Comparative Family Law (SD 469)


Love, Marriage and the Regulation of Intimate Relationships- The modern family structure is in the process of undergoing dramatic change. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that "demographic changes . . . make it difficult to speak of an average American family." This statement applies with even greater force to family arrangements in Europe, where many countries recognize a greater variety of family structures. Dramatic changes in the legal definition of "family" have been fueled primarily by three factors: demographic developments involving marriage, cohabitation and parenting; the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement that has effectively challenged laws limiting the right to marry and parent on human rights and constitutional grounds; and the development of assisted reproductive technologies that have expanded the ability of individuals and couples to become parents. The legal responses to these developments vary. This course compares different jurisdictional approaches to the regulation of intimate relationships and family formation. In addition to studying constitutional principles, the course explores how religious rules and cultural practices influence legal marriage requirements, including polygamy and incest restrictions. It also examines the choice of law and conflicts of law issues that arise when couples seek to form and dissolve legal relationships that are not universally recognized.


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