Posts tagged as:

family law

“Divorce Corp.”

by Walter Olson on April 23, 2014

Tracy Oppenheimer at Reason profiles a new reformist book and documentary on the costly business of divorce. “It’s the fourth most common cause of bankruptcy in the United States,” says filmmaker Joseph Sorge. Coverage: Paul Raeburn/Huffington Post, IMDb, Hollie McKay/Fox News, Nicolas Rapold/New York Times.

Unwed dads in court

by Walter Olson on March 13, 2014

A New Jersey judge has ruled that a mother-to-be doesn’t have to notify the estranged unwed father that she is going into labor or let him into the delivery room [ABA Journal] Meanwhile, a suit filed on behalf of unwed fathers is challenging Utah’s adoption laws, which they say improperly enable mothers from out of state to visit Utah for purposes of depriving unwed fathers of rights of notification or objection they would otherwise enjoy under their home state’s law [Salt Lake Tribune]

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“A New Jersey couple does not have to pay — for now — for their 18-year-old daughter’s college education, a judge ruled Tuesday evening.” [CBS New York, ABC News, NY Daily News, AP]

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I don’t think everyone who supports same-sex marriage is logically obliged to support polygamy, and say so in this post taking issue with columnist Mona Charen. She responds here.

P.S. More thoughts from Eli Lehrer at Huffington Post (“Gay marriage is increasingly accepted precisely because its results, to date, have been good for society. Polyamory on a large scale would have negative short-term results and that’s a good reason to think it’s just not going to happen.”).

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Okay, “get the government out of marriage” makes a nice slogan, with a libertarian-sounding ring to it. But what happens on contact with legal reality, where countless existing legal relations are predicated on marriage’s functional role as an on/off switch as opposed to a sliding continuum of statuses customized by private contract? [Scott Shackford, Reason]

Also on the marriage question, I have a new blog post at Cato recapitulating why social conservatives are deluding themselves if they imagine the GOP can use the issue to harvest many new black votes.

Yet more: video of a Friday Cato panel in which I join Mary Bonauto of GLAD, Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute, and Kathryn Lehman of Holland & Knight; I talk about how public opinion on same-sex marriage is increasingly boxing in the national Republican Party, and how it might bid to get out of the box.

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William Marotta and the recipient of his donation signed an agreement that he would have neither rights nor obligations with respect to any offspring that resulted. But the state of Kansas says that shouldn’t insulate him from paying child support for the three-year-old daughter on whose behalf the state picked up $6,000 in medical bills unpaid by the mother, who had fallen on hard times. [Topeka Capital-Journal, Huffington Post]

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Torts roundup

by Walter Olson on November 27, 2012

  • Adventures in causation: Per $19 million Mississippi verdict, fumes from leftover gasoline caused birth defects, asthma [Insurance Journal]
  • Legal academia watch: lawprof proposes massive expansion of liability for parents [TortsProf]
  • University of Virginia’s torts giant: “A Tribute To Jeffrey O’Connell” [U.Va. Dean Paul Mahoney, Virginia Law Review (PDF) via TortsProf]
  • “Proposed civil justice reform in Canada” [Ted Frank]
  • “Town Owes $10M To Pupil Paralyzed In School Beating” [New Jersey Law Journal; Irvington, N.J.]
  • Businesses steer clear of Philadelphia litigation climate [Jim Copland, Inquirer; Trial Lawyers Inc. update]
  • Longtime West Virginia attorney general Darrell McGraw, disliked by business, toppled in re-election bid [Charleston Gazette-Mail]

Canine custody, that is: Craig Dershowitz says he’s spent $60,000 suing his ex-girlfriend over who will get their dog. “It’s worth it,” he says. [NY Post via Elie Mystal, Above the Law]

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February 6 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 6, 2012

  • “A 4-Page Playdate Waiver? Is This the New Normal?” [Lenore Skenazy, Free-Range Kids; our 2000 post on "Rise of the High-School Sleepover Disclaimer"]
  • Spirit Airlines sets what it calls DOTUC fee, for “Dept. of Transportation Unintended Consequences” [Stoll]
  • How fairly are fathers treated in family court? [Nina Shapiro, Seattle Weekly via Alkon]
  • “‘Insider’ Trading by the Representative Plaintiff in Shareholder Litigation” [Bainbridge]
  • “Donation controversy focuses attention on Madison County asbestos litigation” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chamber-backed LNL]
  • Update: Appeals court reinstates Duluth doc’s defamation claims [DNT, earlier here, here, here; "bedside manner" criticism]
  • U.K.: “‘Psychic’ Sally Morgan Sues Critics for £150,000 After Refusing $1 Million to Prove Her Powers” [D.J. Grothe, HuffPo] “She’ll be calling witnesses such as ‘an uncle, or father, or a man… with a b in his first name’.” [@thegagthief]

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International law roundup

by Walter Olson on January 10, 2012

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A proposed Michigan law would apply legal scrutiny to men’s motives for walking out of relationships. [Fathers and Families via Amy Alkon]

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“I only dabble in family law with my reproductive technology work, but my experience with the various conferences I attend has led me to believe that the number of heterosexual men who primarily write and teach in the area and have joined the academy in the last 10 years or so is extremely small, and even when I teach family law topics I can feel myself performing my sexuality to some extent as if it were a ritual to get access or credibility.” [Glenn Cohen, Prawfsblawg]

October 7 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 7, 2011

  • Prodded by UNICEF and the Hague Convention, countries cut back on international adoption, leaving kids to future of orphanage life [Reason.tv video, interviewing among others Harvard's Elizabeth Bartholet; more]
  • Critics: lawyers are main winners in NYC rent settlement [NYDN] NYC rent stabilization rules gave landlords incentive to do luxury conversions [FWIW]
  • Breast-aurant rivals in court: “Hooters Suing Twin Peaks, Which Previously Sued Grand Tetons” [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
  • Jonathan Chait: it’ll be “useful” for debate if CEOs “fear for their personal safety” [Matt Welch, related, similar (see "Patterns of Intimidation"), also related to "occupation" as tactic]
  • Ethics complaint charges that boilerplate affidavits led to fee approval for lawyer in Bronx Surrogate’s Court [ABA Journal]
  • “Widow allowed to sue tobacco companies [whose products] husband didn’t use” [Florida, DBR] Appeals court: manufacturer not under legal duty to warn of asbestos injury caused by another manufacturer’s products [Business Insurance]
  • Debit card fee: made in D.C. [Glenn Reynolds; related, Joe Weisenthal]

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  • Oh, American Academy of Pediatrics, why are you so consistently wrong? On videogames, on food-ad bans, on guns, CPSIA
  • New book by Annette Fuentes, Lockdown High: When the Schoolhouse Becomes a Jailhouse [John Harris, Guardian]
  • There are genuine problems with some countries’ international adoption practices, but should UNICEF really be pushing toward a “leave the kids in orphanages” alternative? [Nick Gillespie on Reason documentary to be released tomorrow]
  • At expense of both federalism and religious accommodation, bill entitled “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” (ECDFA) would impose anti-bias rules on state adoption and foster care programs [Washington Blade]
  • Cash-for-kids Pennsylvania judge: “Former Luzerne judge Conahan sentenced to 17.5 years” [Times-Tribune, our earlier coverage]
  • “Met a guy who works at my old summer camp. Bunks still do raids on other bunks, but their counselors have to file raid forms first. How sad.” [@adamlisberg]
  • Sex offender registry horror story #14,283 [Skenazy]
  • “Safety rules rob pupils of hands-on science, say MPs” [Independent, U.K.]
  • Gee, who could’ve predicted that? NJ’s aggressive “anti-bullying” law leads to new problems [NYT, Greenfield, PoL, NJLRA] Rapid growth in bullying law assisted by push from Obama administration [WSJ Law Blog, Kenneth Marcus/Federalist Society, Bader]

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“A B.C. man who was abandoned as a teenager is being sued by his elderly mother for parental support…. Shirley [Anderson], who has not had a relationship with Ken or his two siblings for decades, is asking for $750 per month in support from each of them.” Like some American states, British Columbia retains a law on its books requiring grown children to support their parents in case of destitution. [CBC]

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A court has dismissed the Illinois action, saying that to let such cases proceed “could potentially open the floodgates to subject family childrearing to … excessive judicial scrutiny and interference.” [Chicago Tribune/SLT; Volokh]

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March 14 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 14, 2011

  • A San Francisco cosmetic surgeon sues her online critics — in Virginia? [Paul Alan Levy, CL&P]
  • SCOTUS ruling in “cat’s-paw” case could gut summary judgment in many bias suits [Hyman]
  • Cuomo spokesman’s smart retort to Litigation Lobby attack on Medicaid reform panel [LoHud.com]
  • “Tennessee Cops Posed as a Defense Attorney To Get Suspect To Incriminate Himself” [Reason]
  • “Illinois golfer not liable for head shot” [Lowering the Bar]
  • Trade friction mounts due to anti-India provisions in Zadroga (9/11 recovery workers) compensation bill [PoL]
  • Is a tax-funded federal nonprofit entity funneling money to environmental suits against the government? [Ron Arnold, Examiner]
  • FCRA class action deemed “lawsuit abuse problem in a nutshell” [Examiner editorial]
  • “Fatherhood by Conscription: Nonconsensual Insemination & the Duty of Child Support” [Michael Higdon, SSRN via Instapundit]

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A couple says the infant they adopted from an Indiana birthmother in 2006 displays severe neurological deficits. They’re suing their lawyers for $5 million, saying more should have been done to warn them. [Gothamist, New York Post]

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