Family Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

From CNN:

 Stay in Cairo with family or catch the last flight to Canada to be with my love. I needed to decide quickly but feared that traveling during this pandemic was the equivalent of suicide, or worse, murder.
As Covid-19 began to spread across the globe, I believed nowhere was safe and self-isolation was the best course of action. Still, love will make you do stupid things.
I'm a Canadian-Egyptian in love with an Italian-American, Francesca Brundisini, who is working on a postdoc in Quebec City. She's new to the city and feared that her isolation with no friends or family would lead to a communication breakdown if she contracted the virus.
As news of the pandemic broke out worldwide, we both realized that this crisis would last more than a few weeks. It was the distance, the uncertainty, and an alarmed Italian mother -- panicking in Italy -- that pushed me to make a move.

Read more here.

March 31, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 30, 2020

What People Need Know about the Families First Corona Virus Response Act

From Miami Herald 

On March 18, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) was passed and signed into law. The Act, which applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees, provides for employer-paid for leave for workers who need to take time off of work due to events caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. There are two paid leave provisions of the Act: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. The law goes into effect on April 1 and will completely expire on Dec. 31.

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act generally requires that covered employers provide employees with two weeks of paid sick leave at the employees’ regular pay rate (subject to caps) if the employee is unable to work (or telework) because: (1) the employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) the employee has been directed by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 infection; or (3) the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.

Read more here 


March 30, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Unexpected Role Shift in Malaysia

From BBC:

The Malaysian government's decision to allow only "the head of the family" to leave the house to shop, as part of measures to suppress the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, has had unintended consequences.

Some men are unexpectedly finding themselves responsible for the grocery shopping and suddenly having to distinguish between bewildering varieties of vegetables, spices and herbs.

"Govt allowing a man to shop unsupervised? Disaster," was the immediate jokey conclusion of one woman on Twitter.

Several men concurred, however, expressing their anguish on social media.

One Facebook post of three men scrutinising pieces of paper in a supermarket aisle has been shared more than 30,000 times, with poster Muzaffar Rahman saying the shopping felt like "a treasure hunt", with everyone checking their lists several times.

Read more here.

March 30, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Abortion In Jeopardy Due to Coronavirus

From Time:

In just two weeks the novel coronavirus managed exactly what anti-abortion activists struggled for nearly five decades to accomplish: it is the biggest threat to legal abortion in America ever imagined. The entire globe is facing completely uncharted territory in public health, and many are working to address the pandemic by implementing telemedicine and other online tools to care for everyday health needs while COVID-19 patients inundate hospitals. This could help people in need of abortions, too — if legalized, doctors could remotely prescribe medication to be taken at home that would terminate pregnancies up to 10 weeks. Yet despite having a safe and effective means of ending an early pregnancy without any need to physically see a medical professional, abortion opponents are instead using this moment to close as many abortion clinics as possible throughout the U.S. — an action that will lead to another health system crisis even if COVID-19 is contained.

Read more here.

March 29, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Assets Down Provide Good Time to Divorce

From the Daily Mail:

Interestingly, Laura Naser, senior associate family lawyer at Penningtons Manches Cooper, said they have been contacted by a number of high net worth clients who had previously stayed in unhappy marriages due to the financial loss they would suffer if they left. 

'For many, their enquiries are to divorce now while their asset base is lowered and before the markets bounce back,' she told FEMAIL.

Read more here.

March 28, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 27, 2020

Coronavirus Reveals Class Divides

Read about them in the New York Times here.

March 27, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

NeJaime Reviewing Joslin on Surrogacy

From Family Law Jotwell, Douglas NeJaime, Surrogacy, 2.0, JOTWELL (March 25, 2020) (reviewing Courtney G. Joslin, (Not) Just Surrogacy, __ Cal. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming, 2021), available at SSRN here):

Legal conflict over surrogacy has been with us in the U.S. for more than three decades. And yet the conversation in scholarly, legal, and policy debate remains largely centered on the question of whether to permit or prohibit the practice. In an important new article, (Not) Just SurrogacyCourtney Joslin brings new and critical insights to the conversation about surrogacy—focusing on not whether to allow, but how to regulate. Joslin, one of the country’s leading legal experts on family formation through assisted reproduction, makes two especially significant contributions—one descriptive and the other normative.

Read more here.

March 27, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Co-Parenting During A Pandemic

From The Philadelphia Inquirer: 

All Karina Sellhorn wanted was to see her children — but the Ardmore mother had traveled abroad in March, and their father insisted she self-quarantine for at least two weeks, just to be safe.

But after weeks of separation, she was feeling desperate. “I [may] do a drive by their dad’s house to see them, because I can’t stand it," she said in an email last Friday. Later, she decided that would just be too painful. “I want to hug them!” she said.

Read more here.



March 26, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Decreasing Social Isolation for Older People During Coronavirus

From Forbes:

As social distancing leads more of us to connect through social media, consider the needs of older people - our parents or grandparents or neighbors (or ourselves) - who are less likely to be comfortable with, or even to use, digital devices. 

It turns out that approximately one-third of those 65 and older may have never used the internet and may not have internet access at home; among those who do use the internet, almost half need someone's help when it comes to setting up or using a new device.  And substantial differences in the adoption of technology adoption exist based on factors such as income and educational level.

Read here.

March 25, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

House Republicans Tried to Capitalize on Coronavirus to Sneak Anti-Abortion Language into Law

From Mother Jones

As stock markets plummet businesses, prepare for staff to work from home, and confirmed cases and deaths from the novel coronavirus continue to grow, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) announced that the House plans to vote on a bill Friday to address the inevitable hardships that will result from the pandemic. But discussions with Republican leadership for the multi-billion dollar aid package may have stalled on Thursday over funding for abortion. According to reporting from Bloomberg News and NBC, Republican lawmakers are demanding that any new funding to combat COVID-19 include the anti-abortion Hyde Amendment.

Read more here

March 24, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Baby Boom or Divorces in Wake of Coronavirus?

Read it here.

March 24, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 23, 2020

As COVID-19 Disrupts Spring Break, Texas Supreme Court Resolves a Key Custody Dispute

From Texas Lawyer

The COVID-19 pandemic has created urgent disputes among divorced parents about who keeps the children during widespread post-spring break school closures, forcing the Texas Supreme Court to step in with an answer.

Family law attorneys have been fielding calls from anxious clients asking questions about whether they were going to get their children back from their ex-spouse after spring break. Those lawyers, in turn, have bombarded the state’s district courts, pleading for a definite answer to pass on to parents. Next, those judges called the Texas Office of Court Administration for guidance, leading to the Texas Supreme Court to take action.

Many divorcees follow the Texas standard possession order that says the custodial parent, whom the child lives with, and the noncustodial parent, will alternate years to keep their children on spring break. This year, many noncustodial parents had possession of their children over spring break, and their orders directing them to return the child the evening before school resumes.

Read more here 

March 23, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 20, 2020

Indiana governor signs abortion law encouraging return of embryonic remains

From NWI Times 

A new state law requires women completing a pill-induced abortion at home to be told they can return the embryonic remains to their clinic or hospital for disposal through burial or cremation.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Senate Enrolled Act 299 into law Wednesday. It takes effect July 1.

Under the statute, women completing a pill-induced abortion away from a clinic or hospital would be encouraged — but not required — to collect the embryonic remains and return them for what supporters consider "dignified" disposal.

read more here 

March 20, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Zealand passes landmark law to decriminalise abortion

From The Guardian 

New Zealand has passed a landmark bill to decriminalise abortion after decades of campaigning.
Andrew Little, the justice minister, said it was long overdue that the procedure would become classified as a health matter and not a criminal one.
The issue was scheduled to be put to a public referendum, but the government scrapped that option late on Wednesday.
“For over 40 years, abortion has been the only medical procedure considered a crime in New Zealand. But from now abortions will be rightly treated as a health issue,” Little said in a statement.

read more here

March 20, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Ohio law protecting babies with Down syndrome from abortion challenged in court

From Life Site

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio, heard arguments Wednesday over an Ohio law banning abortions on babies based on a Down syndrome diagnosis.
Abortion supporters brought the legal challenge soon after Governor John Kasich (R) signed it into law in 2017.
Ben Flowers, arguing on behalf of the state of Ohio, said the law sends a message that these abortions “are so heinous and so inhumane that doctors can go to jail and lose their licenses” for committing them.

Read more here 

March 17, 2020 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Less Adultery as Divorce Grounds in the UK

From Yahoo!

Far fewer married couples are giving adultery as grounds for divorce, according to new figures.

The Sunday Times have reported that the rate has dropped by more than half in a decade.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), it was used for 9,205 divorces in 2018, compared to 20,765 in 2008 and 36,310 in 1998.

A desire to avoid blaming the other person in a doomed marriage comes as a “no fault” divorce bill makes its way through parliament.

Read more here.

March 17, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 16, 2020

Non-Immigration Lawyers Are Helping Asylum Seekers Stuck in Mexico

From Texas Monthly 

Last October, Susanna Meringola, a family law attorney, joined a group of Christian volunteers on a visit to a migrant shelter in Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso. The group was there to bear witness to the consequences of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a Trump administration program also known as ”remain in Mexico” that sends asylum seekers back to the other side of the border as they wait for their hearings in immigration courts in the United States. The migrants’ accounts were as varied as the countries of origin they feared returning to, but they shared one grievance: “If only we had attorneys.”

Meringola was the only lawyer among the 25 women on the trip. She hadn’t kept up with immigration law since school, and after the birth of the youngest of her three children, she had left her job as a district attorney to work part time at the Travis County Law Library and Self-Help Center, where she assists people representing themselves in matters like child support and divorces. But after her visit, Meringola was determined to be of service.
On a Facebook group for Austin-based attorneys she learned about Vecina, an organization in Texas that was launching a mentorship program for non-immigration attorneys interested in representing asylum seekers stuck in Mexico. The idea of Vecina, according to the founder Lindsay Gray, was to help provide legal services to those who are stranded in Mexico, tapping into the expertise of seasoned immigration lawyers “without asking them for more than they could give.

Read more here 

March 16, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

CDC: Cancel Your Wedding

From BuzzFeed News:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday said that all gatherings — including weddings, religious services, and concerts — should be canceled as the US battles the coronavirus pandemic.

"Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals," the CDC said.

The cancellations should happen for the next 8 weeks, the CDC said.

Read more here.

March 16, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

McClain: "Bigotry, Civility, and Reinvigorating Civic Education: Government's Formative Task Amidst Polarization"

Linda C. McClain (BU) has recently posted to SSRN Bigotry, Civility, and Reinvigorating Civic Education: Government's Formative Task Amidst Polarization in John Witte, Jr. et al., eds, The Role of Law in Character Formation, Moral Education, and the Communication of Values in Late Modern Pluralistic Societies (Leipzig: EVA Publishers, 2020, Forthcoming).  Here is the abstract:

In the U.S. and around the globe, concerns over a decline in civility and tolerance and a surge in lethal extremist violence motivated by hatred of religious and racial groups make condemning—and preventing—hatred and bigotry seem urgent. What meaning can the ideal of e pluribus unum (“out of many one”) have in this fraught and polarized environment? Within the U.S., a long line of jurists, politicians, and educators have invoked civic education in public schools as vital to preserving constitutional democracy and a healthy pluralism. How can schools carry out such a civic role in times of democratic discord and increasing polarization and political partisanship (even political “bigotry”)? This chapter argues for civic education as a tool that government should employ to foster civility and decrease contempt and prejudice. If, as educators insist, civic education must be different in the 21st century to be effective, then what form should that reboot take? This book examines the “why,” “what,” and “how” of a reinvigorated civic education – its aims and content, as well as the best (or “proven”) practices for engaging in it given class- and race-based civic inequalities. I also argue that religious literacy (nonsectarian education about religion) should be a component of civic education because of the harmful effects of widespread religious illiteracy. Teaching students to think critically and to deliberate respectfully across difference is no easy task; LGBTQ rights is one example of the challenges educators face in engaging students in encountering and understanding different perspectives on controversial issues, while also creating the conditions so that students may do so in a safe and respectful environment.

March 15, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus and labor law: Know your rights, from paid sick leave to working from home

From Los Angeles Times 

As Lee Olesky heard the first reports of coronavirus in Sacramento County, where she is employed as a social worker, she began to panic.

Olesky, 41, visits the homes of sick and elderly people on a daily basis, and worried she could carry the new illness to her clients. At the office, she doesn’t have an assigned seat but works at “floating” cubicles used by countless other field workers.

The anxiety built until, last week, she casually asked her supervisor whether she could work from home for the rest of the month as a precaution. Her supervisor was skeptical, and “kind of made a face,” but approved her request. Still, Olesky is required to venture out into the world for field visits daily as part of her job. She’s not alone.

The novel coronavirus outbreak has sparked drastic measures to prevent its spread across California, the United States and the world, and on Wednesday was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Read more here

March 13, 2020 in Current Affairs, Resources - Children & the Law, Resources - Civil Rights & Family Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)