Family Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

New Coalition Goes on the Offensive for Abortion Rights

From The Progressive

Ever since Donald Trump’s election, reproductive rights advocates have had to counter a continuous stream of legislative and policy attacks. Each week brings more talk of what the fall of Roe v. Wade could look like.
Planned Parenthood clinics have stopped using Title X funds thanks to new rules imposed by the Trump Administration. Unconstitutional abortion bans continue to work their way through the courts. And new government policies privilege religion over patients’ rights. Under these pressures, Planned Parenthood recently removed its CEO, in part due to concerns over her ability to advocate for abortion rights.

It can start to feel like the fight for reproductive rights is only about preventing backslide, but that’s far from the truth. Recently, a coalition of nearly eighty organizations—including Planned Parenthood—unveiled their Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice. It’s a plan focused on moving reproductive rights forward.

Read more Here 

July 30, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 29, 2019

How the Internet has Impacted the Procedural Practice of Family Law

From: New Jersey Law journal 

    The practice of law is constantly evolving to keep up with changes in technology. The past decade has witnessed the onset of E-Filing, reliance upon e-mail and text messages as     primary modes of communication, and the influential realm of social media. As family law practitioners, we must be cognizant of the benefits while exercising caution in navigating the     limitations associated with these platforms.


    Long Arm Jurisdiction and Service of Process


    Social media has become a useful tool in locating old friends and keeping in touch with family members residing around the world. It can also be helpful in finding an otherwise absent     party in a matrimonial matter. While our Court Rules do not explicitly permit serving a complaint on an unavailable litigant via social media, our case law has allowed this method of     substituted service.

Read more here

July 29, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cost of Free Childcare

From Naomi Cahn (GW), writing for Forbes:

Just how much does caretaking really cost? Both parents together spend more than six hours per day doing unpaid work in the home, with women doing more than men. Indeed, as Melinda Gates points out in discussionsabout her just-published book, The Moment of Lift, women in the United States do 90 minutes more of unpaid work at home each day, compared to their husbands. 

We can now figure out just how much of a salary that unpaid work would pull down if it were not parents doing the work.

FunkyPigeon.com, which is a personalized gifts site based in the U.K., has developed a neat calculator that allows anyone to determine how much they could get paid for their various child-related responsibilities — if they actually were to charge for these services and someone was actually willing to pay. The site used indeed.com to pull salary information for every town/city/region across a set of jobs that typically are involved in parenting: a cleaner, a chef, a personal assistant, a nurse, a psychologist, a teacher, a taxi driver, and a laundry worker, explained Bethany Cornell, a representative of Funky Pigeon's digital marketing agency. They decided to do this, she explained, to help parents figure out just how much they should be valuing their work.

With these data, Funky Pigeon figured out the average salary for each job across each location and then multiplied that to find the yearly average salary one could expect. By adding up the total yearly average salaries for the eight jobs, they were able to get a “parent salary.”

The tool is easy to use at this site. 

Read more here.

July 29, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Does Divorce Or Bankruptcy Come First?

From Mediate.com:

Divorce can be a very challenging time for anyone especially when it is coupled with financial difficulties. It is not uncommon for divorcees to file bankruptcy at the same time. But the question is – which comes first? And does it even matter? 

Sometimes, filing bankruptcy before a divorce is a good idea. In some cases, it is not. There are several factors that need to be considered. It depends on where you live, how much debt you have, and what type of bankruptcy you wish to file.

Read more here

July 28, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Possibility Of Trump Administration Delaying Ban On Abortion Referrals At Family Planning Centers

From The Washington Post:

The Trump administration is considering backtracking on an announcement this week that immediately required federally funded family planning centers to stop referring women for abortions, amid widespread confusion among clinics about the new restrictions.

A federal health official overseeing the family planning program told more than 200 leaders of reproductive health organizations gathered this week in Washington that she wanted to give them 60 days to comply with this and other rule changes, and that federal lawyers were reviewing the idea, according to three participants in the closed meeting and others who were told afterward.

Read more here

July 27, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 26, 2019

Louisiana Seeks Supreme Court's Permission For State Abortion Law

From CNN:

Louisiana asked the Supreme Court Friday to allow a law to go into effect that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital -- a measure opponents have argued could decimate "safe and legal" abortions in the state.

A federal appeals court upheld the law last fall but in February, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with his four liberal colleagues to put the law on hold until all nine justices could consider whether to take up the case. The law requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the abortion is performed.
 
Read from here

July 26, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

LGBTQ Rights Legislation: United States v. Brazil

From Justia:

Democracies perpetually strive for, yet inevitably fall short of, harmonizing what is legal (and illegal) and what is just (and unjust). One issue that has received significant attention in both legislative and judicial decisions in democracies around the world is the rights of LGBTQ individuals in all aspects of society—employment, family law, inheritance, military service, etc. In many countries, most of the progress with respect to the rights of LGBTQ individuals comes from the courts rather than from the legislature.

In this article, we consider the routes that two different democracies—Brazil and the United States—have taken to remedy the lag by the legislature in protecting the rights of LGBTQ individuals in each country.

Read more here

July 25, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

How Domestic Abusers Weaponize Courts

From The Atlantic:

When the phone rang one evening in June 2016, “D” could guess who was calling even before her mother answered. He’d called the house before—D knew it was him—but he’d always remained silent after her mother picked up. This time, the caller breathed heavily before finally identifying himself as D’s ex-boyfriend. “Stop calling here; she doesn’t want to talk to you,” her mother said, and hung up.

D started to panic. She’d never given her ex the number to her home, where she lived with her mother, and she had no idea how he’d found it. They’d broken up two months earlier, and he’d been stalking and harassing her ever since. Over the past two years, this harassment has been taking place in a courtroom.

Read more here

July 24, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

3-Year-Old Forced To Choose Between Parents At Border

From NPR:

Customs and Border Protection officials are denying that a Border Patrol agent asked a 3-year-old girl to choose which of her parents would be sent back to Mexico.

A Honduran couple named Tania and Joseph told NPR that an El Paso Border Patrol agent told them last week that the family would be separated – one parent would go to Mexico and the other would be allowed to take the children into the United States. They said the agent asked their 3-year-old daughter, Sofi, to choose which parent she wanted to go with. [NPR is not using migrants' last names in this story because they are in the middle of immigration proceedings.]

Read more here

July 23, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 22, 2019

Relief For Australian Family Law System?

From Lexology:

Australian families deserve an effective and responsive family court system. Whether that can be achieved by the reform of the current federal family court system, or the establishment of state and territory family courts as has been recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in their March 2019 report Family Law for the Future, will continue to provoke debate.

On his reappointment as Attorney-General in May 2019, the Hon Christian Porter MP confirmed that structural reform of the family law courts would be his highest priority. This is despite the Government’s controversial proposal to merge the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court, previously failing to win the support of the parliament, the profession, or the broader community.

Read more here.

July 22, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The 'Shame' of Hidden Child Abuse

From BBC News:

An Asian woman raped by a relative as a child has spoken out after 50 years to highlight the issue of hidden sex abuse.

Zlakha Ahmed, from Rotherham, was five when she was was repeatedly abused over a two-year period.

The 56-year-old said her parents never talked about the abuse for fear of her bringing shame on the family.

A spokeswoman for the Muslim Women's Network said child sex abuse was "endemic in South Asian communities".

Read more here.

July 21, 2019 in Child Abuse, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Polyamory: The Next Line of Sexual Revolution?

From The World:

The largest professional association of psychologists in the United States is working to normalize polyamory, an inevitable next frontier in the sexual revolution.

News reports released last week revealed that for the past year, the American Psychological Association (APA) has had an active task force dedicated to advocating for individuals practicing what it calls “consensual non-monogamy” (CNM), sometimes referred to as “ethical non-monogamy.” The task force’s website claims polyamorous individuals often face social and medical stigmatization and need more support and inclusion. One study found about 4 percent of U.S. adults fall into this category.

Read more here.

July 20, 2019 in Current Affairs, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Tennessee's Battle over Online Ordination of Wedding Officiants

From Deseret News:

SALT LAKE CITY — In May, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to explicitly outlaw online ordination for wedding officiants.

This month, it became the first state to have such a law put on hold by a judge.

Despite these firsts, the battle is familiar. For centuries, couples, families and community leaders have argued about the right way to get married.

Read more here.

July 19, 2019 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

New Jersey Judge Resigns Amid Lenient Handling of Rape Case Allegations

From New York Post:

The New Jersey judge who refused to try a 16-year-old boy who was accused of rape as an adult — because he comes from a “good family” — has decided to step down, according to officials.

The state Supreme Court granted Judge James Troiano’s request to resign on Wednesday and terminated his services effective immediately.

The longtime family court judge reportedly retired in 2012, but was still hearing cases on a part-time basis in Monmouth County Superior Court.

Read more here.

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Netherland’s Tax System Punishment of Families

From Mercatornet:

The Netherlands often prides itself on equality and tolerance, yet, written into the Dutch tax code are profound inequalities that place significantly heavier tax burdens on families with a stay-at-home parent.

In the Netherlands, a traditional family with a sole breadwinner and a stay-at-home mom may be required to pay as much as 557 percent more in taxes than a household with the same income where both spouses work—simply because one of the two parents does not earn wages.

Read more here.

July 17, 2019 in International, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hasday: Intimate Lies and the Law

Jill Hasday’s new book, Intimate Lies and the Law, is out from Oxford University Press on July 24.  She says that deception within intimate relationships is a fascinating topic—especially when it happens to someone else.
 
For more information, you can check out Jill’s website: https://jillhasday.com/
 
Here’s a description of the book:
 
Intimacy and deception are often entangled.  People deceive to lure someone into a relationship or to keep her there, to drain an intimate’s bank account or to use her to acquire government benefits, to control an intimate or to resist domination, or to capture myriad other advantages.  No subject is immune from deception in dating, sex, marriage, and family life.  Intimates can lie or otherwise intentionally mislead each other about anything and everything.
 
Suppose you discover that an intimate has deceived you and inflicted severe—even life-altering—financial, physical, or emotional harm.  After the initial shock and sadness, you might wonder whether the law will help you secure redress.  But the legal system refuses to help most people deceived within an intimate relationship.  Courts and legislatures have shielded this persistent and pervasive source of injury, routinely denying deceived intimates access to the remedies that are available for deceit in other contexts.
 
Jill Elaine Hasday’s Intimate Lies and the Law is the first book that systematically examines deception in intimate relationships and uncovers the hidden body of law governing this duplicity.  Hasday argues that the law has placed too much emphasis on protecting intimate deceivers and too little importance on helping the people they deceive.  The law can and should do more to recognize, prevent, and redress the injuries that intimate deception can inflict.
 
Entering an intimate relationship should not mean losing the law’s protection from deceit.

July 17, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Forced Marriages of Gay People in the UK

From The Independent:

Gay people are being subjected to forced marriages to spouses of the opposite sex by families in the UK, police have warned amid a national crackdown.

Officers are being stationed at major airports across Britain this week in a bid to prevent victims being taken out of the country and raise awareness of how to seek help.

Read more here.

July 16, 2019 in Child Abuse, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weiner: "When a Parent Is Not Apparent"

Merle Hope Weiner (Oregon) has posted to SSRN her paper When a Parent Is Not Apparent, 80 University of Pittsburgh Law Review 1 (2019). Here is the abstract:

Scholars have debated for a long time the rules by which the law should confer parental status for purposes of establishing parent-child relationships. Recently, the discussion has expanded to consider the appropriate definition of parenthood for purposes of triggering inter se obligations between a child’s parents. Such obligations would be imposed as part of a new co-parent, or “parent-partner,” status.

This Article contends that current parentage law works well for purposes of a new parent-partner status. For most children, parenthood is undisputed. For these families, the key question is not who the parents are, but what obligations should be triggered between them because they are parents of the same child. In fact, for most families, the existing law of parentage advances well the objectives of the parent-partner status.

Nonetheless, parentage law is sometimes underinclusive for purposes of a parent-partner status. To address the gaps, particularly for LGBTQ families, this Article recommends the adoption of the Uniform Parentage Act 2017 (“UPA 2017”) instead of some alternatives. This Article also recommends shortening the two-year cohabitation requirement in the UPA 2017’s “holding out” presumption so that some unmarried couples, who lack legal parenthood for both parties but want their parent-partnership to work, can benefit from the parent-partner status.

Finally, this Article considers and rejects the idea that current parentage law is overinclusive for purposes of a parent-partner status. Nonetheless, if such a problem exists, it suggests that the best solution would not be to redefine parenthood. Rather, reformers should adjust the parent-partner obligations themselves or allow parent-partners to opt out of the status by mutual agreement. These alternatives should address the critics’ concerns without detracting from the advantages of a broadly applicable parent-partner status.

July 16, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 15, 2019

IVF Tragedy: Three Women and Two Babies

From BioEdge:

Now this is really complicated, so buckle up. It is an example of the emotional and legal turmoil that can happen when couples put themselves in the hands of IVF clinics.

Let’s start with the CHA Fertility Center. This is an international business with two clinics in Los Angeles and four in South Korea. Its services include egg freezing, LGBTQ fertility treatment, sex selection and surrogacy. California has become a magnet for international fertility treatment because its loose regulation permits sex selection and surrogacy. 

Read more here.

July 15, 2019 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Higdon: "Parens Patriae and the Disinherited Child"

Michael J. Higdon (Tennessee) has posted to SSRN his recent paper Parens Patriae and the Disinherited Child (2019). Here is the abstract:

Most countries have safeguards in place to protect children from disinheritance. The United States is not one of them. Since its founding, America has clung tightly to the ideal of testamentary freedom, refusing to erect any barriers to a testator’s ability to disinherit his or her children—regardless of the child’s age or financial needs. Over the years, however, disinheritance has become more common given the evolving American family, specifically the increased incidences of divorce, remarriage, and cohabitation. Critics of the American approach have offered up solutions largely based on the two models currently employed by other countries: 1) the forced heirship approach, in which all children are entitled to a set percentage of their parent’s estate; and 2) family maintenance statutes, which provide judges with the discretionary authority to override a testator’s wishes and instead award some portion of the estate to the testator’s surviving family members. This Article takes a different approach and looks at the issue of disinheritance through a new lens: the doctrine of parens patriae. Just as this doctrine limits the decision-making autonomy of living parents vis-à-vis their children, this Article argues that it should likewise limit the dead hand control of deceased parents. Focusing on minor children, adult children who remain dependent as a result of disability, and adult children who are survivors of parental abuse, it is the contention of this Article that testamentary freedom must sometimes yield to the state’s inherent parens patriae authority to protect children from harm. Specifically, this Article proposes that courts should refuse to enforce testamentary schemes that disinherit those children if that disinheritance would constitute abuse or neglect. Such an approach is not only mandated by the doctrine of parens patriae but, in contrast to the approaches other countries have adopted, is more deferential to testamentary freedom. The limitations it does impose represent a relatively modest curtailment of the rights testators currently possess and, at the same time, are consistent with existing exceptions to testamentary freedom, most notably those in place to protect spouses and creditors as well as those that prohibit the enforcement of testamentary provisions that violate public policy.

July 15, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)