Sunday, May 5, 2024

Alabama House Judiciary Committee rejects bill requiring in utero child support

From the Alabama Reflector:

The House Judiciary Committee Wednesday rejected legislation that would have a parent of a child to pay child support for an unborn child.

SB 237, sponsored by Sen. Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Grove, would require child support orders made within the first year after a child is born to be retroactive nine months before the child is born.

“In a body where we have already determined, we have legislation that has been passed, we have personhood legislation that life begins at conception,” Coleman said. “If indeed that is the case, so does support begin in utero.”

Read more here.

May 5, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Former Ottawa County Court employee pleads guilty to altering child custody document

From Yahoo News:

Christina Gabbard, 33, pleaded guilty to unlawful use of the court clerk’s seal, a misdemeanor.

She was also fined $200, online court records show.

Gabbard was engaged in a child custody dispute with Samuel Baird when she took a temporary order and added the official seal and signed another court clerk employee’s name on the document.

The document was submitted to Stepping Stones Academy in Miami where it reduced the father’s visitation by two hours, court records show.

Read more here.

May 4, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 3, 2024

Willis: "A Game Theory View of Family Law: Divorce Planning for a 500% 'Family-Tax'"

Steven J. Willis (University of Florida Levin College of Law) recently posted his article, A Game Theory View of Family Law: Divorce Planning for a 500% 'Family-Tax' on SSRN.

The Article Covers:

  1. Tax Rates and Margins. Other than in family law, "tax rates" mostly affect the wealthy.  In bankruptcy, all debtors are essentially equal.  In contrast, marginal "family-tax" rates affect middle income-earners the most.
  2. Family Law Rates and Margins. This quantifies and illustrates the "family-tax."
  3. Reality Versus Perceptions. 

            A. Is the "Family-Tax" Rate Real? Yes, but it is also a perception.

            B. Is this Merely a Battle of Experts. No, because the playing field is unloved.

May 3, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Florida prepares for 6-week abortion ban to go in effect

With so many restrictions in other states, Florida has become a place where many women have been traveling to get abortions.

Now that the 6-week abortion ban is set to go into effect on Wednesday in Florida, democrats say they are worried about what reproductive healthcare will look like for women.

Nine states in the South have already banned abortion. Florida joins Georgia and South Carolina.

Earlier this month, the state’s supreme court upheld the 15-week abortion ban, which ultimately triggered a stricter ban.

However, in the upcoming November election, people will be able to vote on whether the government should be allowed to interfere with abortions.

Looking over data from last year, 1 in every 12 abortions nationwide has happened in the state of Florida.

Read more here.

May 2, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Forgoing marriage? Estate planning for unmarried couples

From the Journal of Accountancy:

While many couples choose to live together as a precursor to marriage these days, more and more are choosing to skip marriage altogether, even while raising children and owning property together. This makes estate planning more urgent than it typically might be for married couples. Forgoing the legal entanglement of marriage can lead to troubling outcomes should one member of the couple face incapacity or an untimely death.

Read more here.

May 1, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Whelan: "Poked, Prodded, and Privacy: Parents, Children, and Pediatric Genetic Testing"

Allison Whelan (Georgia State University College of Law) recently posted her article, Poked, Prodded, and Privacy: Parents, Children, and Pediatric Genetic Testing, published in Iowa Law Review, on SSRN.  Here is the Abstract:

"Knowledge is power," so the saying goes. But does that always prove true? What if knowledge comes without the power or resources to act? What if knowledge is unwanted and uninvited?

Significant advancements in genetics and genomics have thrust these and other difficult questions into the professional and public discourse. These developments include "pediatric predisposition genetic testing" ("PPGT"), a term used in this Article to describe genetic testing performed on a minor with parental consent to either determine with certainty or predict the risk that the minor will develop an adult-onset disease.

PPGT pits parental rights against children's rights in unique and unprecedented ways. American law and tradition have long recognized the rights of parents to consent to myriad types of healthcare services for their children, presuming that parents act in their children's best interests. But PPGT raises questions about that presumption. Problematically, PPGT may impose unwanted information on nonconsenting children--information those children must live with for the rest of their lives. Too often, children become pawns in larger sociopolitical battles fought primarily between parents and the state, with the children's rights and interests cast aside. With PPGT, where science has outpaced law and policy, children's rights face subordination yet again.

To mitigate harm and protect children's rights in this "age of genetics," this Article argues for the development of a novel theoretical framework: a "right to future privacy." In doing so, it eschews the existing jurisprudence's myopic focus on parental rights and parent-state conflicts and proposes a framework that accounts for children's privacy and autonomy amid fast-developing, and often under-regulated, technologies like PPGT. At a time when privacy rights are threatened by myriad sources, this Article reaffirms and reinvigorates the value of children's lifelong genetic and personal privacy.

April 30, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 29, 2024

The biggest AI companies agree to crack down on child abuse images

From The Verge:

Tech companies like Google, Meta, OpenAI, Microsoft, and Amazon committed today to reviewing their AI training data for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and removing it from use in any future models.

The companies signed on to a new set of principles meant to limit the proliferation of CSAM. They promise to ensure training datasets do not contain CSAM, to avoid datasets with a high risk of including CSAM, and to remove CSAM imagery or links to CSAM from data sources. The companies also commit to “stress-testing” AI models to ensure they don’t generate any CSAM imagery and to only release models if these have been evaluated for child safety. 

Other signatories include Anthropic, Civitai, Metaphysic, Mistral AI, and Stability AI. 

Read more here.

April 29, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Appeals court blocks $100,000 daily fine for Texas’ troubled foster care program

From The Texas Tribune:

April 28, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 27, 2024

State Spotlight: Michigan: Child's Preference in Custody Modification Proceedings

From Michigan Lawyers Weekly:

A trial court erred when it granted a change in custody without considering the preference of the child, the Michigan Court of Appeals has held, vacating the change in custody order and remanding.

Judge Brock A. Swartzle said reversal was warranted here because the error seriously affected the fairness and integrity of the custody proceedings.

“A child’s preference is just that — a preference — and a trial court must evaluate that preference along with all of the other relevant evidence when making its best-interest determination,” he wrote. “But, even if the child’s preference does not carry the day, there is independent value in knowing on some level that one’s voice has been heard.”

The published decision is Quint v. Quint (MiLW 07-107861, 9 pages). Judge James Robert Redford joined Swartzle’s opinion.

Judge Christopher P. Yates concurred.

Read more here.

April 27, 2024 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 26, 2024

Kentucky Senate passes bill to grant the right to collect child support for unborn children

From AP News:

The Republican-led Kentucky Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to grant the right to collect child support for unborn children, advancing a bill that garnered bipartisan support.

The measure would allow a parent to seek child support up to a year after giving birth to retroactively cover pregnancy expenses. The legislation — Senate Bill 110 — won Senate passage on a 36-2 vote with little discussion to advance to the House. Republicans have supermajorities in both chambers.

Republican state Sen. Whitney Westerfield said afterward that the broad support reflects a recognition that pregnancy carries with it an obligation for the other parent to help cover the expenses incurred during those nine months. Westerfield is a staunch abortion opponent and sponsor of the bill.

“I believe that life begins at conception,” Westerfield said while presenting the measure to his colleagues. “But even if you don’t, there’s no question that there are obligations and costs involved with having a child before that child is born.”

Read more here.


April 26, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 25, 2024

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. However, there are measures you can take at any time throughout the year that I wanted to highlight as we near the end of the month.

On a national level, Child Welfare Information Gateway publishes an annual Prevention Resource Guide. They describe the guide as follows:

The 2023/2024 Prevention Resource Guide recognizes that there are actions we can take as a society and within communities, organizations, and families to address the root causes of child abuse and neglect. The prevention resource guide seeks to highlight the innovative ways that communities around the country are doing purposeful prevention work to help children and families thrive. The protective factors have always been central to the Resource Guide. A protective factors approach focuses on positive ways to engage families by emphasizing their strengths, in addition to identifying areas where they have room to grow with support. Focusing on protective factors helps children, youth, and families build resilience and contributes to positive outcomes.

The National Children's Advocacy Center has similarly published its Social Media Toolkit with fact sheets regarding child abuse.

On a state level, many state and local organizations have published their own Child Abuse Prevention Month resources.

Here are some examples:



Children's Trust Fund of Alabama


April 25, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

State Spotlight: D.C. Eliminates Divorce Waiting Period, Adds Abuse Factor for Property Division

From JD Supra:

While many of us were struggling to keep recent New Year’s resolutions going, new laws went into effect on January 26, 2024 that altered the landscape of divorce in the District of Columbia.

The changes were in three areas of the law: (1) simplifying the grounds for divorce or legal separation; (2) adding “physical, emotional, or financial abuse by one party against the other” to the list of relevant factors the Court considers when awarding alimony and dividing property; and (3) adding pendente lite use and possession of a family home to the list of relief that may be awarded by a Court.

Read more here.

April 24, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

AI - A Hit or Miss for Family Law?

AI is the hottest, most recent technological advancement - but what does it have in store for family law? Ivan Serrano, a writer for the Legal Reader, lists a number of advantages and risks for incorporating AI in family law (and the legal world in general).

Advantages include swift and precise responses to client questions, which is of much use to busy lawyers. Predictive analytics from data offered by AI bots assist lawyers in making informed decisions and also enable clients to somewhat foresee the duration, outcome, and cost of their case from start to finish, which is extremely helpful for litigants to decide whether to pursue their case in court or to instead settle matters outside of the courtroom - for working or financially unstable divorcees/parents, such guidance and insight is particularly valuable. Lawyers may also enjoy the speed at which AI can sift through intensive documents and paperwork.

However, the risks and disadvantages of integrating AI into law may outweigh its advantages. Data privacy and security is a big drawback - users cannot always be certain that their legal information, often sensitive and confidential, is not being sold or collected by large AI companies. A lack of human connection in AI also presents difficulties, as well as the fact that AI is often unreliable and inaccurate when it comes to more specific questions relating to more personal matters in a case. For example, AI is unable to handle simple math word problems, since it follows an algorithm which encourages it to output things that “sound right,” and this problem with AI algorithms extends outside of mathematics and into law - attorney Steven A. Schwartz is infamous for using AI in legal research for a personal injury lawsuit, which resulted in Schwartz referencing six court cases that never existed.

Read more here.

April 23, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 22, 2024

Map Reveals States With Most Divorced Couples

From Newsweek:

Researchers have combed through divorce records to compile a list of the U.S. states most likely to see marriage breakdowns and the ones where couples are least likely to call their lawyers. Newsweek has created a map showing the findings this week.

The most up-to-date figures relate to 2022 and were published as the latest in a series of "family profile" annual reports on the topic conducted by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR), which is run with assistance from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. The research, "Divorce Rate in the U.S.: Geographic Variation, 2022," was authored by Jaden Loo in 2023.

According to the study, divorce peaked in the United States in 1979 with 22.6 divorces per 1,000 married women, but the rate has been steadily declining since then. Divorce rates plummeted during the pandemic, with a 12 percent reduction and a 40-year low of just 14 out of every 1,000 married women getting divorced in 2020. The figure was repeated again the following year in 2021.

Read more here.

April 22, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Zhang: “The Care Bureaucracy”

Yiran Zhang (Cornell Industrial and Labor Relations School) recently posted her article, The Care Bureaucracy, on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The state plays an increasingly crucial role in providing home care as an aging population leads to mounting care needs. The public care system in the United States delivers home care and compensation for care work through an increasingly bureaucratic mode of governance featuring task-list enumeration, documentation, professional supervision, and exacting surveillance. The process adopts a rigid functional approach to define, measure, and regulate care, one that creates tension with the home care’s relational, fluid, and person-centered dimensions. Through the concept of “care bureaucracy,” this Article describes the status quo disciplinary bureaucracy governing public home care, analyzes its political economy context, including its connection with distrust and fragmentation in the public care system, and lays out its benefits and profound costs. The care bureaucracy not only burdens families needing care and care workers with unpaid and privacy-invading bureaucratic work, but also deters participation and stiffens the provision of home care, threatening the state’s capacity to adequately deliver the promised quality care. The Article also proposes an alternative way to govern public home care by drawing from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ caregiver programs for veterans with service-related disabilities.
This Article makes two contributions to legal scholarship on care and the state. First, this Article explores the tension between public responsibility and family and worker autonomy in a mundane form of family regulation—a disciplinary bureaucracy—in the public home care system. The care bureaucracy imposes a not-so-punitive and yet highly omnipresent regulation of the users’ family, workplace, and bodily autonomy by micro-managing their physical movements inside homes. Second, it establishes the political-economy connection between the bureaucratization and fragmentation of public home care. In analyzing the status quo political economy of the care bureaucracy, this Article provides a roadmap to reform the public care system into one more responsive to the growing care needs.

April 21, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 20, 2024

How Florida and Arizona Supreme Court rulings change the abortion access map

From NPR:

In a few weeks, Florida and Arizona are set to join most states in the southern U.S. in banning abortion. It's a significant shake up to the abortion legal landscape, and data shared exclusively with NPR maps and quantifies what the changes will mean for millions of Americans.

On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court cleared the way for an 1864 law to be enforced. That law completely bans abortion except when someone's life is in danger. Last week, the Florida Supreme Court made its decision to allow a ban on abortions after six weeks gestation to take effect on May 1.

Caitlin Myers, an economics professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, has been tracking abortion facilities and travel distances since 2009. She analyzed how these latest rulings will affect the access map.

"Because of these bans, it's about 6 million women of reproductive age who are experiencing an increase in distance of more than 200 miles," she says.

She points out that Floridians who are seeking abortions after six weeks will have to travel nearly 600 miles to North Carolina, which has a 72-hour waiting period. "So we're talking about a day's drive to a state that requires you to engage in this multi-day process," Myers says. "A lot of people might end up going several hundred miles further to Virginia."

For people in Arizona, after the 1864 law takes effect, "their nearest destinations are pretty long drives. They're going to be facing hundreds of miles to reach southern California, New Mexico, Colorado," Myers says. "I think Arizona spillover is likely to affect California in a way that California hasn't yet been affected by bans."

Read more here.

April 20, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Silbaugh & Caplan-Bricker: "Regulating Social Media Through Family Law"

Katharine Baird Silbaugh (Boston University School of Law) and Adi Caplan-Bricker (Boston University School of Law) has recently posted to SSRN their article, Regulating Social Media Through Family Law.  Here is their abstract:

Social media afflicts minors with depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, addiction, suicidality, and eating disorders. States are legislating at a breakneck pace to protect children. Courts strike down every attempt to intervene on First Amendment grounds. This Article clears a path through this stalemate by leveraging two underappreciated frameworks: the latent regulatory power of parental authority arising out of family law, and a hidden family law within First Amendment jurisprudence. These two projects yield novel insights. First, the recent cases offer a dangerous understanding of the First Amendment, one that should not survive the family law reasoning we provide. First Amendment jurisprudence routinely defers to parental decisions, in contrast to emerging case law. Second, existing legislation fails to leverage family law to bypass First Amendment barriers. Lawmakers should refocus on legislating to empower parents to supervise their children meaningfully on social media, instead of focusing on harmful content itself. In the real world, parents enjoy nearly unlimited authority to decide how much privacy to afford a minor, what ideas may reach them, and who may contact them. The law supports parents in these efforts, and it can do so in the social media context as well. But it is essential for the state to identify this as the interest behind regulation, in order to survive First Amendment challenges. We conclude by proposing a Parental Decision-Making Registry that could reduce the enormous power of social media companies in the lives of minors while resting securely on law of the parent-child relationship.

April 20, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 19, 2024

With This Ring, I Unwed

From New York Times:

Last week, Emily Ratajkowski shared on Instagram that she had created a pair of “divorce rings” by remodeling the pear- and princess-cut diamonds from her toi et moi engagement ring into two separate rings. Alison Chemla, a New York-based jeweler and creative director at Alison Lou (who also crafted Ms. Ratajkowski’s original engagement ring), created the new pieces. The post has since received over one million likes.

“Divorce rings are having a moment,” said Sasha Nixon, a New York-based jewelry curator and historian. The trend, one embraced primarily by women, is about breathing life into one’s wedding rings following a split.

Ms. Ratajkowski, whose divorce from the movie producer Sebastian Bear-McClard became final in 2023, hopes to shift the negative assumptions about ending a marriage.

“I would like there to be a perspective that allows space for the fact that leaving a relationship is often a remarkable and brave act,” she said. “I really would like to see single moms — or women starting over for the first time in a terrifying way — find some kind of solace in the idea that they’re not failures for leaving.”

Read more here.

April 19, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Call for Papers: Disability and the Family

The International Academy for the Study of the Jurisprudence of the Family and their annual symposium this year (June 19-20, 2024 in Zaragoza, Spain) is themed "Disability and the Family."

The Call for Papers is available here.



April 18, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Register Today: ABA Family Law Spring CLE Conference

Registration is open for the 2024 Section of Family Law Spring CLE Conference.  

The Conference is scheduled from May 1, 2024-May 4, 2024 at the Westin Copley Place in Boston.  More information:

  • 18 CLE programs (13 hours of credit) on a variety of family law and ART topics including:
    • A special Intro to ART series on Wednesday, May 1. Separate ticket purchase required.
    • A joint family law and ART program on representing LGBTQ+ clients and parents of LGBTQ+ Children
    • Finding income
    • Futuristic IVF
  • Committee meetings where you’ll have a chance to discuss hot topics
  • Networking opportunities, including catching a Red Sox game

Register here.

April 17, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)