Reviewing June Carbone & Naomi Cahn, Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family (Oxford University Press 2014), and Clare Huntington, Failure to Flourish: How Law Undermines Family Relationships (Oxford University Press 2014).
This essay reviews both books, describing their core arguments and innovative re- form proposals. Having surveyed their work, I agree with Carbone, Cahn, and Hunting- ton that the most urgent and politically-tenable reforms to family law involve enhancing investments for structural supports benefitting children. Both books shore up the instrumental and normative cases for such investment, and they also show how a renewed focus on children can help tamp down the culture wars and construct reforms with broad- based appeal. Parts II and III summarize Marriage Markets and Failure to Flourish, respectively. In Part IV, I use childcare law and policy as a frame through which to explore one of the most significant commonalities between the books—the argument that as part of its family law reform project, the state must look forward by investing in systematic supports to benefit children and support parents in childrearing.
Meredith J. Harbach, Forward-Looking Family Law, 51 Tulsa L. Rev. 419 (2015) (book review).