Comparative Family Law
Faculty: Prof. Deirdre Bowen, Seattle University School of Law
Schedule: Monday to Friday, 9:10 to 10:20 a.m.; 10-minute break; 10:30 to 11:40 a.m.; 10-minute break; 11:50 to 1:00 p.m. Except for Mondays beginning at 11 a.m. until 3:10 p.m. No class on Friday July 14.
This course will explore and critically examine the intersection of law, family and society. Using various principles of jurisprudence, sociological theory, and empirical research, as well as guest speakers and site visits to places like the Juzgados de Violencia sobre la Mujer (Courts of Violence against Women) to compare and contrast European Union and U.S. models, with a special focus on Spain's progressive approach, as well as models from other countries, of family formation and family dissolution. In addition, this course will examine how race, gender and class mediate relational power in whose family life is defined, regulated, and protected under the law versus whose family is created outside the shadow of the law. Topics included marriage, divorce, parent's and children's rights, "third party" rights, domestic violence, adoption, and reproductive technology.
Given both the compressed nature of the course and its comparative and policy approach, there is no way that all topics covered in a traditional family law course can be explored here. The readings and discussions will include looking at case law, conventions, statutes, and law review articles, and empirical research. The goal is to use this material to understand how to critically examine our own laws as well as others and situate them within a cultural context. In doing so, we can develop more informed policy.