In a gray universe such as family law, where discretionary standards govern factually diverse cases, little can be measured to give people answers. In fact, the two major inquiries at divorce are: what division of property between the divorcing spouses is fair, and what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the children involved? Scholars and lawmakers have recognized that litigating under these open-ended, amorphous standards in family law is unpredictable. This makes it difficult for courts, policymakers, lawmakers, and litigants to know what to do in a particular divorce case.
Professor Ryznar’s project attempts to offer objective measurement in the family law field, using Indiana as a case study. The project looks at judicial outcomes in Indianapolis divorce cases. There may be a significant divergence between them and what the Indiana statutes require, and empirical research would measure it. Family law is state-specific, so there are as many sets of family laws as there are states, but this project focuses on the family laws and practice of Indiana.
Professor Ryznar’s work to define objective measurements in the field of family law is another example of how IUPUI faculty are TRANSLATING RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE.