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HDFS 403 - Families in the Legal Environment

  • 3 credits
The intersection of individuals, children, families and the legal system, including the balance between the right to privacy and government intervention, and social disparities in the legal system. Topics include: establishing the legal parent relationship, adoption, the rights of children and parents, marriage, divorce, dependency and neglect, family violence, disability and estate planning, juvenile delinquency, legalities of gender, and landlord/tenant and housing policy.


Course Learning Objectives:

  • Be familiar with the legal system and parameters within which the family and its individual members operate.
  • Recognize elementary legal issues in family law and other subjects covered.
  • Understand legal constraints governing the establishment and dissolution of the family unit and the legal relationship between parents and children.
  • Recognize certain situations in which it is appropriate to seek legal advice.
  • Be aware of alternatives to litigation alternative dispute resolution processes in the family law context.


Completion of 60 credits

Important Information

All prerequisites must be completed or consent from the instructor given prior to enrollment.

If you register for this course after the start of the term, please contact the instructor at the time of registration. By contacting the instructor, you ensure you are added to the CANVAS section as soon as possible and have access to the course and details about the class requirements.

Sudents are required to observe a courtroom proceeding. More details will be provided in the class.


Suzanna Paisley

Suzanna Paisley has her Masters in Science in Child Life through Bank Street College of Education and has been a Ceritified Child Life Specialist since 2009. She has worked as a child life specialist at Children's Hospital Colorado from 2010 to the present and has taught the Child Life and Theory course at CSU since 2020. Trauma support and processing has been a focus throughout her career and has published on processing medical truama through play. Suzanna has also worked as a private practice specialist in schools supporting staff, families and students with trauma and grief.