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Family Law

Historical Background, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Other Areas, Court Procedures, Cross-referencesConclusion

Statutes, court decisions, and provisions of the federal and state constitutions that relate to family relationships, rights, duties, and finances.

The law relating to family disputes and obligations has grown dramatically since the 1970s, as legislators and judges have reexamined and redefined legal relationships surrounding DIVORCE, CHILD CUSTODY, and CHILD SUPPORT. Family law has become entwined with national debates over the structure of the family, gender bias, and morality. Despite many changes made by state and federal legislators, family law remains a contentious area of U.S. law, generating strong emotions from those who have had to enter the legal process.


Family law has become a major component of the U.S. legal system. Attorneys seeking ADMISSION TO THE BAR are being tested on family law subjects, and law schools provide more courses in this field. Many of the social and cultural issues U.S. society debates will ultimately be played out in its family courts.


Gregory, John De Witt et al. 2001. Understanding Family Law. 2d ed. Newark, N.J.: LexisNexis.

Jasper, Margaret C. 2001 Marriage and Divorce. 2d ed. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana.

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