Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Professor Reynolds sets forth a challenge to conflicts professors: to teach international family law in their conflict of laws classes. At present, many conflicts professors avoid teaching international family law, in part because the study of this subject is complicated by several statutes addressing particularly difficult issues. Ignoring international family law is unwise, because many United States citizens and lawyers are likely to confront such problems.

Moreover, this Article suggests several additional reasons for including international family law in the general conflicts course. First, litigants entangled in divorce and custody proceedings with international complications face high financial and emotional costs; knowing how to assist a client embroiled in such a matter is therefore important. Second, the topic of international family law provides considerable material beyond the reach of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution; as such, this topic regularly raises questions regarding the enforcement of judgments from foreign countries. Third, the topic raises innumerable cross-cultural questions that require students to examine United States policy. Fourth, this cross-cultural nature of international family law exposes students to other cultures and to writings of non-conflicts scholars. This interdisciplinary perspective on conflicts "solutions" raises fundamental questions about the scholarship on conflict of laws. Finally, international family law provides interesting material for reviewing an array of conflicts issues. Thus, Professor Reynolds invites conflicts professors to tap the vast unmined vein of international family law to improve their conflicts courses.