The Historical Background of Family Law
When people think of historical landmark cases, they are quick to think of Brown v. Board of Education or Marbury v. Madison. Although, racial matters and judicial review are not the only important cases that have paved the way for our modern-day court systems. Family law has also conducted a turning point in our court systems and social life. It’s important to know how family laws came to be so we can understand how a court makes a decision between cases such as custody and divorce.
Family law dates back as early as the era of Feudalism, which flourished between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. During Anglo-Saxon times, marriage and divorce were private matters. Divorce was usually shamed upon as it resembled dishonor and the breaking of a promise. Women also faced the burden of being known as a husband’s “property” for years on end. It wasn’t until the nineteenth century when social views of marriage and divorce were changing.
A Step Up
The United States was able to successfully enact married women’s property rights. These acts defined that women were entitled to owning and claiming personal property, whether or not they were married. This was a major step up from the traditional views on marriage, but it still wasn’t enough for most.
Modern-Day Turning Point
It wasn’t really until the 1970s that divorce and marriage cases were handled a lot more smoothly. People had become too liberal for courts to go against. It was a time defined by freedom and self-expression. Divorce didn’t have to require legislative action as opposed to colonial times. It has now become the simple act of filing and authorizing forms and paperwork, for both marriage and divorce and cases.
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