Throughout western history, family law has primarily emphasized marriage and property ownership. Indeed, in some cultures and times, the two were almost synonymous as women were seen as assets to enrich the household of their husbands. Many of the legal considerations involved the transfer of titles and a study of genealogies and nobility to ensure that a family name continued to own land.
During World War II and the coincident fight for women’s right in America, women took on a greater role in providing for their families and working outside the home while many of their husbands went to war. This, along with the rising pressure to allow women to vote and to own property meant that family relations and property ownership became more complicated. As women became independent, questions of who owned assets in a marriage began to arise. In addition, as women’s voices became more pronounced through the suffrage movement, women began to demand more equal treatment in questions of divorce, inheritance, and child custody.
One of the complicating factors in the United States is that there has always been a tension between the federal government’s oversight and the more detailed involvement of individual states. In regards to family law, states have each made their own legal code. In other words, some laws relating to families differ from state to state.
One of the significant fallout from this fractured treatment of the family is that particular states have been able to pass laws relating to the family that subsequently put pressure on the rest of the country to follow suit. Two examples are the implementation of “no-fault divorce” laws in Texas in 1969 and recent gay marriage legalization in states such as Maine and Maryland. Both of those precedents took on a national application.
You can see that family law has become a broad-sweeping branch that many people will encounter during their lives. Other areas affected by how the law interacts with families are taxes, insurance, end of life issues, and even education. If you are looking for a family lawyer in San Diego, you should visit this website.