Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, November 30, 2019

National Family Caregivers Month

From Naomi Cahn, writing for Forbes:

November is not just the month for Thanksgiving – it is also National Family Caregivers Month. More than 40 million people provide unpaid caregiving, and most of that care is to a family member (less than a quarter is to a neighbor or someone else). That care is critical to the elderly. Most of these caregivers work, and almost half do so full-time; many are also providing care for children.

Women are more likely to be the ones providing care, although a significant number of men do so as well. The type of care differs by sex; men are more likely to spend time watching TV, women are more likely to engage in socializing and communicating. In addition to the $7,000 per year in out-of-pocket expenses, caregivers stand to lose wages and Social Security benefits of approximately $234,000 for male caregivers and $324,000 for women. And then there’s caregiver stress. Older adults prefer to age in place, and the number of older Americans living independently, especially women, continues to rise. Managing stress and avoiding burnout are a constant battle. And over half of caregivers report that they have experienced a decline in exercise and poor diet.

So how can caregivers manage the work/family/caring balance?

Read more here.

November 30, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Anti-Natalist Movement

From the New Yorker:

David Benatar may be the world’s most pessimistic philosopher. An “anti-natalist,” he believes that life is so bad, so painful, that human beings should stop having children for reasons of compassion. “While good people go to great lengths to spare their children from suffering, few of them seem to notice that the one (and only) guaranteed way to prevent all the suffering of their children is not to bring those children into existence in the first place,” he writes, in a 2006 book called “Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence.” In Benatar’s view, reproducing is intrinsically cruel and irresponsible—not just because a horrible fate can befall anyone, but because life itself is “permeated by badness.” In part for this reason, he thinks that the world would be a better place if sentient life disappeared altogether.

For a work of academic philosophy, “Better Never to Have Been” has found an unusually wide audience. It has 3.9 stars on GoodReads, where one reviewer calls it “required reading for folks who believe that procreation is justified.” A few years ago, Nic Pizzolatto, the screenwriter behind “True Detective,” read the book and made Rust Cohle, Matthew McConaughey’s character, a nihilistic anti-natalist. (“I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution,” Cohle says.) When Pizzolatto mentioned the book to the press, Benatar, who sees his own views as more thoughtful and humane than Cohle’s, emerged from an otherwise reclusive life to clarify them in interviews. Now he has published “The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions,” a refinement, expansion, and contextualization of his anti-natalist thinking. The book begins with an epigraph from T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets”—“Humankind cannot bear very much reality”—and promises to provide “grim” answers to questions such as “Do our lives have meaning?,” and “Would it be better if we could live forever?”

Benatar was born in South Africa in 1966. He is the head of the philosophy department at the University of Cape Town, where he also directs the university’s Bioethics Centre, which was founded by his father, Solomon Benatar, a global-health expert. (Benatar dedicated “Better Never to Have Been” “to my parents, even though they brought me into existence.”) Beyond these bare facts, little information about him is available online. There are no pictures of Benatar on the Internet; YouTube videos of his lectures consist only of PowerPoint slides. One video, titled “What Does David Benatar Look Like?,” zooms in on a grainy photograph taken from the back of a lecture hall until an arrow labelled “David Benatar” appears, indicating the abstract, pixellated head of a man in a baseball cap.

Read more here.

November 29, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

November 28, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning—Summer 2020 Conference

Effective Instruction in Online and Hybrid Legal Education

June 11—13, 2020

University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, Little Rock, Arkansas

Conference Theme:  The future of legal education has arrived, with more and more law schools moving toward teaching part or all of their J.D. program online.  During this conference, we will explore how law professors can design and implement methods for teaching effectively in online environments, including both synchronous and asynchronous formats.  After an opening plenary examining data regarding the effectiveness of online education, the subsequent plenaries and concurrent workshops will address the following topics in the context of online and hybrid courses and programs:  course and program design, assessment of student learning, active learning and student engagement, teaching methods, providing feedback, and collaborative learning.

Conference Structure:  The conference will consist of three plenary sessions and a series of concurrent workshops that will take place on Thursday, June 11; Friday, June 12; and the morning of Saturday, June 13.  The conference will open with an informal reception on the evening of Wednesday, June 10.  Details about the conference will be available on the website of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, www.lawteaching.org

Registration Information:  The conference fee for participants is $285, which includes materials, meals during the conference (three breakfasts and three lunches), and the welcome reception on Wednesday, June 10.  The conference fee for presenters is $185.  Details regarding the registration process will be provided in future announcements.

November 27, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

New Family Look

From the Family Inequality blog:

Family diversity is not just a buzzword (although it is that), and it’s not just the recognition of diversity that always existed (although it is that). There really is more actually-existing diversity than there used to be.

In The Family, I use a figure with five simple household types to show family conformity increasing from 1900 to a peak in 1960 — and then increasing diversity after that. I’ve updated that now for the upcoming third edition of the book.

ch 2 household diversity.xlsx

Read more here.

November 26, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Parents Denied Visitation Rights in Japan to Keep Fighting Government in Court

From New York Times 

Lawyers for parents separated from their children in Japan said on Monday they would appeal a court decision that the government was not responsible for enforcing visitation rights.

Fourteen parents had sued the government claiming damages of 9 million yen ($80,000), arguing there was no legal framework in Japan to ensure they get proper access to their children. The Tokyo District Court dismissed the claim last week.

Parental alienation is a chronic problem in Japan, with children often losing contact with the non-custodial parent after an acrimonious split. Unlike most developed countries, Japan has no joint-custody system after divorce, and court-ordered visitation rights  are often ignored with impunity. The police are reluctant to get involved.

Read more here 

November 25, 2019 in Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

On Abortion Rights, 2020 Democrats Move Past ‘Safe, Legal and Rare’

From New York Times

The Democratic presidential field has coalesced around an abortion rights agenda more far-reaching than anything past nominees have proposed, according to a New York Times survey of the campaigns. The positions reflect a hugely consequential shift on one of the country’s most politically divisive issues.

Every candidate The Times surveyed supports codifying Roe v. Wade in federal law, allowing Medicaid coverage of abortion by repealing the Hyde Amendment, and removing funding restrictions for organizations that provide abortion referrals. Almost all of them say they would nominate only judges who support abortion rights, an explicit pledge Democrats have long avoided.

Read more here 

November 25, 2019 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Pence Praises Rule that would Let Adoption Agencies Exclude Gay Parents

From NBC News

During an event celebrating National Adoption Month, Vice President Mike Pence praised a proposed Trump administration rulethat would allow federal funding to flow to adoption agencies that refuse to place children with LGBTQ families, among others.

"We’ve reversed the rule implemented in the closing days of the last administration that jeopardized the ability of faith-based providers to serve those in need by penalizing them for their deeply held religious beliefs," Pence said at an event Tuesday at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington. "We will stand for the freedom of religion and we will stand with faith-based organizations to support adoption."

Read more here .

November 16, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Siblings Help Healthy Eating

From CNN:

Only children may be at a higher risk for obesity than children who have siblings, according to a new study published Wednesday.

The study looked at the eating habits and body weight of only children -- called "singletons" by researchers -- and found they had less healthy eating habits and beverage choices than families with multiple children.
 
While the sample size was small and the study could not establish cause and effect, it does "raise an interesting point that we need to better understand," said pediatrician Dr. Natalie Muth, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Obesity.
 
Read more here.

November 14, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Amid NY Officials' Legal Threats, Christian Adoption Agency Gets Chance for Appeal

From Catholic News Agency

New Hope Family Services, a Christian non-profit, is defending its long-standing child placement program from New York state officials who say it must shut down if it does not place children with same-sex and unmarried couples.

It is appealing a U.S. district court’s dismissal of its lawsuit, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has temporarily halted action against the agency until its appeal can be heard.

“Every child deserves a permanent home with loving parents,” Roger Brooks, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom legal group, said Nov. 5. “New Hope’s faith-based services do nothing to interfere with other adoption providers, but banishing it means fewer kids will find permanent homes, fewer adoptive parents will ever welcome their new child, and fewer birth parents will enjoy the exceptional support that New Hope has offered for decades.”

Read more here

November 13, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amid NY Officials' Legal Threats, Christian Adoption Agency Gets Chance for Appeal

From Catholic News Agency

New Hope Family Services, a Christian non-profit, is defending its long-standing child placement program from New York state officials who say it must shut down if it does not place children with same-sex and unmarried couples.

It is appealing a U.S. district court’s dismissal of its lawsuit, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has temporarily halted action against the agency until its appeal can be heard.

“Every child deserves a permanent home with loving parents,” Roger Brooks, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom legal group, said Nov. 5. “New Hope’s faith-based services do nothing to interfere with other adoption providers, but banishing it means fewer kids will find permanent homes, fewer adoptive parents will ever welcome their new child, and fewer birth parents will enjoy the exceptional support that New Hope has offered for decades.”

Read more here

November 13, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Intergenerational Strife

From CNN:

The New Zealand parliamentarian Chlöe Swarbrick was giving a floor speech about the climate crisis. An older colleague was heckling her. She is 25 years old. What could she say to counter his age and experience and gravitas?

She did not miss a beat: "OK Boomer"... and that was enough. His authority lay dead on the floor, killed by two words that millennials (and Gen X-ers and Gen Z-ers) have used to cut down out-of-touch-oldsters -- scorn disguised as deference.
 
"OK Boomer" started on the platform Tik Tok and exploded into the meme of the moment. Turns out young people trying to launch into a gig economy with little job security on a rapidly warming planet, with far less opportunity for the wealth and creature comforts that their parents and grandparents enjoyed (A car? A house? Ha!) don't want to be lectured by Baby Boomers, the generation who put them into this kind of shape.
 
Read more here.
 

November 13, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Low-Interest Loans Proposed for Adoption Expenses

From The Blade 

When Angela Boblitt and her husband adopted a baby with Down syndrome six years ago, they found themselves $14,000 shy of the expected finances it would take to complete the process.

While Lucy is now in her “forever home” in the Boblitts’ Springfield, Ohio, household, Ms. Boblitt, executive director of the adoption agency Choosing Hope, said a proposed loan program would help future prospective adoptive parents deal with that sticker shock.

“Every day we receive emails from prospective adoptive parents inquiring on the adoption process,” she said. “Eight out of 10 times the question these hopeful adoptive parents lead with isn’t how to adopt or how the process works but rather how much it will cost.”

Read more here

November 12, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Low-Interest Loans Proposed for Adoption Expenses

From The Blade 

When Angela Boblitt and her husband adopted a baby with Down syndrome six years ago, they found themselves $14,000 shy of the expected finances it would take to complete the process.

While Lucy is now in her “forever home” in the Boblitts’ Springfield, Ohio, household, Ms. Boblitt, executive director of the adoption agency Choosing Hope, said a proposed loan program would help future prospective adoptive parents deal with that sticker shock.

“Every day we receive emails from prospective adoptive parents inquiring on the adoption process,” she said. “Eight out of 10 times the question these hopeful adoptive parents lead with isn’t how to adopt or how the process works but rather how much it will cost.”

Read more here

November 12, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sexist Credit Cards

From BBC:

A US financial regulator has opened an investigation into claims Apple's credit card offered different credit limits for men and women.

It follows complaints - including from Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak - that algorithms used to set limits might be inherently biased against women.

New York's Department of Financial Services (DFS) has contacted Goldman Sachs, which runs the Apple Card.

Any discrimination, intentional or not, "violates New York law", the DFS said.

The Bloomberg news agency reported on Saturday that tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson had complained that the Apple Card gave him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got.

In a tweet, Mr Hansson said the disparity was despite his wife having a better credit score.

Later, Mr Wozniak, who founded Apple with Steve Jobs, tweeted that the same thing happened to him and his wife despite their having no separate bank accounts or separate assets.

Read more here.

November 12, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 11, 2019

Proposed Manx Law Changes would take the Sting out of Divorce

From BBC News 

Proposals to change the criteria for no-fault divorces would mean couples could finalise the process in six months, rather than two or five years.

Launching a consultation on the changes, Daphne Caine MHK said they would "take the sting out of divorce".

The proposals, which will also apply to civil partnerships, would mean couples could apply individually or jointly for a blameless divorce.

Under the current law, which is over half a century old, the process can only be finalised in less than two years if adultery or unreasonable behaviour is cited as a reason for the breakdown of a marriage.

It also states a separation must last five years if one half of the couple objects to the divorce.

Read more here

November 11, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Golden Age for Singles

From CNN:

"I call it being self-partnered."

With that simple utterance, Emma Watson launched a flood of tweets, think pieces and water cooler conversations earlier this week.
 
Talking to British Vogue, the "Harry Potter" star and UN goodwill ambassador discussed her romantic life as she approached her 30th birthday.
 
"I never believed the whole 'I'm happy single' spiel," she said. "I was like, 'This is totally spiel.' It took me a long time, but I'm very happy (being single). I call it being self-partnered."
 
Gossip columnists immediately bemoaned the actress' self-coined phrase, while supporters on Twitter leapt to her defense.
 
To some, Watson's new addition to the cultural dictionary reflected nothing more than self-indulgence from a celebrity out of touch with the real world. To others, it was a rare example of a public figure breaking free from the shackles of gawkish expectations and verbalizing the realities of life and love.
 
But perhaps Watson was expressing something quite mundane -- by celebrating singlehood, experts say, she was reflecting the changing way in which millennials are moving through life.

Read more here.

November 11, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Australian Family Law Plan Heavily Criticized

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

Australia's peak legal body has accused the federal government of adopting a "stubborn and wrong-headed approach to family law" that will hurt children and families, in a sharp escalation of its campaign against plans to scrap the Family Court as a standalone court.

Attorney-General Christian Porter announced in August he would push ahead with a controversial pre-election plan to merge the specialist Family Court of Australia with the lower-level Federal Circuit Court, which handles some family law disputes alongside other cases including migration.

Read more here

November 10, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 9, 2019

South African Woman Attempts To Sue Husband For Coming Out As Gay

From LGBTQ Nation:

An unnamed woman in Cape Town, South Africa, tried to sue her husband for coming out as gay two months before their sixth anniversary.

She sought nine million South African Rand (roughly $600,000) for emotional pain, psychological trauma, and loss of income. But she seems to have failed… for now.

Judge Mark Sher said that the wife’s “extraordinary sum” was based on the husband allegedly “misrepresented” that he was a heterosexual man just so he could have kids in a monogamous different-sex marriage.

Immediately after coming out, the couple “no longer lived together as man and wife.”

Read more here

November 9, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 8, 2019

Taiwan Hosts First Gay Pride Parade After Legalization Of Gay Marriage

From The Guardian:

Nearly 200,000 revellers have marched through Taipei in a riot of rainbow colours and celebration as Taiwan held its first pride parade since making history in Asia by legalising gay marriage.

The island has long hosted the region’s largest pride marches but this year Taiwan’s LGBT community and its supporters had an extra reason to celebrate on Saturday.

In May, politicians took the unprecedented decision to legalise same-sex marriages, becoming the first place in Asia to do so. More than 2,000 couples have since married, many of them taking part in Saturday’s festival.

Read more here

November 8, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)