Family Law

Course Information & Policies

(Updated July 30, 2007)

Course Syllabus

Sample Examinations

(Updated July 30, 2007)

Professor Barbara Glesner Fines
University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law




Law 8751 Family Law meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30-3:45 in Room 02 from Monday, August 20st to Wednesday, November 28th.




The Family Law course explores the relationship of the law and the family. The primary goals of the course are:

1. Understand the vocabulary, concepts, and rules of the main areas of law designated "domestic relations" (marriage, divorce, custody, support) and the relationship between the concepts in this field and similar concepts in other fields of law.

2. Recognize basic principles of the role of the attorney as counselor, practice the skills necessary to that role, and perceive the impact of this understanding on delivery of legal services to clients in all fields of law.

3. Conceive the role of government in regulating private behavior, the effectiveness and limits of law in creating cultural understandings.



Attendance: Attendance is required, consistent with the law school's uniform attendance policy. Attendance requires preparation. Occasional inability to complete the assignments is understandable and excusable if I am notified before class; regular patterns of lack of preparedness will require excuse and make‑up work and may be the basis for a reduction in final course grade.


Method of Grading and Appraisal of Student for Grade: Grade will be based on a final examination. I reserve the right to raise or lower grades to reflect class participation and preparation.




The study of family law provides a unique opportunity to examine the interplay of societal change and the law. This course involves the study of controversial social, religious, racial, gender, political, and economic issues. Many students class will have had personal experiences of the topics explored in this class. For all of us, but especially for those of use who have immediate experience with these profoundly personal issues, it is difficult to distance ourselves from our own experiences to achieve some objectivity in evaluating opinions and ideas that run contrary to our own understanding. Nonetheless, we will do so.


        We will maintain a respectful, even formal if necessary, tone in our classroom discussions.


        We will listen carefully and respectfully to the ideas our colleagues offer. We will not hold side-bar conversations, interrupt, or surf the internet for weekend entertainment plans.


        We will examine ideas not attack people.


        We will not personalize our disagreements or dissents and will try not to take personally the disagreements and dissents of others.


        We will contribute our ideas and questions to support and further the learning of the entire class.

Some students may find certain material very difficult emotionally. You are welcome to integrate personal experiences into class discussions where you believe it would enhance the learning of the class as a whole and you are, of course, always welcome to communicate with me, in person, by phone or via email, regarding your views and questions on family law.



   Return to Professor Glesner's Home Page