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Full-Text Articles in Law

Result Inequality In Family Law, Margaret Brinig Jan 2016

Result Inequality In Family Law, Margaret Brinig

Journal Articles

To the extent that family law is governed by statute, all families are treated as though they are the same. This is of course consistent with the equal protection guarantees of the US Constitution as well as those of the states. However, in our pluralistic society, all families are not alike. At birth, some children are born to wealthy, married parents who will always put the children’s interests first and will never engage in domestic violence. Many laws benefit these children, while, according to some academics, they either further disadvantage other children or at best ignore their needs.

This presentation …


Religion And Child Custody, Margaret Brinig Jan 2016

Religion And Child Custody, Margaret Brinig

Journal Articles

This piece draws upon divorce pleadings and other records to show how indications of religion (or disaffiliation) that appear in custody agreements and orders (called “parenting plans” in both states studied) affect the course of the proceedings and legal activities over the five years following divorce filing. Some of the apparent findings are normative, but most are merely descriptive and some may be correlative rather than caused by the indicated concern about religion. While parenting plans are accepted by courts only when they are in the best interests of the child (at least in theory), the child’s independent religious needs …


Substantive Parenting Arrangements In The Usa: Unpacking The Policy Choices, Margaret Brinig Jun 2015

Substantive Parenting Arrangements In The Usa: Unpacking The Policy Choices, Margaret Brinig

Journal Articles

Policy makers in the US currently debate whether to keep discretionary child custody standards, that is, “best interests of the child” clarified by some factors, or to move to a more rule-based system, such as a presumptive shared parenting regime. This article briefly sets out the problem, theoretical and evidence-based ways of approaching it, and some new results from a study of court documents from one US state indicating that a strong presumption of shared custody is associated with an increase in post-decree domestic violence. While presumptions or de facto rules should facilitate bargaining, these results may tip the balance …


Taming The Tigers: Domestic Violence, Legal Professionalism, And Well-Being, Jill C. Engle Jan 2015

Taming The Tigers: Domestic Violence, Legal Professionalism, And Well-Being, Jill C. Engle

Journal Articles

Domestic violence kills thousands of American women every year. In 2013, one of them was my client. My law school clinic represented a woman divorcing her abusive husband after twenty years of marriage. Three days after we served him with the divorce complaint, he walked into the grocery store where she worked and shot her dead. He then turned the gun on himself, and died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. The lead student working her case listened in horror as one of our local colleagues who had heard the breaking news described it to her in a phone call to the …


Promoting The General Welfare: Legal Reform To Lift Women And Children In The United States Out Of Poverty, Jill C. Engle Jan 2013

Promoting The General Welfare: Legal Reform To Lift Women And Children In The United States Out Of Poverty, Jill C. Engle

Journal Articles

American women and children have been poor in exponentially greater numbers than men for decades. The problem has historic, institutional roots which provide a backdrop for this article’s introduction. English and early U.S. legal systems mandated a lesser economic status for women. Despite numerous legal changes aimed at combating the financial disadvantage of American women and children, the problem is worsening. American female workers, many in low-paying job sectors, earn roughly twenty percent less than their male counterparts. Nearly forty percent of single mothers and their children subsist below the poverty level. The recession exacerbated this problem, mostly because unemployment …


Child Support Guidelines: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, Margaret F. Brinig, Douglas W. Allen Jan 2011

Child Support Guidelines: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, Margaret F. Brinig, Douglas W. Allen

Journal Articles

Child support guideline systems do more than simply determine the amount of income to be transferred from the noncustodial to the custodial household. They create incentives, one way or another, for spouses to divorce and seek custody and support payments. We examine three cases found in North America, and find that the common method of income shares provides a decent guideline that does not create any perverse incentives for divorce. Percentage-of-obligor-income methods do worse than other systems, and can cause increases in divorce rates for families in which one spouse earns a high income. Finally, the Canadian system, which is …


Belonging And Trust: Divorce And Social Capital, Margaret F. Brinig Jan 2011

Belonging And Trust: Divorce And Social Capital, Margaret F. Brinig

Journal Articles

To whom do spouses belong? Do they belong to their communities as well as each other and their immediate families? These questions are explored in an empirical paper demonstrating ways in which social capital in communities may affect even the marriages of people living in them.


Incentivizing Divorce, Andrea B. Carroll May 2009

Incentivizing Divorce, Andrea B. Carroll

Journal Articles

Marriage is an important relationship, both for the parties to it and for society as a whole. Its benefits, stemming from the economies of scale and joint consumption inherent in the relationship, are largely unquestionable. And when marriage fails, the results are rather staggering. Economically, it is estimated that the annual cost of divorce to American taxpayers approaches $30 billion. From a social science perspective, the negative impacts of divorce on women and children have long been decried. In the face of these facts, we expect family law to fulfill a certain role. It should channel parties into the relationship …


The One-Size-Fits-All Family, Margaret F. Brinig, Steven L. Nock Jan 2009

The One-Size-Fits-All Family, Margaret F. Brinig, Steven L. Nock

Journal Articles

Family policy and the law based on it assume universals. That is, if marriage improves the welfare of the majority of couples and their children, it is worth pushing as a policy initiative. Further, laws will be written (or kept on the books) that privilege marriage over other family forms. Similarly, research that tells us that divorce harms children except following the relatively small number of highly conflicted marriages, spawns efforts to preserve troubled marriages or even to roll back liberal or relatively inexpensive divorce laws. With yet another example, since adopted children mostly do better than children left either …


Penalty Defaults In Family Law: The Case Of Child Custody, Margaret F. Brinig Jan 2006

Penalty Defaults In Family Law: The Case Of Child Custody, Margaret F. Brinig

Journal Articles

This paper considers whether an amendment to state divorce laws that strengthens its joint custody preference operates as a traditional default rule, specifying what most divorcing couples would choose or as a penalty default rule the parties will attempt to contract around.

While the Oregon statutes that frame our discussion here, like most state laws, do not state an explicit preference for joint custody, shared custody is certainly encouraged by Section 107.179, which refers cases in which the parties cannot agree on joint custody to mediation and by Section 107.105, which requires the court to consider awarding custody jointly. In …


Does Parental Autonomy Require Equal Custody At Divorce?, Margaret F. Brinig Jan 2005

Does Parental Autonomy Require Equal Custody At Divorce?, Margaret F. Brinig

Journal Articles

This paper considers the affect of amendments to state divorce laws that strengthen their joint custody preference. It does so in the context of suits by noncustodial parents challenging substantive custody standards not requiring equal custody at divorce. The complaint is that most custody laws, by using a best interests standard rather than equally dividing custodial time, violate substantive due process. Further, two states, Iowa and Maine, have recently amended their custody legislation to strongly presume joint physical custody.

After setting out the constitutional problem and describing the legislation in some detail, this paper tests the effects of the change …


Unhappy Contracts: The Case Of Divorce Settlements, Margaret F. Brinig Jan 2005

Unhappy Contracts: The Case Of Divorce Settlements, Margaret F. Brinig

Journal Articles

This paper examines a particular type of contracts that is, sadly, increasingly frequent: the agreements produced by divorcing couples. They are unhappy contracts, agreements produced as a necessary part of exit from what is now suboptimal marriage. They are virtually required by many states and are, in theory at least, closely monitored by courts since, when children are involved, they will be incorporated into court orders.What parties to unhappy contracts do is attempt to minimize losses, rather than maximize gain. How are contracts structured that will do this, and how does a difference in the size or power of the …


The Role Of Socioeconomics In Teaching Family Law, Margaret F. Brinig Jan 2004

The Role Of Socioeconomics In Teaching Family Law, Margaret F. Brinig

Journal Articles

Applying knowledge from other social sciences makes particular sense with the law and economics of the family. Much of the behavior we see and experience within families is difficult to see or understand as economically rational, that is, narrowly self-interested. Many of the legal changes we make that appear to be rational, at least from a cost-benefit perspective, turn out to be unsatisfying or even counterproductive. Though economists tend to view motivations or "utility functions" based upon "revealed preference," extended models like that of socioeconomics go below what is revealed to measure, as best we can, people's attitudes and feelings …


Divorce And The Catholic Lawyer, John J. Coughlin Jan 2001

Divorce And The Catholic Lawyer, John J. Coughlin

Journal Articles

On January 28, 2002, Pope John Paul II focused his annual address to the officials of the Roman Rota on the topic of the indissolubility of marriage. At the conclusion of this theological and canonical analysis, the Holy Father made a few short statements cautioning civil lawyers about divorces cases. The following day, a story in The New York Times carried the headline "John Paul Says Catholic Bar Must Refuse Divorce Cases." The article construed the pope's reference as a blanket prohibition against Catholic lawyers handling divorce cases. It further questioned whether the prohibition contradicted the Pontiff's prior emphasis on …


Feminism And Child Custody Under Chapter Two Of The American Law Institute's Principles Of The Law Of Family Dissolution, Margaret F. Brinig Jan 2001

Feminism And Child Custody Under Chapter Two Of The American Law Institute's Principles Of The Law Of Family Dissolution, Margaret F. Brinig

Journal Articles

The Chief Reporter of the American Law Institute's Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution wrote in his introduction; "Children are necessarily at the heart of any set of principles of family law." My favorite chapter of the Principles is Chapter Two, entitled "Principles Governing the Allocation of Custodial and Decisionmaking Responsibilities for Children." As of this writing, Chapter Two holds the distinction of being the only portion to have been adopted by a state legislature. While other Chapters had Reporters who were women, Chapter Two not only had a feminist Reporter, but the "allocation principle" that forms the substantive …


No-Fault Laws And At-Fault People, Margaret F. Brinig, F. H. Buckley Jan 1998

No-Fault Laws And At-Fault People, Margaret F. Brinig, F. H. Buckley

Journal Articles

Absent transaction costs, the Coase Theorem suggests that divorce reform would work no change in the frequency of divorce but perhaps would alter the distribution of marital wealth. However, divorce does involve substantial process costs, which no-fault lowered. This paper explores the question of what happened to state divorce rates because of the legal changes wrought by the family law revolution that began in the 1970s, isolating the effect of the legal variable from other demographic and social factors that might also explain the variation in divorce rates across states and across time.


Property Distribution Physics: The Talisman Of Time And Middle Class Law, Margaret F. Brinig Jan 1997

Property Distribution Physics: The Talisman Of Time And Middle Class Law, Margaret F. Brinig

Journal Articles

Should the young professional's spouse get some share in a newly acquired career while the young military officer's will not? Does the division between alimony and property make any sense, given no-fault divorce? Is reimbursement for lost career opportunities plus a share in the couple's tangible property fair compensation for a divorcing spouse? Such difficult questions frame this piece, which will also—and I believe necessarily—digress into the nature of marriage, the duties of parenting, and modern divorce philosophy.


Avocats Et Divorce Aux Etats-Unis: La Transformation Des Pratiques Professionnelles, Lynn M. Mather, Craig A. Mcewen, Richard J. Maiman Dec 1996

Avocats Et Divorce Aux Etats-Unis: La Transformation Des Pratiques Professionnelles, Lynn M. Mather, Craig A. Mcewen, Richard J. Maiman

Journal Articles

Les transformations sociales et les évolutions juridiques qui sont intervenues aux États-Unis depuis les années 60 ont eu de multiples effets sur le travail des avocats en matière de divorce. Le présent article analyse ces transformations en s'appuyant sur des entretiens avec des avocats et sur l'analyse de l'activité des tribunaux dans les États du Maine et du New Hampshire. Il souligne notamment l'importance que revêt l'accroissement du nombre des divorces parmi les couples ayant des ressources moyennes ou faibles. Il décrit aussi la féminisation rapide du barreau, une tendance qui se trouve particulièrement accentuée en ce qui concerne les …


Does Mediation Systematically Disadvantage Women?, Margaret F. Brinig Jan 1995

Does Mediation Systematically Disadvantage Women?, Margaret F. Brinig

Journal Articles

When state legislatures enabled spouses to obtain divorces without proving fault, one of the real achievements was lower transaction costs. Although the benefit of lower transaction costs for divorce is not completely noncontroversial, the relaxed proof requirements mean that lawyers do not necessarily have to be involved in divorce proceedings. The vast majority of marriage dissolutions involve written agreements between the parties. No-fault divorce also energized the divorce mediation movement.

Mediation is the least intrusive form of third-party involvement in a dispute. Whereas a judge or arbitrator imposes an outcome on the disputants, the mediator assists the parties in reaching …


Trading At Divorce: Preferences, Legal Rules And Transactions Costs, Margaret F. Brinig, Michael V. Alexeev Jan 1993

Trading At Divorce: Preferences, Legal Rules And Transactions Costs, Margaret F. Brinig, Michael V. Alexeev

Journal Articles

For almost ten years, legal commentators have been aware of the possibility of applying economic bargaining principles to the problems of negotiations at the time of divorce. Although some cases and journal articles have mentioned the Mnookin and Komhauser article suggesting that custodial time and financial assets might be exchanged, attempts to apply the analysis have been confined to description. No one has attempted an empirical study to see if there really are trade-offs between custodial time and marital assets at the time of divorce, and there has been no formal model describing the process.

Furthermore, there has been no …


A Consideration Of Alternatives To Divorce Litigation, Thomas E. Carbonneau Jan 1986

A Consideration Of Alternatives To Divorce Litigation, Thomas E. Carbonneau

Journal Articles

This article argues for the need to inform divorce proceedings with a sense of the human reality of matrimonial breakdown. Part one assesses the adequacy of the existing adjudicatory approach to divorce by focusing upon the hiatus between the legal approach to divorce and the emotional content of divorce disputes. Part two lays the foundation for constructive change, providing a statistical portrait of divorce in contemporary America. Part four discusses mediation and suggests that it is a more viable alternative mechanism to divorce litigation. Part five discusses the implementation of a judicial arbitration structure.


Analytical And Comparative Variations On Selected Provisions Of Book One Of The Louisiana Civil Code With Special Consideration Of The Role Of Fault In The Determination Of Marital Disputes, Thomas E. Carbonneau Jan 1981

Analytical And Comparative Variations On Selected Provisions Of Book One Of The Louisiana Civil Code With Special Consideration Of The Role Of Fault In The Determination Of Marital Disputes, Thomas E. Carbonneau

Journal Articles

This article is intended to be a type of "structuralist" commentary upon selected provisions in Book I of the Louisiana Civil Code. Its sole purpose is to illustrate, both for pedagogical and doctrinal reasons, some of the analytical difficulties to which these code provisions might give rise when they are read in a close textual fashion. It should be emphasized that this study is a textual commentary and not a historical assessment of the sources or origins of the code texts – the latter analysis is outside the purview of the present endeavor.

Accordingly, this article consists of a critical …


The New Article 310 Of The French Civil Code For International Divorce Actions, Thomas E. Carbonneau Jan 1977

The New Article 310 Of The French Civil Code For International Divorce Actions, Thomas E. Carbonneau

Journal Articles

The variety and complexity of the legal issues that can confront a French court in an international divorce action may best be illustrated by a description of the basic factual pattern of, and the initial arguments advanced in, some of the more typical cases:

  1. French National Spouse v. Foreign National Spouse
  2. The Validity of a Prior Foreign Divorce Decree
  3. Foreign National Spouses With Immigrant Status in France
  4. Spouses of Foreign Nationality with Domiciliary Status in France

Although disparate, the facts of these four hypothetical cases point to and are unified by two salient legal issues: one jurisdictional in nature and …