Carol S. Bruch

Profile picture for Carol Bruch

Position Title
Distinguished Professor Emerita and Research Professor


Carol Bruch's scholarship, expertise, and activism in the field of family law and marital property have shaped state, federal, and international law. Milestones in Bruch's career include her stint during October Term 1972 as the fourth woman in history to clerk at the United States Supreme Court (for the late Wm. O. Douglas), a 1976 friend-of-the-court brief that became the basis for California's nonmarital cohabitation law in the Marvin vs. Marvin case, service on a 1989 U.S. delegation to draft Inter-American treaties, 20 years on the U.S. Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Private International Law (1989 to 2008), and five years as chair of UC Davis' interdisciplinary doctoral program in human development (1995-2001).

Bruch has drafted or influenced legislation in several states affecting child support standards and marital property, child custody and visitation rights. She is also known for her work on international child abduction by family members. In 1990, she received the inaugural UC Davis Academic Senate’s Distinguished Public Service Award, in recognition of these extensive pro bono contributions, and in 2000, the law faculty of the University of Basel (Switzerland) conferred an honorary doctoral degree (Dr. h.c.) on Professor Bruch for her scholarship and activism on behalf of children.

Bruch has taught at Berkeley, Columbia and Basel, and has been an academic visitor at Canberra, Munich, Cologne, London, Cambridge, and Jerusalem. A life member of the American Law Institute, since her 2001 retirement, Bruch has remained active, both here and abroad, publishing scholarly works in her traditional areas of expertise and taking part in law reform. In recent years, she has extended her law reform efforts to reducing the financial and human dangers that California’s frequent earthquakes pose. In 2001, she received the title Research Professor of Law, and in 2005, she was named Distinguished Professor Emerita.

"I have raised two children, first during my marriage and then as a single parent," Bruch said. "I see the working of the law through the eyes of someone who has had a different role from that of attorney and law professor. I feel I have a responsibility to people who otherwise might be voiceless in the legal or legislative arenas."

Education and Degree(s)
  • A.B. Liberal Arts, Shimer College, 1960
  • J.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1972
Research Interests & Expertise
  • Family Law
  • Private International Law


Carol S. Bruch, Symposium in Memory of Professor Floyd F. Feeney: Introduction, 53 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1739 (2020).

Carol S. Bruch & Edward J. Imwinkelried, Remembering Floyd Feeney, 53 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1743 (2020).

Eight Letters Submitted to the United States Department of State and the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law about a Draft Guide for Article 13(1)b) and Related Draft Documents that were circulated for comment prior to the October 2017 meeting of the Seventh Special Commission on the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention at The Hague

Carol S. Bruch, Child Custody Law Needs a Course Correction -- Thoughts from California, in Zwischenbilanz  -- Festschrift fűr Dagmar Coester-Waltjen 953 (Katharina Hilbig Lugani, Dominique Jakob, Gerald Mäsch, Philippe M. Reuß & Christoph Schmid eds., 2015) ( expanded online version ); id. ( original print version ).

Protecting Children Who Are Abducted by a Parent , Symposium, Summer 2012, at 7.

The Promise and Perils of a Protocol to the 1980 Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, in 1 Festschrift Ingeborg Schwenzer 237 (Andrea Büchler and Markus Müller-Chen eds., 2011)

The Hague’s Online Child Abduction Materials: A Trap for the Unwary, , 44 Fam. L. Q. 65 (2010) (with M. Durkin)

Brief of Eleven Law Professors as Amici Curiae in Support of Respondent, Abbott v. Abbott, , 130 S. Ct. 1982 (2010) (No. 08-645)

The Use of Unpublished Opinions on Relocation Law by California Courts of Appeal: Hiding the Evidence?,, in Liber Memorialis Petar Šarčević: Universalism, Tradition and the Individual 225 (Vesna Tomljenovic, Johan A. Erauw and Paul Volken eds., 2006)

"Sound Research or Wishful Thinking in Child Custody Cases? Lessons from Relocation Law", 40 Fam. L. Q. 281 (2006)

The Unmet Needs of Domestic Violence Victims and Their Children in Hague Child Abduction Convention Cases, 38 Family Law Quarterly 529 (2004); revised and expanded from the same title in Les Enlèvements d’Enfants à Travers les frontières (Hugues Fulchiron ed. 2004); abridged in GPSolo Sept. 2005, at 14 (Issue: Best Articles Published by the ABA); reprinted at Domestic Violence 475 (Michael Freeman ed., Ashgate Publishing 2008) (The Family, Law and Society Series)

Brief of Amici Curiae Herma Hill Kay et al., Marriage of LaMusga, California Supreme Court, (No. 107355) (2003)

-Appendix A

-Appendix B

-Appendix C

-Appendix D

Erwiderung auf Dr. Richard Gardner (Reply to Richard Gardner), 50 FamRZ 348 (2003)

Parental Alienation Syndrome and Alienated Children -- getting it wrong in child custody cases, 14 Child & Fam. L.Q. 381 (2002) (expanded to include English authorities at pp. 390-92)

Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Getting It Wrong in Child Custody Cases, 35 Fam. L.Q. 527 (Fall 2001)

Letter brief to the California Supreme Court in Marriage of LaMusga, (2002)

Parental Alienation Syndrome und Parental Alienation: Wie man sich in Sorgerechtsfällen irren kann, 49 FamRZ 2002, 1304 (2002)

“Parental Alienation Syndrome: Junk Science in Child Custody Determinations,”, 3 European Journal of Law Reform 383 (2001); "Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Getting it Wrong in Child Custody Cases," 35 Family Law Quarterly 527 (2001); reprinted as "Parental Alienation Syndrome und Parental Alienation: Wie man sich in Sorgerechtsfällen irren kann," 49 Zeitschrift für das gesamte Familienrecht 1304 (2002); excerpted as “Parental Alienation Syndrome and Alienated Children: Getting It Wrong in Child Custody Cases," 37 Arkansas Lawyer 19 (Fall 2002); full text, expanded to include English authorities and published as “Parental Alienation Syndrome and Alienated Children: Getting It Wrong in Child Custody Cases,” 14 Child and Family Law Quarterly 381 (2002)

"Public Policy and The Relocation of Custodial Households in the United States", in Direito da Família e Politítica Social 163 (C. Sottomayor & M.J. Tomé eds., Universidade Católica 2001)

Religious Law, Secular Practices, and Children's Human Rights in Child Abduction Cases Under the Hague Child Abduction Convention, 33 N.Y.U. Journal of International Law and Policy 49 (2000)

Temporary or Contingent Changes in Location Under the Hague Child Abduction Convention, in Gedächtnisschrift Alexander Lüderitz 43 (H. Schack ed., C.H. Beck 2000)

Homer Angelo: A Remarkable Friend, 32 U.C. Davis Law Review 7 (1998) (in memoriam)

The Hague Child Abduction Convention: Past Accomplishments, Future Challenges, in The Globalization of Child Law 33 (S. Dietrick & P. Vlaardingerbroek eds., Kluwer 1999); printed with minor revisions at "The Hague Child Abduction Convention: Past Accomplishments, Future Challenges," 1 European Journal of Law Reform 97 (1998/1999); excerpted as “Das Haager Kindesentführungs-übereinkommen: Erreichte Fortschritte, künftige Herausforderungen,” 1 Deutsches und Europäisches FamilienRecht 40 (1998)

Providing Justice for Family Law Litigants, The Family Justice System 46 (L. Salgo ed. 1997) (Collegium Budapest Workshop Series No.3)

The Relocation of Children and Custodial Parents: Public Policy, Past and Present, 30 Family Law Quarterly 245 (1996) (with J. Bowermaster); excerpted at Best of ABA Sections 8 (1997)

Family Support Across Frontiers - New Ideas From the Americas, in Families Across Frontiers, 733 (N. Lowe & G. Douglas eds., Martinus Nijhoff (Kluwer) 1996)

Les conflits en matière d'enlèvements d'enfants aux États Unis, in L'Enfants Et Les Conventions Internationales 319 (J. Rubellin-Devichi & R. Frank eds., Presses universitaires de Lyon 1996); also in 28 Enfance Majuscule 27 (Avril-Mai 1996)

How to Draft a Successful Family Law Convention: Lessons from the Child Abduction Conventions, in Children on the Move 47 (J. Doek, H. van Loon & P. Vlaardingerbroek eds., Martinus Nijhoff 1996)

Statutory Reform of Constitutional Doctrine: Fitting International Shoe to Family Law, 28 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1047 (1995)

The Central Authority's Role Under the Hague Child Abduction Convention: A Friend in Deed, 28 Family Law Quarterly 35 (1994)

International Child Abduction Cases: Experience under the 1980 Hague Convention, in Parenthood in Modern Society 353 (J. Eekelaar & P. Šarčević eds., Martinus Nijhoff 1993); reprinted as "Casos de rapto internacional de crianças: experiência ao abrigo da Convençao da Haia de 1980," 93.3 Infância e Juventude 35 (Julho-Setembro 1993); revised, updated and reprinted in North American Symposium on International Child Abduction: How to Handle International Child Abduction Cases Panel IV, 30 pp. (P. Hoff ed., ABA Center on Children and the Law 1993) (publicly marketed symposium compilation)

Erfahrungen mit dem Haager Übereinkommen über die zivilrechtlichen Aspekte internationaler Kindesentführung, 40 Zeitschrift für das gesamte Familienrecht 745 (1993)

The Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to Succession to the Estates of Deceased Persons: Do Quasi-Community Property and Mandatory Survivorship Laws Need Protection?, 56 Law and Contemporary Problems 309 (Spring 1993)

Child Abduction and the English Courts, in Frontiers of Family Law and Policy 62 (A. Bainham & D. Pearl eds., Chancery 1993); id. 52 (2d ed., Wylie 1995); reprinted as "O rapto civil de crianças e os tribunais ingleses," 93.4 Infância e Juventude 63 (Outubro-Dezembro 1993)

When to Use and When to Avoid Mediation: An Attorney's Guide, 31 Family and Conciliation Courts Review 101 (1993)

The 1989 Inter-American Convention on Support Obligations, 40 American Journal of Comparative Law 817 (1992)

Taking Ourselves Seriously Enough to be Cautious: A Response to Hugh McIsaac, 5 International Journal of Law and the Family 82 (1991; reprinted at 30 Family and Conciliation Courts Review 137 (1992)

International Family Law as the Century Turns, 32 Family Law Quarterly 607 (1999); reprinted in Japanese translation (2001)

In Memoriam: Edgar Bodenheimer, 1908-1991, 39 American Journal of Comparative Law 657 (1991) (with D. Dykstra, F. Juenger and J. Oakley)

Protecting the Rights of Spouses in Intact Marriages: The 1987 California Community Property Reform and Why it was so Hard to Get, 1990 Wisconsin Law Review 731

Cohabitation in the Common Law Countries A Decade After Marvin: Settled in or Moving Ahead?, in Una legislazione per la famiglia di fatto? 31 (A. Marini ed., Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane 1988); significantly rewritten, expanded, up-dated and published under the same title at 22 U.C. Davis Law Review 717 (1989); thereafter reprinted in The International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory, II Family Law: Cohabitation, Marriage, and Divorce 39 (H. Krause ed., N.Y.U. Press 1992)

And How Are the Children? The Effects of Ideology and Mediation on Child Custody Law and Children's Well-Being in the United States, 2 International Journal of Law & the Family 106 (1988); reprinted at 30 Family and Conciliation Courts Review 112 (1992)

One-Parent Families in the United States: Changing Laws and Economics, in 1 Family, State & Individual Economic Security 265 (J. Eekelaar & M.-T. Meulders eds., Story-Scientia 1987)

Problems Inherent in Designing Child Support Guidelines, in Essentials of Child Support Guidelines Development: Economic Issues and Policy Considerations 41 (U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement 1987)

Codification of Conflicts Law: The Louisiana Draft, 35 American Journal of Comparative Law 255 (1987) (symposium introduction)

Forms of Exclusion in Child Custody Law, 7 Ethology and Sociobiology 339 (1986); reprinted in Ostracism: A Social and Biological Phenomenon 191 (M. Gruter & R. Masters eds., Elsevier 1986)

The Economic Consequences of Divorce as Affected by Child and Spousal Support Award Levels, 36 Juvenile & Family Court Journal 5 (1985) (with N. Wikler)

Neue Ansätze im Internationalen Privatrecht: Das interlokale und internationale elterliche Sorgerecht, in Internationales Privatrecht, Internationales Wirtschaftsrecht 405 (W. Holl & U. Klinke eds., Carl Heymanns 1985)

Factors Contributing to Postdivorce Poverty: Economic Consequences of Divorce, 84 Michigan Bar Journal 472 (1984) (with N. Wikler)

Litigation of Family Disputes in the United States, in Die Familiengerichtsbarkeit 381 (H. Nakamura ed., Hikaku Minjiho Kenkyusho 1984), reprinted in Japanese at 27:2 Hikakuhogaku 143 (January 1994)

Of Work, Family Wealth and Equality, 17 Family Law Quarterly 99 (1983)

American Family Law in Transition, 17 Family Law Quarterly 89 (1983) (book review)

Interstate Child Custody Law and Eicke: A Reply to Professor Coombs, 16 Family Law Quarterly 277 (1982)

Management Powers and Duties Under California's Community Property Laws: Recommendations for Reform, 34 Hastings Law Journal 227 (1982)

Developing Normative Standards for Child Support Payments: A Critique of Current Practice, in The Parental Child Support Obligation: Research, Practice and Social Policy 119 (J. Cassetty ed., Lexington 1982); expanded and reprinted as "Developing Standards for Child Support Payments: A Critique of Current Practice," 16 U.C. Davis Law Review 49 (1982); reprinted at 1 ABA, Improving Child Support Practice I-1 (1986)

The Definition and Division of Marital Property in California: Toward Parity and Simplicity, 33 Hastings Law Journal 769 (1982)

Support Awards and Enforcement, in National Judicial Education Program, Judicial Discretion: Does Sex Make a Difference? (NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund 1981) (with L. Weitzman & N. Wikler)

Parenting At and After Divorce: A Search for New Models, 79 Michigan Law Review 708 (1981) (essay book review)

Nonmarital Cohabitation in the Common Law Countries: A Study in Judicial-Legislative Interaction, 29 American Journal of Comparative Law 217 (1981)

Brigitte M. Bodenheimer, September 27, 1912 - January 7, 1981, 15 Family Law Quarterly vii (Winter 1981) (in memoriam)

Neuere Entwicklungen des Ehescheidungsrechts: Das Beispiel Kalifornien, 33 Das Standesamt 9 (1980)

April 6, 1979: To Professor Brigitte M. Bodenheimer, Emerita-In Tribute, 12 U.C. Davis Law Review ix (Fall 1979)

Making Visitation Work: Dual Parenting Orders, 1 Family Advocate 22 (Summer 1978)

The Effect of Informal Marital Separations on Personal Income Taxation, The Tax Adviser 470 (August 1978)

The Legal Import of Informal Marital Separations: A Survey of California Law and a Call for Change, 65 California Law Review 1015 (1977)

Property Rights of De Facto Spouses, Including Thoughts on the Value of Homemakers' Services, 10 Family Law Quarterly 101 (1976); reprinted at 3 Community Property Journal 211 (1976); reprinted in Fathers, Husbands and Lovers 280 (Sanford Katz & Monroe Inker eds., ABA 1979)

At the Intersection of Jurisdiction and Choice of Law, 59 California Law Review 1514 (1971)

Brief as friend of the California Supreme Court In Marriage of La Musga, No. S107355 (2003) (testing the continuing validity of Marriage of Burgess)

Trial, Writ and Appellate Briefs in Cassady v. Signorelli, Contra Costa County Superior Court No. D90-04601 (1998 and 1999) (at issue were the standards for a child's relocation and the setting aiside of orders following judicial disqualification)

In Memoriam: Homer Angelo, in University of California, In Memoriam (1998) (with H. Dunning and F. Feeney)

Brief as friend of the California Supreme Court in In re Marriage of Burgess, No. SO46116 (1995) (with Janet Bowermaster) (at issue was the standard for determining when a child may relocate with its custodial parent)

Introduction, University of California, Davis, Faculty in Public Service: Making a Difference 3 (1993)

In Memoriam: Edgar Bodenheimer, in University of California, In Memoriam (1991) (with D. Dykstra, F. Juenger and J. Oakley)

Written testimony, U.S. Commission on Interstate Child Support Hearing on Conflict of Laws Issues, November 29, 1990; reprinted at U.S. Commission on Interstate Child Support, National Leadership Conference, (program materials) 258 (April 1991)

Written testimony, Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Mandatory Mediation of Child Custody and Family Support Disputes, August 29, 1989

Written testimony, California Assembly Judiciary Committee Interim Hearings on Child Support, March 18, 1987

Written testimony, N.Y. Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary Interim Hearings on Mandatory Mediation of Child Custody and Child Support Disputes, November 7, 1985

Brigitte Marianne Bodenheimer, in University of California, In Memoriam 41 (1985) (with D. Dykstra, F. Feeney, and F. Juenger)

Trial Court Discretion: Justice Attained or Justice Denied?, 8 California State Bar Family Law News (1985)

Background study for the California Law Revision Commission, The Definition and Division of Marital Property in California: Toward Parity and Simplicity (1981) (published with minor revisions under the same title in 33 Hastings Law Journal)

Family Law--Law Revision Commission Studies Community Property Management Provisions, 11 CTLA Forum 120 (1981)

Background study for the California Law Revision Commission, Management Powers and Duties under California's Community Property Laws (1980) (published with minor revisions under the same title in 34 Hastings Law Journal)

UCD & Women's Needs: 1978 and the Future, (report of the Chancellor's Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Performance of the Women's Resources and Research Center)

Brief as friend of the California Supreme Court in In re Marriage of Morrison, 20 Cal.3d 437, 573 P.2d 41, 143 Cal. Rptr. 139 (1978) (Pt. 1) (at issue was the test for termination of spousal support following a lengthy marriage)

Cases and Materials on Children and the Law, (1975); revised 1976

Brief as friend of the California Supreme Court in Marvin v. Marvin, 18 Cal.3d 660, 557 P.2d 106, 134 Cal. Rptr. 815 (1976) (later revised, expanded, footnoted and published as "Property Rights of De Facto Spouses" in the Family Law Quarterly; thereafter reprinted)