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Fall 2013
5383 Family Law - OLDHAM- 17558

Professor(s): Thomas Oldham (FACULTY)

Credits: 3

Course Areas: Family Law 

Time: 2:30p-4:00p  TTh  Location: 240 BLB 

Course Outline: This course generally deals with legal issues relating to parents and children. This includes subjects such as parental rights, medical treatment choices for children, standards for what constitutes child abuse, paternity, adoption, child custody, child support, spousal support, divorce, the lawyer’s role in solving family problems, assisted reproduction, alternate dispute resolution, de facto relationships, and marital agreements.


At the University of Houston Law Center we teach two primary courses in the family law area.

One is called "Marital Property Rights." It deals with the property rights of people in an intimate relationship. It covers both Texas homestead law and Texas community property law. This course is currently scheduled for the spring semester.

The course we call "Family Law" primarily deals with issues relating to children. So, this course considers in some detail who has parental rights and what those parental rights are, both in an intact relationship and after it dissolves. It also deals with establishing parental rights in connection with assisted reproduction and adoption.

The course also gives an overview of the legal aspects of divorce. Issues relating to jurisdiction receive significant attention, as well as issues relating to custody of any children and economic issues such as spousal support and child support. Practical aspects of the lawyer-client relationship are considered; some attention is given to how it might be different for a lawyer to deal with a family law client, as opposed to some other types of clients. The importance of mediation in Texas family law is discussed.

Different types of intimate relationships are compared, and the different legal ramifications are considered. For example, the differences in the rules applicable to dating couples, cohabiting couples and married couples are compared. The regulation of gay couples in Texas and other states and countries is also addressed. The course also considers the extent to which these rules can be changed by contract. The procedures for getting married in Texas and elsewhere are discussed.

Post-breakup problems are considered, such as problems relating to visitation or custody, enforcement of support or visitation, and modification of custody or support.

The Texas Bar Exam includes "family law," which means that issues relating to community property, homestead and children can be on the exam. So, our courses in "family law" and "marital property rights" should be helpful in preparing for the Bar Exam. 


Course Notes:   


First Day Assignments: First Week Assignments:
Class #1 -- T-21-31; 37-42; 46-72; P-1-2
Class #2 -- T-73-126; P-2.1-2.6

Final Exam Schedule: 12/19 2-5pm  240 BLB  209 BLB  

This course will have:

Satisfies Skills Course Requirement: No
Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: No

Experiential Course Type:

Bar Course: