The 100-Year Life and the New Family Law

16 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2021

See all articles by Elizabeth S. Scott

Elizabeth S. Scott

Columbia University - Law School

Naomi Cahn

University of Virginia School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 26, 2021


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.

Keywords: Family Law, 100-year life, changing families

Suggested Citation

Scott, Elizabeth S. and Cahn, Naomi R., The 100-Year Life and the New Family Law (January 26, 2021). Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2021-08, Available at SSRN:

Elizabeth S. Scott

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
(212) 854-9758 (Phone)
(212) 854-7946 (Fax)

Naomi R. Cahn (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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