We will study the increasingly complex "marriage system," in which new forms of adult relationship join marriage in the legal order; the rules making marriage a significant distributive institution both in the larger political economy and amongst family members; and the role of criminal law and administrative law in governing conflict among family members. Throughout we will compare marriage with the alternative forms and with informal relationships, and will seek to understand how the family law system complements market labor and public welfare provision in distributing social welfare. The course closes with a comparison of the operation of family law among middle class and poor families using contemporary sociological writings. Students will engage in a divorce negotiation exercise involving short writing assignments, and may elect between a last-day take-home exam or (with the instructor's permission) a research paper. Participation on panels discussing reading assignments will be a course requirement.
Family, Gender & Children's Law
Constitutional Law & Civil Rights