus of the article, however, rests on the payment of separate liabilities with marital/community funds.

Replying in advance to anticipated concerns:
• Computations and record-keeping would be simple.
• Including interest will not result in unreasonable numbers; indeed, the results will be similar to many current court-imposed results, but without the potential distortions current formulas inherently include.
• Including the “return on investment” – which considers the timing of each payment – is neither complex nor unreasonable in amount.

October 28, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

ABA's "Celebrate Pro Bono Week" Highlights Troubling Reality Of Domestic Violence And Sexual Assault Victims

From Forbes:

While several states examine structural reform in the legal profession, the American Bar Association is focusing its 11th annual “Celebrate Pro Bono” week on victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Every day, the vast majority of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking victims (largely women) go to court without the benefit of an attorney to seek civil restraining orders and to fight for child custody, child support and to stay in their homes. Many forfeit important rights, such as the right to maintenance or decent child support, due to ignorance or inability.

Read more here

October 27, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 26, 2019

San Diego Customs And Border Protection Accused Of Holding Migrant Children Longer Than Allowed

From Los Angeles Times:

Lawyers are accusing Customs and Border Protection in San Diego of breaking their own policies and potentially the law by holding migrant children in custody longer than the agency is allowed to.

Under the Flores Settlement Agreement, the federal government generally cannot detain migrant children and their parents together for more than brief periods. The agreement states CBP should not hold children for more than 72 hours and that Immigration and Customs Enforcement should not detain them for more than 20 days.

Read more here

October 26, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 25, 2019

How Technology Changed Divorce

From Forbes:

Thanks to technology, we can buy groceries online. We can search online for a job, a pet, even a spouse. And if for whatever reason that spouse doesn’t work out, we can go through the divorce process online, too.

But when you're divorcing, can a website, or a collection of them, be a substitute for face-to-face interaction? Based on the growing number of users who frequent sites specializing in divorce, the answer appears to be "Yes."

Read more here


October 25, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Narratives for Paul Weiss Brief

We are collaborating with the Center for Reproductive Rights to help to get the word out about an opportunity to participate in an amicus brief that tells the story of lawyers who have had abortions. This term, the Supreme Court granted the Center for Reproductive Rights’ petition for certiorari in June Medical Services v. Gee, a case challenging a Louisiana law identical to the Texas law struck down in Whole Woman’s Health.  

Paul Weiss is authoring an amicus brief in this case on behalf of lawyers who have had abortions.  The brief will provide the Justices with the perspective of people in the legal profession for whom, like people in all walks of life, access to safe and legal abortion has been important to their autonomy, dignity, and ability to fully participate in the "economic and social life of the  Nation." Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 835 (1992).

To identify signers for the brief, we are reaching out to lawyers and law students in our network and hope you will join in doing the same.

Interested lawyers should contact Paul Weiss at  Interested individuals are encouraged to reach out to Paul Weiss as soon as possible. If signatories want to share their narrative they must do so by November 8th; individuals interested in signing on as signatory-- without sharing their story-- can do so until November 20th.

October 25, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

California Is First State To Mandate Access To Abortion Medication At Public Colleges

From CBS News:

California just became the first state in the U.S. to require public colleges to provide abortion medication to students on campus. Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 24 — known as the "College student Right to Access Act" — into law Friday. 

Under the new law, all 34 University of California and California State University systems will need to provide the medication, which is not currently offered on campuses, at no cost to students. They have until January 2023 to comply. 

Read more here. 

October 24, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Northern Ireland Considering Decriminalization Of Abortion

From The Independent:

The Stormont Assembly will sit for the first time in almost three years on Monday to discuss the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland after a petition prompted the gathering.

MPs resoundingly backed the right to abortion in Northern Ireland in a vote in July and the procedure will be decriminalised there unless a devolved executive at Stormont is restored by Monday.

The petition is an eleventh-hour bid to stop the law – which even bans abortions in cases of rape or incest – being changed.

Read more here

October 23, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Netflix's Impact On Abortion Rights In Hollywood

From CNN Business:

We're all familiar with Hollywood and Bollywood — but what about Y'allywood? While Atlanta's moniker might not be as well known, it's not for lack of trying.

Georgia has become one of the top locations for film and TV productions over the past decade. Bolstered by hefty tax credits and a diverse topography that can stand in for a variety of settings, the state has provided the backdrop for shows like "The Walking Dead," "Atlanta" and "Stranger Things," as well as films like "Black Panther," "Avengers: Infinity War" and "The Hunger Games."
So in May, when Netflix said it would "rethink" its investment in Georgia if a new restrictive abortion law went into effect, it was putting its business interests on the line.
That statement, attributed to Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, was the first by a major company to oppose the law. It opened the floodgates, spurring other large studios to follow suit.
Read more here

October 22, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 21, 2019

Louisiana May Become First State Without Abortion Access

From CBS News:

Louisiana could become the first state not to have legal abortion access since the procedure was legalized in 1973. Depending on the outcome of an upcoming Supreme Court case next spring, the state could see abortion access effectively eliminated, even though Roe v. Wade — the case that legalized the procedure — would stay intact.

Louisiana's "Unsafe Abortion Protection Act" is at the heart of the Supreme Court case. The law, not currently in effect, would require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Supporters of the law say the regulation would assist with "continuity of care" in the event of an emergency. 

Read more here


October 21, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Marshall Islands president 'pleased' with Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen's arrest

From AZ Central 

A week after Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen was arrested for allegedly running an illegal international adoption scheme in three states, the president of the Marshall Islands is weighing in. 

“Marshallese women have been induced by people like Petersen and his ilk for too long,” President Hilda Heine said in a statement late Tuesday. 

Petersen is accused of violating an international compact between the United States and the Marshall Islands that bars Marshallese women from coming to the U.S. for adoption purposes.

Investigators have reported at least 70 Marshallese births in the U.S. with ties to Petersen's private            adoption firm between 2015-2019. Petersen has been practicing adoption law since 2005. 

Read more here 

October 17, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Daycare employee arrested for felony child abuse in Omaha

From 1011 NOW

A 27-year-old daycare provider was arrested for felony child abuse in Bellevue after a child in her care reportedly suffered a dislocated elbow.

On October 9, Bellevue Police responded to a report made by a mother who said her 2-year-old sustained the injury while at daycare.

The child attended 'It's a Kidz World Daycare" in Bellevue.

Read more here 

October 16, 2019 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Arkansas Judge: Court to Hear 19 Adoption Scheme Cases

From U.S. News & World Report 

An Arkansas judge ruled Friday that the court will decide individual outcomes to 19 statewide adoption cases against an Arizona elected official accused of human trafficking.

Paul Petersen, a Republican county assessor in Arizona, was arrested Tuesday for running what authorities call a human smuggling scheme. He's accused of paying thousands of dollars to pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to travel to the U.S., where they were crammed into houses to await giving birth for adoption.

Read more here 

October 15, 2019 in Adoption, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pro-life advocate says new California campus abortion pill law 'violates conscience rights' of workers

From Fox News 

The president of a pro-life group voiced concern Monday over California's new law that will require public universities to provide abortion pills at campus health centers.

“This is a first-in-the-nation law that is going to fundamentally alter what is happening at college campus health centers. Every state college campus in California will now be turned into an abortion facility,” president of Students for Life of America Kristan Hawkins told “Fox & Friends.”

Hawkins' comment came after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law Friday, making his state the first to require public universities to offer the RU-486 drug, beginning in 2023.

Read more here 


October 15, 2019 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Why an IVF Bill is the next fault line for the French Republic

October 14, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)