Family Law and Practice: The Paralegal's Guide / Edition 1

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This comprehensive text covers Family Law topics that are strong, basic requirements for understanding the law.
  • It includes topics missing from other texts, such as History, Ethics, Alimony, Client Interviews, Pleadings, and Pendente Lite.
  • Sections on Office Procedures are a part of every chapter.
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Editorial Reviews

This textbook for paralegal students discusses the theory behind family law as well as its practice, with particular emphasis on the divorce process. A sampling of topics includes prenuptial agreements, same-sex marriage, alimony, child custody, restraining orders, visitation, child support, and state intervention in adoption. Representative legal documents filed by celebrities are included in the appendices. The volume does not contain bibliographical references. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780139011252
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Series: Essential Principles Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 537
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 10.28 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction to Family Law Practice 1
Ch. 2 The Roots and Traditions of American Family Law 7
Ch. 3 Ethics in Family Law 28
Ch. 4 Prenuptial Agreements, Cohabitation, and Same-Sex Marriage 60
Ch. 5 Alimony 83
Ch. 6 Property and Debt Distribution 113
Ch. 7 Child Custody, Visitation, and Rights of Third Parties 145
Ch. 8 Child Support 167
Ch. 9 The Client Interview 189
Ch. 10 Initial and Responsive Pleadings 224
Ch. 11 Pendente Lite Motions and Orders 255
Ch. 12 The Discovery Process in Family Law 289
Ch. 13 Separation Agreements 317
Ch. 14 The Divorce Trial 333
Ch. 15 Postjudgment Divorce Matters 363
Ch. 16 State Intervention in Family Matters 382
App. A Uniform Premarital Agreement Act 391
App. B Qualified Domestic Relations Order (Jim Carrey) 394
App. C State of Connecticut Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines 407
App. D Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (As Amended in 1952 and 1958) 427
App. E Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (1968) 434
App. F Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (1996) 444
App. G Restraining Order (Roseanne) 464
App. H Marital Settlement Agreement (Madonna and Sean Penn) 475
App. I Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (1997) 494
App. J Guides for Distance Learning and Legal Research 510
App. K Finding State Law 514
Glossary 517
Index 529
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This book evolved from the need to have an understandable, interesting, and relevant textbook from which to teach and a book that would prepare paralegal students to respond successfully to the numerous demands in a real-world family law practice.

The goal of this book is to thoroughly prepare students in the areas of family law that they are most likely to encounter in the real world. Therefore' "the major emphasis in this book is on the theoretical, procedural, and practical aspects of the divorce process with its attendant issues such as alimony, property distribution, child custody, and child support, as well as other matters arising after the divorce occurs, such as postjudgment modifications of orders for custody, child support, and alimony.

The book is logically ordered to guide the student through the various theories underlying family law and the procedures that translate these theories into practice. There is a balance between chapters on theory and chapters that focus on practice. For instance, Chapter 1, "Introduction to Family Law Practice," addresses the practical aspects of working as a paralegal in a family law practice. Chapter 2, "The Roots and Traditions of American Family Law," provides an historical backdrop for the emergence of the changing and evolving theory of family law, including the changing views on the nature of marriage, and the role of women and children in a family.

Chapter 3, "Ethics in Family Law," presents a mix of theory and practice in that it outlines the legal professional code of ethics and how it applies to a family law setting.- This chapter includes cases involving paralegals who violated various rules ofethics such as the divorce paralegal who slept with the client's husband and revealed confidential information regarding the case to him during the course of their affair.

Chapter 4 deals with the issues of prenuptial agreements, cohabitation and same-sex marriage. Chapters 5 through 8 provide a black letter law overview of the four major areas encountered in the practice of family law: alimony, property and debt distribution, child custody, and child support. Along with a recitation of the rules, these chapters provide the theoretical justification for each rule and also provide excerpts of interesting and entertaining cases that demonstrate how some courts apply the legal principles of family law to decide disputes over the myriad of issues these areas embrace.

Chapters 9 through 15 focus exclusively on practice and the paralegal's role in the process. These chapters contain examples of the type of documents prepared throughout the divorce process. These chapters also present model complaints, motions, orders, and agreements which the paralegal can modify to the requirements of his or her jurisdiction. Also included are selections of legal documents filed by celebrities, for example, Lucille Ball's divorce complaint against Desi Arnaz. The appendixes include Madonna and Sean Penn's separation agreement.

Finally, Chapter 16 addresses the issue of state intervention in family matters, such as child abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights, and adoption.

Although this book is national in scope, we have tried to provide cases, statutes, and forms from various jurisdictions. However, the need for students to become familiar with and knowledgeable about the law, procedure, and documents in their own jurisdiction is paramount. This need is addressed in the end-of-chapter exercises that require students to go out in the field—to their courthouses and law libraries—and acquire hands-on experience with their jurisdiction's statutes, cases, forms, and procedural rules.

It is our hope that this book will be a long-time companion to the paralegal student who finds employment in a family law practice.


We wish to thank the following people for their support and encouragement in making this book a reality:

Dana Meltzer and Elizabeth Sugg at Prentice Hall; our colleagues and students at Branford Hall Career Institute and Briarwood College; Dawn A. Chuley for her expertise on distance learning and Internet research; Heather Bell for preparing the transparencies and distance learning portion of this book and her expertise on Internet research; Connie Luppino for her photocopying; Margaretann Antonelli for her many errands and meals; Katharine Hunt for her expertise and assistance in preparing the final manuscript; our friends and families; and to the following paralegal students for their legal research: Diane Allen, Sherrian Benson, Kelly Butler, Christy Cash, Domenica Colavolpe, Laurie Coppola, Raymond Daley, Lori DiGiovanni, Connie Esposito, Mia Garmizo, Andrew Gister, Cheryl Granoff, Joann Gleason, Gail LaGreca, Deanna Lozowski, Susan McClintock, Linda McCue, Cynthia McQueen, Mary Notarangelo, Joann O'Leary, Melanie Rieder, Margaret Sabilla, Christine Van Vliet, and Elizabeth Young.

Our special thanks to paralegal Pamela Robicheau for her countless hours of legal research, editing, and preparation of the manuscript. This book could not have been completed without her hard work, expertise, and devotion to this project.

Special thanks to the American Bar Association, the National Association of Legal Associates, Inc., W. Kelsea Wilbur Eckert, and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws for their permission to reprint documents in this book.

Grace A. Luppino
Justine FitzGerald Miller

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2001

    An Invaluable Guide

    This book is wonderful guide for paralegal students, as well as anyone wanting to learn more about family law. In addition to giving the history of family law, it provides some insight as to how family law works in this country. The cases that are cited are not the dry dissertations that are found in most law books; they are more interesting and can read more like soap operas than legal cases. The celebrity cases are also sure to hold a student's interest.

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