The course is intended to provide an introduction to the legal regulation of the family in Canadian and provincial law. It provides an introduction to key issues, fundamental legal principles and statutory schemes regarding the regulation of the family and is intended to provide a foundation for specialized seminars or research projects in family law. The course focuses on three contexts: the creation of the family unit, the regulation of the ongoing family, and the resolution of issues that arise upon family breakdown. Topics to be examined include: marriage, parentage, family violence, divorce, property, support, domestic contracts and care of children.
In addition to providing a core grounding in the relevant legislation and case law, the course is taught from a critical and policy-oriented perspective. Throughout the course, we will examine the assumptions of gender, class, race, ability and sexual orientation on which family law is based and consider the implications of these assumptions. The course considers the social, political and economic contexts within which legislative policies and judicial approaches to family arrangements, rights and responsibilities can be understood and assessed. The course pays particular attention to law reform and policy choices in the legal regulation of the family in Ontario and Canada.