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Responding Effectively To Trauma Manifestations In Child Welfare Cases, Rebecca Stahl Oct 2020

Responding Effectively To Trauma Manifestations In Child Welfare Cases, Rebecca Stahl

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This article defines trauma and how it manifests in the dependency court system. Trauma is prevalent in child welfare cases and all of the professionals on these cases can respond to the trauma they see and experience more effectively through a better understanding of how to regulate the nervous system and the body. Trauma often manifests as difficult behaviors in the dependency court world, but there is a lack of information for effective strategies to deal with it. This article discusses how families and professionals experience trauma in dependency court and provides tools rooted in a physiological understanding of trauma. …


The Harm Of Child Removal, Shanta Trivedi Jan 2019

The Harm Of Child Removal, Shanta Trivedi

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When the state proves or even merely alleges that a parent has abused or neglected a child, family courts may remove the child from the parent’s care. However, research shows separating a child from her parent(s) has detrimental, long-term emotional and psychological consequences that may be worse than leaving the child at home. This is due to the trauma of removal itself, as well as the unstable nature of, and high rates of abuse in, foster care. Nevertheless, the child welfare system errs on the side of removal and almost uniformly fails to consider the harms associated with that removal. …


The Elective Share Has No Friends: Creditors Trump Spouse In The Battle Over The Revocable Trust, Angela M. Vallario Jan 2017

The Elective Share Has No Friends: Creditors Trump Spouse In The Battle Over The Revocable Trust, Angela M. Vallario

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A revocable trust is a popular estate planning tool used to disinherit a spouse in sixteen jurisdictions. In common law jurisdictions, a surviving spouse, who is dissatisfied with his or her inheritance, has the right to receive an elective share of the decedent's estate regardless of the decedent's estate plan. However, sixteen jurisdictions have defined a dissatisfied spouse's rights with a fractional share of the deceased spouse's "net probate estate," allowing one spouse to disinherit the other, by single-handedly transferring his or her assets to a revocable trust. To add insult to injury seven of these common law jurisdictions have …


Moving Family Dispute Resolution From The Court System To The Community, Jane C. Murphy, Jana B. Singer Mar 2016

Moving Family Dispute Resolution From The Court System To The Community, Jane C. Murphy, Jana B. Singer

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Over the past three decades, there has been a significant shift in the way the legal system approaches and resolves family disputes. Mediation, collaboration, and other non-adversarial processes have replaced a traditional, law-oriented adversarial regime. Until recently, however, reformers have focused largely on the court system as the setting for innovations in family dispute resolution. But our research suggests that courts may not be the best places for families to resolve disputes, particularly disputes involving children. Moreover, attempting to turn family courts into multi-door dispute resolution centers may detract from their essential role as adjudicators of last resort and forums …


Comment: De Facto Parents In Maryland: When Will The Law Recognize Their Rights?, Michelle E. Kelly Jan 2016

Comment: De Facto Parents In Maryland: When Will The Law Recognize Their Rights?, Michelle E. Kelly

University of Baltimore Law Forum

Rachel and Allison were in a committed same-sex relationship beginning in 1990. Although they never legally married, the couple decided to manifest their love by having a child in 2001. Rachel and Allison both agreed that Rachel would carry the child by way of an anonymous sperm donor. Their child, Kevin, was born on September 3, 2002. Allison was present in the delivery room and even cut the umbilical cord. From the time Kevin was born until the summer of 2009 when Rachel and Allison ended their relationship, the couple equally raised and cared for Kevin, sharing all major and …


Homeschooling: Choosing Parental Rights Over Children's Interests, Martha Fineman, George B. Shepherd Jan 2016

Homeschooling: Choosing Parental Rights Over Children's Interests, Martha Fineman, George B. Shepherd

University of Baltimore Law Review

Homeschooling, the most extreme form of privatization of education, often eliminates the possibility of the child gaining the resources essential for success in adult life. It sacrifices the interests of the child to the interests of the parents, allowing them to control and isolate the child’s development. In addition, homeschooling frustrates the state’s legitimate interest in the child’s receiving a sound, diverse education, so that the child can achieve her potential as a productive employee and as a constructive participant in civic life. This Article uses vulnerability theory as a heuristic frame both to reexamine the dominant rhetoric of parental …


Stop Making Court A First Stop For Many Low Income Parents, Jane C. Murphy Jun 2015

Stop Making Court A First Stop For Many Low Income Parents, Jane C. Murphy

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In the wake of the unrest over police misconduct in cities across the country, calls for reform have focused on the criminal justice system — making police, prosecutors, and criminal courts more accountable and just. While much work needs to be done in that arena, too little attention has focused on the ways in which low income families are hurt in civil courts. Many more men, women and children from low income communities of color pass through the doors of our family courts every day than those who interact with the criminal justice system. Some come to court as a …


Commentaries On The Iaals' Honoring Families Initiative White Paper, Barbara A. Babb Oct 2014

Commentaries On The Iaals' Honoring Families Initiative White Paper, Barbara A. Babb

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Family courts are not likely to disappear, as they currently constitute the largest proportion of trial court filings in most states. It appears as though family courts have become an emergency room for family problems. Thus, we need to enhance our efforts to improve the family justice system. In order to revamp family courts most effectively, there must be a focus on the creation of unified family courts that are grounded in therapeutic jurisprudence and the ecology of human development. This framework allows for a more responsive and holistic approach to families' legal and underlying nonlegal needs. The goal of …


Families Matter: Recommendations To Improve Outcomes For Children And Families In Court, Barbara A. Babb, Gloria Danziger Jun 2014

Families Matter: Recommendations To Improve Outcomes For Children And Families In Court, Barbara A. Babb, Gloria Danziger

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The Families Matter initiative was designed as a major, multi-year undertaking to develop legal practice methods and approaches to reduce the destructive consequences of the family legal process. The initiative was intended to respond to the need for deep and meaningful reform of the family law process.

Convened in June 2010 by the University of Baltimore School of Law Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC), the Families Matter Symposium brought together an interdisciplinary group of family law experts for two days at the University of Baltimore to identify problems regarding the practice of family …


Surrender And Subordination: Birth Mothers And Adoption Law Reform, Elizabeth Samuels Jan 2013

Surrender And Subordination: Birth Mothers And Adoption Law Reform, Elizabeth Samuels

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For more than 30 years adoption law reform advocates have been seeking to restore for adult adoptees the right to access their original birth certificates, a right that was lost in all but two states between the late 1930s and 1990. The advocates have faced strong opposition and have succeeded only in recent years and only in eight states. Among the most vigorous advocates for access are “birth mothers” who surrendered their children during a time it was believed that adoption would relieve unmarried women of shame and restore them to a respectable life. The birth mother advocates say that …


Maryland's Family Divisions: Sensible Justice For Families And Children, Barbara A. Babb Jan 2013

Maryland's Family Divisions: Sensible Justice For Families And Children, Barbara A. Babb

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In January 1998, the judges of the Court of Appeals of Maryland signed Rule 16-204 and formally launched the process of family justice system reform in Maryland. During the ensuing fifteen years, Maryland became a national model in this area. These changes and improvements occurred largely because of the inspirational leadership of Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, a man owed a debt of gratitude by everyone involved in family law proceedings, including families, children, attorneys, judges, court personnel, and services providers, among others.

This Tribute honors Chief Judge Bell by contextualizing the enormity of the process and outcomes resulting from …


A More Humane Vision Of Family Law: Holistic Approach Needed To Shield Children From The Trauma Of Breakups, Barbara A. Babb, Mitchell K. Karpf Jul 2010

A More Humane Vision Of Family Law: Holistic Approach Needed To Shield Children From The Trauma Of Breakups, Barbara A. Babb, Mitchell K. Karpf

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No abstract provided.


Revitalizing The Adversary System In Family Law, Jane C. Murphy Apr 2010

Revitalizing The Adversary System In Family Law, Jane C. Murphy

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The way in which families resolve disputes has undergone dramatic change over the last decade. Scholars have focused much attention on a number of substantive law changes that have contributed to this transformation. These include the changing definitions of marriage, parenthood, and families. But less attention has been paid to the enormous changes that have taken place in the processes surrounding family dispute resolution. These changes have been even more comprehensive and have fundamentally altered the way in which disputing families interact with the legal system. Both the methods and goals of legal intervention for families in conflict have changed, …


Stop The Killing: Potential Courtroom Use Of A Questionnaire That Predicts The Likelihood That A Victim Of Intimate Partner Violence Will Be Murdered By Her Partner, Amanda Hitt, Lynn Mclain Oct 2009

Stop The Killing: Potential Courtroom Use Of A Questionnaire That Predicts The Likelihood That A Victim Of Intimate Partner Violence Will Be Murdered By Her Partner, Amanda Hitt, Lynn Mclain

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Judges in domestic cases often underestimate the risk to a mother and her children that an angry and abusive father or other intimate partner poses. In a recent Maryland case, for example, two judges refused to deny a father visitation or require that visitation be supervised, despite the fact that the father had threatened suicide. During the father’s unsupervised visitation, he drowned all three of his children, then attempted to kill himself.

The Danger Assessment tool (the D.A.) developed by a Johns Hopkins Nursing professor and validated by herself and other social scientists shows how much the father’s thoughts of …


Child Custody Evaluations: Review Of The Literature And Annotated Bibliography, Barbara A. Babb, Gloria Danziger, Judith D. Moran, J. Mason Weeda, William A. Mack Apr 2009

Child Custody Evaluations: Review Of The Literature And Annotated Bibliography, Barbara A. Babb, Gloria Danziger, Judith D. Moran, J. Mason Weeda, William A. Mack

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This review of custody evaluation literature encompasses a number of perspectives gleaned from the following: practitioners who perform the evaluations; the professional organizations that recognize the necessity to establish performance standards for practitioners; and the judges who depend on the findings and recommendations in the evaluations to assist with difficult custody decisions.

General agreement exists among practitioners about the components of a comprehensive evaluation (interviews of adults responsible for child care, interviews of children and their preferences, life histories, observations, psychological testing, document review, and collateral source data), though little consensus exists about the details of performance concerning a given …


Guest Editors’ Introduction To Special Issue On Substance Abuse And Addiction In Family Courts, Barbara A. Babb, Gloria Danziger, Judith D. Moran Apr 2009

Guest Editors’ Introduction To Special Issue On Substance Abuse And Addiction In Family Courts, Barbara A. Babb, Gloria Danziger, Judith D. Moran

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No abstract provided.


Adoption, Elizabeth Samuels Jan 2007

Adoption, Elizabeth Samuels

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In historical terms, the legal institution of adoption in the United Slates is relatively new. It was between the mid-1800s and the 1920s that the states began to pass laws providing for the adoption of children. Before then children had been adopted informally and in some instances by individual legislative acts, or they had come to live with other families under indenture contracts or as a result of legislation authorizing charitable organizations to place children. Under these new adoption statutes, initially the court records of adoptions were not subject to confidentiality, and adopted children were not issued new birth certificates. …


Protecting Children By Preserving Parenthood, Jane C. Murphy Feb 2006

Protecting Children By Preserving Parenthood, Jane C. Murphy

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Establishing legal parentage, once a relatively straightforward matter of marriage and biology, has become increasingly complex. The determination of legal status as mother may now involve several women making claims based on genetic contribution, contract, status as gestational carrier or other bases. The debate about the best choice for children when adults are competing for parental status is ongoing, lively and filled with many voices. Less attention has been paid to a much larger, second category of cases - cases in which the law is faced with resolving the legal status of the one adult who may be available to …


Adoption Consents: Legal Incentives For Best Practices, Elizabeth Samuels Jan 2006

Adoption Consents: Legal Incentives For Best Practices, Elizabeth Samuels

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When a state places its legal imprimatur on the unmaking of one family and the making of another, the state should insure to the greatest extent possible that all the individuals involved have followed or have been afforded the best practices that ethics and humanity demand. The Uniform Adoption Act sets out commonly accepted goals of state adoption laws, among them the goals of protecting minor children against unnecessary separation from their birth parents and of ensuring that a decision by a birth parent to relinquish a minor child and consent to the childs adoption is informed and voluntary. With …


Legal Representation Of Birth Parents And Adoptive Parents, Elizabeth Samuels Jan 2006

Legal Representation Of Birth Parents And Adoptive Parents, Elizabeth Samuels

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The Article examines the role that legal representation of birth and prospective parents may or may not play in independent domestic adoptions in furthering two primary goals that characterize ethically and humanely conducted adoptions, deliberate decision making and finality. Ideally, these two goals are complementary and can be balanced with one another. There is, however, a danger of the second goal eclipsing the first. Many state laws appear to value an increase in infant adoptions over the goal of encouraging careful deliberation. Most domestic infant adoptions involve powerful market forces as well as powerful emotional pressures, and they occur in …


Adoption With Contact Law Awaits Governor's Signature, Elizabeth Samuels Apr 2005

Adoption With Contact Law Awaits Governor's Signature, Elizabeth Samuels

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No abstract provided.


Domestic Violence And Mediation: Responding To The Challenges Of Crafting Effective Screens, Jane C. Murphy, Robert Rubinson Jan 2005

Domestic Violence And Mediation: Responding To The Challenges Of Crafting Effective Screens, Jane C. Murphy, Robert Rubinson

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Over the last two decades, mediation of family law cases has become well-established in American courts. As mediation has grown, experts have recognized that power imbalances between couples may interfere with mediation. This imbalance is particularly evident where one partner has been abusive to the other. Widespread consensus has developed that decisions about whether mediation is appropriate are particularly crucial and delicate when domestic violence is present. Despite this consensus, there is evidence that courts are still ordering couples who have experienced domestic violence to mediate their family law disputes with little or not particularized examination of the couples' circumstances. …


Legal Images Of Fatherhood: Welfare Reform, Child Support Enforcement, And Fatherless Children, Jane C. Murphy Jan 2005

Legal Images Of Fatherhood: Welfare Reform, Child Support Enforcement, And Fatherless Children, Jane C. Murphy

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This Article analyzes the issue of paternity disestablishment, an issue courts and legislatures have been struggling with over the last several years. For a variety of reasons explored in this Article, an increasing number of fathers have filed requests to set aside paternity orders seeking to be relieved of the legal obligations of fatherhood. As a result families have been destabilized and children are becoming fatherless. The implications for the future of the family are profound. Although some scholars have examined this phenomenon, none have addressed the link between paternity disestablishment and welfare reform.

This Article explores the law's evolving …


An Analysis Of Unified Family Courts In Maryland And California: Their Relevance For Ontario's Family Justice System, Barbara A. Babb Jan 2005

An Analysis Of Unified Family Courts In Maryland And California: Their Relevance For Ontario's Family Justice System, Barbara A. Babb

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The Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario has contracted with the University of Baltimore School of Law's Center for Families, Children and the Courts to prepare this research paper. The purpose of the paper is to provide an overview of unified family courts and court-connected family services in two jurisdictions, Maryland and California, as agreed to by officials of the Ministry. The overview provides information about the structure of each jurisdiction's unified family court, family services connected to the court, the role of judicial and quasi-judicial officers, the assignment and specialization of the judiciary, rules or processes to deal …


Understanding Family Law In Context: The Court Observation Assignment, Jane C. Murphy Jan 2004

Understanding Family Law In Context: The Court Observation Assignment, Jane C. Murphy

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No abstract provided.


Delinquency Jurisdiction In A Unified Family Court: Balancing Intervention, Prevention, And Adjudication, Gloria Danziger Oct 2003

Delinquency Jurisdiction In A Unified Family Court: Balancing Intervention, Prevention, And Adjudication, Gloria Danziger

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This article will examine the demographics of the current juvenile delinquency caseloads and will argue that, despite trends toward greater punitive measures-including placement of juveniles in adult courts for certain offenses, the concept of a therapeutic "family-centered court," which inspired Jane Addams and her colleagues, remains the most promising approach to delinquency, articulated most notably by the proponents of the unified family court concept. The article will consider and address objections and concerns raised with respect to this approach, looking at ways in which several states have incorporated juvenile delinquency into a family-centered unified family court.


Ub Viewpoint – Creation Of A Caring Justice System, Barbara A. Babb Feb 2003

Ub Viewpoint – Creation Of A Caring Justice System, Barbara A. Babb

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No abstract provided.


Domestic Terror (The Sniper Suspect's Divorce Records Show Patterns Of Power And Control And Missed Opportunities By The System To Intervene.), Jane C. Murphy Dec 2002

Domestic Terror (The Sniper Suspect's Divorce Records Show Patterns Of Power And Control And Missed Opportunities By The System To Intervene.), Jane C. Murphy

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Over the past few months, we have learned much about the violent, troubled life of sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad. Whether or not he pulled the trigger - some recent reports have pointed to his 17-year-old companion Lee Boyd Malvo as the main shooter - there is no doubt in the minds of domestic-violence experts that this adult is responsible for these deaths.

While many pundits conclude that we will never know what motivated the sniper suspect, to domestic violence experts his is an all-too-familiar story of a man whose relationships with the women and children - possibly including Malvo …


Dealing With Complex Evidence Of Domestic Violence: A Primer For The Civil Bench, Jane C. Murphy, Jane H. Aiken Jan 2002

Dealing With Complex Evidence Of Domestic Violence: A Primer For The Civil Bench, Jane C. Murphy, Jane H. Aiken

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New laws and policies aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence have been adopted across the country throughout the last twenty years. The legal approaches taken to protect battered women and control family violence have brought about significant changes in family law. New laws include statutes permitting civil protection or restraining orders, and laws requiring that domestic violence be considered in custody and visitation decisions. Both of these types of statutory reforms can provide protection to adult victims of domestic violence and their children. Evaluating a parent’s fitness by considering past acts of violence to other family members results in …


The Strange History Of Adult Adoptee Access To Original Birth Records, Elizabeth Samuels Jan 2001

The Strange History Of Adult Adoptee Access To Original Birth Records, Elizabeth Samuels

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In the late 1940s and early 1950s, contemporary accounts reported that most states had sealed adoption court records completely but, typically, had sealed original birth certificates from all persons except adult adoptees. Through the 1950s influential experts recommended that original birth certificates remain available to adult adoptees, while birth and court records otherwise be closed to all persons except upon court order. In 1960 the laws in some 40 percent of the states still permitted adult adoptees to inspect them, but between 1960 and 1990 all but a handful of the rest of the states closed the birth records to …