939 SP Family Law: Controversies in Marriage, Divorce, and Custody Law - §001, Fall 2008

Categories: Family Law

Instructor(s) Mertz, Elizabeth

Should the legal system discourage divorce? Is mediation always the best approach for divorcing couples? Should children be removed from the custody of a parent accused of "Parental Alienation Syndrome"? On what basis should courts allocate custody of children? These are the kinds of questions that will be explored in this course, which focuses on some of the most controversial and difficult current issues in family law. From debates over the merits of joint custody to questions about the consequences of no-fault divorce, lawyers are playing a pivotal role in the changing way our society handles marriage, divorce, and custody. This class helps students gain tools for tackling tough policy questions in family law. Drawing on social science, we will move beyond "law on the books" to examine how the law is working out in practice. Students are encouraged to take a critical look at different sources of information, including the role of the media in shaping law and policy. Class readings and discussions will provide a basis from which students can develop their own original ideas for further research. A 15-20 page paper reporting the results of this research will be required at the end of the semester. Students wishing to meet the Upper-Level Writing Requirement through this class may submit two drafts, in consultation
with the professor. No exam.


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