Family Law Prof Blog

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

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Australia: Family Law Act Gives Grandparents Rights

From Lexology:

Grandparents are playing a greater role in many families, often due to the high cost of childcare and increasing rates of divorce. But what happens when a grandparent is refused time with their grandchild or wishes to assume full care of a child? What are grandparents’ rights in these circumstances?

The Family Law Act 1975 (the Act) recognises that significant persons in a child’s life (such as grandparents) have a right to a meaningful relationship with that child, and in certain circumstances may seek parenting orders through the Family Court.

A grandparent may seek an order:

  • to spend regular time with the child, usually sought where parents have refused the grandparent any involvement with the child. Whether this will be granted depends on the circumstances, however the Court will generally award the grandparent less time than may be ordinarily awarded to a parent.
  • for the primary care of the child, typically sought where parents may be unwilling or unable to care for the child. An order for a child to live with a grandparent (and for that grandparent to have sole parental responsibility for them) places them in an equivalent role to a parent and allows that person to make decisions for the child without the need to consult the parents.

Read more here.

September 6, 2018 in International, Visitation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A call for review of Zimbabwe's "Termination of Pregnancy Act"

From The Times Live, South Africa:

When her 15-year-old daughter fell pregnant last year, Irene Ndlovu secretly arranged for an abortion before the pregnancy became visible so that she could continue with her education.

Abortions are only allowed in Zimbabwe if a woman’s life is in danger, if there is a risk that the child will be “seriously handicapped” or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. Those who break the law can be jailed for five years.

“It was the only sensible thing to do at the time,” Ndlovu, who declined to give her real name, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Do I regret it now? I don’t know.”

Read more here

 

September 5, 2018 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 3, 2018

Surrogacy and Thorny Issues of Identity, Parenthood and Status in Modern Families

From Lexis Nexis:

AB v CD and others [2018] EWHC 1590 (Fam) illustrates how the needs of modern families formed through assisted conception and surrogacy continue to challenge and outpace the law. Louisa Ghevaert and Richard Jones analyse the case in the September issue of Family Law ([2018] Fam Law 1187).

On one level, the case focused on disputes about arrangements for the children’s upbringing, including exercise of parental responsibility and contact. However, at the heart of this case were fundamental issues about the legal identity and status of the parents and children because the biological intended parents had not applied for parental orders.

This case marked the first time the court had to deal with a situation whereby a family created through surrogacy encountered serious domestic violence, marital breakdown, divorce and remarriage forming a new blended family.

Read more here.

September 3, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction, Custody (parenting plans), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Mandatory Paternity Leave for Hongkongers A Mistake

From South China Morning Post:

A pro-establishment lawmaker representing catering sector employers continued to oppose a Hong Kong government proposal to increase statutory paternity leave from three days to five, claiming the benefit itself should not even exist, as demands for more would be “never-ending”.

Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, an executive councillor and chairman of the business-friendly Liberal Party, said on Thursday that the granting of paternity leave should be left to the employer’s discretion rather than being a statutory right, as the city had a “severe shortage of workers”.

“Every year, it’s like this. When the government proposes to add two days, labour unions and lawmakers demand more meat on the bone,” he said on a radio programme. “Some will want seven days, others will call for 10.”

Read more here.

August 26, 2018 in International, Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 24, 2018

Australia Revokes Ban on Adoption of Children from India

From Sputnik International:

India's Ministry of Women and Child Development confirmed on Tuesday that Australia has revoked a ban it imposed eight years ago on the adoption of children from India over trafficking concerns.

Earlier on Monday, Australia's Assistant Minister for Children and Families David Gillespie said that India had "improved its processes" to comply with The Hague Convention on Adoption and could rejoin the 13 countries still on Australia's approved adoption list. 

Indian law mandates that adoption shall be finalized by a court order within a period of two months from the date of filing of the application. To address a delay in the adoption process, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has proposed empowering local level administration (District Magistrates), instead of "Courts" for issuing orders under adoption proceedings.

Read more here.

August 24, 2018 in Adoption, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Rise in Deathbed Weddings Prompts Call to Protect Cohabiting Couples

From The Guardian:

The government is being urged to provide legal protection to millions of cohabiting couples as evidence emerges of an increase in the number of civil partnerships and deathbed weddings.

In a letter to the Guardian on the third Saturday in August – the busiest day for marriages this year – a coalition of legal organisations and family charities has called on ministers to update legislation and tackle the myth of common-law marriage rights in England and Wales.

“Today is the busiest day of the year for weddings, yet marriage numbers are declining,” the letter says. “Currently one in eight adults in England and Wales are cohabiting, a trend steadily increasing since 2002.”

Couples mistakenly believe they have the same legal and financial rights and protections as married couples, say the organisations, which include the Bar Council, the Law Society, Resolution, Relate, Rights of Women, OnlyMums and OnlyDads.

Read more here.

August 22, 2018 in Cohabitation (live-ins), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Professor In Hiding By Death Threats Over Brazil Abortion Hearing

From The Guardian:

Days before a Brazilian supreme court hearing on a move that could eventually decriminalise abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, a leading feminist campaigner is in hiding after receiving death threats.

Debora Diniz, a professor of anthropology at the University of Brasília, who helped bring the legal action with bioethics institute Anis, is sequestered in an unknown location but will still appear at the two-day hearing, which starts on Friday.

“We are in a new moment,” Diniz, who will be escorted by police at the trial, told the Guardian by phone. “It could change the criminalisation of abortion in the country, and that is why it is so important.”

Read more here.

August 12, 2018 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Reunited Migrant Families Share Experiences

From USA Today:

At a sparkling mid-century office building in the heart of Phoenix's financial district, an unusual scene continues to play out.

A van pulls up multiple times each day and out climb several pairs of parents and children, each clutching their belongings in duffel bags or clear plastics bags stamped with the words Department of Homeland Security on the side.

Their arrival at the office building marks the last agonizing chapter as well as the start of an uncertain future for hundreds of asylum-seeking families separated at the border and now being quietly reunited in Phoenix before a fast-approaching, court-ordered deadline. 

Read more here.

August 11, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Migrant Children Face Threat of International Adoption

From The Intercept:

WHEN NEWS REPORTS first began to emerge that 81 of the migrant children recently separated from their parents had been sent into the care of one of the largest adoption agencies in the country, the response was swift alarm. Was the government planning on creating “social orphans” out of the children, then offering them up for adoption?

Horrified observers had already drawn parallels between the separation crisis and the blatantly assimilationist treatment of Native American children, starting with their mass removal to boarding schools in the late 19th Century and continuing through the Indian Adoption Project, which from the late 1950s to early 1970s removed 25 to 35 percent of all Native American children from their families. Or how U.S. slavery systematically broke apart families, selling children away from their parents. A number pointed out that the forcible transfer of children from one group of people to another fits the United Nations definition of genocide.

To adoption reform advocates, who monitor unethical and abusive practices in child welfare, it looked like any number of adoption crises in the past, like the airlifts out of Haiti in the wake of its cataclysmic 2010 earthquake. Then, masses of unaccompanied children were suddenly labeled orphans and became the focus of a deafening campaign in the U.S. to rescue them through inter-country adoption, even as Haitian adults were being warned not to try to come themselves.

Read more here.

August 4, 2018 in Adoption, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

UK Supreme Court: Woman Can't Divorce Husband of 40 Years

From WISH TV 8:

The U.K. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a woman must remain married to her husband of 40 years after he opposed her request for a divorce, saying its hands were tied by the country’s divorce laws.

The justices upheld a lower court ruling that Tini Owens, 68, failed to prove “unreasonable behavior” by her husband, 80-year-old Hugh Owens, who she claimed was moody, argumentative and disparaging. English law requires a spouse to prove unreasonable behavior, adultery, desertion or a separation of five years unless both parties agree to divorce.

In issuing their ruling, the justices made their unease plain, noting that society’s expectations for reasonable behavior have changed since divorce laws were last updated in 1969 and marriage is now seen as a partnership of equals. The court then opened the door for lawmakers to rewrite the rules.

Read more here.

August 1, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Court Jails Mother Who Hid With Sons in Custody Battle

From BBC News:

A Spanish court has jailed a woman for five years for going into hiding with her two sons rather than hand them to the father, whom she accused of abuse.

Juana Rivas has also been stripped of custody rights for six years and told to pay hefty legal costs.

Spanish politicians and women's groups have criticised the verdict.

The long-running custody battle for the boys - now aged 12 and four - has become a rallying point in Spain's battle against gender violence.

Read more here.

July 31, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans), Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Courts for Addicted Parents Work, So Why Strip Funding?

From The Guardian:

The national unit that supports the family drug and alcohol court(FDAC), an initiative that aims to help addicted parents and their children, will close in September because of a lack of support from local authorities and funding from central government.

The unit, hailed by Sir James Munby, president of the family division of the high court of England and Wales, as one of the most important developments in family justice in the last 40 years, needs £250,000 a year to survive.

FDAC offers an alternative and, research suggests, a cheaper and more successful form of care proceedings for children at risk of significant harm by parents suffering substance misuse. Alongside a team of social workers, psychiatrists, substance misuse specialists and domestic violence experts, the court uses a problem-solving approach that works to enable parents to keep their children. Families involved are seen by the same judge every two weeks to monitor their progress.

Read more here.

July 30, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Should Your Family Be Able to Inherit Your Facebook Messages?

From Tech Radar:

A landmark court case in Germany has tackled the difficult reality of death in the age of social media, ruling in favor of parents who wanted to access their deceased daughter’s Facebook account and messages.

The country’s highest court ruled in favor of the parents whose daughter was hit by a train, as they wanted to determine whether her death was a suicide. If this was the case, the train driver would also be entitled to compensation.

While there are obvious privacy concerns involved in relinquishing a Facebook user’s private messages – particularly for the other recipients of said messages – the court ruled that such digital content is equivalent to diaries or letters and should thus be inherited by the owner’s legal heirs.

Read more here.

July 26, 2018 in International, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

11-Year-Old Girl Raped By 17 Men in India

From ABC Channel 13 Eye Witness News:

There is shock in the city of Chennai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu after 17 men were arrested for allegedly raping an 11-year-old-girl, CNN reports.

Anger at the accused was clear when a group of lawyers charged at them as they were exiting court.

The men, who range in age from their 20s to their 60s, could potentially face the death penalty. This is after the government rushed through an emergency law in April introducing capital punishment in rape cases involving minor girls under 12.

That measure was in response to growing public outrage at a string of sexual assaults involving minors.

Now the police say the girl in this latest case suffers from a hearing disability and she was attacked by men who worked in the building where she lives with her family.

Read more here.

July 25, 2018 in Child Abuse, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 20, 2018

London Protests Against Trump for Women's Rights, Refugees, Climate Change

From Reuters:

With colorful banners, loud chants and pots and pans banging, tens of thousands of people marched through central London to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance on climate change, refugee policies, and treatment of women.

Organizers estimated more than 80,000 people demonstrated in London against Trump’s first official visit to Britain as president, and other protests were expected in major cities around the country.

“Trump represents everything I hate: racism, bigot, misogynist, xenophobe. As a mother of daughters I want to show that he can’t treat women like he does,” said Diana Yates, 67, as demonstrators cheered and drivers honked horns in support.

Read more here.

July 20, 2018 in Abortion, Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Serbian Government Allows Children with Disabilities Attend School

From Human Rights Watch:

As children across Serbia enjoy their summer break, for some children the next school year can’t start soon enough. It may be their first chance to get an education. The Serbian government formally pledged in June that all children with disabilities will be able to go to school.

This is no small step. Thousands of children with disabilities in Serbia are not enrolled in school. Now we are told that they will finally have a chance at an education, and an inclusive one at that, to learn side by side with their peers with and without disabilities, as well as to enjoy school trips and after-school activities.

In a June 8 letter to Human Rights Watch, education minister Mladen Sarcevic promised to ensure “access, inclusion and participation of every child, student, and adult in quality and inclusive education.”

Read more here.

July 19, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Countries That Guarantee Paid Paternity Leave

 

From NPR:

What do China, India, South Sudan and the United States have in common?

They are among the 92 countries where there is no national policy that allow dads to take paid time off work to care for their newborns.

According to a data analysis released on Thursday by UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, almost two-thirds of the world's children under age 1 — nearly 90 million — live in countries where dads are not entitled by law to take paid paternity leave. In these countries, this policy is typically decided by employers.

The data, mapped in an interactive chart produced by World Policy Analysis Center at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health, allows users to scroll over a country to see its policy on paid paternity leave: no paid leave, less than three weeks (for most countries, that means one week or less), three to 13 weeks or 14 weeks or more. Users can also compare this data with paid maternity leave around the world. According to the center, 185 countries guarantee paid leave for mothers, with at least 14 weeks of leave in 106 countries.

Read more here.

 
 

July 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, International, Paternity, Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

India Named Most Dangerous Place for Women

From Ghana Broadcasting Corporation:

India is the most dangerous country in the world to be a woman because of the high risk of sexual violence and slave labor, a new survey of experts shows.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation released its results Tuesday of a survey of 550 experts on women's issues, finding India to be the most dangerous nation for sexual violence against women, as well as human trafficking for domestic work, forced labor, forced marriage and sexual slavery, among other reasons.

It was also the most dangerous country in the world for cultural traditions that impact women, the survey found, citing acid attacks, female genital mutilation, child marriage and physical abuse.

Read more here.

July 12, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 9, 2018

Anne Frank's Family Was Thwarted By U.S. Immigration Rules

From The New York Times:

Attempts by Anne Frank’s father to escape the Nazis in Europe and travel to the United States were complicated by tight American restrictions on immigration at the time, one of a series of roadblocks that narrowed the Frank family’s options and thrust them into hiding, according to a new report released on Friday.

The research, conducted jointly by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdamand the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, details the challenges faced by the Frank family and thousands of others looking to escape Europe as Nazi Germany gained strength and anti-refugee sentiment swept the United States.

Otto Frank, Anne’s father, was never outright denied an immigration visa, the report concludes, but “bureaucracy, war and time” thwarted his efforts.

Read more here.

July 9, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

How the Travel Ban Affects Families

From CNN:

Ever since Mohamed Adan Nur became a US citizen 13 years ago, he's been struggling to bring his wife and children to America.

Now, after the Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump's travel ban, the Somali native has no idea if or when they might join him.

"I'm really very sad. It doesn't make sense," the Atlanta-based truck driver said. "No reason to hold my kids on one side of the world and me on the other."

His is one of countless stories of American citizens directly impacted by the travel ban. Under the ban, close relatives might be able to enter the United States if they get a special waiver. But some relatives -- like Nur's -- have had difficulty getting a waiver, which can be denied without explanation.

Read more here.

July 4, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)