The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

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Family Law - see related classes

WHAT THIS AREA IS ABOUT.  Almost 70% of the civil cases in Texas district courts involve family law.  Of course, many of these cases are very routine in nature, such as uncontested divorces with no children and very limited property.  On the other hand, family law cases can be very complicated, such as those involving alleged abuse or neglect of children, custody of children, or the disposition on divorce of significant marital property — which can include every aspect of economic life.  While doubtless less than 70% of total court time is spent on family law cases, those cases consume a very large portion of court energy.  Further, except arguably for criminal law, in human terms the psychological and emotional issues impacted by litigation involving the family are greater than those found in any other legal subject.  Thus, it is not surprising that in 1984 the bar examiners added family law to the bar exam, replacing the more limited subject of "community property."

COURSE OFFERINGS.  The family law courses do not constitute a sequence, but rather a variety of somewhat related courses.  None of the courses are prerequisites for one another.

On occasion, a visiting or adjunct professor will offer a generic course entitled "Family Law." This is standard at many schools but is only incidentally presented here.  A determination was made many years ago that "family law" is too diverse and too complex to be dealt with in a single course.  Rather, family law is broken down into separate courses that concentrate on specific aspects of the generic subject.  Three courses are regularly offered.  Children and the Law deals with the relationship created by law for children in an ongoing family, when the state intervenes in that setting, and issues when the parents never or no longer constitute a family unit.  Domestic Violence and the Law examines the wide range of legal responses to domestic violence, including protection via the civil docket, criminal, and tort law.  And Texas Marital Relations and Divorce focuses on the process of dissolving a marriage in Texas and its consequences on the spouses and children of the marriage.  On a less predictable basis, writing seminars are offered involving family law.

In addition to the courses described above, there are a number of clinics and internships related to family law.  Students in the Children's Rights Clinic serve as attorneys ad litem for children in suits by the state for custody or to terminate parental rights because of alleged abuse or neglect.  Students in the Domestic Violence Clinic represent victims of domestic violence with a range of legal problems including custody, divorce, and protective orders.  The Nonprofit/Government Internship Program and the South Texas Internship Program also place students in offices that represent clients in family law matters, including the Women's Advocacy Project, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Texas Civil Rights Project, and others.

 
Unique # Title Instructor
  29465 Children's Rights Sampson, J
  29555 Children's Rights: Skills Strauch, L
  29550 Children's Rights: Skills Duke, L
  29480 Domestic Violence Lungwitz, J
  29575 Domestic Violence: Skills Lungwitz, J
  28880 Family Law Williams, S