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Law Courses Catalog

Contemporary Issues in Family Law

  • Typically offered every other year

NOTE: This course description is new for the 2016-2017 academic year. You may read the prior course description immediately below this new one. 

2016-2017

Limit: 15 Students

The modern family presents the legal system with a host of controversial, challenging and fascinating issues. This seminar provides the opportunity to explore some of these issues in greater depth. While the central focus will be on the U.S., considerable use will be made of comparative material. Beginning with a discussion of what is meant by “a family”, the seminar will move on to consider whose interests may arise in the context of the family, how those interests are prioritized and balanced; and the capacity of the legal system to do so. A number of specific topics will be considered in depth and students will have a central role in selecting these topics. They may include (but are not limited to) aspects of: diversity in adult relationships; the consequences of legal recognition of adult relationships; custom-made marriage and other relationships; domestic abuse; termination of adult relationships; children’s rights; the child-parent relationship; impact on the presence of children on adult relationships; child protection; property division after the termination of adult relationships; the interest of other family members; older family members; and ADR in the context of the family.

Evaluation is by a paper on a topic of the student’s choice, subject to approval, with the submission date for all papers being Friday, December 9, 2016. In addition, each student will be required to lead (or co-lead) one seminar discussion. Subject to selecting a suitable topic, students may use their papers to satisfy the Capstone or WIE writing requirements provided an outline of the paper has been submitted by October 7 and a draft by November 4.

With professor permission meets the Capstone or WIE writing Requirements.

Prerequisite: Anyone wishing to take this seminar should either have taken Family Law or should read Walter Wadlington and Raymond C. O’Brien, Family Law in Perspective (Foundation Press, 3rd ed, 2012) 208 pp., prior to the start of the seminar.

NOTE: The below course description applied prior to the 2016-2017 academic year.

Limit: 15 Students

The modern family presents the legal system with a host of controversial and fascinating issues. This seminar provides the opportunity to explore some of these issues in greater depth. While the central focus of the course will be with the U.S., considerable use will be made of comparative material. Beginning with a discussion of what is meant by “a family”, the seminar will move on to consider whose interests may arise in the context of the family, how those interests are prioritized and balanced; and the capacity of the legal system to do so. A number of specific topics will be considered in depth and students will participate in selecting these topics. They may include: diversity in adult relationships; the consequences of legal recognition of adult relationships; custom-made marriage and other relationships; domestic abuse; termination of adult relationships; children?s rights; the child-parent relationship; impact on the presence of children of the termination of adult relationships; child protection; property division after the termination of adult relationships; the interest of other family members; older family members; and ADR in the context of the family.

A paper rather than an examination is required, with the submission date for the paper being December 12, 2014. In addition, each student will be required to lead (or co-lead) one seminar discussion. Students who submit an outline of their paper by October 3 and a draft by November 7 may use their papers to satisfy the Capstone or WIE writing requirements.

Prerequisite: Anyone wishing to take this seminar should either have taken Family Law or should read Walter Wadlington and Raymond C. O’Brien, Family Law in Perspective (Foundation Press, 3rd ed, 2012) 208 pp., prior to the start of the seminar.

With professor permission meets the Capstone and WIE writing Requirements.