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Understanding Family Law

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4th Edition
ISBN: 9780327189923
Published: November 30, 2011
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Understanding Family Law includes comprehensive coverage of topics such as traditional and nontraditional families, nonmarital and postmarital contracts, annulment, paternity and legitimacy, procreation rights, contraception, abortion, sterilization, artificially assisted conception, and adoption and termination of parental rights.

Like the prior edition published in 2005, this new Fourth Edition of Understanding Family Law explains specific family law issues, such as intrafamily tort immunity and liability, medical care for child and spouse, wrongful life and wrongful birth, domestic violence, PINS, CHINS, ethical issues for the lawyer, alternative dispute resolution, equitable distribution, community property, and child custody and visitation.This Fourth Edition is updated to reflect changes in the law since the last edition. The discussion of assisted conception in particular, has been substantially revised to address technological changes and new law, such as the post-death conception case. This Fourth Edition also includes references to 50 states surveys so the reader can find their local law quickly.

Professors and adjunct professors may request complimentary examination copies of LexisNexis law school publications to consider for class adoption or recommendation. Please identify the book(s) you wish to receive, provide your institutional contact information, and submit your request here.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: AN INTRODUCTION TO FAMILY LAW 

§ 1.01 General Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

§ 1.03 State Regulation of Family Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

§ 1.04 Federal Regulation of Family Law . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

§ 1.05 Constitutional Parameters to Family Law Regulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Chapter 2: MARRIAGE AND MARRIAGE ALTERNATIVE

§ 2.01 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

§ 2.02 Consensual Alternatives to Marriage . . . . . . . . . . 25

§ 2.03 Marriage: A Status or Contract? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

§ 2.04 Formal Statutory Marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

§ 2.05 Informal Marriages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

§ 2.06 The Last-in-Time Marriage Presumption . . . . . . . 47

§ 2.07 Proof of Marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

§ 2.08 Capacity and Intent to Marry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

§ 2.09 Conflict of Laws: Which Marriage Laws Govern? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

Chapter 3: PROPERTY AND SUPPORT RIGHTS DURING MARRIAGE

§ 3.01 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

§ 3.02 The Common Law Theory of Property Rights . . . . . 70

§ 3.03 The 'Feme Sole Estate' and the Married Women’s Property Acts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

§ 3.04 Tenancy by the Entirety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

§ 3.05 Common Law Property Rights on Death of a Spouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

§ 3.06 The Community Property System . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

§ 3.07 The Uniform Marital Property Act . . . . . . . . . . . 79

§ 3.08 Marriage as an 'Economic Partnership' . . . . . . . . 81

§ 3.09 Support Rights and Obligations . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

§ 3.10 The Doctrine of Necessaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

§ 3.11 Separate Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

§ 3.12 Statutory Support Obligations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

§ 3.13 Rights of Consortium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

§ 3.14 Relative Responsibility Statutes . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

§ 3.15 Support Enforcement Remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

Chapter 4: MARITAL CONTRACTS AND AGREEMENTS

§ 4.01 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

§ 4.02 Marriage Promises and Premarital Gifts . . . . . . . 100

§ 4.03 Premarital Agreements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103

§ 4.04 Contractual Agreements Between Husband and Wife . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

§ 4.05 Postnuptial and Separation Agreements . . . . . . . . 110

Chapter 5: PROCREATION

§ 5.01 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117

§ 5.03 The Fundamental Right to Procreate . . . . . . . . . . 140

§ 5.04 Contraception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142

§ 5.06 Voluntary and Involuntary Sterilization . . . . . . . . 155

§ 5.07 Artificially Aided Conception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163

[A] Artificial Insemination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164

[B] Surrogate Motherhood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169

[C] In Vitro Fertilization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176

Chapter 6: ADOPTION

§ 6.01 Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights . . . . 183

Chapter 7: UNIQUE FAMILY ISSUES

§ 7.01 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205

§ 7.02 Intrafamily Tort Immunity and Liability . . . . . . . 206

§ 7.03 Parental Discipline of a Child . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211

§ 7.04 Parental Liability for a Child’s Act . . . . . . . . . . . 211

§ 7.05 Medical Care for the Child and the Spouse . . . . . . 212

§ 7.06 Wrongful Death, Wrongful Birth, and Wrongful Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215

§ 7.07 Regulation of a Child’s Education . . . . . . . . . . . . 217

§ 7.08 Domestic Violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219

§ 7.09 Children in Need of Supervision . . . . . . . . . . . . 230

§ 7.10 Family Rights versus Individual Rights . . . . . . . . 232

Chapter 8: DIVORCE GROUNDS AND DEFENSES

§ 8.01 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235

§ 8.02 Jurisdiction and Venue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241

§ 8.03 Divorce Grounds and Defenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261

§ 8.04 Ethical Issues for the Family Lawyer . . . . . . . . . 284

§ 8.05 Alternative Dispute Resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297

Chapter 9: SPOUSAL AND CHILD SUPPORT ON DIVORCE

§ 9.01 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307

§ 9.02 Jurisdiction for Spousal and Child Support . . . . . . 309

§ 9.03 Spousal Support Factors and Judicial Discretion . . . 312

§ 9.04 Forms of Spousal Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315

§ 9.05 Modification of Spousal Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322

§ 9.06 Child Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331

§ 9.07 Federal Tax Consequences of Child and Spousal Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367

Chapter 10: EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF PROPERTY

§ 10.01 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 387

§ 10.02 Community Property Origins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 388

§ 10.03 Characterizing Property for the Purpose of Equitable Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389

§ 10.04 Characterizing Property as Marital or Separate: Change in Classification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 392

§ 10.05 Appreciation of Separate Property During Marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 396

§ 10.06 Gifts and Inheritances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400

§ 10.07 Personal Injuries and Workers’ Compensation . . . . 404

§ 10.08 Licenses, Degrees and Enhanced Earnings . . . . . . 406

§ 10.09 Professional Goodwill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413

§ 10.10 Pensions and Retirement Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . 422

§ 10.11 Valuation of Assets: General Principles . . . . . . . . 431

§ 10.12 Fair and Equitable Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . 432

Chapter 11: CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION

§ 11.01 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441

§ 11.02 Child Custody Jurisdiction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441

§ 11.03 Factors in Disputed Child Custody Cases . . . . . . . 460

§ 11.04 Joint Custody . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 480

§ 11.06 Modification of Child Custody . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 496

§ 11.09 Mediation of Child Custody Disputes . . . . . . . . . . 503

Table of Cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TC-1

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I-1