Analysis and Commentary on Family Law
More Than Kin: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules That Stepfather Granted Custody Rights Also Owes Child Support

Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman discusses a case in which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that a stepfather who won shared custody of his former stepchildren must also pay child support. Grossman points out that this unusual ruling serves as a warning for parents and stepparents about the consequences of their choices about childrearing during marriage.

Frozen Embryo Disputes

Cornell University law professor Sherry Colb uses a recent court dispute over a contract governing a divorced couple’s frozen embryos as the basis for considering some important issues that would arise in a frozen embryo dispute with no contract. Colb points out that resolving such a dispute would require careful balancing of the right of one party to procreate, on the one hand, and the right of the other party not to procreate, on the other.

Baby Mama: Appellate Court Declares Sherri Shepherd Is the Legal Mother of a Child Born to Her via Surrogate

Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman comments on a recent decision by a Pennsylvania appellate court that Sherri Shepherd, despite her arguments to the contrary, is the legal mother of a child born via surrogate. Grossman describes the background of the case and the national patchwork of state laws on surrogacy and explains why the appellate court came to the correct conclusion as a matter of law.

Though Obsolete, the Civil Union Continues to Mystify Courts

Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman discusses a decision by a New York trial court that illustrates the continuing confusion caused by the civil union, despite its obsolescence in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of marriage equality. Grossman provides a brief history of the civil union and its demise and critiques the reasoning and conclusion arrived at by the trial court in this case.

A Leader with Few Followers: New York on Family Law

Hofstra University law professors Joanna Grossman and Barbara Stark discuss a new law in New York that will reform alimony law and reverse a longstanding rule of marital property in that state. Grossman and Stark describe New York’s unusual family law history and explain how it arrived at this new law, which goes into effect in part this week.

When One Door Opens, Another Closes: Parentage Law After Obergefell v. Hodges

Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman discusses the evolving landscape of parentage law after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Grossman argues that while Obergefell has opened up some new paths to parentage for same-sex couples, it has also closed off others that had been created as workarounds in a restrictive marriage regime.

He Who Hesitated Lost: Unwed Father in Utah Forfeits Parental Rights

Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman comments on a recent Utah case where an unwed father forfeited his rights to contest the adoption of his child by not filing a paternity action. Grossman points out that this result is the product of balancing interests of unwed fathers against those of the child, mothers seeking to place children for adoption, and adoptive parents.

Is Three Still a Crowd? Polygamy and the Law After Obergefell v. Hodges

Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman and Stanford University law professor Lawrence Friedman comment on a recent legal challenge—based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision in Obergefell v. Hodges—to state anti-polygamy laws.

From Zero to Fifty in Eleven Years: The Supreme Court Declares the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry in Obergefell v. Hodges

Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman comments on today’s landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that the federal Constitution does not allow any state to prohibit the celebration or recognition of marriages by same-sex couples.

Last Gasps: Texas Tries to Stop Court From Granting Same-Sex Divorce

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision looming, Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman discusses a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Texas holding that state officials do not have the right to intervene in a same-sex divorce case in that state.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Parentage Rules for Married, Same-Sex Couples

Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman describes how, despite the many changes in marriage recognition laws across the country, we are seeing a return to marital status as the primary consideration in parentage laws.

Interstate Marriage Recognition: When History Meets the Supreme Court

Hofstra University law professor Joanna Grossman discusses one aspect the same-sex marriage case that the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing today, Obergefell v. Hodges. Specifically, Grossman considers whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to recognize out-of-state marriages in the context of the history of interstate marriage recognition laws.

Meet our Columnists
Vikram David Amar
Vikram David Amar

Vikram David Amar is a Distinguished Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law and a Professor... more

Neil H. Buchanan
Neil H. Buchanan

Neil H. Buchanan, an economist and legal scholar, is a visiting professor at both Osgoode Hall... more

John Dean
John Dean

John Dean served as Counsel to the President of the United States from July 1970 to April 1973.... more

Michael C. Dorf
Michael C. Dorf

Michael C. Dorf is the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School. He... more

Samuel Estreicher
Samuel Estreicher

Samuel Estreicher is the Dwight D. Opperman Professor, Director, Center for Labor and Employment... more

Leslie C. Griffin
Leslie C. Griffin

Dr. Leslie C. Griffin is the William S. Boyd Professor of Law at the University of Nevada, Las... more

Joanna L. Grossman
Joanna L. Grossman

Joanna L. Grossman is the Ellen K. Solender Endowed Chair in Women and Law at SMU Dedman School... more

Marci A. Hamilton
Marci A. Hamilton

Professor Marci A. Hamilton is a Professor of Practice in Political Science at the University of... more

Joseph Margulies
Joseph Margulies

Mr. Margulies is a Professor of Government at Cornell University. He was Counsel of Record in... more

Austin Sarat
Austin Sarat

Austin Sarat is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at... more

Laurence H. Tribe
Laurence H. Tribe

Laurence H. Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and... more

Lesley Wexler
Lesley Wexler

Lesley Wexler is a Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Immediately... more