Last Updated: Sept. 23, 2014. AJB
As defined by Black's Law Dictionary, family law is "the body of law dealing with marriage, divorce, child custody and support, child abuse and neglect, paternity, juvenile delinquency, and other domestic relations issues." Family law is created primarily at the state level and the law related to family issues varies between states. This guide will focus on family law in the state of Florida, while providing some general family law resources which have a broader applicability.
For those unfamiliar with the area of family law, a secondary source is a good way to get started. Consider consulting a preeminent treatise such as:
- Fundamental Principles of Family Law, by Lynn D. Wardle & Laurence C. Nolan, Treatise Collection KF505 .W374 2002, or
- Family Law and Practice, by Arnold H. Rutkin, & Myrna Felder, available in Lexis.
Or a preeminent Florida State treatise, such as:
- Florida Family Law, by Abrams, Florida Collection, KFF94.A6 .F23 1986 & Lexis.
- Florida Family Law Manual, by Gerald D. Schackow, Florida Collection, KFF94.S3 & Lexis.
- Florida Practice Series: Florida Family Law, Florida Collection, KFF94 .A519 & Westlaw.
Periodicals, Indexes, and Books are also a good place to start.
Family law is created almost exclusively at the state level, though some states have adopted Uniform or Model Laws. This guide will focus primarily on Family Law in the state of Florida, however, to compare family law between states consider consulting a compilation of state laws:
Most statutory law will be under Title XLIII, the Domestic Relations section of the Florida Statutory Code. This section is comprised of the following chapters:
- Chapter 741 - Marriage & Domestic Violence
- Chapter 742 - Determination of Parentage
- Chapter 743 - Disability of Nonage of Minors Removed
- Chapter 744 - Guardianship
- Chapter 747 - Conservatorship
- Chapter 751 - Temporary Custody of Minor Children by Extended Family
- Chapter 752 - Grandparental Visitation Rights
- Chapter 753 - Supervised Visitation
The State of Florida website provides a helpful guide that refers users to the proper agency depending on the specific area of health or family law. One major agency regulates domestic relations in the state of Florida, the Florida Department of Children and Families. Regulations issued by this agencies can be found in Florida Administrative Code, under Volume 11 Title 65. The Florida Department of Revenue is responsible for the regualtion of child support, and this agency's regulation can be found under Volume 3 Title 12E. Florida State Regulations are also available on Lexis, Westlaw, & Bloomberg Law. For more information on Florida Family Law Ask Us or contact the Florida Bar Association Family Law Section.
There are a number of ways to located cases regarding Family Law in Florida State. When searching in print, the index to the Southern Reporter is a good place to start.
The following reporters focus exclusively on family law cases:
- Family Law Reporter, Looseleaf Collection, KF501.A3 F3
- Florida Family Law Reporter, Florida Collection KFF94.A6 F231 & Lexis.
- Florida Family Law Case Summaries, Florida Collection KFF94.A7 O56 2012 & Lexis.
Users can also find family law cases through legal research databases:
- Westlaw - In the main search bar start typing "Florida Family Law" and choose the option "Florida Family Law: Cases" from the search suggestions.
- Lexis - Use either the Florida Family Law Reporter database or the Florida Family Law Case Summaries database listed above. Either click the links or start typing the name of the database in the search bar and select it from the search suggestions.
Bloomberg - Select Court Opinions under the Search & Browse tab. When arriving at the new next screen click the browse button next to Select Topic and scroll down to "Family Law."
Some additional sources geared specifically toward family law practice include:
- Adoption Law Handbook: Practice, Resources, and Forms for Family Law Professionals. Treatise Collection & Reserve Audio-Visual KF545.F35 2011
- Adoption, Paternity and Other Florida Family Practice (FLCLE). Annex, KFF94.A362 & Lexis.
- Bankruptcy and Domestic Relations Manual. Westlaw
- Child Custody Practice & Procedure. Westlaw
- Determining Child & Spousal Support. Westlaw
- Divorce Separation & Distribution of Property. Treatise Collection, KF524.Z95 O43 & Lexis.
- Drafting Marriage Contracts in Florida (FLCLE). Reserve Collection, KFF95.D73 2012 & Lexis.
- Family Law Trial Evidence Handbook: Rules and Procedures for Effective Advocacy, by Steve N. Peskind, (2013). Treatise Collection, KF505.P47 2013.
- Forms, Checklists, and Procedures for the Family Lawyer, by Mark A Chinn, (2010). Treatise Collection & Reserve Audivisual, KF533.5.C478 2010.
- How to Examine Mental Health Experts: A Family Lawyer's Handbook of Issues and Strategies, by John A. Zervolpoulos, (2013). Treatise Collection, KF8965.Z474 2013.
- Florida Dissolution of Marriage (FLCLE). Reserve Collection, KFF100.F56 2012Lexis
- Florida Guardianship Practice. Reserve Collection, KFF106.F46 2011 & Lexis.
- Florida Proceedings After Dissolution of Marriage (FLCLE). Florida Collection, KFF100.F6 2013 & Lexis.
Valuation of Divorce Assets. Westlaw
All the following publications are located in print in the Anglo-American Periodicals section of the Law Library.
- American Journal of Family Law, LegalTrac.
- Bifocal, Westlaw, LegalTrac & Online.
- Child Law Practice, Westlaw, HeinOnline, LegalTrac, & Online.
- Domestic Violence Report: Law Enforcement, Corections, Protection, Prevention, Health
- Family Advocate: A Practical Journal by the American Bar Association Family Law Section, HeinOnline & Online.
- Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly, Online.
- Family Court Review, Westlaw, Lexis, LegalTrac, & Online.
- Family Law Quarterly, Westlaw, Lexis, HeinOnline, LegalTrac, & Online.
- Journal of the Center for Families, Children & the Courts, Westlaw, Lexis, & Online.
- Journal of Law & Family Studies, Westlaw, Lexis, HeinOnline, LegalTrac, & Online.
- Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Westlaw, Lexis, HeinOnline, LegalTrac, & Online.
- The American Bar Association Section of Family Law.
- Florida Bar Association Family Law Section.
- For general information, FloridaLawHelp.org has a section discussing family law.
- The Florida Courts website contains a page of Family Law Forms and Rule Opinions.
- Women's Law provides a list of national organizations related to domestic violence, sexual assault, divorce, child support, and other resources.
Select Books From the UM Law Library
Below is a select list of Library of Congress subject headings that can be used to search in Baron, the UM Law Library Catalog:
Adoption - Law and Legislation, Aged - Legal Status, Laws, etc., Alimony, Antenuptial Contracts, Child Support, Custody of Children, Divorce, Divorce Settlement, Divorce Suits, Domestic Relations, Family Violence, Guardian and Ward, Marriage Law, Marriage Settlements, Matrimonial Actions, Prenuptial Agreements, Same-Sex Marriage, & Separation (Law)
· Study Aids
- Black Letter Law Outlines: Family Law, by Harry D. Krause & David D. Meyer, (2009). Treatise Collection, KF505.Z9 K68 2009
- Examples & Explanations: Family Law, 4th Ed., by Robert E. Oliphant & Nancy Ver Steegh, (2013). Reserve Collection, KF505.Z9 O43 2013.
- Family Law in a Nutshell, 5th Ed., by Harry D. Krause & David D. Meyer, (2007). Reserve Collection, KF505.Z9 K7 2007.
- Family Law in Perspective, 2nd. Ed., by Walter Wadlington & Raymond C. O'Brien, (2007). Treatise Collection, KF505.Z9 W33 2007.
- Mastering Family Law, by Janet L. Richards, (2009). Reserve Collection, KF505.Z9 R53 2009
- Understanding Family Law, by John D.W. Gregory & Robin F. Wilson, (2013). Treatise Collection, KF505.G734 2013
- 101+ Practical Solutions for the Family Lawyer: Sensible Answers to Common Problems, 3rd. Ed., by Gregg Herman, (2009). Treatise Collection & Reserve Audiovisual, KF505.A2 A15 2009.
- Becoming a Tech Savvy Family Lawyer, by Melissa A. Kichinski & Daniel J. Berlin, (2013). Treatise Collection, KF320.A9 K83 2013.
- Client Letters for the Family Lawyer: Saving Time, Managing Relationships, and Practicing Preventative Law, by Mark E. Sullivan, (2013). Treatise Collection & Reserve Collection CD-ROM, KF320.L48 S85 2013.
- Contemporary Family Law, by Douglas E. Abrams, (2012). Treatise Collection, KF505.C65 2012.
- Family Law, by Katherine K. Baker & Katherine B Silbaugh, (2009). Course Reserve, KF505.B35 2009.
- Family, Law, and Community: Supporting the Covenant, by Margaret F. Brinig, (2010). Treatise Collection, KF505.Z9 B755 2010
- How to Build and Manage a Family Law Practice, by Mark A. Chinn, (2006). Treatise Collection & Reserve Audiovisual, KF300.C455 2006.
- Inside the Castle: Law and the Family in 20th Century America, by Joanna L. Grossman & Lawrence M. Friedman, (2011). Treatise Collection, KF505.G765 2011
- International Family Law Deskbook, by Ann L. Estin, (2012). Int'l Collection, K670.E845 2012
· Marriage & Divorce
- Attacking and Defending Marital Agreements, by Brett R. Turner & Laura W. Morgan, (2012). Treatise Collection, KF529.M67 2012.
- Complete Guide to Divorce Practice:Forms and Procedures for the Lawyer, Larry Rice & Nick Rice, (2012). Treatise Collection & Reserve Collection, KF533.5.R53 2012.
- Military Divorce Handbook: A Practical Guide to Representing Military Personnel and Their Families, by Mark E. Sullivan, (2011). Treatise Collection & Reserve Audiovisual, KF535.S85 2011.
- Pre-Marital Agreements: Drafting & Negotiation, by Linda J. Ravdin, (2011). Treatise Collection & Reserve Audiovisual, KF529.R38 2011.
· Domestic Violence
- Representing the Domestic Violence Survivor: Critical Legal Issues, Effective Safety Strategies, by Barry Goldstein & Elizabeth Liu, (2013). Treatise Collection, KF9322.G648 2013.
- Troubled Marriage: Domestic Violence and the Legal System, by Leigh Goodmark, (2012). Treatise Collection, KF9322.G65 2012
- Victim Advocacy in the Courtroom: Persuasive Practices in Domestic Violence and Child Protection Cases, by Mary L. Schuster & Amy D. Propen, (2011). Treatise Collection, KF505.S328 2011.
- New Kinship: Constructing Donor-Conceived Families, by Naomi Cahn, (2013). Int'l Collection, K3611.A77 C34 2013.
- Therapeutic Justice and Addicted Parents: A Family Therapeutic Court Evaluation, by Heidee McMillin, (2012). Treatise Collection, KF505.5 M36 2012.
- According to our Hearts: Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family, by Angela Onwachi-Willig, (2013). Treatise Collection, KF228.R47 O59 2013.
- Courthouse Democracy and Minority Rights: Same-Sex Marriage in the States, by Robert J. Hume, (2013). Treatise Collection, KF539.H86 2013.
- From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage, by Michele Klarman, (2013). Treatise Collection: KF539.K58 2013.
· Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Art of Family Mediation: Theory and Practice, by Jennifer Fairfax, (2011). Treatise Collection, KF505.5.M33 2010.
- Settlement Negotiation Techniques in Family Law: A Guide to Improved Tactics and Resolution, by Gregg Herman, (2013). Treatise Collection, KF535.H47 2013
Florida Specific Books
- Adoption, Paternity, and other Florida Family Practice, 9th Ed., Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education, (2013). KFF94.A362 2013
- Divorce in Florida, 5th Ed. Florida Bar's FasTrain Series, (2007). Florida Collection & Reserve Collection, KFF100.F782 2007
- Drafting Marriage Contracts in Florida, 10th Ed., Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education, (2012). Florida Collection & Reserve Audiovisual Collection, KFF95.D73 2012
- Florida Dissolution of Marriage, 11th Ed., Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education, (2012). Florida Collection & Reserve Collection, KFF100.F56 2012.
- Florida Guardianship Law & Procedure, 2nd Ed., by David C. Brennan, (2003). Florida Collection, KFF106.B74 2003
- Florida Guardianship Practice, 7th Ed., Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education, (2011). KFF106.F46 2011
- Florida Proceedings After Dissolution of Marriage, 11th Ed., Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education (2013). Florida Collection, KFF100.F6 2013