Exam Type: Please refer to the Spring 2021 Tentative Exam Schedule
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. We will study the role of constitutional law in shaping the family and making family-law and sexual-liberty issues controversial in the polity. Throughout we will compare marriage with its alternatives 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. Students will visit the Middlesex Family and Probate Court; will watch and discuss classic movies about family conflict; and will engage in a divorce negotiation exercise involving short writing assignments. Participation on panels discussing reading assignments will be a course requirement.