to the Street Law Cases and Resources pages. Using the buttons
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chapters of other units. All links within these pages are just a mouse
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From Birth To Death
Start learning about family law by reading about some of the general
topics of this field. What types of family law have affected
text of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Will you visit Wills
FAQ to learn more about wills? If you do, this page will
help you answer some of those questions on page 358 of the text.
Is a Family?
Read this definition of a family. Read a case
where the definition of a family determines the outcome. Do you agree
with this definition? How would you define a family
out the latest statistics on families at the U.S. Census Bureau's Households
and Families page. Hint: click on "Report"
for the best information. Based on these statistics, what are the typical
types of living arrangements?
Marriage is a recognized legal relationship. Read an overview of marriage
and some of the landmark cases involving marriage.
you wanting to get married? Read about marriage licenses, blood tests,
and ceremonies at the Procedures
and Ceremonies page.
are the marriage requirements in
Aspects of Marriage
What? You're too young to get married? You can still learn about marriage
requirements at the American Bar Association Division for Public Education, to be prepared for the future. What
are the advantages of having these requirements? Which requirements do
you agree/disagree with?
There is a debate surrounding the current laws that only allow a marriage between a man and a woman. The Defense of Marriage Act is meant to prevent federal recognition of marriage between same-sex people. However, several states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing same-sex couples to marry. Recently the Department of Justice released this statement on litigation involving the Defense of Marriage Act. What does the Attorney General say regarding the Department of Justice’s position on defending DOMA? What do you think this means for the future of same-sex marriages in the U.S.?
can be annulled
for several reasons. Marriages can be annulled if the marriage occurred
just to allow one
spouse to become a U.S. resident.
who marries more than one person, while still married to one or more other
people, is a polygamist. If you try to marry somebody and you are already
married, it is as if the later marriages never happened. Read the facts
Read Loving v. Virginia either in long
form, or short
form. You can also listen to the oral
Is someone calling you "my husband" or "my wife"? Read this FAQ at FindLaw to learn about common-law marriages.
not be fooled into thinking common-law
marriage can happen very easily. Common-law marriages have
strict legal definitions that must be met before two people are considered
married. Read the different state
statutes. Do we still need common-law marriages?
Should married couples only worry about basic, minimum responsibilities?
Visit laweasy.com and scroll down to Financial Tips to read 'Newlywed Financial Planning Tips" and learn about financial concerns such as insurance, investing, and retirement.
Who owns what? Read about property
rights. What concerns do married couples have about property
Read more about marital
money matters including property, community property, debt,
taxes, and credit.
Explore questions and answers about debts and taxes during marriage.
in a Marriage
Learn more about prenuptial agreements at Nolo. Do you think it's a good idea to use
such an agreement? What emotional issues are involved in writing a prenuptial
some couples, making
the decision of changing names or keeping pre-marital names
is a very meaningful step. What are the laws in your state
about name changes?
the definition of privileged
communications. Why do you think it is so important to apply
this concept to marriage?
almost all states, you cannot disinherit
a spouse in your will. Why do you think the law would force
someone to leave something to a spouse? Read the North
Carolina laws that deal with spousal inheritance.
Read this article on domestic
violence to understand more about the meaning of spousal
abuse and how to prevent it.
kind of behavior is considered domestic
violence? What actions do you consider to be domestic violence
and what kinds of situations do you consider normal conflicts?
Take action against spouse abuse. Read this section from the Chicago
Bar Association about what to do if you or someone you know
is being abused by a spouse.
Read the factsheet on the Violence Against Women Act. Some people
are arguing for a
new Violence Against Women Act. Do you think we need
new legislation? How would you draft the Violence Against Women Act?
Visit the National Organization for Women's
violence against women page for legislative updates, statistics,
and more. Pick an issue and write out the arguments on both sides.
Read the Intimate
Partner Violence statistics for the latest trends on homicides
against men and women in marriages and other relationships.
What do unmarried couples need to think about when they decide to live
together and share property?
people argue that almost all unmarried couples should have a cohabitation
Do you agree?
Visit this site for an overview
of California "palimony" law and more information
on Marvin v. Marvin (text page 377). What do you think of palimony?
In what situations is it necessary/not necessary?
After reading this section, read through some legal issues that affect unmarried couples. What do you think are some important things to think about before unmarried couples live together?
suits are meant to force the father of a child to fulfill
his legal obligations to financially support that child. Read an explanation
of a father's legal rights and responsibilities.
the short form of the Family
Support Act of 1988 (text page 378).
Learn about DNA
paternity tests (text page 378). In what situations would
fathers need to take paternity tests?
Read about the history of the law on same-sex
marriages. Now read the position of Senator Rick Santorum, who opposes the idea of same-sex marriage. What arguments are used to support his position? (Focus on the Family) and one in support of it (Lambda Legal).
Read a summary and the text of the Defense of Marriage Act. This legislation is meant to prevent the legalization of marriage between same-sex couples. What are the strongest arguments for this bill? What are strongest arguments against this bill?
essay of a woman who discusses same-sex partners and the
debate over same-sex marriages.
Between Parents and Children
National Parenting Center can tell you everything you
could possibly want to know about what it takes to raise children. Which
parental duties are legal obligations and which are just the actions of
Find out what's
happening to American families. What problems do families
face in caring for their children? How have families changed over time?
What are the emancipation laws in your
state? Why might a minor choose
to be emancipated?
states require that children or relatives care for an elderly parent.
Even if you are not required legally to care for an elder, you may be
interested in knowing the signs
of someone in need and the options available.
information about educating individuals with disabilities take a look
at available information from the Department
of Education web site. Here you will find the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act along with recent amendments and
news articles related to the act.
Do you want your living room to be your classroom and your parents to
be your teachers? Read about home
schooling (text page 385). What are the advantages/disadvantages
of home schooling?
Do you have a behavior problem? If so, have your parents read Discipline:
A Parent's Guide (text page 386). Your parents may
also be held accountable
for your behavior or criminal problems. Do you think this is fair?
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Read a general
overview of the IDEA and talk about what it means.
Read the Family
and Medical Leave Act or a fact
sheet about the act (text page 388). What are the goals of
this act? Do you think the act will achieve or has achieved its purpose?
Abuse and Neglect
Preventing and ending child abuse starts with understanding the definitions of child
maltreatment. Read the effects
of abuse of children who are maltreated.
the latest information from the National
Committee to Prevent Child Abuse to supplement the chart
on page 390 of the text. For more statistics and a general description
of the problem of child abuse and neglect, visit the Children's
Bureau Page. What are the various types of child abuse? What
do you think the long-term effects of child abuse are on a child?
Find out the symptoms of child
sexual abuse by following this link.
to Report Suspected Abuse page has telephone numbers listed
by state for reporting abuse.
abuse is clearly illegal. If specific people (like a teacher or a doctor)
knows a child is being abused and do
not report it, that may be illegal as well. Know the resources
available in your area to help abused children.
who use drugs in the home may be convicted of child abuse. Read an extensive
government report on parent
substance abuse and child maltreatment. Pregnant
women who use drugs may also be guilty of child neglect.
Do you think this is fair?
33 Foster Care and Adoption
Read about foster
care and adoption statistics. How old is the average child
in foster care? What are the typical goals of placing children in foster
care? How long do children stay in foster care? What is the average age
and gender of a child adopted through a public adoption agency?
You Want to Be a Foster Parent? The National Foster
Parents Association has some things to tell you about what being a foster
parent involves. What are the difficulties that foster families face?
Do families that adopt children face similar challenges? Be sure to read
the list of foster
parent responsibilities. Which responsibilities apply to
is a legal process, making a non-biological adult the legal parent of
another child or adult. Read some of the state laws regarding adoption. What does the law for your state say?
about adoption. What are the trends? Compare these to the foster care
statistics. Read more facts
about adoption and foster care.
controversy over keeping adoption records open or closed, between protecting
the anonymity of the birth mother or giving information to the adopted
child, is still being fought. Some states will allow the records to be
opened after a certain age. Read this
discussion and form your own opinion.
surrogacy allowed in your state? Check out the Legal
Overview of Surrogacy Laws by State to find out. What
do you think the surrogacy laws should be?
What are the biggest
problems that families deal with? What are the reasons people choose divorce? Read some ways that families can try to work through their problems.
is marriage counseling? Who are marriage therapists? Why would someone
need a marriage therapist? Answer these questions using the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Web site.
How does an annulment differ from a divorce? When are married people considered
separated? Read about the
legal effects of divorce.
Click on the different states to see how they differ in their grounds for divorce. This page will help you answer the questions
on page 402 in your text. What do you think states should require for
couples to get divorced?
What are the divorce laws in your state? Visit the Legal Information Institute and click on one of the summary tables to compare various divorce laws in different states.
more about covenant
marriages. Now read about mandatory
waiting periods before divorce can be filed. What do you
think of these laws?
What are the different types of custody and custody agreements and custody arrangements? Which arrangements do you think are best for
is the process
of determining custody and visitation? What factors do courts
take into account when deciding who gets custody of children? Are there
any factors that you would add to the equation?
battles during marital problems or divorce can result in parental
abduction of children. It may seem strange that parents can
kidnap their own children, but one parent cannot take a child away from
another parent, especially when it violates a court order. Read more about
the efforts made to recover
Property Division, and Child Support
Learn more about alimony.
What are the alimony laws in your state?
is property divided at divorce? Read about property
and debt division. What do you think is the most fair way
to divide property at divorce?
Who is responsible for financially supporting children? Read Who
Must Pay? Who do you think should be responsible for
supporting children? Read about the child support guidelines and applications
How is child support established
and calculated? Is this a fair system?
How can we ensure that parents pay child support? Read Enforcement
of Child Support Orders. Can you think of any additional
ways to force parents to pay child support?
extensive statistics on poverty, visit the U.S. Census Bureau's poverty
page and be sure to read the "Highlights" for the
latest year. Who are the American poor?
Economic Benefits for
Individuals and Families
Learn more about social
security and how this program benefits you. Read the list
of some frequently
asked questions to enhance your understanding. Now look at
site for information directed at adolescents.
you heard in current news that there is an effort to "save
social security"? What are the problems this system
is facing? How do some people want to fix
Social Security to get a basic understanding of the issue.
and figures about Social Security. How do you think we should
ensure the future of the Social Security system? You can borrow some ideas
Proposals for Social Security. Don't forget to go to the
ultimate authority and find out what the Social Security Administration
has to say about the
future of Social Security. How can people prepare in case
there is no Social Security when they become senior citizens?
Read a summary of The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation
Act of 1996 (PRWORA). Do you agree or disagree with this legislation?
Learn about TANF work requirements and read a recent
history of welfare reform. What were the various competing
policies in the welfare reform debate? How does TANF differ from AFDC?
You can read a comparison
of prior law and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity
Reconciliation Act of 1996 to help answer this
Learn about how PRWORA affected food stamps and nutritional programs. Why are there separate programs
for food needs?
Read about Electronic Benefits Transfer. What are the
advantages or disadvantages of this system?
Read about the earned
income tax credit and earnings supplements. What are the
various ways the government can ensure that low-income earners have the
money they need?
can be very confusing. There are tax programs that allow families to reduce
the amount of money they must pay to the government if they have dependent
children. Read about tax
credits for families with children.
government has numerous housing assistance programs for people who cannot
afford their own housing. Visit the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development and read about
some of these assistance plans. Read statistics
about the housing situation in the U.S.
the Internal Revenue Service's publication on mortgage
The fact that so many Americans do
not have health insurance is a problem that many politicians
and organizations are trying to solve. Medical care is a huge
industry in the U.S. Read about the issues
faced by health care reformers.
the official U.S. government site for Medicare information and read What
is Medicare? Who is eligible for Medicare and how can people
Check out the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service's overview
of the Medicaid program. What are states responsible for
and what is the federal government's role? How does your state set up
its Medicaid program? Read Medicaid:
State by State Descriptions & Plans. Do you agree with
your state's system? Why or why not?
In every state, there is a time period where young people must attend
school. What are the compulsory
education laws in your state? The federal, state and local
governments put great amounts of money into education. Look at a chart
that shows spending over the last 80 years.
Student Aid, a loan program for college or university students
in the U.S.
the Department of Education's overview
of programs and services. How does the Department of Education
try to improve education in America?
UNIT 1 |UNIT 2
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Last Modified: February 28, 2001