This capstone course is designed to expose students serious about a career in family law to the ways in which family law concepts are implemented practically and procedurally. Accordingly, while the course will touch on traditional family law topics such as premarital agreements, custody, property divisions, parentage, and other topics, it will do so in the contexts that attorneys are likely to encounter these topics in practice. To accomplish this objective, the course will focus on interviewing potential clients, retaining and using experts, incorporating financial planners and therapists in family dispute resolution, conducting a mediation, drafting documents such as cohabitation agreements or prenuptial agreements, divorce petitions, settlement decrees, and parenting plans, as well as experience with motion, trial, and appellate practice. The assignments in the course will be designed both to prepare students for practice and to capture the way that family law practice is changing to deal with the realities of modern families.
This course will be a mixture of readings, lectures, discussions, and simulated drafting projects and exercises drawn from Professor’s Debele’s family law practice and his experience with the emerging issues in contemporary family law practice. These exercises will allow in depth exploration of issues either not included in the basic family law class or not covered in any depth or through practical experiences. The expectation is that this unique course will provide an experience for the student different from what they would experience in the family law survey class or even in a family law clinic.
Working with actors who will take on the roles of our clients, we will be developing a client fact pattern at the beginning of the course and following this couple and their family from the start of the semester to the end of the semester as they deal with a whole variety of family law issues both within and outside of marriage. Factual circumstances will be constantly adjusted as the semester goes along so as to give the students the broadest possible exposure to complex issues and client situations.