Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2021

Disciplines

Family Law | Family, Life Course, and Society | Law | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

Abstract

This draft book chapter, prepared as part of a symposium on The 100-Year Life by Linda Gratton and Andrew Scott, reflects on the future of family law in an era of longer lives. Our analysis leads us to conclude that the 100-year life is indeed likely to have an impact on the nature, scope, and definition of family law, but that families will continue to function as the primary setting for intimacy and for caregiving and caretaking, whatever form those families take. Further, the importance to both individual and social welfare of family support throughout life points to a need for reform of current family law doctrine. The impact of longer life on doctrines regulating the relationship of parents and minor children is likely to be modest, but doctrinal and policy reforms will be needed to support individuals in following their preferences for intimacy and security in old age – as will reforms to the minimal role of the state in promoting security for individuals in different family forms and of differing socioeconomic status. We suggest general goals for law reform and offer specific proposals.

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