The Center for Legal Studies
Online Student Login
1 (800) 522-7737
Toll Free
Join us on Facebook!
Visit our Online Store
Online Format Syllabus
Family Law
About This Course

Family law pertains to the formation and dissolution of domestic relations, including the law of marriage, annulment, separation and dissolution, maintenance, and custody and support of children. This course will study the differences between community and separate property, the classification of property, and the impact of such classification. The role of the paralegal in family law practice and the importance of mediation of domestic issues will also be discussed.

About the Instructor: Sam Germana is General Counsel for a New Jersey Hospital. He has previously worked for a private law firm representing physicians and hospitals. His background includes serving as panel member for the New York State family law fee dispute arbitration program. He has taught online and in person for The Center for Legal Studies since 1997, and is an adjunct faculty member at the College of St. Elizabeth. He enjoys teaching, and looks forward to helping students in any way he can.


The course begins with an overview of divorce law and reviews important aspects to consider in property division, alimony, custody and support in a divorce. The course also describes post-divorce collection actions and necessary court actions after a divorce. Other aspects of family law are studied also, including common law marriage, prenuptial agreements, annulments, civil unions, adoptions, paternity and neglect actions. Students will learn common terminology in family law and some of the procedural concerns to consider in these areas of law.


You will be expected to spend an average of 8 hours per week reading and completing writing assignments. Please note that extensions will not be granted for this online course. 70% is the minimum passing score on all tests and assignments for this course. Students may consider working ahead in the curriculum if they have the time. Coursework in Family Law is equivalent to 45 clock hours of study.


Successful completion of Paralegal I and II, or equivalent experience.

Course Books

Required textbooks for this course:

Highly Recommended Legal Resources:

For more information, call The Center for Legal Studies at 800-522-7737, or visit our Online Store to order.

Reading Assignments for Lesson Topics:
Lesson One: How to Begin a Divorce & Service of Process Considerations
Read the Preface and Chapters 1, 2 & 3 in Family Law in a Nutshell (Nutshell)
Lesson Two: Agreements and Contested Hearings in a Divorce- Support & Property
Read Chapters 8, 14, 21, 22, & 23 in Nutshell
Lesson Three: Collecting Support and Contempt Actions & Transfer of Property
Read Chapters 15 & 16 in Nutshell
Lesson Four: Common Law Marriage/ Prenuptial Agreements/ Annulments
Read Chapters 4, 7 & 18 in Nutshell
Lesson Five: Civil Union Statutes/ Adoptions/ Torts in Marriage & Heart Balm
Read Chapters 6, 9 & 11 in Nutshell
Lesson Six: Paternity Actions/ Custody & Visitation/ Neglect Actions
Read Chapters 10, 12, & 17 and review Chapters 14, 15, & 16 in Nutshell


For each lesson you will submit a 50-point test covering the topics in that lesson’s reading consisting of a variety of short answer questions and possibly some true/false or multiple choice questions.

Bulletin Board Assignments:

You will also post your responses to six class participation assignments. These assignments are referred to as Bulletin Board Submissions and will be submitted by either selecting Bulletin Board Submission from within the lesson material, or by selecting ‘Forums’ under Activities on the Left Hand Block.

All lesson objectives, assignments, and tests can be found in the Lesson Materials.


Your grade will be based on your completion of six writing assignment assignments, two exams, and class participation/Bulletin Board Submissions. The exams and writing assignments can be accessed from within the lesson material, or by selecting ‘Assignments’ under Activities on the Left Hand Block. You will have the opportunity to engage in “class participation” by using the Bulletin Board tool to respond to the bulletin board assignments throughout the course. Also, participating in the bulletin board assignments will enhance your understanding of the reading material.

Your final grade will be figured as follows:

Withdrawal Policy

Students may drop the course with a full tuition refund less a non-refundable $15 administrative fee if written notice is sent to The Center for Legal Studies by email at by the Wednesday before class begins. Students may drop the course with a 50% tuition refund if written notice is sent to The Center for Legal Studies by email at anytime from the Thursday before the course begins until the first Thursday of class. After the first Thursday of class, no refunds will be issued.