Street Law: A Course in Practical Law

Chapter 30: Law and the American Family

Chapter Overviews

Law from Birth to Death  From birth until death, the law creates rules and boundaries that affect the way children, teenagers, adults, and families are able to live their lives. Many daily activities and events are so common that it is easy to forget that there are actually laws regulating almost every action. For example, parents must provide the basic necessities for their children; children of a certain age are required to go to school; and teenagers can take a driver's test and vote in public elections when they reach a certain age. The laws that govern many important aspects of a person's family life can vary from state to state.

What Is a Family?  Defining what constitutes a family can be difficult. The size and appearance of the American family is constantly changing due to various economic, social, and political factors. For example, many children are raised in families that do not have two parents. The law and the courts are adapting to meet the changing needs of today's society and family.

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