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Full-Text Articles in Law

Using Random Assignment To Measure Court Accessibility For Low-Income Divorce Seekers, James D. Greiner, Ellen L. Degnan, Thomas Ferriss, Roseanna Sommers Mar 2021

Using Random Assignment To Measure Court Accessibility For Low-Income Divorce Seekers, James D. Greiner, Ellen L. Degnan, Thomas Ferriss, Roseanna Sommers

Articles

We conducted a field experiment in which 311 low-income individuals seeking a divorce were randomly assigned to receive access to a pro bono lawyer (versus minimal help) to assist with filing for divorce. Examining court records, we found that assignment to an attorney made a large difference in whether participants filed for and obtained a divorce. Three years after randomization, 46% of the treated group had terminated their marriages in the proper legal venue, compared to 9% of the control group. Among “compliers”—participants who obtained representation only if assigned to receive it—those with lawyers were far more likely to file …


Getting To Equal: Resolving The Judicial Impasse On The Weight Of Non-Monetary Contribution In Kenya's Marital Asset Division, Benedeta Prudence Mutiso Jan 2019

Getting To Equal: Resolving The Judicial Impasse On The Weight Of Non-Monetary Contribution In Kenya's Marital Asset Division, Benedeta Prudence Mutiso

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Marital property law reforms and changing international human rights standards in the late 20th and early 21st century prompted Kenya to end certain discriminatory practices against women, especially in the area of property rights. For 50 years, Kenya relied on England’s century-old law, the Married Women’s Property Act of 1882, to regulate property rights. In 2010, Kenya adopted a new Constitution that called for equality between men and women, and in 2013, Kenya enacted independent legislation in the form of the Matrimonial Property Act (MPA). The MPA provides a basis for trial courts to divide marital property upon divorce. Specifically, …


Eliminating Financiers From The Equation: A Call For Court-Mandated Fee Shifting In Divorces, Bibeane Metsch-Garcia May 2015

Eliminating Financiers From The Equation: A Call For Court-Mandated Fee Shifting In Divorces, Bibeane Metsch-Garcia

Michigan Law Review

Divorce can be prohibitively costly. Many struggle or simply cannot afford to pay divorce attorneys’ fees, and the economic effects of divorce on women are particularly acute. In the past few years, financing firms have emerged to fund nonmonied spouses, mostly women, who cannot afford to litigate divorces from their wealthy spouses. The services provided come with a hefty price tag: firms take large fees, and their involvement may lead to unethical and potentially damaging practices. This Note explains what third-party divorce finance firms are and why the use of firms is problematic, and offers an alternative, more equitable method …


Family History: Inside And Out, Kerry Abrams Apr 2013

Family History: Inside And Out, Kerry Abrams

Michigan Law Review

The twenty-first century has seen the dawn of a new era of the family, an era that has its roots in the twentieth. Many of the social and scientific phenomena of our time - same-sex couples, in vitro fertilization, single-parent families, international adoption - have inspired changes in the law. Legal change has encompassed both constitutional doctrine and statutory innovations, from landmark Supreme Court decisions articulating a right to procreate (or not), a liberty interest in the care, custody, and control of one's children, and even a right to marry, to state no-fault divorce statutes that have fundamentally changed the …


Black Marriage, White People, Red Herrings, Melissa Murray Apr 2013

Black Marriage, White People, Red Herrings, Melissa Murray

Michigan Law Review

Ralph Richard Banks's Is Marriage for White People? is worlds away from Agatha Christie's novels. Decidedly a work of nonfiction, Banks's book considers the plight of middle-class African Americans who, according to statistics, are the least likely of any demographic group to get and stay married. Despite these obvious differences, Is Marriage for White People? shares some important commonalities with Agatha Christie's mysteries. Banks seeks to solve a mystery, but red herrings draw attention away from the true issue that should be the subject of Banks's concern. The mystery, of course, is the black marriage decline. In 1950, 78 percent …


An Incomplete Revolution: Feminists And The Legacy Of Marital-Property Reform, Mary Ziegler Jan 2013

An Incomplete Revolution: Feminists And The Legacy Of Marital-Property Reform, Mary Ziegler

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

As this Article shows, the conventional historical narrative of the divorce revolution is not so much incorrect as incomplete. Histories of the divorce revolution have focused disproportionately on the introduction of no-fault rules and have correctly concluded that women's groups did not play a central role in the introduction of such laws. However, work on divorce law has not adequately addressed the history of marital-property reform or engaged with scholarship on the struggle for the Equal Rights Amendment to the federal Constitution. Putting these two bodies of work in dialogue with one another, the Article provides the first comprehensive history …


Modernizing Marriage, Adam Candeub, Mae Kuykendall Jul 2011

Modernizing Marriage, Adam Candeub, Mae Kuykendall

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article proposes to modernize the archaic procedures states use to authorize marriages so as to provide legal flexibility, promote efficiency, and enhance individual choice. Almost universally, states require couples' presence within their borders, however briefly, for a ceremony. After considering the historical and policy rationales for this requirement and finding them either obsolete or incoherent, we propose that states offer marriages to those outside their borders. Such distance marriages could occur via video-conference, using the internet or even telephone, with readily available safeguards to prevent fraud. This simple reform would allow certain couples who cannot marry under local law …


Alimony Treatment For A Single Payment, Douglas A. Kahn Dec 2009

Alimony Treatment For A Single Payment, Douglas A. Kahn

Articles

Before 1942 alimony paid to a former spouse was not included in the spouse’s gross income. In 1942 Congress adopted the antecedent to section 71. Although an alimony recipient must recognize gross income, section 215 provides the payer with a nonitemized deduction for the payment. Therefore, the alimony tax provisions provide a congressionally approved income-splitting arrangement which can benefit the parties by shifting income from a high-bracket taxpayer to one in a lower tax bracket. The parties can divide the resulting savings between them by altering the amount paid to the former spouse.


The Family Law Doctrine Of Equivalence, Amy L. Wax Jan 2009

The Family Law Doctrine Of Equivalence, Amy L. Wax

Michigan Law Review

Students of patent law learn the doctrine of equivalents. According to the doctrine, a patent protects an invention that does "the same work in substantially the same way, and accomplish[ es] substantially the same result," as the device described in the patent, even if it differs "'in name, form, or shape." In her new book, Nancy Polikoff has fashioned something like a parallel doctrine for families. Let's call it (with a slight play on words) the family law Doctrine of Equivalence. In today's world, according to Polikoff, a broad set of relationships now plays the same role as marriage and …


Divorcees Turn About In Their Graves As Ex-Spouses Cash In: Codified Constructive Trusts Ensure An Equitable Result Regarding Erisa-Governed Employee Benefit Plans, Sarabeth A. Rayho Jan 2007

Divorcees Turn About In Their Graves As Ex-Spouses Cash In: Codified Constructive Trusts Ensure An Equitable Result Regarding Erisa-Governed Employee Benefit Plans, Sarabeth A. Rayho

Michigan Law Review

A revocation-by-divorce statute essentially nullifies a devise in a divorced decedent's will when the devise bequeaths property to the decedent's ex-spouse and the will was executed during their marriage. Until recently, state revocation-by-divorce statutes unquestionably applied not only to wills but also to will substitutes, including ERISA-governed employee benefit plans. In 2001, the Supreme Court held in Egelhoff v. Egelhoff ex rel. Breiner that ERISA preempts traditional state revocation-by-divorce statutes as applied to ERISA-governed employee benefit plans. In the wake of the Egelhoff decision, plan administrators may automatically pay proceeds to the listed beneficiary, even an ex-spouse, regardless of the …


African American Intimacy: The Racial Gap In Marriage, R. Richard Banks, Su Jin Gatlin Jan 2005

African American Intimacy: The Racial Gap In Marriage, R. Richard Banks, Su Jin Gatlin

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This essay is divided into three parts. Part I documents the extent of the racial gap in marriage. Part II uses the marriage patterns of affluent Black men in particular to speculate about how the relationships of Black men and women might be influenced by the relative numbers of men and women and the men's socioeconomic characteristics in ways that depress marriage rates. Part III connects the low rate of marriage among African Americans to the differing interracial marriage rates of Black men and women.


Covenant Marriage Turns Five Years Old, Steven L. Nock, Laura Sanchez, Julia C. Wilson, James D. Wright Jan 2003

Covenant Marriage Turns Five Years Old, Steven L. Nock, Laura Sanchez, Julia C. Wilson, James D. Wright

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Part I of this article discusses public policy rationales behind covenant marriage legislation, describes relevant aspects of Louisiana's legislation, and summarizes the efforts of other states to enact covenant marriage legislation. Part II discusses methods of data collection and analysis and identifies the demographic characteristics of covenant married couples as opposed to standard married couples in Louisiana. Part III addresses the dynamics behind couples' choice to have a covenant versus standard marriage. Part IV is an analysis of couples' satisfaction with their marriage option and the gendered dynamics of different levels of satisfaction with the marital choice.


Marriage And Belonging, Ann Laquer Estin Jan 2002

Marriage And Belonging, Ann Laquer Estin

Michigan Law Review

Marriage is a quintessentially private institution. Justice Douglas put the point this way in 1965, writing for the Supreme Court in Griswold v. Connecticut: "We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights - older than our political parties, older than our school system. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association …


How To Plot Love On An Indifference Curve, Brian H. Bix May 2001

How To Plot Love On An Indifference Curve, Brian H. Bix

Michigan Law Review

In From Partners to Parents: The Second Revolution in Family Law, June Carbone offers nothing less than a whirlwind tour of the current doctrinal and policy debates of Family Law - an astounding feat in a book whose main text (excluding endnotes and appendices) does not reach 250 pages. There seem to be few controversies about which Carbone has not read widely and come to a conclusion, and usually a fair-minded one: from the effect of no-fault divorce reforms on the divorce rate, to the long-term consequences of slavery for the African-American family (pp. 67-84), to whether the Aid to …


Looking At Marriage, Naomi Cahn Jan 2000

Looking At Marriage, Naomi Cahn

Michigan Law Review

In a recent book (not the subject of this Review), highly successful and popular authors John Gottman and Nan Silver set out their seven effective principles for making a marriage last. The final suggestion is that spouses should "create shared meaning, an inner life together that is rich with symbols and family rituals and that honors the hopes of both partners." In a happy marriage, the couples not only provide support for each other, but also "build a sense of purpose into their lives together." Professor Gottman has developed these principles as a result of twenty years of research and …


Family Law In The Age Of Distrust, Carl E. Scheider Jun 1999

Family Law In The Age Of Distrust, Carl E. Scheider

Articles

I have been invited to examine the relationship between American culture and American family law at the end of the century. No doubt I was foolish to accept the invitation, since the topic can hardly be sketched, much less discussed, within the compass of even a lengthy article. On the other hand, that happy fault forces me to accept the luxury of writing a speculative essay and of eschewing the footnotes that are the misery (and majesty) of the academic lawyer. But even thus set free I am still enchained. Family law is shaped by more cultural forces than I …


Lesbian Divorce: A Commentary On The Legal Issues, David L. Chambers Jan 1998

Lesbian Divorce: A Commentary On The Legal Issues, David L. Chambers

Articles

Lesbian couples who break up will find themselves in an awkward position under the law for two separable but related reasons. The first is that, because they were unmarried, they are subjected by the law to much the same uneven and ambivalent treatment to which unmarried heterosexual couples are subjected. The second, of course, is that they are gay or lesbian and thus regarded with special disfavor even in some states that have become more tolerant of unmarried heterosexual relationships. As a law teacher who is gay and who writes about family law issues relating to gay men and lesbians, …


Legal Narratives, Theraputic Narratives: The Invisibility And Omnipresence Of Race And Gender, Leslie G. Espinoza Feb 1997

Legal Narratives, Theraputic Narratives: The Invisibility And Omnipresence Of Race And Gender, Leslie G. Espinoza

Michigan Law Review

My first introduction to Denise Gray was through a form. The intake sheet was dated October 17, 1994. The legal problem was straightforward. My introduction to Denise Gray would come much later. I am a clinical law professor. The clinic, Boston College Legal Assistance Bureau, is known as "LAB." I teach students law by supervising them as they represent, usually for the first time, a real person with real problems.


Innocent Spouses, Reasonable Women And Divorce: The Gap Between Reality And The Internal Revenue Code, Stephen A. Zorn Jan 1996

Innocent Spouses, Reasonable Women And Divorce: The Gap Between Reality And The Internal Revenue Code, Stephen A. Zorn

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This Article asks whether the "reasonable woman" should become the standard for women seeking relief from tax liabilities under the innocent spouse provision of the I.R.C. and whether an even more specific standard should be adopted for women who are also going through divorce or are in similar situations.


The Law And The Stability Of Marriage: The Family As A Social Institution, Carl E. Schneider Jan 1996

The Law And The Stability Of Marriage: The Family As A Social Institution, Carl E. Schneider

Book Chapters

Samuel Johnson once wrote, "It is so far from being natural for a man and woman to live in a state of marriage that we find all the motives which they have for remaining in that connection, and the restraints which civilized society imposes to prevent separation, are hardly sufficient to keep them together." In this chapter I shall pursue Dr. Johnson's provocative suggestion by asking what restraints (if any) society might impose through law on couples to join them in marriage in the first place and to keep them in it after they have married.

But why might society …


Fathers, The Welfare System, And The Virtues And Perils Of Child-Support Enforcement, David L. Chambers Jan 1995

Fathers, The Welfare System, And The Virtues And Perils Of Child-Support Enforcement, David L. Chambers

Articles

For half a century, Aid to Families with Dependent Children ("AFDC")' -the program of federally supported cash assistance to low-income families with children-has been oddly conceived. Congress has chosen to make assistance available almost solely to low-income single-parent families, not all low-income parents with children. At first many of the eligible single parents were women whose husbands had died. Over time, a growing majority were women who had been married to their children's father but who had separated or divorced. Today, to an ever increasing extent, they are women who were never married to the fathers of their children.2


Divorce, Custody, Gender, And The Limits Of Law: On Dividing The Child, Lee E. Teitelbaum May 1994

Divorce, Custody, Gender, And The Limits Of Law: On Dividing The Child, Lee E. Teitelbaum

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Dividing the Child: Social and Legal Dilemmas of Custody by Elanor E. Maccoby and Robert H. Mnookin


Marriage, Morals, And The Law: No-Fault Divorce And Moral Discourse, Carl E. Schneider Apr 1994

Marriage, Morals, And The Law: No-Fault Divorce And Moral Discourse, Carl E. Schneider

Articles

In this Essay, I want to reflect on no fault-divorce and the social attitudes that underlie it. In particular, I want to consider that reform in light of an article I wrote some years ago entitled Moral Discourse and the Transformation of American Family Law. There I argued that in recent years the language of American family law has changed notably: today family law issues are decreasingly discussed in the language of morality. In other words, legal institutions have decreasingly talked about those issues in moral terms. Rather, they have tended to avoid handling some moral issues altogether-often by …


War And P.E.A.C.E.: A Preliminary Report And A Model Statute On An Interdisciplinary Educational Program For Divorcing And Separating Parents, Andrew Schepard Oct 1993

War And P.E.A.C.E.: A Preliminary Report And A Model Statute On An Interdisciplinary Educational Program For Divorcing And Separating Parents, Andrew Schepard

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article is a report on P.E.A.C.E. (Parent Education and Custody Effectiveness), an interdisciplinary attempt to create a parent education program in New York. P.E.A.C.E. is an educational program that provides information to parents on three topics: the legal process for determining custody and child support; the effects of divorce and separation on adults; and the effects of divorce and separation on children, and how parents can help children cope with this difficult transition. P.E.A.C.E. is education-nothing more. It is not mediation or therapy. Parents do not talk to each other directly during P.E.A.C.E. sessions and the program makes no …


Religion And Child Custody, Carl E. Schneider Jun 1992

Religion And Child Custody, Carl E. Schneider

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In this Essay, I want to reflect on some problems at the intersection of religion, law, and the family. Specifically, I will explore the ways courts may consider a parent's religiously motivated behavior in making decisions about the custody of children. More precisely still, I will ask two questions. First, may a court refuse to award custody because of a parent's religiously motivated behavior in a dispute between a natural mother and a natural father? Second, when should a court agree to resolve a dispute between divorced parents over the religious upbringing of their children? These are topics of quiet …


Divorce Reform And The Legacy Of Gender, Milton C. Regan Jr. May 1992

Divorce Reform And The Legacy Of Gender, Milton C. Regan Jr.

Michigan Law Review

A Review of The Illusion of Equality: The Rhetoric and Reality of Divorce Reform by Martha Albertson Fineman


The Channelling Function In Family Law, Carl E. Schneider Apr 1992

The Channelling Function In Family Law, Carl E. Schneider

Articles

On an occasion such as this, we are called to step back from our daily work to seek what Justice Holmes called a "liberal view" of our subject. Today, I propose to do so by exploring a function of family law that I believe is basic, that underlies much of family law, that resonates with the deepest purposes of culture but that is rarely addressed expressly-namely, what I call the "channelling function." As I will soon explain at length, in the channelling function the law recruits, builds, shapes, sustains; and promotes social institutions. My exploration of this topic will have …


Marital Property Rights In Transition, Lawrence W. Waggoner Jan 1992

Marital Property Rights In Transition, Lawrence W. Waggoner

Articles

The subject of "marital property rights" is very timely because those rights are in a state of transition. The term "marital property rights" covers a vast multitude of rights or interests conferred by law on persons who occupy the status of spouse. This lecture is divided into four discrete, yet related segments. The first segment addresses how the law allocates original ownership between spouses in a marriage. The second segment turns to the intestate share of the surviving spouse. This is not a topic that high-powered estate planners get involved in very much because intestate estates are usually fairly small. …


Spousal Rights In Our Multiple-Marriage Society: The Revised Uniform Probate Code, Lawrence W. Waggoner Jan 1992

Spousal Rights In Our Multiple-Marriage Society: The Revised Uniform Probate Code, Lawrence W. Waggoner

Articles

The transformation of the American family constitutes one of the great phenomenons of the past two decades. The traditional Leave It to Beaver family no longer prevails in American society. To be sure, families consisting of the wage-earning husband, the homemaking and child-rearing wife, and their two joint children still exist. But divorce rates are astonishingly high and remarriage abounds. In fact, there is an increasing prevalence in the population of marriages that are more likely to end in divorce than others-marriages in which one or both partners were divorced before and marriages of couples who cohabited prior to marriage.


Commentary: Meeting The Financial Needs Of Children, David L. Chambers Jan 1991

Commentary: Meeting The Financial Needs Of Children, David L. Chambers

Articles

Those who drafted the equitable distribution statutes adopted in New York and elsewhere wanted to help assure women and children an acceptable level of financial well-being after divorce. Marsha Garrison has shown that divorcing couples rarely possess enough resources to attain financial well-being even when they live together as a couple, let alone when they live in two separate households. She has also shown that, even in the cases of couples with substantial assets, the broad and general language of the equitable distribution statute did not lead (and could not have been expected to lead) to consistent distributions that assured …