The Real Cost of Student Debt: Why New York State Should Allow Common Law Marriages

By Raelynn Leggio

As law students we are experiencing first hand the crushing weight of debt in order to obtain our degrees. In 2012 the average law student had incurred approximately $140,616 of debt. This figure doesn’t include undergraduate debt, and millennials are truly feeling the pressure as tuition for undergraduate and graduate programs only continues to increase.

So what does that have to do with marriage?

Although many millenials face significant debt burdens, the cost of a formal wedding continues to increase. Wedding spending is at an all time high in the U.S., with a 2015 survey from The Knot revealing that couples shell out an average of $32,641 for their big day; that’s about the same price as the average tuition at a private undergraduate university. If you want your big day to be in Manhattan, you could be spending about $82,299. Every reception category from the venue price, to custom guest entertainment, to wine and liquor tastings has increased, while the lists of invitees have gone down to an average of 139 guests.

But that is the reality we face today. The cost of getting married is just added to the mountain of debt that students owe. Student debt has become the new normal and so is the delay of experiencing many life milestones. Marriage, buying a home, and purchasing a car are the top three things that are being delayed by the recent graduate, according to the Consumerist, with 56% of the millennial age bracket stating that their debt has turned them away from investing or starting a family.… <Read More>


The Every Student Succeeds Act

By: Jarienn James

On December 10, 2015, a bipartisan bill revising the National Education Law was signed into law by President Obama. Using twelve pens, President Obama repealed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The ESSA prepares children for college and affirms the government’s commitment to ensuring each child receives quality education. President Obama remarked NCLB had the right goals such as:

high standards, accountability and closing the achievement gap… [However,] it didn’t always consider the specific needs of each community. It led to too much testing during classroom time. It often forced schools and school districts into cookie-cutter reforms that didn’t always produce the kinds of results that we wanted to see.

This war on education began in 1965 when President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). President Johnson believed that “full educational opportunity” should be “our first national goal.” This civil rights law would expire every three to five years, leaving Congress to reauthorize it. In 2001, the Government, in response to the significantly low achievement standards of the poor and the minority students created the NCLB.

Purpose of the Acts

The purpose of the NCLB was “…to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.” The NCLB delved further and listed twelve steps that States may use to achieve its goal.… <Read More>


Remembering Judith Kaye: A Pioneer for Women in the Legal Profession and Advocate for Children and Families

 

By: Mallory McGee

Judith_S.Kaye_

On Wednesday, January 6, 2016, former New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith Kaye passed away at the age of 77 years old, leaving behind a legacy as an advocate for social justice who paved the way for many women in the legal profession.

 

Born Judith Ann Smith on August 4, 1938 in Monticello, New York to Polish immigrants Benjamin and Lena, Judge Kaye skipped two grades and was admitted to Barnard College at the age of fifteen. At Barnard, she studied Latin American Civilization and worked for local newspapers in the hopes of pursuing a career in journalism. Post graduation, Judge Kaye landed her first journalism job at the Hudson Dispatch, a newspaper in Union City, New Jersey where she reported on the society pages. In the hopes of furthering her journalism career, she decided to enroll in New York University’s law school. She attended law school part time and worked as a copy editor by day. The law began to appeal to her more and in 1962, Judith Kaye graduated from N.Y.U Law School; she was one of ten women in her graduating class of 300.

 

Following law school graduation, Judge Kaye worked at Sullivan and Cromwell for two years and then went to IBM’s legal department. While raising her family, Judge Kaye worked as an assistant to the dean at N.Y.U. Then she went to Olwine, Connelly, Chase, O’Donnell & Weyher, where she became the first female partner. Her career took a different turn when former Governor Mario Cuomo stated that if elected, he would appoint the first female judge to the Court of Appeals.… <Read More>


Welcome Back For the 2015-2016 Year!

Welcome back to all students, professors, and staff to another year at New York Law School. This year marks the 125th anniversary of the law school and will include many celebratory events. There are also many events planned with the Impact Center, including the Beyond Permanency: Challenges for Former Foster Youth Symposium on Friday October 23, 2015 from 9:00am – 5:00pm, which is co-sponsored by the Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families of the Impact Center, The Children’s Law Center, and others.

This year, Just Families, would like to welcome Allyson Guidera as the newest blog editor and welcome back one of last year’s editors, Mallory McGee. We would also like to welcome symposium editor Jarien James.

We welcome any students, alumni, or faculty to write for the blog and look forward to another year of providing the latest legal news in family law and commentary on family law cases and topics.… <Read More>


News Round-up April 27th, 2015

Reintroduction of the Pets and Women Safety Act:

  • Congress is joining states such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in protecting the pets of domestic violence victims. The bill, commonly known as The Pets and Women Protection Act (“PAWS”), was reintroduced in March by Congresswoman Katherine Clark. According to the bill’s sponsors, victims of domestic violence often stay in abusive environments out of fear that the abuser will hurt their pet or return to a relationship upon threats of harm to the pet. It can be difficult to take the pets with them when they leave because many shelters do not accept pets.
  • PAWS would expand current federal Personal Protection Laws to include the pets of domestic violence victims. It established grants for institutions that can help victims of domestic violence and their pets with specified housing assistance, support services, and training. Finally, PAWS includes a provision providing for all losses incurred for veterinary costs as a result of injuries to the pet by the abuser.
  • PAWS currently has 50 sponsors, but no date has been scheduled yet for a vote.
  • For the original New Round-up on this bill click here.

 

Families Push Legislators for More Charter Schools:

  • About 30 families are calling on Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers to create more charter schools. This was originally part of the state’s budget; however, it was dropped. The current law provides for 25 more charter schools and the cap was set at 460. Families are asking for officials to “Raise the Cap.”
  • Proponents of raising the cap say that there should never be any caps on educational opportunities and that seats in charter schools currently in operation are hard to come by.
<Read More>