Columns

Introduction: On Bridging the Divide Between Family Law and Family Life

Jessica Dixon Weaver

The featured articles in this issue were developed from a collection of papers presented at the Family and Juvenile Law joint program during the 2018 Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting. The Sections on Children and the Law and Aging and the Law co-sponsored this program, which was entitled “Keeping Up with the Changing Face of the American Family.” The concept derived from the observance of significant changes over the last sixty-five years in the composition and structure of families in the United States. From the decline of marriage and fertility to the increase in blended families, interracial relationships, and single parenthood, the face of the family is visibly different. The legalization of same-sex marriage, the rise in the number of working women and fathers who share in household and childcare responsibilities, and the growing number of aging family members who need daily care have impacted how families function. In some ways, federal and state family laws precipitated these changes and opened the door for the new trends, but in other ways, the law has been mired in tradition, making it more difficult for the modern family to operate.

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