Family Law Prof Blog

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

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Potential Impact of Climate Change on the Family

From CNN News:

Climate change is rapidly changing the environment we live in. But how far would you be willing to go to help save the planet?

Would you skip school? Eat pig's feet? Deliberately get arrested? How about forgo having kids?
For 33-year-old British musician Blythe Pepino the latter is a reality. Her fears about climate change are so strong she has decided not to have biological children.
 
Read more here.

June 9, 2019 in Current Affairs, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 7, 2019

Pennsylvania Bill Set to Ban Child Marriage

From CBS Pittsburgh News: 

 A ban on Pennsylvania marriages when either party is under 18 is moving ahead with a unanimous vote in the state House of Representatives.

State representatives voted 195-0 on Wednesday to send the proposal to the Senate.

Current state law allows those under 18 to marry if custodial parents or guardians agree, and under age 16 if a judge decides it’s in the child’s best interests.

Read more here.

June 7, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

From BBC News:

Taiwan's parliament has become the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage following a vote on Friday.

In 2017, the island's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry.

Parliament was given a two-year deadline and was required to pass the changes by 24 May.

Lawmakers debated three different bills to legalise same-sex unions and the government's bill, the most progressive of the three, was passed.

Read more here.

May 17, 2019 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Women Protest US Strictest Anti- Abortion Law

From Huffpost:

People across the country are devastated after the Alabama state Senate passed the country’s strictest abortion bill.

The state Senate on Tuesday night passed the Human Life Protection Act, an extreme anti-abortion measure that bans the procedure in all cases, including rape and incest. The only exception to the legislation is if the life of a pregnant woman is at risk.

The bill passed 25 to 6. All the yes votes were made by white male senators.

Read more here.

 

May 15, 2019 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Proposed Law to Allow Contact between Parents and Children After Termination of Parental Rights

From New York Law Journal:

State law in New York prevents family court judges from allowing any kind of contact between a parent and their child after parental rights have been terminated, but lawmakers are renewing a push to change that in the final weeks of this year’s legislative session.

Sponsors of a bill that would allow family court judges to grant contact between children and their parents after termination are pushing their colleagues to support the legislation before they’re scheduled to leave Albany for the year in June.

Read more here.

May 14, 2019 in Current Affairs, Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Joe Biden and the #MeToo Generation Gap

From The Rolling Stones:

Last week, Lucy Flores, a Democractic lawmaker from Nevada, penned an op-ed for the Cutclaiming that former vice president Joe Biden had touched her inappropriately while she was campaigning for lieutenant governor. Flores wrote that Biden approached her from behind and smelled her hair before kissing her on the back of the head.

Shortly thereafter (as we have come to expect with these cases), a woman named Amy Lappos chimed in, telling the Hartford Courant that Biden had rubbed noses with her at a 2009 fundraiser.

Since then, two other women have come forward with allegations of inappropriate touching from Biden, including a 22-year-old woman who claims Biden rubbed her thigh and gave her a lingering hug after she told him about her experience as a sexual assault survivor.

To be clear, the women leveling these allegations against Biden are not accusing him of illegal or even borderline abusive behavior.

As Tessa Stuart wrote for Rolling Stone about Flores and Lappos, “neither woman is accusing him of a crime — they’re engaging prospective voters in a broader conversation about what constitutes appropriate and acceptable behavior. (In response, Biden has issued a statement saying that while he believes he is not guilty of inappropriate behavior, he will “listen respectfully” to women’s claims.)

Read more here.

 

April 13, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Violence Against Women Act is Turning 25

From The New York Times:

Since it was proposed in the early 1990s as a bill to protect women “on the streets and in homes,” the Violence Against Women Act has been argued over by lawmakers, the Supreme Court, civil rights groups and the National Rifle Association, among others.

The bill, which President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1994, was designed to protect victims of domestic crimes and reduce the stigma associated with domestic abuse. It must be renewed every few years by Congress, and on Thursday the House approved a bill that would reauthorize the act for a fourth time.

The act has established the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice, and myriad programs to train victim advocates, police officers, prosecutors and judges on gender-based violence. Since it was created, more than $7 billion in federal grants has been given to programs that prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. It has also funded shelters, community programs and studies tracking violence against women.

Read more here.

April 11, 2019 in Current Affairs, Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Female Veteran Denied In Vitro Because She's Single

From CBS News:

Hundreds of military families have had access to fertility treatments in recent years but not all veterans qualify for them. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 567 families have benefited from in vitro fertilization since the military started covering the procedures in 2016 but veterans who are single still have to pay for the roughly $12,000 treatment on their own.

Toni Hackney said she'd always planned on being a mom, but the call of duty complicated her ambitions. After serving in the United States Army for 16 years, Hackney decided to start a family in retirement. But complications meant exploring in vitro fertility treatments. When Hackney looked to Veterans Affairs, it wouldn't pay – because she isn't married.

"Whether people like it or not, as a female in the military if you're not there more than your male counterpart, the odds of you getting promoted or getting a good evaluation, it's not, it's not there," Hackney told CBS News' Michelle Miller.

Read more here.

April 9, 2019 in Alternative Reproduction, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Utah Legalizes Sex Outside Marriage

From NPR News:

Until this week, sex between unmarried people in Utah was technically illegal, a vestige of earlier times.

That changed Wednesday, when Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill that decriminalizes sex outside of marriage in the state, spokesperson Anna Lehnardt tells NPR.

Utah's 1973 fornication law designated sex outside of marriage as a class B misdemeanor. The act carried a possible penalty of up to six months in jail or a maximum fine of $1,000.

Read more here.

April 6, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

UK Judge Says Men have a "Fundamental Human Right" to Sex with their Wives

From The Guardian:

A row has erupted after a judge spoke in court about the “fundamental human right” of a man to have sex with his wife.

The remark was made by Mr Justice Hayden, who had been asked to consider imposing a court order preventing a man from having sex with his wife of 20 years because she may no longer be able to give her consent.

The case had been brought to the court of protection, which considers cases where people lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions, by lawyers for a council’s social services after the condition of the woman, who has learning difficulties, began to deteriorate.

Read more here.

April 2, 2019 in Current Affairs, International, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 1, 2019

US Government Extends Ban On Use of Aid to Promote or Subsidize Abortion in Foreign Nations

From The Daily Signal:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced two key moves by the Trump administration that he said would “ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not used to subsidize or promote abortions.” 

The United States spends about $9 billion a year on global health care programs, and President Donald Trump is determined that taxpayers’ dollars not go to foreign organizations that support or provide abortions, Pompeo told reporters Tuesday in the White House briefing room. 

In his first month in office, Trump reinstated the so-called Mexico City policy under which President Ronald Reagan in 1984 pursued the same objective.

Read more here.

 

April 1, 2019 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Tracking Your Spouse Can Result in a Final Restraining Order

From JD Supra/Fox Rothschild LLP:

In the recent unpublished decision of L.G. v. T.G.. the Appellate Division addresses an issue that we are dealing with more and more – tracking one’s spouse through a hidden GPS on their car.  GPS in terms of domestic violence isn’t necessarily “new” – you can read about the beginnings in Eric Solotoff’s 2011 blog. 

But this case also demonstrates that having a third party contract the private investigator services does not protect a defendant/spouse from entry of a final restraining order (“FRO”) based upon stalking and that reviewing the information/using it against the victim can also lead to the FRO based upon harassment. 

Of note, although not explicitly stated, is that the tracking/private investigation was not intended to assist the defendant’s case, such as for cohabitation, but rather the opinion reads as though the only purpose of tracking the plaintiff was to learn about and question her whereabouts.  Other important factors that we often see, and which the court considered, include that the defendant was the sole wage earner and can therefore exert financial control against the plaintiff and the defendant used his larger physical stature to instill fear in the plaintiff. 

In this very thorough decision, before addressing the merits of the appeal, the Appellate Division specifically stated that it “defer[s] to the judge’s thoughtful findings on this subject because those findings were solidly grounded on the judge’s credibility findings – he found L.G. much more credible than T.G., who was evasive – as well as other reliable evidence”.

Read more here.

March 24, 2019 in Current Affairs, Divorce (grounds), Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 23, 2019

New Tax Provisions Significantly Impact Treatment of Trusts in Divorce

From JD Supra/Lathrop Gage:

Everyone knows about the income and estate tax changes included as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Act”), but there are several overlooked provisions that may significantly affect taxation in a divorce.  Some of these provisions may cause unintended consequences if not addressed as part of the dissolution proceeding or settlement discussions.

Beginning in 2019 alimony and maintenance are no longer deductible to the person making the payment or taxable to the person receiving the payment.  Unlike many other provisions in the Act, this provision does not sunset in 2026.  In addition, Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements are not grandfathered under the Act (there are some efforts to change this, but it is unclear whether that will happen.).  Therefore, if a Prenuptial or Postnuptial agreement signed before 2018 includes terms providing for how alimony or maintenance will be taxed, the new tax laws under the Act prohibiting the deduction or taxation of alimony and maintenance will still apply.

There is a section of the Internal Revenue Code (Section 682) that addresses “grantor trusts”, that was repealed as part of the Act.  “Grantor” trusts are trusts where the person establishing the trust (the grantor) is taxed on the income from the trust even if such person is not the beneficiary of the trust.  Prior to the Act, Section 682 provided that after a divorce, income paid to an ex-spouse from a grantor trust would be taxed directly to the ex-spouse, not the grantor of the trust.  Section 682 was repealed as part of the Act, which means that now, after a divorce, the grantor will still pay the income tax on the trust income, even though the divorced spouse will receive that income.  If this issue is not considered, this outcome may cause significant tax consequences to the grantor spouse after the divorce.

Read more here.

 

March 23, 2019 in Current Affairs, Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Anthem Indiana Joins Indiana Legal Services to Provide Medicaid Consumers Access to Free Legal Services

From The Associated Press:

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Indiana (Anthem) today announced the launch of a new medical-legal partnership pilot with Indiana Legal Services to improve the health and quality of life of Medicaid consumers in Central Indiana through free legal assistance. This first-of-its-kind partnership will offer legal counseling for issues with housing and utilities, income support, education and employment and family law, including guardianship, child support, child welfare and custody.

The program will be available to all Central Indiana Medicaid consumers, including those in the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), Hoosier Healthwise, Hoosier Care Connect and traditional Fee-For-Service.

“This program exemplifies Anthem’s commitment to not only providing healthcare services but also looking for innovative programs that help address other issues that impact health and quality of life,” said Dr. Kimberly Roop, Medicaid plan president at Anthem Indiana. “We know Medicaid consumers have a broad range of civil legal needs and providing access to attorney services will help remove a social barrier to their overall well-being.”

Read more here.

March 21, 2019 in Child Support (establishing), Child Support Enforcement, Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans), Paternity, Property Division | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Pregnancy and Divorce

From Lawyers.com (Gerard F. Miles):

Couples going through a divorce are amid one of life’s most stressful episodes. When there is a pregnancy involved, the emotions and tension are amplified. When a baby is on the way, an already difficult situation becomes even more complicated. During a typical divorce, emotions run high as each decision and agreement are legally formalized. It can be dizzying for anyone trying to prepare themselves for the next phase of their life; one without their spouse. When a pregnancy is involved, a child brings the concerns for an additional person into the mix.

Working Together to Be Apart
Divorcing couples may benefit from an intermediary who can help to fairly divide their marital assets. Beyond that, a counselor may be able to help both divorcing parents remain focused on the future needs of the baby, who will surely benefit most from a peaceful and well-considered parental breakup.

Parental Planning
Parents want the best for their children, and children fare much better in life when their parents work together to address their needs. Often, these needs are best assessed even before the baby arrives. Typically, parents planning for a baby discuss all aspects of preparations. This is crucial in instances where co-parents will be living separately. In these cases, it is worthwhile to come up with a parenting plan.

Read more here.

March 20, 2019 in Child Support (establishing), Child Support Enforcement, Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds), Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

No Due Process Right to Perform Abortions

From The ABA Journal:

An en banc federal appeals court has upheld an Ohio law that bans the state from providing health funds to abortion providers.

In an 11-6 decisionissued Tuesday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati turned down a challenge by two Planned Parenthood affiliates. They had argued that the funding ban imposes an unconstitutional condition on public funding.

The Planned Parenthood affiliates “are correct that the Ohio law imposes a condition on the continued receipt of state funds,” Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote for the majority. “But that condition does not violate the Constitution because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions.”

Four judges in the majority were appointed by President Donald Trump, Politico reports.

Read more here.

March 19, 2019 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Judge Blocks Kentucky Fetal Heartbeat Law

From The New York Times:

A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked a Kentucky law that prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically happens around six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.

The measure, which was signed into law on Friday by the state’s Republican governor, Matt Bevin, and was set to take effect immediately, was poised to become one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country.

But late on Friday, the judge, David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky, ruled the law was potentially unconstitutional. He halted enforcement for at least 14 days to “prevent irreparable harm” until he could hold a hearing.

Read more here.

March 18, 2019 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Lawmakers Call For Overhaul of China's Family Planning Policy

From Reuters:

Delegates to China’s parliament are urging the overhaul or even scrapping of controversial family planning rules and say radical steps are needed to “liberate fertility” and reverse a decline in births and a rapidly shrinking workforce.

With its population ageing as a result of longer lifespans and a dwindling number of children, the world’s most populous nation decided in 2016 to allow all couples to have a second child, relaxing a tough one-child policy in place since 1978.

But birth rates plummeted for the second consecutive year last year. Policymakers now fret about the impact a long-term decline in births will have on the economy and its strained health and social services.

Read more here.

March 16, 2019 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Alabama Court Recognizes Aborted Fetus as Person With Rights

From Washington Post:

An Alabama judge has recognized the legal rights of an aborted fetus, allowing a man whose girlfriend ended her pregnancy at six weeks to sue the manufacturer of the pill she used and the clinic that gave it to her.

The decree, issued by Madison County Probate Judge Frank Barger, explicitly states “Baby Roe” is a person and allows plaintiff Ryan Magers to name the fetus as a co-plaintiff in the suit for “wrongful death.” Magers said in court filings that when his then-girlfriend discovered she was pregnant in early 2017, he “repeatedly pleaded” with her to carry the pregnancy to term and give birth, but she wanted to have an abortion.

Read more here.

March 11, 2019 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Man Sues Judge Who Ruins Wedding Day

From The Pocono Record:

A man who says he was unlawfully detained on his wedding day by a Pennsylvania judge who wrongly suspected he was in the United States illegally filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, alleging violations of his constitutional rights.

Alexander Parker sued Camp Hill-based District Judge Elizabeth S. Beckley, two court entities and an unidentified court officer who, Parker says, told him he was not free to leave.

The federal lawsuit claims Guatemala-born Parker and his fiancee went to Beckley’s court office to get married in May 2017, but Beckley’s suspicions prompted her to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Read more here.

March 3, 2019 in Adoption, Current Affairs, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)