Family Law Prof Blog

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

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Best New Year Clipart

December 31, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Swiss Moves Forward on LGBT+ Issues

From Reuters:

Swiss lawmakers voted [recently] to legalise same-sex marriage and allow transgender people to change their legal gender by making a declaration, marking a major step forward for LGBT+ rights in the country, campaigners said.

The gay marriage law is likely to be tested in a nationwide referendum next year before it takes effect, but rights activists said they expected it to secure popular support.

“This is not only a milestone in the fight for the rights of the Swiss LGBT population, but also an important victory for their dignity, their acceptance and their inclusion in society,” Marriage For All, a campaign group, said on its website.

Switzerland had lagged behind other parts of western Europe on LGBT+ rights, with political institutions tending to be more conservative than the public.

Read more here.

December 31, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Argentina Expands Abortion Rights

From BBC:

Argentina's Congress has legalised abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy, a ground-breaking move for a region that has some of the world's most restrictive termination laws.

Senators voted in favour of the bill after a marathon session with 38 in favour, 29 against and one abstention.

Until now, abortions were only permitted in cases of rape or when the mother's health was at risk.

The bill had been approved by the Chamber of Deputies earlier this month.

The Catholic Church, which remains highly influential in Latin America, had opposed the move, calling on senators to reject the bill supported by centre-left President Alberto Fernández.

Pro-choice activists hope the passing of the law in Argentina - one of the largest and most influential countries in the region - will inspire other countries to follow suit.

Read more here.

 

December 31, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Paid Leave in MA Starting

From WWLP:

The Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) announced that workers eligible for Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) may begin filing certain benefit requests on January 1, 2021 in accordance with legislation enacted in 2018. 

PFML provides temporary income replacement to eligible workers. Starting January 1, 2021, workers can apply for leave for welcoming a new child into their family, for their own serious health condition, and for certain military considerations. Starting July 1, 2021, workers can apply for leave to care for an ill or ailing relative.  

The program, which is offered separately from the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and any employer-offered leave, provides up to 20 weeks of paid leave per benefit year to manage a serious personal health condition, up to 12 weeks to care for a family member or to bond with a child, and up to 26 weeks to care for a family member who is a member of the armed service.

Read more here

December 31, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Negotiate & Renegotiate Chores

From Harvard Business Review:

The stress of the Covid-19 pandemic has created a volatile situation inside many homes, damaging even strong partnerships, ending others, and overwhelming family attorneys in some areas with divorce inquiries. Balancing the demands of working from home with added domestic responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, childcare, and homeschooling is increasing the strain on couples, and researchers around the globe have found that pandemic life has exacerbated the existing domestic labor gender gap, with women reporting being far more dissatisfied with the division of time between paid and unpaid work than men.

Couples navigating this ongoing crisis should negotiate — or renegotiate — this division and how they’ll manage the boundaries between work and home duties. As revealed in a book we recently edited, Research Handbook on Gender and Negotiation, understanding the causes of tension and bringing a few negotiation skills that are already part of your professional problem-solving repertoire into your home can improve your relationship.

Read more here.

December 30, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Less Commuting, More Childcare

From Chicago Booth Review:

The work-from-home phenomenon is saving Americans more than 60 million hours of commuting time a day, according to Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology’s Jose Maria Barrero, Stanford’s Nicholas Bloom, and Chicago Booth’s Steven J. Davis. “The time savings are approaching 10 billion hours as of mid-September for American workers alone. The global reduction in time spent commuting is surely many times larger,” they write.

So, what are people doing with the 54 minutes a day, on average, that they’re saving? Devoting 35 percent to more work on their primary jobs and 8 percent to more work on secondary jobs, the researchers suggest. Household chores, childcare, and other work activities at home eat up another 25 percent. The rest of their time savings go to indoor and outdoor leisure activities, including exercise. “The picture, then, is one in which those [who] WFH devote most of their savings in commuting time to nonleisure activities—work for pay, but also chores, home improvement, and childcare,” the researchers write. 

Read more here.

December 29, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 28, 2020

Sheryl Sandberg: Don't Do Boyfriend's Laundry

See why here.

December 28, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Consolidating Family Law Courts in Australia

From the Conversation:

As federal parliament heads off on its Christmas break, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the legal community and the Australians who use the family law system.

Amid a busy final sitting week, the Morrison government’s controversial plan to merge the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court — which both have responsibility for family law — has been shelved until next year.

This merger has been on the cards for some time. It passed the lower house earlier this month, despite fierce opposition from Labor, the Greens and legal experts.

The Coalition is now seeking Senate crossbench support to create a single court known as the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

My new research, together with colleagues Jane Wangmann and Tracey Booth, provides further evidence as to why this would be an unhelpful move.

The high number of family law cases involving both family violence allegations and self-representation shows how safety and improved resourcing must be central to all family law proceedings — not just improved “efficiency”.

Read more here.

December 27, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Pandemic Highlights Problems for Family Courts

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Throughout the pandemic, we have seen the effects that COVID-19 has had on families across the country. But little attention has been given to the increasing rates of divorce and domestic violence, combined with the decreased access to family courts with long delays. Which makes now the perfect time to make some long-overdue changes to the divorce process that will benefit the system in the long term.

Personality disorders are a huge and largely unrecognized problem in society and they are dominating our family courts. With the additional anxiety brought on by COVID, people with these disorders act worse, not better. The diagnostic manual for mental health professionals suggests that 15% of U.S. adults have at least one personality disorder. Those with so-called Cluster B personality disorders (narcissistic, antisocial, borderline, histrionic) are considered to be erratic, emotional and dramatic. A recent study on interpersonal dysfunction in personality disorders found that they specifically impact relationships “with one’s children, parents, peers, and romantic partners” and are particularly “domineering, vindictive, and intrusive.”

Recently, a study by Santa Clara University School of Law found that these personality disorders are a big part of what drives high-conflict cases in family courts — the ones that drag on for years, with stacks of paperwork, numerous lawyers and judges, crushing financial and emotional burdens for parents, and constant distress to their children. In many of these cases, one parent loses their relationship with a child because of alienating behaviors. In extreme cases, this can escalate into homicide and suicide.

Read more here.

December 26, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas

Christmas Tree Nature Wallpaper

December 25, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Brexit's Impact on Couples

From Campden:

The United Kingdom left the European Union last year and the transitional period which applies EU law to UK divorces expires on 31 December, 2020 at 23:00 GMT. This expiry will have potentially dramatic changes in international family law which will affect every wealthy family with a European connection.

Read more here.

December 24, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Call for Papers – Dynamic Pedagogy in Family Law

Family Court Review, an international, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed family law journal, is pleased to announce a Call for Papers for a Special Issue on Dynamic Pedagogy in the Family and Juvenile Law Classroom: Experiential and In-Class Exercises.  
 
ABA Standard 303(a)(3) requires all students to complete “one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least six credit hours.” This revision has increased demand for experiential learning courses and clinics at law schools, and presents an opportunity for innovative teaching and community partnerships.
 
This special issue will explore existing—and creative—visions for integrating experiential learning into casebook-focused, clinical, and other experiential courses in ways that transcend simulations. Articles will describe the pedagogical design of experiential and in-class exercises, situating them within the scholarship of teaching and learning, and provide materials that can be used in family law-related courses and clinics.  Potential topics range from integrating exercises and formative assessments into traditional doctrinal courses, to offering additional credits for participation in projects involving collaborations with courts, public interest nonprofits, or clinics, to other potential means of incorporating experiential learning into courses. 
 
The Special Issue will build on the Family Law Section’s Pedagogy Panel to be held at the 2021 AALS Annual Meeting. The issue will include approximately a dozen articles. Articles will be published in the October 2022 issue of Family Court Review, and manuscripts will be due September 1, 2021.  
 
The Special Issue will be guest edited by Naomi R. Cahn, Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law (effective Aug. 2020), and Meredith Johnson Harbach, Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law. If interested, please submit an abstract to fcrpedagogy@gmail.com by January 2, 2021. The abstract should not exceed 500 words and should describe the experiential learning approach and potential materials that would be included in the article. Decisions about acceptance for publication will be made and communicated by February 1, 2021. 

December 23, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Differences in 2nd Round of Stimulus from 1st Round

From Kiplinger:

If you have children, you'll make up some of the difference from the lower base amount. For child in your family who qualifies for the child tax credit (i.e., kids 16 years old or younger), you'll get an extra $600 tacked onto your second stimulus check. Under the CARES Act, you only got an additional $500 per qualifying child. So that's an upgrade for families!

....

If you owe child support, the IRS can use first-round stimulus check money to pay arrears. That won't be the case for second-round payments under the COVID-Related Tax Relief Act.

In addition, second-round stimulus money wouldn't be taken to pay back taxes or other debts owed to the federal or a state government. (That's also the same rule for first-round stimulus payments.)

Read more here.

December 22, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Papers

Dear Law Professors and Legal Practitioners,

As the Senior Article Editor for the Journal of Gender, Social Policy, and the Law, I am delighted to inform you we are currently accepting article submissions for publication in our upcoming issues.  The latest Washington and Lee Law Review rankings list the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law as one of the top-cited legal periodicals in the U.S. and selected non-U.S. regions in the subject area of Social Policy, Gender, Sexuality and the Law. 

You can submit your article for consideration either by email to gl-articles@wcl.american.edu, or through sites, such as ExpressO, Scholastica etc. Please note we do not accept articles written by law students. We look for articles that present new arguments or perspectives about a timely legal issue primarily in U.S. laws. We prefer 15,000 words more or less, including at least 150 footnotes. Generally, we evaluate articles depending on many factors such as strength of the argument, novelty, complexity, policy considerations, and the overall topic(s) falls within the Journal’s subject area.

We look forward to receiving your article submission.

 

December 22, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Childhood Nostalgia from Christmas Trees During Pandemic

From the New York Times:

When Allison Protsko was a child, the arrival of the Christmas season meant driving with her family to pick out a Christmas tree, cutting it down themselves and dragging it home.

This year, about a decade since Ms. Protsko, 34, last brought a real Christmas tree into her home, she decided to go with her children and her boyfriend, Joseph Storminger, to Bell’s Christmas Trees in Accord, N.Y., reviving a cherished family tradition.

“Just the smell from the tree brings back that Christmas feeling and the memories from childhood,” Ms. Protsko said.

The stress of 2020, including an out-of-control pandemic, protests against racial injustice and a bitterly contested presidential election, left many Americans like Ms. Protsko grasping for scraps of joy wherever they could be found. The holidays offered an outlet.

As demand has surged, some pick-and-cut tree farms, like Bell’s, have sold out their supplies of Christmas trees for the first time ever. Elsewhere, retail lots have been picked clean as families have bought their first fresh Christmas trees, or their first ones in a very long time.

Bell’s Christmas Trees, about 100 miles north of New York City, has dedicated about 25 of its 150 acres to the nurturing of a dozen varieties of Christmas trees. The Bell family started planting trees in 1991 as they were planning to pivot away from the strenuous dairy business that had been the farm’s focus for decades.

The Christmas trees proved more popular than expected, so they planted more every year. This year, their supply sold out. Bell’s announced that it would close for the season on Dec. 8, 15 days earlier than last year, to preserve the smaller, less mature trees that the farm was counting on selling next year and in the years to come. “We can’t grow them fast enough,” Mr. Bell said.

Read more here.

December 22, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 21, 2020

Happy Winter

Winter holiday scene clipart clip art free clip art microsoft clip

December 21, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Kessler: "Family Law by the Numbers: The Story That Casebooks Tell"

Laura T. Kessler (Utah) recently posted to SSRN her paper Family Law by the Numbers: The Story That Casebooks Tell, 62 Arizona L. Rev. (2020).  Here is the abstract:

This Article presents the findings of a content analysis of 86 family law casebooks published in the United States from 1960 to 2019. Its purpose is to critically assess the discipline of family law with the aim of informing our understandings of family law’s history and exposing its ideological foundations and consequences. Although legal thinkers have written several intellectual histories of family law, this is the first quantitative look at the field.

The study finds that coverage of marriage and divorce in family law casebooks has decreased by almost half relative to other topics since the 1960s. In contrast, pages dedicated to child custody and child support have increased, more than doubling their relative share. At the same time, the boundaries of family law appear to remain quite stubborn. Notwithstanding sustained efforts by family law scholars and educators to restructure the field of family law so that it considers additional domains of law affecting families (such as tax, business, employment, health, immigration, and government benefits), the core of the academic field of family law has remained relatively static in the past 60 years. Marriage, divorce, child custody, and child support continue to dominate the topics presented in family law casebooks, representing 55% to 75% of their content since the 1960s.

December 20, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 19, 2020

NeJaime, Siegel, & Barak-Erez: "Surrogacy, Autonomy, and Equality"

Douglas NeJaime, Reva Siegel, and D Barak-Erez recently posted to SSRN their paper Surrogacy, Autonomy, and Equality, forthcoming in the 2020 Global Constitutionalism Seminar Volume, Yale Law School.  Here is the abstract:

As surrogacy becomes widespread, it may call for new forms of judicial response. This Chapter surveys the different ways that surrogacy is practiced across borders, and the different ways the practice has been criticized and valued. After considering some of these debates (does surrogacy exploit and commodify women or empower them to pursue their own autonomous life ends?), the Chapter then turns to critical issues surrounding surrogacy legislation. It examines the ability of individuals, including unmarried and LGBTQ individuals, to access surrogacy for family formation. And it addresses the interests of individuals serving as surrogates, including questions of compensation and decision-making during pregnancy. Finally, the Chapter examines questions of parental recognition, implicating the constitutional interests of the intended parents, the person serving as the surrogate, and the child. By exploring how courts, legislatures, and human rights tribunals have addressed surrogacy transnationally, the Chapter shows that the meanings and implications of surrogacy vary across contexts and depend on how the practice is structured and regulated.

December 19, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 18, 2020

Swiss Investigates Its Own Adoption System

From U.S. News:

Switzerland said it will review possibly illegal adoptions of foreign children, three years after a scandal flared over allegations that some Sri Lankan child adoptees may have been stolen by traffickers from their birth families.

"(We) acknowledge and regret the Swiss authorities' failure to prevent adoptions from Sri Lanka until the 1990s despite strong indications of, in some cases, serious irregularities," the federal cabinet said in a statement.

Read more here.

 

 

December 18, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Same-Sex Adoption Changes in Hungary

From Reuters:

Hungary amended the definition of family in its constitution Tuesday to allow an effective ban on adoption by same-sex couples, another win for the ruling conservatives but decried by one pro-LGBTQ group as “a dark day for human rights”.

Read more here.

December 17, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)