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Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 2: Child Custody, Support, and Adoption

July 23, 2014 Comments off

Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 2: Child Custody, Support, and Adoption
Source: Law Library of Congress

In Part Two of our Family Law Beginner’s Guide, we are shifting our focus to what the law says about children’s roles in the family—focusing on their custody and care. Below, please find information and resources for legal researchers regarding child custody, child support, and domestic adoption.

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Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 1: Formation and Dissolution of Marriage

July 23, 2014 Comments off

Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 1: Formation and Dissolution of Marriage
Source: Law Library of Congress

Whether it be in relation to marriage, the birth of children, adoption, or divorce, family law is one area of the law that affects nearly everyone. But even though family law is a part of daily life, legal issues in this area can quickly become complex. Below, we have collected a sampling of the marriage and divorce law resources available, both at the Law Library of Congress and on the free web, to help researchers get a better handle on these issues.

Gender and time allocation of cohabiting and married women and men in France, Italy, and the United States

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Gender and time allocation of cohabiting and married women and men in France, Italy, and the United States
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
Women, who generally do more unpaid and less paid work than men, have greater incentives to stay in marriages than cohabiting unions, which generally carry fewer legal protections for individuals that wish to dissolve their relationship. The extent to which cohabitation is institutionalized, however, is a matter of policy and varies substantially by country. The gender gap in paid and unpaid work between married and cohabiting individuals should be larger in countries where cohabitation is less institutionalized and where those in cohabiting relationships have relatively fewer legal protections should the relationship dissolve, yet few studies have explored this variation.

Objective:
Using time diary data from France, Italy, and the United States, we assess the time men and women devote to paid and unpaid work in cohabiting and married couples. These three countries provide a useful diversity in marital regimes for examining these expectations: France, where cohabitation is most “marriage like” and where partnerships can be registered and carry legal rights; the United States, where cohabitation is common but is short-lived and unstable and where legal protections vary across states; and Italy, where cohabitation is not common and where such unions are not legally acknowledged and less socially approved than in either France or the United States.

Results:
Cohabitating men’s and women’s time allocated to market and nonmarket work is generally more similar than married men and women. Our expectations about country differences are only partially borne out by the findings. Greater gender differences in the time allocated to market and nonmarket work are found in Italy relative to either France or the U.S.

CFPB — Ensuring equal treatment for same-sex married couples

July 11, 2014 Comments off

Ensuring equal treatment for same-sex married couples
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

On June 26, 2013, in United States v. Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. This decision has important consequences for our work.

In order to fully implement this decision, we took steps to clarify how the decision affects the rules that we are responsible for. Recently, Director Cordray issued a memo to staff clarifying that, to the extent permitted by federal law, it is our policy to recognize all lawful marriages valid at the time of the marriage in the jurisdiction where the marriage was celebrated. This aligns our policy with other agencies across the federal government.

This policy applies to all of the laws, regulations, and policies that we administer, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). That means that when it comes to administering, enforcing, or interpreting the laws, regulations, and policies within our jurisdiction, we use and interpret the terms like “spouse,” “marriage,” “married,” “husband,” “wife,” and any other similar terms related to family or marital status to include lawful same-sex marriages and lawfully married same-sex spouses.

UK — What Does the 2011 Census Tell Us About Inter-ethnic Relationships?

July 11, 2014 Comments off

What Does the 2011 Census Tell Us About Inter-ethnic Relationships?
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key Points

  • Nearly 1 in 10 people (9% or 2.3 million) who were living as part of a couple were in an inter-ethnic relationship in England and Wales in 2011. This has increased from 7% in 2001.
  • People from the Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups were most likely to be in an inter-ethnic relationship (85%).
  • Outside the Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups, White Irish (71%), Other Black (62%) and Gypsy or Irish Travellers (50%) were the most likely to be in an inter-ethnic relationship.
  • White British (4%) were least likely to be in inter-ethnic relationships, followed by Bangladeshi (7%), Pakistani (9%) and Indian (12%) ethnic groups.
  • The biggest difference between the sexes was found with the Chinese group, where women were almost twice as likely (39%) to be in an inter-ethnic relationship as men (20%).
  • Of all people in inter-ethnic relationships, 4 in 10 (40%) included someone who was White British – the most common being between Other White and White British (16%).
  • People who were married (or in a civil partnership) were less likely to be in an inter-ethnic relationship than people who were co-habiting (8% compared with 12%).
  • Some 7% of dependent children lived in a household with an inter-ethnic relationship.
  • Pakistani (3%), Indian (3%) and Bangladeshi (2%) dependent children were least likely to live in a household with an inter-ethnic relationship.

Young First-Time Mothers Less Likely to be Married, Census Bureau Reports

July 8, 2014 Comments off

Young First-Time Mothers Less Likely to be Married, Census Bureau Reports
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The percentage of young first-time mothers who are married is dropping, according to Fertility of Women in the United States: 2012, a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the early 1990s, at least half of all first births to mothers younger than age 23 occurred in marriage. Since 2005, more young mothers were cohabiting (38 percent) than were married (24 percent) at the time of their first birth. However, the majority of all women continue to have their first child within marriage.

Fertility of Women in the United States: 2012 uses data from the 2012 American Community Survey and the 2012 Current Population Survey. The report examines women’s marital status at the time of their first births, the completed fertility of women up to age 50 and the fertility patterns of young women. Fertility patterns are shown by race, ethnicity, age, citizenship and employment status, as well as state of residence.

The Third Wheel: The Impact of Twitter Use on Relationship Infidelity and Divorce

July 3, 2014 Comments off

The Third Wheel: The Impact of Twitter Use on Relationship Infidelity and Divorce
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

The purpose of this study was to examine how social networking site (SNS) use, specifically Twitter use, influences negative interpersonal relationship outcomes. This study specifically examined the mediational effect of Twitter-related conflict on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes, and how this mechanism may be contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. A total of 581 Twitter users aged 18 to 67 years (Mage=29, SDage=8.9) completed an online survey questionnaire. Moderation–mediation regression analyses using bootstrapping methods indicated that Twitter-related conflict mediated the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes. The length of the romantic relationship, however, did not moderate the indirect effect on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes. The results from this study suggest that active Twitter use leads to greater amounts of Twitter-related conflict among romantic partners, which in turn leads to infidelity, breakup, and divorce. This indirect effect is not contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. The current study adds to the growing body of literature investigating SNS use and romantic relationship outcomes.

2011 Census Analysis: How do Living Arrangements, Family Type and Family Size Vary in England and Wales?

June 26, 2014 Comments off

2011 Census Analysis: How do Living Arrangements, Family Type and Family Size Vary in England and Wales?
Source: Office for National Statistics

This story summarises the distribution of family types (married couples, cohabiting couples and lone parents with/without dependent children) within England and Wales and the interaction with family size (number of dependent children). Variations in family size and type by country of birth are also highlighted.

Important Information About Social Security Benefits For Same-Sex Couples (updated)

June 23, 2014 Comments off

Important Information About Social Security Benefits For Same-Sex Couples (PDF)
Source: Social Security Administration

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Therefore, Social Security no longer is prevented from recognizing same-sex marriages for purposes of determining entitlement to or eligibility for benefits. Social Security is now processing some retirement, surviving spouse and lump-sum death payment claims for same-sex couples and paying benefits where they are due. If you are in, or are a surviving spouse of a same-sex marriage or other legal same-sex relationship, we encourage you to apply right away for benefits. You can apply for most benefits online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.

We also are considering same-sex marriages when processing some claims for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Marriage may affect your SSI eligibility or payment amount.

Common Law Marriage by State

June 19, 2014 Comments off

Common Law Marriage by State
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

To be defined as a common-law marriage within the states that allow it, the two people must: agree that they are married, live together, and present themselves as husband and wife. Common-law marriage is generally a non-ceremonial relationship that requires “a positive mutual agreement, permanent and exclusive of all others, to enter into a marriage relationship, cohabitation sufficient to warrant a fulfillment of necessary relationship of man and wife, and an assumption of marital duties and obligations.” Black’s Law Dictionary 277 (6th ed. 1990).

Before modern domestic relations statutes, couples became married by a variety of means that developed from custom. These became the elements of a “common-law marriage,” or a marriage that arose through the couple’s conduct, instead of through a ceremony. In many ways, the theory of common-law marriage is one of estoppel—meaning that couples who have told the world they are married should not be allowed to claim they aren’t when in a dispute between themselves.

Changing Fertility Regimes and the Transition to Adulthood: Evidence from a Recent Cohort

June 17, 2014 Comments off

Changing Fertility Regimes and the Transition to Adulthood: Evidence from a Recent Cohort (PDF)
Source: 2014 Meetings of the Population Association of America

Recent demographic trends have produced a distinctive fertility regime among young women and men in their teenage years and their twenties — a period sometimes called early adulthood. Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 cohort, show that by the time the cohort had reached ages 26-31 in 2011, 81% of births reported by women and 87% of births reported by men had occurred to non-college graduates. In addition, 57% of births had occurred outside of marriage for both men and women. Moreover, 64% of women (and 63% of men) who reported a birth had at least one child outside of marriage, a figure that rose to 74% among women (and 70% among men) without 4-year college degrees. It is now unusual for noncollege- graduates who have children in their teens and twenties to have all of them within marriage. The implications of these developments are discussed in light of the differing transitions to adulthood of non-college-graduates versus college-graduates and the growing social class inequalities in family patterns.

See: Most millennial moms who skip college also skip marriage (EurekAlert!)

Towards a Geography of Unmarried Cohabitation in the Americas

May 27, 2014 Comments off

Towards a Geography of Unmarried Cohabitation in the Americas
Source: Demographic Research

Background: As the incidence of cohabitation has been rising in many parts of the world, efforts to determine the forces driving the cohabitation boom have also been intensifying. But most of the analyses of this issue conducted so far were carried out at a national level, and did not account for regional heterogeneity within countries.

Objective: This paper presents the geography of unmarried cohabitation in the Americas. We offer a large-scale, cross-national perspective, together with small-area estimates of cohabitation. We created this map for several reasons. (i) First, our examination of the geography of cohabitation reveals considerable spatial heterogeneity, and challenges the explanatory frameworks which may work at the international level, but which have low explanatory power with regard to intra-national variation. (ii) Second, we argue that historical pockets of cohabitation can still be identified by examining the current geography of cohabitation. (iii) Finally, our map serves as an initial step in efforts to determine whether the recent increase in cohabitation is an intensification of pre-existing traditions, or whether it has different roots that suggest that a new geography may be evolving.

Methods: Census microdata from 39 countries and 19,000 local units have been pooled together to map the prevalence of cohabitation among women.

Results: The results show inter- and intra-national regional contrasts. The highest rates of cohabitation are found in areas of Central America, the Caribbean, Colombia, and Peru. The lowest rates are mainly found in the United States and Mexico. In all of the countries, the spatial autocorrelation statistics indicate that there is substantial spatial heterogeneity.

Conclusions: Our results lead us to ask what forces may have shaped these patterns, and they remind us that these forces need to be taken into account when seeking to explain recent cohabitation patterns, and especially the rise in cohabitation.

Same-Sex Marriage Support Reaches New High at 55%

May 25, 2014 Comments off

Same-Sex Marriage Support Reaches New High at 55%
Source: Gallup

Americans’ support for the law recognizing same-sex marriages as legally valid has increased yet again, now at 55%. Marriage equality advocates have had a string of legal successes over the past year, most recently this week in Pennsylvania and Oregon where federal judges struck down bans on gay marriage.

Significant Discrepancies Exist Between Alimony Deductions Claimed by Payers and Income Reported by Recipients

May 19, 2014 Comments off

Significant Discrepancies Exist Between Alimony Deductions Claimed by Payers and Income Reported by Recipients (PDF)
Source: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
From email:

A report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) publicly released today identifies a $2.3 billion gap between the amount of alimony deductions claimed by taxpayers in 2010 and corresponding income reported.

Individuals who pay alimony can deduct the amount paid from income on their tax return to reduce the amount of tax an individual must pay. Alimony recipients must, in turn, claim the amount received as income on their tax return. An alimony income reporting discrepancy occurs either when individuals claim deductions for alimony which they did not pay or individuals do not report alimony income they received.

TIGTA initiated this audit to evaluate whether there is an alimony reporting gap and to assess controls the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has in place to promote alimony reporting compliance.

In Tax Year 2010, 567,887 taxpayers claimed alimony deductions totaling more than $10 billion. TIGTA’s analysis of returns with an alimony deduction claim identified 266,190 (47 percent) tax returns in which it appears that individuals claimed alimony deductions for which income was not reported on a corresponding recipient’s tax return or the amount of alimony income reported did not agree with the amount of the deduction taken. This alimony gap totaled more than $2.3 billion.

Apart from examining a small number of tax returns, the IRS generally has no processes or procedures to address this substantial compliance gap, TIGTA found.

UK — 544,000 stepfamilies with dependent children in 2011

May 12, 2014 Comments off

544,000 stepfamilies with dependent children in 2011
Source: Office for National Statistics

While the number of couple non-stepfamilies with dependent children has risen by 4% between 2001 and 2011, the number of couple stepfamilies with dependent children has fallen by 14% from 631,000 to 544,000 over the same period. There are no clear reasons for the fall in the number of stepfamilies but possible factors include:

+ A rise in the average age at which women have their first baby. This means that children are less likely to be born to younger couples who are more likely to break up. This may lessen the chance of children becoming stepchildren later on

+ Lone parents may be increasingly likely to have a partner who lives elsewhere. This partner may be a stepparent to the lone parent’s children while not living with them permanently.

Estimates from the General Lifestyle Survey in 2011 for Great Britain show that 85% of stepfamilies with dependent children included children from the woman’s previous relationship, 11% included children from the man’s previous relationship and 4% from both partners’ previous relationships.

Fewer Marriages, More Divergence: Marriage Projections for Millennials to Age 40

May 5, 2014 Comments off

Fewer Marriages, More Divergence: Marriage Projections for Millennials to Age 40
Source: Urban Institute

Declining marriage rates suggest a growing fraction of millennials will remain unmarried through age 40. In this brief, we use data from the American Community Survey to estimate age-specific marriage rates and project the percentage of millennials who will marry by age 40 in different scenarios. We find that the percentage of millennials marrying by age 40 will fall lower thDeclining marriage rates suggest a growing fraction of millennials will remain unmarried through age 40. In this brief, we use data from the American Community Survey to estimate age-specific marriage rates and project the percentage of millennials who will marry by age 40 in different scenarios. We find that the percentage of millennials marrying by age 40 will fall lower than for any previous generation of Americans, even in a scenario where marriage rates recover considerably. Moreover, marriage patterns will continue to diverge by education and race, increasing the divides between mostly married “haves” and increasingly single “have-nots”.an for any previous generation of Americans, even in a scenario where marriage rates recover considerably. Moreover, marriage patterns will continue to diverge by education and race, increasing the divides between mostly married “haves” and increasingly single “have-nots”.

Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care to Their Spouses: A report of the AARP Public Policy Institute and the United Hospital Fund

May 2, 2014 Comments off

Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care to Their Spouses: A report of the AARP Public Policy Institute and the United Hospital Fund
Source: AARP and United Hospital Fund

This report shows that spouses who are caregivers not only perform many of the tasks that health care professionals do—a range of medical/nursing tasks including medication management, wound care, using meters and monitors, and more—but they are significantly more likely to do so than other family caregivers, who are mostly adult children.

According to the report, nearly two-thirds of spouses who are family caregivers performed such tasks (65 percent), compared to 42 percent of nonspousal caregivers. And despite these responsibilities, spouses were less likely than nonspousal caregivers to receive in-home support from health care professionals: 84 percent of spousal care recipients received no professional health care on site, compared to 65 percent of nonspousal care recipients. They were also less likely to receive help from family or friends or home care aides: 58 percent of the spouses reported no additional help from others, compared to 20 percent of nonspouses.

The report notes that it is unclear why spouses receive less help, hypothesizing that it could be choice, lack of awareness about resources, financial limitations, or fear of losing independence. The report calls for additional research to help tailor interventions that support but do not supplant the primary bond between spouses.

Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2012 (released April 2014)

April 23, 2014 Comments off

Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2012
Source: Social Security Administration

This biennial report presents detailed statistical information on the major sources and amounts of income for people aged 55 or older. The tabulations focus on the major sources of total income by age, sex, marital status, race, and Hispanic origin. Several tables describe the economic situation of the aged with varying levels of Social Security benefits. Their poverty status is presented in terms of the income of the families they live with.

First Comes Social Networking, Then Comes Marriage? Characteristics of Americans Married 2005–2012 Who Met Through Social Networking Sites

April 10, 2014 Comments off

First Comes Social Networking, Then Comes Marriage? Characteristics of Americans Married 2005–2012 Who Met Through Social Networking Sites
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Although social networking sites (SNS) have become increasingly prevalent and integrated into the lives of users, the role of SNS in courtship is relatively unknown. The present manuscript reports on the characteristics of Americans married between 2005 and 2012 who met through SNS drawn from a weighted national sample (N=18,527). Compared to other online meetings (i.e., dating sites, online communities, one-on-one communication), individuals who met through SNS were younger, married more recently, and were more likely to be African American. Compared with offline meetings, individuals who met through SNS were more likely to be younger, male, African American and Hispanic, married more recently, and frequent Internet users with higher incomes. Trends suggest an increasing proportion of individuals are meeting using SNS, necessitating further research on factors that influence romantic relational development through SNS.

The Third Wheel: The Impact of Twitter Use on Relationship Infidelity and Divorce

April 8, 2014 Comments off

The Third Wheel: The Impact of Twitter Use on Relationship Infidelity and Divorce
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

The purpose of this study was to examine how social networking site (SNS) use, specifically Twitter use, influences negative interpersonal relationship outcomes. This study specifically examined the mediational effect of Twitter-related conflict on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes, and how this mechanism may be contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. A total of 581 Twitter users aged 18 to 67 years (Mage=29, SDage=8.9) completed an online survey questionnaire. Moderation–mediation regression analyses using bootstrapping methods indicated that Twitter-related conflict mediated the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes. The length of the romantic relationship, however, did not moderate the indirect effect on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes. The results from this study suggest that active Twitter use leads to greater amounts of Twitter-related conflict among romantic partners, which in turn leads to infidelity, breakup, and divorce. This indirect effect is not contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. The current study adds to the growing body of literature investigating SNS use and romantic relationship outcomes.

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