Family Law

Detroit Mercy Law offers many courses in the areas of family law from juvenile justice to family court proceedings. Students who decide they wish to specialize in family law can also pursue a concentration.

Faculty

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    Professor Deborah Paruch

    Deborah Paruch, Professor of Law, focuses her scholarship on family law, children and the law, evidence and legal writing. Her recent research and writing has focused on the issues surrounding solitary confinement for minors.

Concentration

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    Concentration Requirements

    A concentration in Family Law allows interested students to develop expertise in family law while taking advantage of our strong offerings in this area. A student who successfully applies for and completes the family law concentration will receive a designation on the student’s official transcript. Students must complete a minimum of 14 credit hours with a 3.0 minimum GPA in the following courses. Students may not opt to take any of these courses Pass/No Pass.

     A minimum of six credit hours from the following courses: 

    • Family Law
    • Juvenile Justice Law
    • Children and the Law
    • Selected Topics in Family Law Seminar


    Three credit hours from one of the following Law Firm Program offerings:

    • Children and the Law Child Welfare Proceedings Law Firm Program
    • Family Law Law Firm Program
    • Juvenile Justice Law Firm Program


    Two credit hours selected from an approved externship or clinic including:

    • Family Court
    • Judicial Clerkships
    • Detroit Center for Family Advocacy William Booth (Salvation Army) Legal Aid Clinic
    • Juvenile Appellate Clinic


    Students are strongly encouraged to cross enroll in one of the following Psychology courses on the McNichols campus for a minimum of 3 credit hours:

    • PYC 5000 Social Psychology
    • PYC 5420 Principles and Issues: Child and Adolescent Development

     
    Students may apply for the Family Law Concentration by completing the application form, which is due in the Law School Registrar’s Office by the semester in which a student graduates.

Representative Courses

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    Family Law

    This course covers the state regulation of the relationships between spouses, parents and children, and unmarried cohabitants. It analyzes the law governing marriage and marital dissolution, separation agreements, distribution of marital property, spousal and child support, and the tax consequences of divorce. Special attention is given to child custody determinations and to the professional responsibility of lawyers in handling family disputes.

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    Juvenile Justice

    A study of the juvenile justice system, including roles of law enforcement, schools, courts and social agencies, with emphasis on the juvenile court law and procedure. It will consider the problems which arise in the application of constitutional safeguards to the existing system.

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    Children and the Law

    The course looks at the legal issues relating to children and how the various legal, political, social, and economic institutions shape childhood. Particular attention will be given to the interplay between the often-conflicting interests of children, parents, and the state.

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    Family Law Law Firm Program

    This course will give the students the opportunity to take a divorce from complaint to judgment and then work on post-judgment issues. Students will assume the role of an associate assisting the family law partner in a large law firm. Issues covered will include asset discovery and valuation, child custody and support, spousal support, parenting time issues, paternity and post-judgment issues.

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    Children and the Law Child Welfare Proceedings Law Firm Program

    This course will give the students the opportunity to take a divorce from complaint to judgment and then work on post-judgment issues. Students will assume the role of an associate assisting the family law partner in a large law firm. Issues covered will include asset discovery and valuation, child custody and support, spousal support, parenting time issues, paternity and post-judgment issues.

Clinic

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    Juvenile Law Appellate Clinic

    Students will be involved by representing children in appeals to the Michigan Court of Appeals from trial court proceedings in the Wayne County Juvenile Court. The appeals will almost exclusively involve child protective proceedings (abuse and neglect) but there may also be some exposure to juvenile delinquency proceedings and appeals of those cases.

Family Law Society

Family Law Society aims to bring awareness to the importance and impacts of family law proceedings being conducted in the correct manner. Through experienced speakers and events, Family Law Society aims to show dynamic approaches to family law proceedings and how approaches must be tailored situationally, with an emphasis on equity in settlements and “children come first” approach.

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