This title is a part of our CasebookPlus™ offering as ISBN 9781685613181. Learn more at

The Ninth Edition of this popular and manageably sized casebook retains the general structure of the prior edition, with its emphasis on practical skills, comparative material, and diverse geographic coverage. This edition features transformative updates in the field, such as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org., the 2017 Uniform Parentage Act, systemic critiques of the child welfare system, the Uniform Cohabitants’ Economic Remedies Act, and the regulation of assisted reproductive technologies.

The goal of this edition is to meet the needs of students preparing for the evolving practice of family law. Problems reflect current, diverse, and pluralistic family formation grounded squarely in supporting students acquiring “bread and butter” lawyering skills. The text invites students to consider the various skills now needed by a family law attorney, the emotional landscape facing many clients, the differing roles lawyers can play, the cultural competencies needed for practice, and the diverse skills needed to practice family law. These revisions support the trajectory shift toward professional-identity-formation in legal education and NextGen Bar.

Imprint: West Academic Publishing
Series: American Casebook Series
Publication Date: 07/20/2023

Linda D. Elrod, Washburn University School of Law

J. Thomas Oldham, University of Houston Law Center

Jamie R. Abrams, American University Washington College of Law


This title is available in our CasebookPlus format. CasebookPlus provides support beyond your classroom lectures and materials by offering additional digital resources to you and your students. Anchored by faculty-authored formative self-assessments keyed to our most popular casebooks, CasebookPlus allows students to test their understanding of core concepts as they are learning them in class – on their own, outside of the classroom, with no extra work on your part. CasebookPlus combines three important elements:

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With CasebookPlus, you can customize your students’ learning experience and monitor their performance. The quiz editor allows you to create your own custom quiz set, suppress specific quiz questions or quiz sets, and time-release quiz questions. Additionally, the flexible, customized reporting capability helps you evaluate your students’ understanding of the material and can also help your school demonstrate compliance with the new ABA Assessment and Learning Outcomes standards.

Some of the more substantial additions include:

  • Chapter 1 has updated information on the composition of families, impact of COVID-19 on families and poverty, and a new section on the skills underlying the successful practice of family law.
  • Chapter 2 includes more emphasis on the trajectory of the right to privacy and on domestic violence as well as some discussion of the impact of Dobbs on other privacy precedents.
  • Chapter 3 restores Loving v. Virginia as well as a recent case on capacity to enter into marriage due to palliative care drugs, requirements for common law marriage for same-sex couples, and a new case on the putative spouse doctrine.
  • Chapter 6 includes a discussion of the new uniform law proposed by the Uniform Law Commission regarding the rights of cohabitants.
  • Chapter 7 is fully devoted to reproductive decision-making. It covers the widespread implications of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org., including a sampling of the now evolving and differing frameworks for regulating abortion under state statutes and constitutions. It includes new content on birthing decision-making and modernizes prior content on Assisted Reproductive Technologies, particularly after Dobbs.
  • Chapter 8 is comprehensively updated to introduce students to modern parentage law in a unified and holistic way, reflecting the range of pluralistic family formation. The content is framed around the organizational structure of the 2017 Uniform Parentage Act while retaining the historical development of parentage law.
  • Chapter 9 on adoption includes updated information on consents to adoption, who can adopt, racial matching, and the future of the Indian Child Welfare Act after the pending U.S. Supreme Court decision.
  • Chapter 10 reflects deepened statutory interpretation analysis materials as states navigate the competing claims of parental rights, children’s rights, including transgender youth, and the state’s power to protect children. The chapter also includes extensive coverage on the critique of the child “welfare” system.
  • Chapter 11 governing the lawyering of modern family law matters focuses on modernizing the practice problems concretely with an eye toward the NextGen Bar in which tasks will be grounded in applied skills.
  • Chapter 13 adds a discussion of the recent U.S. Supreme Court case clarifying how to determine a child’s habitual residence under the Hague Abduction Convention.
  • Chapter 14 illustrates the trend toward recognizing the importance of child participation and representation in family law matters. It includes new cases on the primary caretaker child custody factor, three parent custody, and parental relocation. It also reflects modern research on joint physical custody and parental alienation.
  • Chapter 15 is restructured explicitly around the lawyering steps in property distribution, framed to model for students the progression from identifying property to valuing property to classifying property to dividing and distributing property.
  • Chapter 17 is organized around the who, what, when, where, and why of child support lawyering. It introduces many new cases, updates the federal approach to low income obligors, includes a new note on military families, and deeper attention to race, class, and gender.
  • Chapter 19 includes new changes relating to the taxation of alimony and child support under federal tax law.

Learn more about this series.