Courses in Family Law & Children's Rights

Below is a sampling of courses offered on Family Law & Children’s Rights.

Clinic: Children’s Advocacy

LAW 617

Students will assist in the completion of cases filed in Orange County Family Law and Probate Courts involving such matters as guardianship, adoption, limited conservatorship, paternity, dissolution of marriage, and custody and support. Students will also participate in the court-based Guardianship Clinic. Students must be certified by the State Bar of California. Enrollment is limited to 5 students in the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. Prerequisite: Externship/Clinic: Learning from Practice (LAW 601), or will take it concurrently; Evidence (LAW 406), or will take it concurrently; and Civil Procedure (LAW 101).

Clinic: Family Violence

LAW 618

Students will provide domestic violence victims and their children assistance in completing restraining orders and other family law actions related to their cases in the local courts. Students may also participate in a monthly legal clinic at a nearby domestic violence shelter. Student enrollment is limited. Prerequisite: Externship/Clinic: Learning from Practice (LAW 601), or will take it concurrently.

Clinic: Special Education

LAW 619

Students will provide direct representation to minor children seeking special education services from initial Individual Education Plan ("IEP") meetings through administrative mediation sessions. You must have taken, or will take Lawyering Skills with this course. Prerequisite: Externship/Clinic: Learning from Practice (LAW 601), or will take it concurrently.

Comparative Domestic Violence Law

LAW 414

This course will examine the cultural, social, economic and political constructs toward a comparative exploration of jurisprudential, social, community and therapeutic responses to violence within domestic relationships in various countries. The course will provide students with an overview of existing and evolving norms that inform definitions of, causes of, and responses to family violence. While the course will emphasize similarities and differences between the legal recognition and framing of family violence in various jurisdictions, course study will also draw from various disciplines, including sociology, women studies, psychiatry, psychology, anthropology and social work, which influence and forecast the trajectory of domestic violence jurisprudence in both countries. Course work will also focus on how culture, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age and race inform the availability and efficacy of interventions for domestic violence victims in various jurisdictions.

Comparative Family Law

LAW 915

This course will survey and compare issues in family law in various countries. Laws governing the formation of the family, traditional and alternative family structures, gender role expectations, same sex unions, marital laws and the division of property at the termination of the marriage may be covered.

Contemporary Problems in Family Law Seminar

LAW 359

Various topics, including the relationship among parents, children and the state, with emphasis on the procreation decision and certain child rearing decisions (e.g. medical decisions) will be covered. The course will also consider how the state defines the parent-child relationship, including the law governing unwed fathers, third parties like stepparents and grandparents, same-sex parents, and assisted reproduction (surrogacy, etc.).

Externship/Clinic: Learning from Practice

LAW 601

An introduction to the theoretical structures involved in interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and trial skills. Students are given the opportunity to perform simulations of lawyering tasks and discuss their externship or Clinic experiences. Prerequisite: This course must be taken with a student’s initial externship (LAW 609 or 609J) or initial Clinic experience (LAW 617, 618, or 619). *Prior to Summer 2014, this course was titled Lawyering Skills.

Family Law

LAW 523

A discussion of law relating to family relations, including marriage, divorce, child and spousal support, custody, cohabitation, and other non-traditional structures.

Family Law Practicum: California Child Custody

LAW 587

This experiential course will cover legal issues commonly encountered by family law practitioners. Specifically the course will take a child custody case from inception to completion in California and will address a variety of issues attorneys may encounter along the way such as Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) issues, modifications, move-away cases, mediation, minor’s Counsel, and §730 Evidence Code evaluations. *Prior to Summer 2014, this course was titled Child Custody: Law & Practice.

Immigration, Citizenship, and the Family

LAW 722

This course offers a comparative analysis of how family relationships, and how they are legally defined, provide the central avenues for citizenship and immigration benefits in the United States and in the European Union. Specific topics of study include birthright citizenship, family reunification immigration provisions, and intersections of family law with immigration.

International Adoption Law

LAW 526

An examination of the modern legal issues pertaining to international adoption law. Topics include an overview of events and laws leading up to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention), an overview of the Hague Adoption Convention and related legislation, a survey of the effect of the Hague Convention on adoption laws in foreign countries and the U.S., and an evaluation of the effectiveness of post-Hague Convention intercountry adoption laws and procedures.

International Children’s Rights

LAW 387

This course will explore the difficult and complex would of international children’s rights. Topics covered may include past and present legislation, child labor, children in the sex industry, children living on their own, children and punishment, children in armed conflict, and enforcement of children’s rights.

Journal of Child & Family Advocacy

LAW 558

Legal research, writing, and editing involved in the production for publication of analytical and scholarly commentary on the law. Enrollment is limited to candidates and members of the Whittier Law School Journal of Child & Family Advocacy.

Juvenile Justice

LAW 533

Juvenile Justice examines the evolution of courts that specialize in disputes involving child welfare, juvenile delinquency, and children’s constitutional rights in school and mental health commitments. The course provides an introduction to the legal ethics inherent in representing the government, parents, and children in those proceedings. The survey of law provides an historical, comparative state/federal/ and California analysis of cases and statutory laws and uses movie clips and class simulations to enable students to apply those legal principles to resolve discrete sets of facts affecting children’s legal rights.

Juvenile Law Advocacy

LAW 386

The course provides an examination through simulation of alternative dispute resolution processes such as mandatory mediation and negotiation. Additionally, the use of practical strategies for interviewing child witness, medical, and psychological witnesses may be discussed.

Juvenile Trial Advocacy

LAW 613

Juvenile Trial Advocacy surveys and analyzes the specialized lawyering skills and evidentiary rules necessary to provide children and adolescents zealous and competent representation in juvenile cases involving delinquency, child dependency, status offenses, and mental health proceedings. Students will have the opportunity to learn and apply the full range of trial skills (direct, cross examination, closing arguments, and motion practice) in the unique procedural world of juvenile law.

Law of Domestic Relations: Adult Relationships

LAW 422

This course will address the regulation of domestic relationships between adults with particular focus on marital and non-marital unions, same-sex partnerships, and non-intimate relationships. Subject areas covered may include the state's interest in marriage; marriage alternatives; recognition and non-recognition of cohabitation; socioeconomics and demographics of cohabiting couples; economic aspects of marriage dissolution, and the related aspects of property and financial disputes between unmarried couples; the various regulatory mechanisms that affect unmarried partners during the relationship; and a survey and comparison of the treatment of non-marital unions in various nations.

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Parenting Legal Issues

LAW 968

This survey course will focus on the legal issues surrounding gay and lesbian parenting, contrasting the approach of various nations with the prevailing approaches in the United States. The course will address the legal issues faced by the LGBT community with particular emphasis on children of LGBT couples.

Reproductive Technology Seminar

LAW 356

This course will explore the medical and ethical world and of assisted reproductive technologies. The course begins with a discussion of human reproduction and concepts of personhood, including government intervention in reproductive making. The main focus of the course will be charting the developments of reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization, postmortem reproduction, and human cloning. These technologies give rise to a host of issues, including selective reduction of a multiple pregnancy, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, cryopreservation of human eggs and embryos, and the sale of human gametes. In addition, recent developments in the field of human embryonic stem cell research will be discussed. The course will provide a multidisciplinary framework for understanding these intriguing technologies.

Special Education Law

LAW 519

An examination of legal issues relating to the provision of educational resources and related services to children with disabilities. Statutory, regulatory, and judicial principles applicable to the following areas are examined: who is protected under IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act); what constitutes discrimination in identification and evaluation for special education eligibility; what constitutes appropriate placement; what are the legal requirements for integration of children with disabilities into the regular classroom; which related services, such as health services, must be provided to children with disabilities in the education context; and what due process procedures are mandated under the IDEA section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to protect children with disabilities in the educational setting.