Family Law


MCCLAIN'S SECTION: This course offers a survey of family law, including case law, statutory law, and the constitutional limitations on regulation of the family. An aim of the course is to introduce students to family law as a dynamic field of law concerning a basic social institution: the family. Family law is a foundational course relevant to many areas of law practice. Students will gain knowledge about how family law intersects with many other fields of law, such as contracts, constitutional law, conflicts of laws, criminal law, property, tax, torts, and trusts and estates, as well as how family law draws on the social sciences. Students will be introduced to the role of negotiation, mediation, and other forms of dispute resolution in the practice of family law. The course will focus on marriage, nonmarital families, divorce, pathways to becoming a parent, and the parent-child relationship. Topics include defining and regulating marriage; formal and informal marriage; cohabitation and alternatives to marriage (such as domestic partnerships); common law incidents of marriage and transformation of the common law; domestic violence; traditional and "no fault" divorce; property division; spousal support; child support; child custody; regulating parenthood; and issues of federal and state jurisdiction over and recognition of marriage. There will be a final examination. There is also a course requirement of an in-class, pass/fail skills exercise. NOTES: (1) Students enrolled in this class have the option of taking a one-credit Writing Supplement focused on drafting. SILBAUGH'S SECTION: This survey course will provide an introduction to the legal regulation of the family. The course will focus on the legal regulation and response to both adult and adult-child relationships. Topics covered will include: cohabitation; marriage; civil union; divorce and dissolution of relationships; the financial consequences of divorce including property division and alimony; premarital agreements; the laws governing non-marital relationships; family mediation; child custody, visitation, and parenting plans; child support; paternity; assisted reproductive technologies; and adoption. The course will also cover the interaction between families and the state in related areas of law including employment law and education law. There will be a final examination as well as in-class drafting and negotiation exercises. NOTE: Students enrolled in Professor McClain's section have the option of taking a one-credit Writing Supplement focused on drafting.
A1Linda C. McClainVarMW10:40 am - 12:40 pmLAW209
S1Katharine B. SilbaughVarMW11:00 am - 12:25 pmLAW101