Family Law Prof Blog

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

Monday, November 26, 2018

Ex-Ohio Judge arrested in connection to murder of ex-wife

From The New York Times: 

A former Ohio judge who served nine months in prison for brutally beating his wife in 2014 in front of their children, punching her 20 times and fracturing a bone in her face, was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of fatally stabbing her at her suburban Cleveland home, the authorities said.

The police encountered the former judge, Lance Mason, Saturday morning as he was driving a sport-utility vehicle away from her house in Shaker Heights and slammed into an officer’s patrol car, the authorities said. It was not clear whether the officer was responding to a call when Mr. Mason struck the car.

Mr. Mason, 51, a former high-ranking Democratic state lawmaker and a top county prosecutor, had not been formally charged as of Monday morning in the death of his wife, Aisha Fraser Mason, 45.

Read more here

November 26, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Arrested On Suspicions of Domestic Violence

From CNN:

Attorney Michael Avenatti has been placed under arrest on suspicion of felony domestic violence and was booked early Wednesday evening.

Los Angeles Police Department officer Jeff Lee said the domestic violence report was taken on Tuesday in West Los Angeles and the arrest was made Wednesday.
"We can confirm that today LAPD Detectives arrested Michael Avenatti on suspicion of domestic violence. This is an ongoing investigation and we will provide more details as they become available," the LAPD Twitter account posted Wednesday.
In a statement, Avenatti called the allegations "completely bogus."
Read more here

November 25, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Abortion Debate Intensifies After 2 States Pass Amendment Removing Abortion Protections

From Fox News Network:

As a piano and violin music play in the background, a sonogram shows a fetus moving in a mother’s stomach as text appears, saying: “Be a voice for the voiceless, Vote YES on Amendment 2.”

This was one of three digital ads produced by the Alabama Republican Party leading up to the midterm elections in support of a ballot measure proposed by state Rep. Matt Fridy.

Amendment 2 recognizes the “the rights of unborn children” and clarifies that the state’s constitution “does not protect the right to an abortion or require funding of abortion.”

Alabamians passed the amendment with 59 percent of the vote.

Read more here

November 24, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 23, 2018

Does "Birdnesting" Work For Children of Divorce?

From NBC News:

No matter how you spin it, getting divorced is tough — especially if you have kids. Even if the decision to part ways is clearly the best (or only) one, the resulting separation can be traumatizing for children. Research shows that the best way to avoid risking the well-being of kids going through this difficult process, is to keep it as low-conflict and amicable as possible.

How do you do that? For some divorcing or divorced parents, the answer is ‘nesting’ (also called 'birdnesting'). This means to keep the family residence intact as a home where both parents rotate living with their children, while otherwise dwelling in separate residences.

Read more here

November 23, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Ohio Father Sought Custody of His Children 6 Days After Murdering Their Mother

From NBC News:

A man accused with his family of gunning down the mother of his child and seven members of her family on their Ohio marijuana farm sought custody of his daughter just six days after the killings.

Edward "Jake" Wagner, 26, was arrested Tuesday in the murders of his ex-girlfriend, Hanna Rhoden, and seven members of her family. His father, George "Billy" Wagner III, 47; mother, Angela, 48; and older brother, George Wagner IV, 27; are also charged in the April 22, 2016, killing spree.

Read more here

November 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Thanksgiving

leaves falling on pumpkin

November 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

3 Ways to Save on Taxes, Post-Divorce

From Forbes:

Divorce is expensive. Few households live on less than 50% of their income so splitting it in two almost always results in a lifestyle adjustment no matter how much money and income the family has. For families where one spouse is the primary breadwinner, going through a divorce is about to get even more expensive. Alimony, also called spousal support or maintenance, has been deductible by the payer and taxable to the receiving spouse for decades. This tax deduction is very important as it results in less money to the government and more money to split between the two households.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the tax deduction for alimony in new divorces settled after December 31, 2018. Not only will alimony payers lose the deduction, some may be pushed into a higher tax bracket without it. And, they'll still have to pay the spousal support with the fewer available dollars. For those reasons, couples going through a divorce where alimony is an issue are highly motivated to settle soon. Finalizing this year will grandfather them into existing rules allowing them to deduct alimony in future years as well.

Read more here

November 21, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Florida Woman Accused of Defrauding 2 Couples

From NBC News: 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A Florida woman is accused of defrauding two sets of would-be parents, telling both that they would adopt her baby.

Now 33-year-old Christina Bay is awaiting trial, along with childbirth.

Daytona Beach police tell news outlets Bay was arrested Wednesday on charges of adoption deception and fraud.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that on Oct. 22, adoption attorney Brian Kelly told police that a couple he represents funded a $15,000 escrow account to cover Bay's living expenses for six months. The couple thought they were adopting Bay's baby, due Nov. 22.

Read more here

November 20, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 19, 2018

What Happens Children Get Un-Adopted?

From The Atlantic:

The little girl in the photograph squints and smiles broadly in the sunlight. According to a now-deleted public post on Second Chance Adoptions’ Facebook page, the girl, who the agency calls “Reese” to protect her privacy, is 10 years old, and she has been a member of her family since she was born—first in foster care, then legally adopted just before her first birthday. She loves to laugh, her adopted mom says, and she smiles all the time. She loves pink. She has no special needs. But she needs a new home.

In other posts with more pictures, the reader learns that Reese is the youngest of four daughters; the other three are the biological children of her parents. She gets straight A’s. She loves her parents and her sisters. She grumbles only when her siblings ask her to clean her room. She rarely lies and loves to wear skirts and dresses and listen to music. But according to the information provided by her parents, “This family has drastically changed their lifestyle and have left their faith and extended family for a quiet, secluded life.” It is their hope that “a different family will step forward who can provide her with the socialization and continued relationship with God that she desires.” After spending her whole life thus far with her family, Reese was being advertised on Facebook and the internet at large as available for re-adoption.

Read more here


November 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

DC Schools to Give Families "Non-Binary" Option

From The Washington Post:

The District’s public school system is slated to become among the first in the nation to let families select “non-binary” — rather than male or female — when indicating the gender of their child on enrollment forms.

The option is scheduled to go into effect for the next school year, and school system leaders said it is part of a broader effort to ensure that transgender and non-binary students feel welcome in classrooms in the nation’s capital.

“We value the whole child at [D.C. Public Schools], and have worked diligently to ensure our schools are safe and inclusive for all students, staff, and families,” interim chancellor Amanda Alexander said in a statement. “Whether through policies, programs, affinity groups, or our enrollment forms, [D.C. Public Schools] is proud to be a leader in affirming, supporting and welcoming LGBTQ students.”

Read more here.

November 18, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vaccine Disputes in Divorced Florida Families


Floridians sometimes have differences of opinion about whether vaccinations are safe for children. When a divorcing, divorced or unmarried parent’s belief about whether vaccinations are in the best interests of his or her children conflict with that of the other parent, it is a good idea to talk to an attorney about legal issues and potential legal remedies, depending on the circumstances.

First, there may be government or school regulations or policies requiring certain vaccinations as well as opt-out procedures in some cases. An attorney can advise you about this in your particular jurisdiction.

Parents may be able to negotiate a settlement agreement that determines who has legal responsibility and rights to make medical decisions for the child like whether to vaccinate. An agreement concerning custody matters such as parental responsibility for major life decisions like those concerning health care is called a parenting plan.

Read more here.

November 18, 2018 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Birdnesting Gives Kids One Home After Divorce. Does It work?

From NBC news:

No matter how you spin it, getting divorced is tough — especially if you have kids. Even if the decision to part ways is clearly the best (or only) one, the resulting separation can be traumatizing for children. Research shows that the best way to avoid risking the well-being of kids going through this difficult process, is to keep it as low-conflict and amicable as possible.

How do you do that? For some divorcing or divorced parents, the answer is ‘nesting’ (also called 'birdnesting'). This means to keep the family residence intact as a home where both parents rotate living with their children, while otherwise dwelling in separate residences.

Sherri Sharma, partner at Aronson, Mayefsky & Sloan, LLP, a matrimonial law firm in NYC typically sees divorcing parents who take a nesting approach by keeping the main house and then sharing a separate apartment, which they individually occupy when not “at home” with the children.

Read more here.

November 17, 2018 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Russian Polygamist with Three wives

From Daily Mail Online:

A Russian polygamist with three 'wives' has revealed he punishes them by banning sex for a month if they annoy him.

Ivan Sukhov, 34, from the city of Vladimir in Russia's western Vladimir Oblast region, says he dreams of having more wives and at least 50 children.

According to Russian law, he can only have one official wife. His other two partners live with him by mutual agreement. 

Before becoming a polygamist, Sukhov lived with his legal wife Natalia Sukhova for 11 years.

Read more here

November 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

“Stick a spoon” in marital dispute: Domestic violence is Everyone's Business!

From The New York Times:

Sao Paulo, Brazil -The scenes, captured by security cameras, are gruesome: A man pummels and kicks his wife in the garage of their building. She tries to flee, but he forces her into the elevator. They go up to their fifth-floor apartment.

Less than 20 minutes later, he takes the elevator back down — to fetch her bloody, lifeless body, which had plummeted to the sidewalk below.

The footage from the night of July 22, first broadcast Sunday on the popular television program Fantástico, has been playing repeatedly on national television. The graphic, blow-by-blow view into what domestic violence really looks like is challenging the widespread notion that you shouldn’t “stick a spoon” in marital disputes.

Read more here

November 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Brazil's New Sexual Harassment Law

From Huffington Post:

A woman is sexually harassed every 20 hours on São Paulo’s sprawling public transit system, according to a HuffPost Brazil analysis, despite a new law in Brazil aimed at curbing the pervasive problem.

More than 80 percent of women in Brazil have been harassed in public spaces, according to a 2016 YouGov survey. Perpetrators historically rarely faced more than a fine, experts say, but can now be sentenced to up to five years in prison thanks to a law that took effect in September.

The Sexual Harassment Law was passed earlier this year amid an uproar over the arrest and swift release of a man who ejaculated on a fellow bus passenger. The crime was considered a misdemeanor.

Read more here

November 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Custody battle headed to Private trial

From USA Today:

The dragging-on divorce and custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie is set to go to a trial next month because they  can't agree about the future of their six children despite two years of lawyering and leaking.

And if Pitt and Jolie have their way, it will all happen behind closed doors. If it happens at all.

The couple could still reach an agreement out of court and put the messy breakup of their family behind them but lately their ability to see eye-to-eye seems to have deserted them.

Still, a source familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly said both sides "are still working together to find an out-of-court settlement.”

Read more here

November 8, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Ethiopia moves towards Gender Equality as it appoints its first female president

From CNN News:

Ethiopia's parliament has appointed the country's first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, in a move hailed as setting a new standard for women in the East African nation, the Prime Minister's chief of staff announced Thursday.

Sahle-Work, 69, has served since June as the United Nation's special representative to the African Union as an under-secretary-general. She also has held top diplomatic posts representing Ethiopia in France and Djibouti.
Sahle-Work replaces Mulatu Teshome, who resigned the presidency Wednesday.
Read more here

November 7, 2018 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Papers

The Canadian Journal of Family Law is seeking submissions for Vol. 32(1), due for publication in spring 2019. The Journal invites the submission of articles, commentaries and book reviews pertaining to all aspects of family law from members of the legal, social science, psychological, medical, political science and other disciplines. All submissions are reviewed by qualified external readers.

Manuscripts intended for publication should be typewritten, double spaced, either in English or in French. The Journal would prefer submissions by e-mail using Word for Windows format. Quotations should be distinguished from the text by single spacing. Articles, ideally, should not exceed forty typewritten pages - 8,000 to 10,000 words and follow the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation. If the article is a long one or contains complex material, the use of subheadings to break up the text is encouraged.

Please send manuscripts and/or questions to

November 7, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Britain's Supreme Court ruling on Bakery's refusal to bake Gay-marriage cake


From The New York Times:

Britain’s Supreme Court supported on Wednesday the right of a Belfast bakery to refuse to bake a cake with a message supporting same-sex marriage, finding that its Christian owners could not be compelled to reproduce a message contrary to their beliefs.

Although the person who requested the cake was gay, a five-judge panel found that the bakery owners’ refusal was based not on his sexual orientation, but on their Protestant faith’s opposition to gay marriage.

“There was no discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation,” said the judgment, which overturned the rulings of two lower courts.

Read more here

November 6, 2018 in Current Affairs, International, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Frozen embryo storage tank failure shatters family dreams

From CNN News:

When Kate and Jeremy Plants were making plans for their 2014 marriage, they had no idea the future they would face. Just months after they tied the knot, Kate was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, a deadly form that the American Cancer Society says takes more lives than any other female reproductive cancer.

Because treatment could affect Kate's fertility, doctors encouraged the newlyweds to consider banking Kate's embryos so they could have children someday.
"So every other day for two weeks, we drove 45 minutes each way to the doctor," Kate recalled. "There were shots in stomach multiple times a day; I was high on hormones; it was very stressful. And the whole time, I don't know if the cancer is spreading, and I'm thinking, 'Do I have time for this?' "
Read more here

November 5, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)