This course emphasizes the Texas marital property regime and the economic consequences of divorce--rather than the policy considerations underlying the present system. Although marriage and the grounds and procedures for divorce are briefly analyzed, the primary focus is on the characterization and disposition of property, including special attention to certain commonly held assets that cause significant problems in litigation, e.g., business interests and retirement benefits. The social and economic effects on children of the marriage when parents divorce are also dealt with through the initial decision by the court; modification of custody and enforcement of support are not covered.
Grading is based on a special project that will be completed before final exams begin. The project involves negotiating a divorce decree and property settlement agreement between a typical, upper-middle class couple (with children and modestly substantial property). Students may choose to negotiate one-on-one, one-on-two, or two-on-two. Those not wishing to engage in the negotiation process submit documents comprising an offer of settlement that either party would accept. Questions related to the legal issues integral to the fact situations are answered in individual essays.