Solangel Maldonado

Professor Solangel Maldonado

Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law

  • Degrees:

  • J.D., Columbia Law School | B.A., Columbia College
  • Contact:

  • [email protected]
  • Tel: 973-642-8830
  • SSRN Site link
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Courses:

  • Torts; Estates and Trusts; Family Law; Children, Family & the State; International Human Rights & the Family; Gender & the Law; Race, Ethnicity, & the Law

Professor Maldonado’s research and teaching interests include family law, feminist legal theory, race and the law, and international and comparative family law. Over the past decade, her scholarship has focused on the intersection of race and family law and the law’s influence on social norms of post-separation parenthood. She is currently working on a book that examines how the law shapes romantic preferences and how these preferences perpetuate racial hierarchy and economic and social inequality.

Professor Maldonado is one of the reporters of the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law (in progress) and co-editor of Family Law: Cases and Materials (Foundation Press, 7th ed. 2019) (with Judith Areen, Marc Spindelman, and Philomila Tsoukala) and Family Law in the World Community (Carolina Academic Press, 3rd ed. 2015) (with D. Marianne Blair, Merle H. Weiner, and Barbara Stark). She also serves on the editorial board of the American Bar Association’s Family Law Quarterly.

Prior to joining the Seton Hall faculty, Professor Maldonado was a litigation associate with Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler, LLP and with Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood in New York. She also clerked for then District Court Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr., now on the United States Court of Appeals. She received her B.A. from Columbia College and her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and the Managing Editor of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. She has taught at Cardozo Law School, the University of Illinois College of Law, and Columbia Law School, where she was a visiting scholar in the Center for the Study of Law and Culture in 2015-2016.



Parents’ Social Capital and Educational Inequality, 90 Fordham L. Rev. 2599 (2022) (invited symposium)

Cultivating Community Through the Third National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference: A Chair’s Retrospective, 55 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 732 (2020)

Reproducing Gender and Race Inequality in the Blawgosphere, 41 Harv. J. Gender & L. 239 (2018) (with Jane C. Murphy)

Bias in the Family: Race and Culture in Custody Disputes, 55 Fam. Ct. Rev. 213 (2017) (peer-reviewed)

Romantic Discrimination and Children, 92 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 105 (2017) (invited symposium)

Sharing a House But Not a Household: Extended Families and Exclusionary Zoning Forty Years After Moore, 85 Fordham L. Rev. 2641 (2017) (invited symposium)

Shared Parenting and Never Married Families, 52 Fam. Ct. Rev. 632 (2014)

Facilitating Forgiveness and Reconciliation in “Good Enough” Marriages, 13 Pepperdine Dispute Resolution L.J. 105 (2013)

Illegitimate Harm: Law, Stigma, and Discrimination Against Nonmarital Children, 63 Florida L. Rev. 345 (2011)

Taking Account of Children’s Emotions: Anger and Forgiveness in “Renegotiated Families”, 16 Va. J. Soc. Pol’y & L. 443 (2009) (Symposium)

Cultivating Forgiveness: Reducing Hostility and Conflict after Divorce, 43 Wake Forest L. Rev. 441 (2008)

Permanency v. Biology: Making the Case for Post-Adoption Contact, 37 Capital L. Rev. 321 (2008) (invited symposium)

Race, Culture, and Adoption: Lessons From Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, 17 Colum. J. Gender & L. 1 (2008) (

Deadbeat or Deadbroke: Redefining Child Support For Poor Fathers, 39 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 991 (2006)

Discouraging Racial Preferences in Adoptions, 39 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1415 (2006) (abridged version reprinted in <span style="font-variant:small-caps">Family Law: Balancing Interests and Pursuing Priorities 260</span> (Lynn D. Wardle & Camille S. Williams eds., 2007))

Recidivism and Paternal Engagement, 40 Fam. L.Q. 191 (2006)

Beyond Economic Fatherhood: Encouraging Divorced Fathers to Parent, 153 U. Pa. L. Rev. 921 (2005)

When Father (or Mother) Doesn’t Know Best: Quasi-Parents and Parental Deference After Troxel v. Granville, 88 Iowa L. Rev. 865 (2003)


Deadbroke Fathers and Reproductive Justice: Reimagining Wisconsin v. Oakley from a Justice Perspective, in Reproductive Justice Rewritten, Kimberly Mutcherson, ed., Cambridge University Press (2020)

MALDEF's Champion, in Law Professor and Accidental Historian: The Scholarship of Michael Olivas (Ediberto Roman ed.) (2017)

The Story of the Holyfield Twins: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, in Family Law Stories 113 (Carol Sanger ed.) (2007)


Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law, Am. Law. Inst. (Tentative Draft No. 3, 2021) (with Elizabeth Scott and Emily Buss)

Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law, Am. Law. Inst. (Tentative Draft No. 2, 2019) (with Elizabeth Scott, Richard Bonnie, Emily Buss, Clare Huntington, and David Meyer)

Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law, Am. Law. Inst. (Tentative Draft No. 1, 2018) (with Elizabeth Scott, Richard Bonnie, Emily Buss, Clare Huntington, and David Meyer)

Report of the Hispanic National Bar Association in Support of the Confirmation of the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, (2009) (with Jenny Rivera, Elizabeth Iglesias, Laura Gomez, Lauren Gilbert, and Catherine Sandoval)


Family Law: Cases and Materials, Foundation Press, 7th ed. (2019) (with Judith Areen, Marc Spindelman, and Philomila Tsoukala)

Family Law in the World Community, Carolina Academic Press, 3rd ed. (2015) (with D. Marianne Blair, Merle H. Weiner, and Barbara Stark)


Child Protection, Evidentiary Standards and Open Adoption, Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. (forthcoming 2022) (reviewing Josh Gupta-Kagan, Confronting Indeterminacy and Bias in Child Protection Law, Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. (forthcoming 2022))

Biased Custody Decisions or Common Sense: When Are Race, Ethnicity, and Cultural Norms Relevant to a Child’s Best Interests?, 44 Fam. Advocate 42 (2022) (with Jonathan Ross (invited))

Guardianship Reform: Lessons for Reforming Testamentary Capacity Laws, Jotwell (May 2022) (reviewing Reid Kress Weisbord & David Horton, The Future of Testamentary Capacity, 79 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 609 (2022))

Tribute to Carol Sanger, 55 Fam. L.Q. 386 (2022)

Subsequent Marriages and the Elective Share, Jotwell (May 14, 2021) (reviewing Naomi Cahn, What’s Wrong About the Elective Share “Right”? 53 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 2087 (2020))

End-of-Life Health Care Decisionmaking: Lessons for Wills, Trusts and Estates Law, Jotwell (Apr. 27, 2020) (reviewing Jane B. Baron,Fixed Intentions: Wills, Living Wills, and End-of-Life Decision Making, 87 Tenn. L. Rev. 375 (2020))

“Renegotiated Families” and Donative Intent, Jotwell (April 26, 2019) (reviewing Naomi Cahn, Revisiting Revocation Upon Divorce?, 103 Iowa L. Rev. 1879 (2018))

On the Way To and From Marriage, Jotwell (May 10, 2018) (reviewing Adam J. Hirsch, Inheritance on the Fringes of Marriage, 2018 U. Ill. L. Rev. 235)

Punishing DREAMers for the “Sins” of the Fathers (and Mothers), 56 Fam. Ct. Rev. 353 (2018)

Parentage by Presumed Consent, Jotwell (June 7, 2017) (reviewing Paula A. Monopoli, Inheritance Law and the Marital Presumption After Obergefell, 8 Estate Planning & Comm’y Prop. L.J. 437 (2016))

Honoring Decedents’ Wishes—Non-Probate Devices Included, Jotwell (May 9, 2016) (reviewing Melanie B. Leslie and Stewart E. Sterk, Revisiting the Revolution: Reintegrating the Wealth Transmission System, 56 Boston College L. Rev. 61 (2015))

Just Like Everyone Else, 96 B.U. L. Rev. Annex 49 (2016) (reviewing Katherine Franke, Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality (2015))

Mushy Language and the Limits of Intimate Agreements: Reflections on Love’s Promises, Concurring Opinions (June 24, 2015) (reviewing Martha Ertman, Love’s Promises:  How Formal and Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families (2015))

Too Young for a Will?, Jotwell (June 23, 2015) (reviewing Mark Glover, Rethinking the Testamentary Capacity of Minors, 79 Missouri L. Rev. 69 (2014))

Expanding Surrogate Decisionmaking, Jotwell (March 12, 2014) (reviewing Alexander A. Boni-Saenz, Personal Delegations, 78 Brook. L. Rev. 1231 (2013))

Helping Families Flourish: Committing to Children, Mothers (and Fathers), Balkinization (October 28, 2014) (reviewing Clare Huntington, Failure to Flourish:  How Family Law Undermines Family Relationships (2014))

The Problem with Allowing the Courts to Decide Who Is Indian, N.Y. Times (January 24, 2013) (Room for Debate)

Tort Law Meets Inheritance Law, Jotwell (March 4, 2013) (reviewing John C.P. Goldberg & Robert H. Sitkoff, Torts and Estates: Remedying Wrongful Interference with Inheritance, 65 Stan. L. Rev. 335 (2013))

Protecting the True Objects of Decedent’s Bounty—Pets Included, Jotwell (March 28, 2012) (reviewing Frances Foster, Should Pets Inherit?, 63 Fla. L. Rev. 802 (2011))

Wills, Slavery, and Wealth, Jotwell (January 10, 2011) (reviewing Bernie D. Jones, Fathers of Conscience:  Mixed Race Inheritance in the Antebellum South (2009))