Exam Type: In Class
This survey of the main topics in American family law practice begins with state creation of legal parent-child relationships (paternity, maternity, adoption) and legal partner relationships (marriage, including pre-nuptial agreements and the right-to-marry cases). It then studies the laws governing cohabitation (child custody, privacy rights), behavior (e.g., child neglect, domestic violence), decision-making (e.g., parents' rights, property management rules for spouses), and finances (e.g., child support, spouses' support duty) within those two relationships. It finishes with examination of the rules for dissolving each of the two relationships (termination of parental rights and divorce, including property distribution and alimony). At each of the three stages (creating, regulating, and dissolving), we will contrast the rules for parent-child relationships with those for adult intimate partnerships, always asking whether the rules should be the same or analogous for both, in order to understand better and to critique. The text blends social science, foreign law, and theory with U.S. primary legal sources - state statutes, state court decisions, and federal constitutional doctrine.