Tuesday, May 31, 2022
McClain & NeJaime: "The ALI Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution: Addressing Inequality Through Functional Regulation"
Linda C. McClain (Boston University) & Douglas NeJaime (Yale) have posted to SSRN their article The ALI Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution: Addressing Inequality Through Functional Regulation, The ALI at 100: Essays on Its Centennial (Andrew S. Gold & Robert W. Gordon, eds., Forthcoming 2023). Here is the abstract:
As part of a volume commemorating the American Law Institute on its centennial, this Essay reflects on the ALI Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution. We show how the Principles’ drafters intervened in cutting-edge issues at a time of flux in family law in ways that elaborated a progressive agenda that would continue to gain traction in the years after the Principles’ publication in 2000. Beginning from the assumption that family law should reflect how people actually live, the drafters developed a functional, rather than formal, approach to legal regulation. Such an approach, they believed, could vindicate commitments to equality and advance family law reform goals of predictability, consistency, and fairness. Drawing on archival materials and interviews, we show how concerns with intra-family inequality—particularly gender-differentiated roles in different-sex couples—and inter-family inequality—particularly marital-status distinctions that dovetailed with the exclusion of same-sex couples—led the drafters to articulate generally applicable principles capable of accommodating families’ lived experiences.
Explicit adoption of the Principles’ recommendations by courts and legislatures has been rare. Yet, we reject a view of the Principles as a failed project. We understand the Principles not simply as a directive to lawmakers and judges but instead as a meaningful intervention in ongoing debates among courts, legislatures, advocates, and scholars about the future of family law. In the intervening decades, the Principles’ functional approach, we show, has grown dramatically across jurisdictions, and this growth has been spurred in large part by efforts to eradicate inequality within and between families. Parentage law, for example, has turned to functional criteria to protect parent-child relationships regardless of the gender, sexual orientation, or marital status of the parent. While we find less concrete evidence of the Principles’ influence in the domain of adult-adult relationships, we nonetheless observe how the Principles’ status-based approach to nonmarital relationships continues to serve as a foundational authority in ongoing, and increasingly urgent, debates over legal remedies for unmarried partners.
Sunday, May 29, 2022
From The Straits Times:
Couples wanting to adopt a child must be married under laws recognised by Singapore under new adoption rules, said Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli. The new laws governing child adoption, passed in Parliament on Monday (May 9), aim to provide more clarity and tighten rules to ensure adoptions are in line with Singapore public policy.
As a matter of public policy, the Government does not encourage planned and deliberate single parenthood as a lifestyle choice. Under the new law, public policy will be taken into consideration when determining a couple's suitability to adopt. The new law also tightens the eligibility criteria to adopt. For example, those convicted of serious crimes such as sexual abuse and drug consumption offences cannot adopt. Also, applicants with stronger ties to Singapore such as Singaporeans and permanent residents will be given priority to adopt.
Under the new rules, prospective adoptive parents must attend a disclosure briefing, which will help them through issues linked to telling a child the truth about his birth. However, adoptive parents are not mandated to tell the child that he is adopted. The new rules will introduce offences and regulatory measures and aim to strike the balance between the interest of the child and the birth parents.
Read more here.
Saturday, May 28, 2022
From Focus Taiwan News Channel:
As Taiwan approaches the third anniversary of its legalization of same-sex marriage on May 24, support for the right of gay couples to wed has risen to 60.9 percent, still up substantially from four years earlier, according to the results of a new survey released Sunday.
A May 4-6 survey found that 60.9 percent of respondents supported the right of same-sex couples to marry, up 0.5 percentage points from last year's survey and up 23.5 percentage points from the 37.4 percent who supported that right in 2018.
Meanwhile, 71 percent of respondents said same-sex married couples should have the right to adopt children, while 71.8 percent agreed that same-sex couples can raise children just as well as opposite-sex couples, the results showed.The survey results also revealed growing understanding and acceptance of transgender people in Taiwanese society.
Read more here.
Friday, May 27, 2022
From The Globe and Mail:
The Supreme Court of Canada has taken a tough stand on family violence in a divorce, saying that even one incident from a parent may justify the other parent’s relocation with the children to a distant place. In the case, the father had been found "likely" to have assaulted his former spouse on one occasion. He had also printed a nude selfie of his ex-wife, which he included in an affidavit he filed in the case, for purpose other than to humiliate her. He had been controlling on financial matters and using offensive language in texts to her.
In the first ruling interpreting federal Divorce Act changes on relocation that took effect in March, 2021, which stressed the need to protect children against family violence, the court said that avoiding abuse or acrimony that undermines the other parent may be more important to the children’s best interests than spending as much time as possible with each parent.
The Supreme Court restored the trial judges' rulings that were previously reversed by the appeal courts. Writing for an 8-1 majority, Justice Andromache Karakatsanis stressed that incidents of domestic assault can be hard to prove and even one incident may suggest a wider pattern of abuse that is harmful to children.
Read more here.
Thursday, May 26, 2022
From The National Law Review:
The National Law Review has a recent article addressing the impact of social media posts by parties during pending family law litigation. Parties often overlook the detrimental effects that may impact pending custody, child support and alimony outcomes due to their improper use of social media.
All relevant evidence is admissible. Therefore, social media posts may be introduced as evidence in a pending family law matter if it is relevant. A party seeking to admit social media posts as evidence must consider whether the evidence has the tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence. If admission of the evidence makes a fact “more probable,” the evidence overcomes the initial relevancy burden. Further, the second hurdle requires the evidence to be authenticated to be relevant.
How to properly use social media? First, the parties should not share private information regarding the case. Second, opine as to discrete issues or rulings made in the pending family law dispute on social media. Third, the party should not disparage the opposing party's character on social media.
Read more here.
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
See the call for papers here.
About this Research Topic
The aim of this Research Topic is to provide a forum for the sharing, exploration, and discussion of unregulated sperm donation, with a special focus on global experiences of unregulated sperm donation and multidisciplinary perspectives on its personal, cultural, and social significance and implications.
Unregulated sperm donation – also known as ‘private’, ‘known’, ‘informal’, ‘self-arranged’, ‘DIY’ and ‘non-clinical’ donation – involves obtaining sperm from a known donor (friend or family member) or from an unknown donor via informal networks, an advertisement, a ‘connection website’ or social media platform. Unregulated sperm donation is distinguished from regulated sperm donation in that it takes place outside of a clinic and involves intracervical insemination performed by the recipient or their partner, or through sexual acts with the donor. Unregulated sperm donation has traditionally entailed donations from friends, family members, or informal self-insemination networks comprising known and/or anonymous donors. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in individuals obtaining sperm from donors met online. The size of the online unregulated sperm donation market is unknown; however, our environmental scan of online sperm donation sites estimates that there are more than 350,000 recipients on over 60 English-language websites and social media pages around the world.
Being able to start and build a family is frequently seen as personally, culturally, and socially important. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for example, describes the family as the “fundamental unit of society”. For many people, sperm donation is critical in achieving this goal, particularly for single individuals, individuals in same-sex relationships, and because of male infertility in mixed-sex relationships. The unregulated route to sperm donation – whether by a known donor or a donor met online - can be easier, cheaper, more accessible, and offer more choice than the regulated, clinical route; however, it can also be associated with complex health, legal and social implications. For example, unregulated donors might not be screened for sexually transmitted infections or genetic conditions, and in the UK, if the recipient is unmarried, then the unregulated donor would be the legal father, irrespective of what is agreed between the recipient and donor or what is recorded on the birth certificate.
We live in an increasingly globalized world; however, the ways in which unregulated sperm donation is understood, represented, practiced and experienced, and its significance and implications, are likely to differ across geographical, cultural, economic, and political contexts. Perspectives on unregulated sperm donation among people living in poverty, in low- and middle-income countries, or in indigenous communities, have particularly been unrecognized and overlooked. This collection offers an opportunity to amplify the voices of marginalized groups and to provide a more holistic perspective on unregulated sperm donation.
We welcome a diversity of submissions that present cutting-edge and innovative scholarship from international contexts and at the intersections of multiple disciplines (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology, medicine, philosophy, ethics, law, criminology, history, human geography, social policy). Submissions might include (but are not limited to): Original Research, Systematic and Narrative Reviews, Data Reports, Community Case Studies, Case Reports, Theoretical Perspectives, Methodological Papers, and Opinions. The goal is to showcase the breadth of theoretical, methodological, and empirical work in this field globally.
Suggested areas include:
• Lived experiences of unregulated sperm donation from the perspective of recipients, donors, their partners, or donor-conceived children, and changes to their quality of life;
• The personal, cultural and social contributors to, and impacts of, unregulated sperm donation, such as poverty and marginalization, healthcare and legislative policies and regulations, the availability of donors and reproductive technologies, societal and cultural norms for gender, sexuality, conception, and parenthood, or family and social support;
• Self-insemination networks;
• Online sperm donation communities of practice;
• Kinship and extended families within unregulated sperm donation and the lived experiences of donor siblings;
• Unregulated sperm donation and intersections with gender, race, class, sexuality, relationship status, religion, (dis)ability, age, and other social inequalities;
• Historical and cultural representations of unregulated sperm donation;
• The regulatory, bioethical, and legal implications of unregulated sperm donation;
• Health, community, and criminal justice responses to harms within unregulated sperm donation;
• ‘Fertility tourism’ within the context of unregulated sperm donation;
• Cross-national comparisons and longitudinal research into unregulated sperm donation;
• Theoretical perspectives on, and methodological approaches to, unregulated sperm donation;
• Unregulated sperm donation in low- and middle-income countries;
• Complex or mixed sperm donation journeys, entailing both the unregulated and regulated routes, or obtaining sperm from online sperm banks for home insemination;
• Healthcare professionals’ or other professionals’ or community leaders’ experiences of supporting recipients who have taken the unregulated route, such as midwives and doulas.
Keywords: Sperm donation, donor insemination, known donation, self-insemination networks, online marketplace, recipients, donors, donor-conceived children, donor siblings, assisted reproduction, infertility, LGBT+, reproductive justice, global, multidisciplinary
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
When Cindy Daily and her partner decided to have a baby in the early 2000s, they knew it wouldn't be an easy path. After using a sperm donor and going through several rounds of IVF, their baby boy Zack Daily-Anderson was finally born.
Daily bought donor sperm from the Fairfax Cryobank in Virginia, one of the largest sperm banks in the country.
"It's a long process," Daily said. "We printed out the catalog and started looking at donors who looked like me or my family."
When Daily-Anderson was still a child, she heard about the "Donor Sibling Registry," a website that keeps track of and connects children who share the same sperm donor. Through the DSR, Daily was able to find a handful of her son's half siblings. The families formed a bond over their unique situation and on occasion, even vacationed together.
"We started out with five to seven families at the beginning and then it seemed to grow exponentially," she said.
That growth came with the popularity of DNA sites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe causing their donor group number to skyrocket. Today, at 18-years old, Daily-Anderson has 237 half brothers and sisters that he knows of. Some live near him in Virginia, but others are spread out across the United States and the world. According to the family, all the siblings are linked to the same man who donated his sperm over many years.
During an interview in her Winchester, Virginia home, Daily said her family doesn't want to sensationalize their story, but wants to see some regulations in the industry that allowed their family to form.
Read more here.
Monday, May 23, 2022
Sunday, May 22, 2022
From Family Law:
A recent decision of the CJEU has addressed the definition of habitual residence for divorce jurisdiction under Art 3 of BIIA. It confirms the interpretation hitherto held in England that a party can have only one habitual residence at one time but may have several residences. But it has also given a strong indication that habitual residence has to be continuous for the requisite period before the date of issuing of proceedings and not just on the date of issue.
However, the majority of professional opinion allegedly being that habitual residence was only necessary on the date of issuance. The Ministry of Justice relied on this interpretation in drafting England’s new post Brexit divorce jurisdictional law, on the basis of following EU law.
The significant difference in interpretation looks set to have ramifications from the perspective of EU Member State. England may well now be more open and welcoming because of its wider divorce jurisdiction, but this will cause problems for recognition and enforcement of English orders in an EU Member State.
Read more here.
Saturday, May 21, 2022
From NBC News:
Japan’s capital has announced it will start recognizing same-sex partnerships to ease the burdens faced by residents in their daily lives, but the unions will not be considered legal marriages. Same-sex couples in Japan's capital are often barred from renting apartments together, hospital visits and other services available to married couples.
Rights groups had pushed for the passage of an equality act ahead of last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, when international attention fell on Japan, but the bill was quashed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s conservative governing party.
The Tokyo metropolitan government unveiled a draft plan on Tuesday to accept registrations starting in October from sexual-minority couples seeking certificates of their partnerships.
Read more here.
Friday, May 20, 2022
During the 2022 legislative session, Florida's state lawmakers passed SB 1796. This bill, if signed into law, will change the way alimony cases are finalized, as well as retroactively change previous cases. The bill removes the court's ability to award permanent alimony. This would go into effect for both new cases, and retroactively for previous cases.
The bill removes language to allow a court to take adultery into consideration when handling alimony cases. The legislation would also create legal guidance for child custody cases to ensure each parent receives 50/50 custody of the child, under the "presumption that equal time-sharing is in the best interest of the child."
Family Law lawyers said divorce and child custody cases are beginning to pile up as those involved await the fate of this bill.
Read more here.
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Harvard Law’s Petrie-Flom Center on Health Law and Ethics has a digital symposium on Adoption, Family Separation & Preservation, and Reproductive Justice:
In this symposium, we gather contributors that reflect not only an array of scholarly disciplines, but a range of lived experiences related to adoption, including adopted people, birth/first parents, and adoptive parents. Any consideration of adoption that strives for comprehensiveness requires not only historians, social scientists, and legal scholars, but practitioners, advocates, and storytellers. Contributors (who wrote their pieces before the leak of the Dobbs decision) are not just responding to Justice Coney Barrett’s comments on parental relinquishment in the Dobbs oral arguments, but considering the plagued history of forced pregnancy and coerced adoption, the inherent misunderstandings of safe haven laws, the role of the family policing system in public relinquishment and separation, the current practice of adoption in the United States, and the ways in which the Court’s understanding of adoption will impact not just reproductive rights, but issues as seemingly tangential as Indian tribal sovereignty, what an adoptee rights agenda might encompass, and what adoption looks like when considered from a reproductive justice perspective.
The symposium is edited by Gretchen Sisson.
Read the symposium here.
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
From Deseret News:
For the first time in the United States, babies who are conceived with help from donor eggs or sperm could soon have the right to learn their biological history when they become young adults. A bill just passed in Colorado says secrecy about family formation can be hard on children and hurt family relationships.
So starting in 2025, people who are conceived through egg or sperm donation in Colorado will be able, as adults, to learn the donor’s name and medical history and even form a personal relationship with the donor, if both are amenable.
The bill, which is awaiting Gov. Jared Polis’ signature, would make Colorado the first state to end anonymous sperm or egg donation. Senate Bill 224, which passed late Tuesday night, would also:
- Require someone who donates sperm or eggs to be at least 21.
- Limit the number of families a sperm donor can help to 25.
- Limit a woman’s egg donation retrieval to six cycles at most, depending on medical risks.
- Require sperm and egg banks to track births involving each donor.
- Require sperm banks, egg banks and fertility clinics to be licensed starting in 2025.
- Require clinics to maintain updated contact information and medical history of all reproductive tissue donors — or at least make a good-faith effort to update medical records and the donor’s address every three years.
If signed, children donor-conceived in 2025 could learn the identity of the person who aided their conception when they turn 18 in 2043. The law is not retroactive.
The Colorado law would also apply to out-of-state banks that provide the reproductive tissue, called gametes, to Colorado recipients. Both eggs and sperm are gametes.
The first artificial insemination in a U.S. hospital reportedly took place in 1884 in Philadelphia, according to a Donor Sibling Registry blog. The first successful egg donation occurred in 1983 at UCLA.
What’s been a boon for many parents who wanted but could not conceive children without help has been, to a large degree, unregulated and even uncounted. No one mandates reporting of live births following fertility treatments. So “counts” of how many children are donor-conceived — a description used for anyone who is deliberately conceived using donated sperm or egg or both — amount to a maybe-good guess.
Naomi Cahn, a law professor at University of Virginia who has written extensively on family law topics, including reproductive technology and donor-conceived children, said half a million is an imprecise, but often-used estimate.
Cahn and Sonia Suter, a law professor at George Washington University, wrote about issues impacting donor-conceived children in The Conversation and noted they support the Colorado legislation.
Read more here.
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Naomi Cahn (UVA), Clare Huntington (Fordham), & Elizabeth S. Scott (Columbia) have posted to SSRN their recent article Family Law for the One-Hundred-Year Life, Yale Law Journal, Vol. 132 (2022). Here is the abstract:
Family law is for young people. To facilitate child rearing and help spouses pool resources over a lifetime, the law obligates parents to minor children and spouses to each other. Family law’s presumption of young, financially interdependent, conjugal couples raising children privileges one family form—marriage—and centers the dependency needs of children.
This age myopia fundamentally fails older adults. Families are essential to flourishing in the last third of life, but the legal system offers neither the family forms older adults want, nor the support of family care older adults need. Racial and economic inequalities, accumulated across lifetimes, exacerbate these problems. Family law’s failures are particularly pressing in light of a tectonic demographic shift underway in our society: Americans are living longer, with half of all five-year-olds today projected to live past 100. The proportion of older adults as a percentage of our population is also rapidly growing and will soon surpass that of minor children.
This Article argues that family law must adapt to the new old age. At a conceptual level, family law should address the interests and needs of families across the life span, not just those of younger people. And it must reflect three core commitments: centering the dignity and autonomy interests of older persons, addressing structural inequalities, and ensuring that legal mechanisms are efficient and accessible.
This conceptual shift leads to a series of practical reforms to laws governing family formation and family support. The interests of older adults will be better served if they have access to a broader array of family forms and can easily customize these family relationships. We thus propose reforms that decenter marriage as the primary option and make it easier to opt into and out of legal obligations. To support the familial caregiving that is essential to wellbeing, we propose a set of reforms to federal, state, and local laws that would provide economic relief and other support to family caregivers. By offering pluralistic family forms, better support for familial caregiving, and an appreciation of the legal implications of the centrality of relationships in the last third of life, this Article charts a path for family law for the one-hundred-year life.
Monday, May 16, 2022
An estimated 2.5 million weddings are set to be held this year, according to Shane McMurray, CEO of the Wedding Report -- the most the U.S. has seen since 1984. The record total is due in part to many couples having postponed them due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But with the large number of weddings this year, coupled with current supply chain issues and limited labor, the costs of weddings have also increased this year.
Read more here.
Sunday, May 15, 2022
Throughout the pandemic, many adults turned to a likely safety net: their parents.
From buying food to paying for their cell phone plan or covering health and auto insurance, half of parents with a child over 18 provide them with at least some financial support, according to a report by Savings.com.
These parents are shelling out roughly $1,000 a month, on average, on such expenses, the report found.
Read more here.
Saturday, May 14, 2022
From Yorkshire Live:
'No-fault' divorces are set to be introduced from April 6, and will allow couples in England and Wales to file divorce applications without attributing the blame to one particular party.
It's the biggest change seen to the UK's divorce law in 50 years, and is hoped to help alleviate pressure on the family court as well as removing some of the animosity associated with divorce.
Read more here.
Friday, May 13, 2022
The general public may not think of “E.T. the Extraterrestrial” as a divorce movie, per se … although Dee Wallace’s reading of the line “He hates Mexico” has always been one of its most resonant. But in speaking about the film for its 40th anniversary at the TCM Classic Film Festival Thursday night, Steven Spielberg explored how the split in his own family growing up informed his original story. And, beyond that, the director explained how making the film was the actual trigger that made him suddenly flip a switch from eschewing the prospect of ever being a father to putting parenthood on his vision board.
“What happened was, I had been working on an actual literal script about my parents’ separation and divorce” in the late 1970s, Spielberg told host Ben Mankiewicz. That very un-fantastical film idea would have reflected his and his sisters’ experience with their parents splitting — despite the fact that this idea was percolating during the making of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” in 1976.
“I was shooting the (climactic) scene and I suddenly thought, ‘Wait a second. What if that little creature never went back to the ship? What if the creature was part of a foreign exchange program? (Richard) Dreyfuss goes and he stays? Or she stays?'” It struck him that he could turn his family drama “into a story about children and a family trying to fill a great need and great responsibility? Divorce creates great responsibility. If you have siblings, we all take care of each other (in the wake of divorce). And what if Elliott, or the kid — I hadn’t quite dreamed up his name yet — for the first time in his life becomes responsible for a life form, to fill the gap in his heart?”
The filmmaker told the opening-night crowd at the TLC Chinese Theatre about the devastation he felt as a teen child of divorce. “I think when you go through something like that, when any child goes through an episode where your parents who you trust love and trust unconditionally (both) come to you and your sisters and say, ‘We are separating, and we’re going to be living not just in two different houses but two different states,’ the world collapses. The sky falls on your head.” He sad that children of divorce or those who’ve been the divorcing parties “know the responsibility of how you have to super take care of your kids. It’s something that never goes away and it comes out in the wash, and it certainly has come out in a lot of my movies, both indirectly and subconsciously. And in the latest film that I’ve just made, it comes out very directly,” he added, referring to “The Fabelmans,” the semi-autobiographical film he co-wrote with Tony Kushner that’s set for release in November.
Asked by Mankiewicz if he’d ever imagined himself being a father up to that point in his career, Spielberg flatly said, “No. I didn’t want to have kids because it was not a kind of equation that made sense for me as I went from movie to movie to movie, script to script… It never occurred to me till halfway through ‘E.T.’: I was a parent on that film. I was literally feeling like I was very protective of Henry (Thomas) and Mike (McNaughton) and my whole cast, and especially Drew (Barrymore), who was only 6 years old. And I started thinking, ‘Well, maybe this could be my real life someday.’ It was the first time that it occurred to me that maybe I could be a dad. And maybe in a way, a director is a dad, or a mom.” From that point on, he said, “I really felt that that would be my big production.”
Read more here.
Thursday, May 12, 2022
From Yahoo! News:
As much as Claire Foy may have wished for a different ending, the Duchess of Argyll was always going to lose.
Instead, “A Very British Scandal,” which premiered last week on Amazon Prime Video, hurtles toward an inevitable conclusion, with Margaret Campbell left a ruined woman after a brutal divorce that played out in the public eye. The duke and duchess’ 1963 split was a tabloid legend, filled with sordid details of adultery, forgery and an infamous photo of Margaret on her knees performing oral sex, with the man’s face just off camera.
“It’s less slut-shaming and more the weaponizing of a woman’s sexuality, which is the oldest trick in the book of bringing a woman down or criticizing her,” Foy, who plays Margaret, told the Daily News.
“It’s so easy, as a shortcut, to demonize a woman, to say her sexuality was wrong, to say the way she expressed herself was wrong. Her husband was also having affairs and so were everybody in the aristocracy. He used her sexuality as a way of making her seem like he was the wronged party, when in reality she wasn’t doing anything particularly wrong.”
Read more here.