Abrams, Cahn, Ross, Meyer, and McClain's Contemporary Family Law, 4th
West Academic Publishing
American Casebook Series
In the fourth edition, all 17 chapters are fully updated to reflect the latest family law developments. Developments based on Obergefell v. Hodges are treated fully throughout the new edition.
This popular family law casebook engages students with the significant changes to the American family and the corresponding evolution of family law doctrine and policy. The book emphasizes that contemporary families take a variety of forms, including marital and nonmarital relationships, and that constitutional considerations play an increasingly important role in family law. The fourth edition preserves and builds on the approach of the earlier editions: presenting core substantive family law doctrine while also exploring ongoing and emerging policy debates and discussing the importance of cross-disciplinary collaborations with experts in fields such as psychology and accounting. The book introduces the myriad issues central to family law practice and to a lawyer’s ethical and professional responsibilities. New cases have been substituted where appropriate, and the notes following each lead case, statute or article have been thoroughly updated. In addition, new Problems expand the number of opportunities for actively engaging students.
Contemporary Family Law highlights the issues of professional and ethical responsibility that arise in family law, not only by using Problems that invite students to engage in role playing, but also by devoting separate chapters to legal ethics, alternative dispute resolution, and private ordering. While providing a grounding in the historical and contemporary regulation of marriage, the book also devotes chapters to nonmarital couples and to establishing parenthood. The book also emphasizes concrete aspects of legal practice and professional responsibility by, for example, including material at the end of the first chapter on shifting paradigms within family law practice and the roles of family lawyers, by addressing jurisdictional issues in one integrated chapter, and by presenting problems for discussion in each chapter that enable students to apply doctrine in real-life settings that lawyers face.
Moreover, because child custody arrangements lead to some of the most acrimonious family disputes, this casebook devotes two chapters to custody: the first treats the initial custody decision, and the second explores continuing litigation concerning visitation, custody, and key childrearing decisions after the initial disposition, including disputes involving third parties such as cohabitants and grandparents. Both custody chapters include disputes involving nonmarital children.
New and expanded material in the fourth edition includes full treatment of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the Supreme Court’s ruling on the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry and to have every state recognize their marriage, and its ramifications throughout family law. This edition has added a separate chapter on nonmarital couples, including a section on domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other legal statuses in the wake of Obergefell; extensive coverage of debt and family finances, reflecting the current economic climate, as well as new material on how taxes affect families; substantially updated discussion of the impact of gender in child custody decisions and the current legal status of shared parenting; an expanded Section on the Hague Convention; detailed discussion of new and emerging reproductive technologies; and major revisions to the chapter on child support (including recent data on the central role of child support in low-income families). The chapter on private ordering integrates the new Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act.
Finally, the comprehensive 700-page teachers manual presents explanations and pedagogical strategies, including extended exercises, that will help new adopters design a rich course that meets their students’ needs and aspirations. For professors who have already used the book, the manual provides support on how to integrate new material into their existing lectures. The co-authors will share their Power Point slides with professors who adopt the book.
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