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January 19, 2020

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

Photo by: Gary L. Gehman
The Tug of War Over Children
Last Featured: 1/23/2006

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Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.

With over 40% of marriages ending in divorce, the battle for child custody and support are among the most common and contentious disputes heard by our nation's courts. What do judges look at when making custody and child support decisions? Do moms get an unfair advantage? What happens when one parent snatches the kids and hides them from the other parent? Should teenagers get a say in where they live? Join us on this edition of Justice Talking as we take a deeper look at family law and ask what happens to the kids when parents break up?

Interview with David Meyer
Host Margot Adler talks to David Meyer, a professor of family law about the standards courts use to settle child custody disputes.

David D. Meyer is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and a leading scholar at the intersection of constitutional law and family law. Professor Meyer's recent articles have appeared in the University of Chicago Legal Forum, Minnesota Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and the Vanderbilt Law Review. In the summer of 2006, Professor Meyer will serve as United States Co-Reporter on Family Law at the Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He is a member of the American Law Institute.

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Debate on the Issue
Shared custody advocate Dr. Ned Holstein and Joan Meier, a law professor, debate the social implications of battles between moms and dads over custody.

Ned Holstein is a divorced father of two adult children and is the custodial parent of his third child, a senior in college. Ned graduated from Harvard College, then obtained a Masters degree from M.I.T. before attending Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He is the founder and president of Fathers and Families.

Joan Meier is Professor of Clinical Law at the George Washington University Law School. In 2003, she founded the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing appellate and amicus representation in cases of legal importance. Her research and publications focus on domestic violence, criminal procedure, civil rights, and child custody.

During the debate, Robert Emery, Director of the Center for Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Virginia, joins the debate to explain how children deal with their parents’ divorce and what factors make it easier or harder for them. Professor Emery’s latest book is The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions so You and Your Children Can Thrive.

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Interview with a Family
Host Margot Adler speaks with a divorced couple and their daughter about the custody agreement they worked out between themselves—how it works and how sometimes it doesn’t work.

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Interview with Judge Zampino
The Honorable Tom Zampino, a family court judge for 16 years, shares what he’s learned from 15,000 divorce cases.

Judge Tom Zampino is currently serving as Judge of the Essex County Superior Court, Family Division, in Newark, New Jersey. A member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Judge Zampino also serves as a Faculty Lecturer for the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. He is a recipient of the Judge of The Year award from National CASA.

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Report from Sara Lerner
NPR producer Sara Lerner talks with her own parents about their custody battle at a time when joint custody was unheard of.

Sara Lerner is an assistant producer with station KUOW in Seattle, WA. She has produced stories for Studio 360, Voice of America, Justice Talking, and Weekend America.

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Supreme Court Update
In late September, we broadcast a program on The Challenge to Assisted Suicide in Oregon a case about the right to die that was pending before the United States Supreme Court. In the case, the state of Oregon challenged former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s decision to prosecute doctors who prescribe lethal drugs under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. The Attorney General claimed that the Federal Controlled Substances Act gave him authority to prosecute the doctors because assisted dying was not legitimate medical care. But on January 17, by a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court held otherwise, reserving the regulation of assisted suicide and appropriate end of life care to the states. The new Chief Justice John Roberts joined the dissent. Read the full Gonzales v. Oregon decision.

The Supreme Court also decided an abortion case from New Hampshire, which we discussed on Justice Talking in November: A Look at Mandatory Parental Involvement Laws. In Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, abortion providers challenged a New Hampshire law that required a young woman to tell one of her parents about her abortion decision. The young woman could avoid the parental notification rule if she got a court order, but the law did not explicitly allow the doctor to perform an abortion immediately, if there was a medical emergency. The lower court stopped the full law from going into effect because there was no medical emergency exception. In a unanimous decision, written by Justice O’Connor, the Supreme Court sidestepped any significant ruling in the case, sending it back to the lower court to see if it could fashion a more limited remedy. The Court explicitly said, it was not revisiting its abortion precedents. Read the full Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood decision.

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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
28 U.S.C. § 1738A Full Faith and Credit Given to Child Custody Determinations
42 U.S.C. § 651 Child Support Enforcement Act
State Laws Most child custody legislation is state law. This resource will help locate the laws for your state.
Fathers and Families
Women’s Law.org child custody page
child custody resources by NOLO.com
Children’s Rights Council
Custody for Fathers : A Practical Guide Through the Combat Zone of a Brutal Custody Battle
by Carleen Brennan, Michael Brennan
Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex
by Richard A. Warshak
The Co-Parenting Survival Guide: Letting Go of Conflict after a Difficult Divorce
by Elizabeth Thayer Ph.D., Jeffrey Zimmerman Ph.D.
Winning Custody: A Woman's Guide to Retaining Custody of Her Children
by Deedra Hunter, Tom Monte
Race and the Justice System
Employment Discrimination Post-Ledbetter
The Women's Equality Amendment