Past President Larry Stotter Publishes Legal History Book

“To Put Asunder” released in December

Now retired, Lawrence H. Stotter has been a nationally renowned trial lawyer, specializing in family law litigation. He was one of the founders of the Northern California Chapter of AAML and president in 1974-75. For more than twenty years he was annually recognized in each issue of Naifeh and Smith’s The Best Lawyers in America. His exploits in recovering a child wrongfully taken from his schoolroom in France and hidden for several years by a vengeful father became the pilot chapter for Emily Couric’s best-selling 1992 book Divorce Lawyers: The People and Stories Behind Ten Dramatic Cases. A past national chairman of the American Bar Association Section of Family Law and the founder and first editor-in-chief of the popular professional magazine Family Advocate, Stotter was the choice of the president of the American Bar Association and the then U.S. Secretary of State to represent the United States in the drafting and negotiation of the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction at the International Court, The Hague, Netherlands. His successful argument before the United States Supreme Court as lead counsel in Kulko v. Superior Court of California, on U.S. Constitutional issues affecting interstate child support obligations, overruled decisions of the California Appellate and Supreme Courts and established family law principles now taught in all law schools. Over several decades, in his avocation as a scholar and collector of antiquarian literature on family law, Stotter established a collection that included a copy of nearly every English-language treatise published on the subject over a span of more than four centuries. The collection is now on permanent display at the Michael E. Moritz Law Library of the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. Lawrence Stotter resides with Ruth, his wife of more than fifty years and a renowned folklorist and storyteller, in their home in Tiburon, California, overlooking San Francisco Bay.

About the book:

An Introduction to the Seminal Anglo-America Literature and Laws of Domestic Relations up to the Year 1900, with Supporting Bibliography and Comments. Taking its cue from Matthew 19:6, What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder, this book describes humankind’s actions in doing just that. A readable selected history of family law, ”To Put Asunder” traverses more than two thousand years of continuing attempts by various societies to inhibit the desires of men and women, kings and commoners, to terminate their unsatisfactory marriages. The stories revealed are surprisingly engaging when the reader is introduced to the lives and personalities of some who were directly affected by family law. Examining court proceedings, the policies of church and state, scholarly literature, and the anger and frustration of unhappy spouses, Lawrence Stotter reports on the path of the domestic relations laws adopted in Western civilization. By clarifying the philosophy and goals behind the development of divorce laws in biblical times and tribal societies, under the influences of early Greek and Roman civilization, during the rule of the Roman Catholic Church, after the impact of the Reformation and Henry VIII s Church of England, and with the modifications brought about by the founders of Colonial America up through the beginning of the twentieth century, Stotter makes clear the reasons for, and the foundations of, our current divorce provisions. Lawrence Stotter provides, in five separate and extensive appendices, more than one hundred pages of bibliographic sources, never previously brought together in this manner.

The American Bar Association has named Larry Stotter a “Legal Legend.” From the American Bar Association Family Law Newsletter:

During our Annual Awards Luncheon, Chair Mitchell Karpf presented Lawrence (Larry) H. Stotter with the ABA Section of Family Law Lifetime Achievement Award, noting that he is a “Legal Legend.” The award recognizes Stotter’s many accomplishments in the field of family law, as well as his service to the Section. A Past Chair of the Section, Stotter is also the founder of our flagship magazine, Family Advocate. Among his achievements, Stotter was appointed to the U.S. Delegation to the International Court at The Hague, Netherlands, in 1978-79, to negotiate the International Child Kidnaping [sic] Convention [the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction]. He also testified before Congress to have enacted its implementation by the federal International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA).