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PLG 320: Family Law

Course Description

This course will focus on a survey of basic family law proceedings and the nuances of the family court system. Topics include: the legal rights and duties of married couples, the laws governing divorce and maintenance, the equitable distribution of marital property, the principles guiding child custody, support and visitation, the rights of unmarried parents, the need of paternity testing, the role of surrogate parents, no-fault divorce, and the status of civil unions. (3 credits)

Prerequisites

  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Apply the foundations of current family law and the ethical considerations of the family law paralegal.
  2. Describe the judicial process of a family court case and define associated legal terms and concepts.
  3. Write all necessary documents to initiate a divorce action and modify a family court judgment.
  4. Analyze the best interest of the child standard and articulate how the standard influences child custody cases.
  5. Analyze the financial consequences of divorce, including property distribution and alimony.

  6. Identify the rationale for the courts’ use of the child support guidelines and describe the child support award process.
  7. Describe the paralegal’s role in preparing for and presenting a family court case.
  8. Assess effective methods to enforce and modify family court judgments and child support orders.
  9. Identify factors that contribute to child abuse and neglect and describe state interventions to protect children.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

AssignmentsWeight

Discussions (Weeks 1-8)

30%

Short Papers (Weeks 2 & 7)

15%

Complaint (Week 4)

10%

Decree (Week 5)

10%

Motion to Modify (Week 6)

10%

Final Exam (Week 8)

25%

Total

100%

Required Textbooks

(Available through https://bookstore.mbsdirect.net/vbm/vb_home.php?FVCUSNO=35478)

  • Miller, Justine and Grace Luppino. Family Law and Practice. 4th ed. Prentice Hall, 2015. ISBN-10: 0133495183 or ISBN-13: 9780133495188

Course Schedule

WeekSLOsReadings and ExercisesAssignments

1

1,2

Topic: Introduction to Family Law

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 1: Introduction to Family Law and Practice
    • Chapter 2: Marriage and Marriage Alternatives
    • Chapter 4: Divorce, Legal Separation & Annulment
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Begin short paper due in Week 2

2

2,5

Topic: Financial Consequences of Divorce

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 3: Premarital and Postmarital Agreements
    • Chapter 5: Alimony, Spousal Support and Maintenance
    • Chapter 6: Property and Debt Distribution
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Submit Short Paper

3

2,4,6

Topic: Child Custody and Child Support

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 7: Child Custody, Visitation and Rights of Third Parties
    • Chapter 8: Child Support
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Start the Complaint

4

2,3,7

Topic: The Divorce Case: Initial and  Responsive Pleadings

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 14: The Client Interview
    • Chapter 15: Initial Pleadings: Starting the Process
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Submit the Complaint

5

2,3,5,7

Topic: The Divorce Case: Discovery through Judgment

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 16: Pendente Lite Relief
    • Chapter 17: The Discovery Process in Family Law
    • Chapter 19: Alternative Dispute Resolution and the Divorce Trial
    • Chapter 18: Separation Agreements
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Submit the Decree

6

7,8

Topic: The Divorce Case: Post-Judgment Proceedings

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 20: Post-Judgment Divorce Matters
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Submit the Motion to Modify

7

4,9

Topic: State Interventions into the Family: Issues Related to Child Abuse and Neglect

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 10: Family Violence and State Intervention
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Submit the Short Paper

8

 

1,7

Topic: Practical Ethical Considerations for the Family Law paralegal

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 13: Ethics in Family Law
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete the Final Exam
  • Complete the Course Evaluation

Final Exam

SLOs 1-9

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.