The Yale Law Journal

Forum Collection

The Contemporary Family

05 Nov 2021
Family Law

This Collection explores how the law treats the modern family. From divorced families to LGBTQ+ families to chosen families, these Essays suggest ways that the law should evolve to match emerging family structures. Two debating Essays illustrate the clash between religious beliefs about family and antidiscrimination law after the Supreme Court's decision in Fulton.


Chosen Family, Care, and the Workplace

Deborah A. Widiss

Although federal law offers, at best, unpaid time off work to care for family members with medical needs, recently enacted state laws guarantee paid leave. This Essay argues the laws are groundbreaking in their inclusion of nonmarital partners, extended family, and other chosen family, and it propos…


The Case for Creative Pluralism in Adoption and Foster Care

Alexander Dushku

Religious and secular beliefs about marriage and sexuality are often in tension. Partisans on both sides commonly insist that public policy entirely reflect their views, which leads to perpetual conflict. This Essay advocates for pluralistic solutions to such conflicts, using an example from the con…


Religious Exemptions and the Family

Louise Melling

This Essay highlights the threat claims for religious exemptions to antidiscrimination laws pose to the diverse family arrangements that now populate our society. It argues we should not abide efforts to thwart, undermine, and ultimately overturn advances in equality norms in the family based on rel…


Ridding the Family-Law Canon of the Relics of Coverture: The Due Process Right to Alternative Fee Arrangements in Divorce

Zachary Potter

The prohibition on contingency fee arrangements with divorce lawyers is a relic of the coverture regime. It cannot withstand Due Process scrutiny because the supposed governmental interests it purports to advance—burdening access to the divorce process for economically vulnerable persons—are not leg…