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Family Law in a Changing America, Second Edition

  • Douglas NeJaime
  • R. Richard Banks
  • Joanna L. Grossman 
  • Suzanne A. Kim
Series / Aspen Casebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

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Family Law in a Changing America highlights law and family patterns as they are now, not as they were decades ago. By focusing on key changes in family life, the casebook attends to rising equality and inequality within and among families.

The law, formally at least, accords more equality and autonomy than ever before; yet, as our society has grown more economically unequal, so too have family patterns diverged, with marriage and marital child-rearing becoming a mark of privilege. A number of developments--mass incarceration, the privatization of care, and reproductive technologies--have also contributed to disparities based on race, class, and gender. The casebook reflects the law's continuing emphasis on marriage, but also treats nonmarital families as central. Rather than privilege the marital heterosexual family, the casebook organizes the presentation of the law around (1) adult relationships and (2) parent-child relationships.

New to the Second Edition:
  • Updated coverage on reproductive justice and abortion access
  • Expanded and updated and coverage of the Indian Child Welfare Act
  • Updated coverage on the child welfare system and a focus on debates over abolition

Professors and students will benefit from:
  • Text that includes dramatic changes in family patterns, including declining marriage rates, with differential rates based on race and class; increasing rates of nonmarital cohabitation and nonmarital parenting; tensions between women's increasing education and employment and the perseverance of the gendered division of labor in families
  • An approach that decenters the marital heterosexual family and instead is structured around the general topics of adult relationships and parent-child relationships
  • Focus on the scope of family law, including extensive coverage of crucial sites of family regulation that are traditionally given short shrift
  • Emphasis on multiple modes of legal interpretation (common law, constitutional, statutory) and multiple actors in the legal system (judges, legislators, lawyers, experts, social workers)
  • Practical problems and exercises that illuminate the gaps, tensions, and implications of existing doctrine; some of the problems include postscripts explaining how the issue was resolved by a court or legislature
  • An approach that draws on more recent cases and cutting-edge issues and that includes extensive coverage of the rights of unmarried partners, reproductive justice, assisted reproduction; parentage (including intentional parenthood, functional parenthood, and multi-parent arrangements), adoption (including open adoption, transracial adoption, and the Indian Child Welfare Act), the child welfare system, and family support
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Second Edition
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Family Law
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