January 15, 2020 From the Chair

Family Law Quarterly—The Next Chapter

Jonathan W. Wolfe

When the United States Supreme Court ruled that a twelve-year-old child facing charges of juvenile delinquency is constitutionally entitled to the protections of a reasonable doubt standard, the Court turned to the ABA Family Law Section’s Family Law Quarterly, holding that “. . . the reasonable-doubt standard is indispensable, for it ‘impresses on the trier of fact the necessity of reaching a subjective state of certitude of the facts in issue.’” In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 364 (1970) (quoting Dorsen & Rezneck, In Re Gault and the Future of Juvenile Law, 1 Family Law Quarterly 1, 26 (1967)).

For more than three decades, courts across the country have done the same.

  • The Georgia Supreme Court cited the Quarterly when establishing the State’s guidelines for the treatment of stock options in divorce. See Newman v. Patton, 286 Ga. 805, 807 (2010) (citing Tracy Thomas, The New Marital Property of Employee Stock Options, 35 Family Law Quarterly 497, 510–525 (2001)).
  • When reinforcing the need for confidentiality in adoption proceedings, the Supreme Court of Rhode Island cited the Quarterly for “a thoughtful article . . . whose validity we do not believe to have faded with age. . . .” See In re Philip S., 881 A.2d 931, 934 (R.I. 2005) (citing Elton B. Kilbanoff, Genealogical Information in Adoption: The Adoptee’s Quest and the Law, 11 Family Law Quarterly 185, 196 (1977)).
  • The Louisiana Supreme Court cited the Quarterly when addressing the appropriate jurisdiction for modifications of support obligations. Jurado v. Brashear, 782 So. 2d 575, 581 (La. 2001) (citing Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (1996) (with More Unofficial Annotations), 32 Family Law Quarterly 390, 406–07 (1998)).
  • The Oklahoma Supreme Court turned to the Quarterly when determining whether a misrepresentation about parenthood could give rise to a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Miller v. Miller, 956 P.2d 887, 902 (Ok. 1998) (citing Leonard Karp & Cheryl L. Karp, Beyond the Normal Ebb and Flow . . . Infliction of Emotional Distress in Domestic Violence Cases, 28 Family Law Quarterly 389, 403–404 (1994)).
  • The Georgia Supreme Court cited the Quarterly when rejecting a claim that rape could not occur between a married couple. Warren v. State, 255 Ga. 151, 152 (1985) (citing Michael D. A. Freeman, “But If You Can’t Rape Your Wife, Who Can You Rape?”: The Marital Rape Exemption Re-examined, 15 Family Law Quarterly (1981)).

In December 2019, the Quarterly released its latest digital issue, Of Parents and Nonparents, in Two Acts: The UPA and UNCVA. While the format is new, the substance and thought-leadership remains unchanged. The issue provided comprehensive, expert analyses of these important uniform laws. The previous issue of the Quarterly had tackled wide-ranging topics including post-marital agreements, the impact of the 2017 tax reform, the Hague Abduction Convention, and child support enforcement theory and practice in America. If you missed either issue, please check them out now, and be on the lookout for upcoming issues in the works.

There are more changes to come for the Quarterly. After three years as Editor in Chief, Professor Kendra Fershee is stepping down from her service next year as she transitions to a new law school. We thank Kendra for her efforts, as she worked with Editor Emeritus Professor Linda Elrod, our dedicated Board of Editors, and our managing editor to navigate the relocation of the Quarterly to a new law school and transition it into the Digital Age. The Family Law Section is now conducting a national search for the Quarterly’s next Editor in Chief and for a new law school to partner with on the publication. It is an exciting time, and law schools or law professors interested in leading in the area of family law should contact the Section’s Director, Cynthia Swan.

We are proud of all that the Quarterly has accomplished and the benefit that it conveys to our Section members. Just think what we can accomplish over the next thirty years! Stay tuned for more!

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Jonathan W. Wolfe is Chair of the ABA Family Law Section. He is Co-Managing Partner of the New Jersey law firm of Skoloff & Wolfe and Chair of the firm’s Matrimonial and Litigation Departments.