Family Law deals with the creation and dissolution of the family as well as with legal relationships within the family. The course covers the law of marriage, divorce, annulment, separation, illegitimacy, adoption and, within and without the going family, rights of child custody, parental authority, support, property, inheritance and related rights. Specific emphasis is given to the regulation of marital property (ownership during marriage, division on divorce, inheritance on death), and financial responsibilities during marriage and on divorce alimony and child support). The legal relationship between parents and children, support enforcement, termination of parental rights are covered as is the legal relationship between illegitimate children and natural parents and legal relationships created by adoption. Throughout the course, legal rules are placed into their social settings. The family lawyer, perhaps more than any other, must “sell” his or her legal advice with concern for and understanding of broader social consequences. The suitability in family litigation of the adversary system as well as legal ethics as practiced in family law are discussed. Considerable emphasis is given to current developments in family law reform. Momentous developments are occurring in constitutional law (especially the move toward women's equal rights and the transformation of children into individuals of constitutional concern) affecting and federalizing family law.
Sequence and Prerequisites: None.