The year 2021 began with the January 6 insurrection and ended with the the spread of the extremely contagious Omicron variant of COVID19. The year saw the inauguration of President Joe Biden and changes in Congress, as well as widespread availability of new COVID-19 vaccines that made it possible for schools and courts to reopen more fully.
The year 2021 also saw many new federal and state court decisions impacting families and family law practice. In her remarkable article Review of the Year 2021 in Family Law: Getting Back to Normal, Family Law Quarterly (FLQ) Editor Emeritus Professor Linda Elrod surveys more than 250 court decisions from more than 45 states. Her article documents family law developments in a wide range of areas including adoption, premarital and marital agreements, alimony/spousal support, jurisdiction, assisted reproduction, child custody, “nonparent” custody and visitation, marriage and divorce, and property division, among other topics. Additionally, in Review of Hague Cases: 2021, Professor Robert Spector discusses the evolution of the law concerning the Hague Abduction Convention in the year following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Monasky v. Taglieri and before the Court’s 2022 decision in Golan v. Saada.
There were also many new state family law statutes in 2021. This issue includes Charts 2021: Family Law in the Fifty States, D.C., and Puerto Rico. As a new element for the annual Charts, we have begun highlighting information about new legislation relating to the topics that are tracked in each Chart. We have also included new Charts with selected laws relating to parentage and domestic violence. Congratulations to 2021–22 New York Law School (NYLS) Executive Law-in-50 Editors Carolina Abdullah and Natalie Gutierrez for all of their work in overseeing the process for reviewing and updating these charts, and to all NYLS student editors for their work in researching and analyzing the state laws that are categorized in the Charts.
In addition, as a new feature for the FLQ, we have included an article summarizing selected new state laws relating to custody, child support, parentage, and other family law areas covered by the Charts. The article, New Family Law Statutes in 2021: Selected State Legislation, was prepared by the 2021–22 NYLS editorial staff for the FLQ. Congratulations to Executive Law-in-50 Editor Carolina Abdullah and student Editor in Chief April Pacis for terrific work in developing and implementing this new project and in editing student contributions, and to all student editors for their work in researching, writing, and editing for the article. We look forward to continuing this project as a new tradition for the FLQ. We welcome your feedback on this project and on the Charts.
This issue is the first FLQ issue published under the leadership of ABA Managing Editor Susan Lorimor, who has joined ABA Publishing and begun working with the FLQ following the retirement of Lisa Comforty. Susan is an award-winning editor and writer who has considerable experience with the ABA and in other publishing and editing contexts. Congratulations and thank you to Susan and also to ABA Designer Betsy Kulak, ABA Copy Editor Betsy Blumenthal, and ABA Director of Digital Publishing Kyle Kolbe for wonderful work in producing this issue and for their contributions to the design of the Charts and the article on new state legislation; and to Lisa Comforty for her role in developing the Charts and facilitating a seamless transition. Thank you also to ABA Family Law Section Chair Candace B. Peeples and Family Law Section Director Cindy Swan; NYLS Dean Anthony W. Crowell; Associate Dean William P. LaPiana; the NYLS faculty, administration, and staff; and Diane and Arthur Abbey.
This issue focuses on family law developments in 2021. The year 2022 has already seen major changes, including the Supreme Court’s overruling of Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In the upcoming year we will consider how Dobbs and other cases decided or argued in 2022 may impact state family law cases and statutes in a range of areas.
Best wishes to you and your families.
Lisa F. Grumet
Editor in Chief, Family Law Quarterly
Director, Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families
Associate Professor of Law
New York Law School